Are You “Too Muscular” for a Term Life Insurance Policy?

Most term life insurance companies use the Body-Mass Index test to consider an applicant's health and eligibility. The BMI test only takes into consideration height and weight, and it is well known that muscle is more dense than fat. So if you’re wondering if you're too muscular for term life insurance, the answer is NO. You aren’t too muscular for term life insurance coverage because life insurance companies are extremely lenient regarding BMI measurements.

Ready to compare quick life insurance quotes?

Your life insurance quotes are always free.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Tim is a licensed life insurance agent with 23 years of experience helping people protect their families and businesses with term life insurance. He writes and creates stuff for QuickQuote and other insurance and financial websites.

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Oct 28, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right life insurance coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident life insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one life insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our life insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different life insurance companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

The Body-Mass Index (BMI) has been around since the mid-1800’s and is defined as an individual’s body weight divided by the square of his/her height. BMI does not measure the percentage of actual body fat a person has. However, it is the current preferred method for measuring body fat percentage among ratios of weight and height by most health professionals and life insurance companies.

This sounds all well and good, but what if you are very athletic and not even close to being fat? If this describes your body type, you may find yourself being measured unfairly using the BMI calculation.

Table of Contents

Why BMI?

The accuracy of the BMI measurement has been the cause of much debate in health circles. This is because BMI only takes into consideration height and weight. It’s well known that muscle is much more dense than fat. Thus it takes up less space than an equal weight of fat. Therefore, a very muscular person could have the same BMI as a person who has a lot of fat. The BMI calculation will consider these very different body types to be the same.

The BMI range considered to be healthy is 18.5 to 24.9. Anything above 25 is considered overweight, and anything over 30 is considered obese. According to these standards, many professional athletes would be regarded as overweight or obese. When Mike Tyson was in his prime, he would have been considered obese with a BMI of 30.4 (5’11″ and 218 lbs). LeBron James would today be considered overweight with a BMI of 27.5 (6’8″ and 250 lbs).

Few would argue that Mike Tyson and LeBron James are obese and overweight respectively (and even fewer would dare say it to them personally!). The mere thought of such characterizations seems ludicrous and unfair. There is hope for change though, as the Body-Adiposity Index (BAI) is starting to gain ground. BAI is a newer method used to measure body fat utilizing height and hip circumference rather than height and weight. This allows for a more accurate measurement on muscular people.

According to the Obesity Research Journal (http://bit.ly/n1TydG), BAI is calculated as:

BAI = ((hip circumference) / ((height) 1.5) – 18)

Term Life Insurance and BMI

Life insurance companies are extremely lenient regarding BMI measurements. Some companies will allow a BMI of up to 32 for the Preferred rating class (assuming all other factors are within range). But if you happen to have a high BMI due to an athletic or muscular build, you may still find yourself on the wrong side of the BMI guidelines used to qualify for the best rating class and lowest premium for your term life insurance policy. We are hopeful that life insurance companies will soon adopt the BAI method of measurement to more accurately assess athletic and muscular applicants.

Talk to your doctor to determine what body fat percentage is healthy for you. Few people know their BMI, and even fewer know their BAI. Do you know yours?

Ready to compare quick life insurance quotes?

Your life insurance quotes are always free.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

QuickQuote is a BBB Accredited Business. QuickQuote Financial, Inc. BBB Business Review