It’s important to remember that not all companies and products have a build chart as a part of their underwriting guidelines, but most do.

Below are some sample height and weight charts and how they impact your eligibility and cost for life insurance products.

Life Insurance Weight Chart Based On Height (Unisex)

The table below outlines what your maximum weight (in pounds) can be based on height for each life insurance classification. With many life insurance products (not all), there are various rate classifications that you can qualify for.

The health classification determines the price per thousand dollars of coverage. For example, the price for preferred plus might be $50 monthly, but the standard rate is $100.

HeightPreferred PlusPreferredStandard PlusStandard

Source: Mutual of Omaha Life Insurance Underwriting Guidelines


5 Important Facts About Life Insurance Height To Weight Charts


1) The vary by the company

Every life insurance company has a unique build chart. Granted, they are all reasonably close to one another, but they will differ slightly. For example, the weight tables above were taken from Mutual of Omaha’s life insurance for seniors underwriting guidelines. At 5’8″, the maximum weight for preferred plus is 189. Alternatively, another company might have a maximum weight of 200 for their preferred plus rating.


2) They differ based on the type of underwriting

There are two main types of life insurance underwriting- fully underwritten and simplified issue (aka “non-med”). A fully underwritten plan will require a medical exam (and medical records), whereas simplified issue will not. A fully underwritten build chart will always be very different from simplified issue.


3) They aren’t always unisex

Some companies, such as Mutual of Omaha, have unisex build charts. However, some insurance providers have build charts that differ based on your gender.


4) Some companies might deny you if you’re too short, too tall, or don’t weigh enough

It’s very possible to be denied if you’re too short, too tall, or if you don’t weigh enough. Usually, if a carrier has a minimum height requirement, it’s around 4’8″. On the top end, it’s about 6’10”. For a minimum weight, it varies based on your height. For example, at 5’0″, the minimum weight is typically 85 pounds. These rules vary based on the company and the product, so don’t assume these facts are universally true.


5) Some products have no height and weight chart guidelines

Believe it or not, some companies have products with no build chart. Granted, these products will always be whole life insurance, and the coverage amounts will be minimal ($50,000 or less). For example, Aetna life insurance plans have no weight or height limitations. You could be 500 pounds and still qualify. Similarly, Royal Neighbors of America final expense insurance also has no build chart.


What Should You Do If You Fall Outside Of The Height To Weight Tables?

Given your height, being too heavy could result in a decline or a much higher price. The obvious solution is to lose weight and apply for coverage later, but that can take many months or even years.

If you need coverage now and your build is an issue, here are some options you can pursue today.


Final expense insurance

Final expense insurance (aka burial or funeral insurance) is a simplified issue whole life insurance product primarily meant to provide a quick payout to cover your funeral and burial expenses. However, it’s still a form of life insurance, so the net result will be a tax-free cash payout to your loved ones. That money can be spent on anything.

One unique element of a burial insurance policy is the lenient underwriting. The height-to-weight limits on these products are very tolerant. People who are extremely overweight can still qualify.


Guaranteed acceptance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of whole life policy with no health questions or underwriting requirements. It’s called guaranteed acceptance because, as the name implies, you’re guaranteed approval. You can still get a new policy regardless of your height and weight. But there are two primary drawbacks to these no health plans. First, they are more costly because the insurer knows nothing about your health. Second, there’s always a two-year waiting period.

If you die in the first two years of the policy, the insurance company will only refund your money plus about 10% interest. You must live for more than 24 months before you’re eligible for the full death benefit payout.


Group life insurance

Group life insurance is purchased through an employer. Not every employer offers group life insurance, but most do. The most significant benefit of group life insurance is that you don’t need to qualify individually. The advantage of being part of a group is that the risk is spread across the whole group, which is why your personal insurability factors aren’t considered.

Generally, group life insurance plans don’t have any qualification requirements. So if your height to weight prevents you from qualifying for the life insurance you want, check with your employer to see if they offer any type of life insurance. Just remember, relying on group life insurance alone is inadvisable.

It’s exceptionally rare for group life insurance plans to persist after you leave that job. Be it retirement, termination, or if you leave voluntarily, the life insurance you had through that employer will likely terminate once your employment does. That’s why everyone should carry life insurance they buy independently (not through a group).


Frequently Asked Questions

Your height-to-weight ratio is a critical factor that life insurance companies use to assess whether or not you qualify and the price you’ll pay. Generally known as a build chart, life insurance companies have weight limits based on height. If you’re too heavy or don’t weigh enough at your height, they might decline you or charge you a higher premium.

Obese people might pay more for life insurance, depending on their weight and the product they’re applying for. For example, if you’re 5’7″ and weigh 210 pounds, some products will charge you a higher premium, whereas others might not. It’s helpful to remember that all companies have different life insurance weight charts, and some will accept heavier applicants than others.

Generally speaking, yes, there are weight limits for most life insurance products. Nearly every insurance company will have what’s called a build chart that outlines the maximum weight someone can be and still be eligible for coverage. Remember that every provider has a unique height and weight chart for life insurance for each product they offer. Don’t assume that because one company denies you or charges you a higher premium, another company will too. It’s helpful to shop around to see which company will make you the best offer based on your height to weight ratio (in addition to your prior health conditions).

Life insurance companies ask about your height because they have limits on how much you can weigh. Your BMI is a key factor, among many, in the underwriting process. For example, if you’re 5’3″ and weigh 280 pounds, expect life insurance companies to universally deny you for nearly every type of coverage. That’s because, at that height to weight ratio, life insurance companies know the life expectancy for that group of people (5’3″ and 280) is so low that offering them coverage is unprofitable. Remember, insurance is the practice of assessing the risk of various factors and categorizing them into groups. Life insurance companies know that people who are overweight, on average, don’t live as long as people who have a healthy BMI, which is why they ask about your height and weight.

Although the exact measurements vary by the company and product, a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 will cause most insurers to categorize you as overweight, increasing the insurance cost. For a BMI of 30 and above, some carriers will outright deny you or charge you a super high premium.

Choice Mutual often cites third-party websites to provide context and verification for specific claims made in our work. We only link to authoritative websites that are known to provide accurate information. You can learn more about our editorial standards, which guides our mission of delivering factual and impartial content.

  1. rate classifications.
  2. Group life insurance.