Affordable Life Insurance after Weight Loss Surgery

By James Tobin, CFP®

Last Updated on

Critical Takeaways

  • Rate Impact Significant
  •  Pricing  Based On The Time Elapsed Since Surgery,  Severity Of  Any Complications  and overall Health
  • Both Standard And Table Ratings Possible
  • Declines /Postponements are  Possible with Severe Complications  
life insurance after weight loss surgery
Life Insurance after Weight Loss Surgery

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Life Insurance after Weight Loss Surgery
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Expert Review Of  Life Insurance After Weight Loss Surgery

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Reviewed by

Jim Tobin, CFP®

Why you can trust this review

At Life Insurance Help Desk, we value our editorial independence. We keep our reviews strictly factual so you can use them to make informed decisions. Life insurance carriers referred to on this site do not approve reviews. 

Can I Be Approved For Life Insurance After Weight Loss Surgery?

Every applicant for life insurance after weight loss surgery can be approved for a policy.

However, the type of policy that can be approved, and the rates charged, will depend on the nature of your weight loss surgery, the time elapsed, if there are any complications,  and your overall health.

Because the underwriting standards are different for each type of policy, this review of  life insurance options after weight loss surgery is broken into  three sections:   (click button to go directly to section)

Best Price

Strict Underwriting.

Good Price

Strict Underwriting

Most Expensive

No Underwriting

What Information Will  Life Insurance Companies Want To Know?

In order to underwrite your application life insurance carriers will need to know the complications  that you  have experienced, the treatment undergone, including any prescription drugs used, and any medical follow up. 

Underwriting will need to know the following info about your surgery:

  • date of surgery (generally insurers want 1 year to pass before offering coverage),
  • Type of surgery band,sleeve,bypass
  • Pre-op weight

While information that is "foggy" will be taken from your medical records, knowing the dates of diagnosis and treatments is necessary to get an accurate quote.

Will I Need To Take An Exam For Weight Loss Surgery Life Insurance?

In order to get the best rates possible you may need to take an exam. Applicant's with no complications after 2 years will be eligible for no-exam underwriting. However, applications with complications will likely require an exam. 

The exam is a para-medical exam that collects blood and urine samples. The exam is administered at no cost by a travelling nurse and can be done at your choice of location.

If it turns out that simplified issue or guaranteed issue policies are the best fit for your application, no exam will be required. See How Term Life Insurance Works for more on the exam. 

How Will My Life Insurance Underwriting Grade Be Affected By My  Rates Affected By My Weight Loss Surgery?

The rates you pay for tem insurance are dependent on the underwriting class you are graded by the carrier. Weight loss surgery applications are generally going to be rated as standard  or lower. This issue is discussed using rating guides and  pricing samples.  Sample pricing for simplified issue and  guaranteed issue policies is provided in the corresponding links.

 How  Accurate Are The Quotes I Get From Your Quote Tool? 

The quotes you receive from the quote tool on this site are 100% accurate for the information inputted. That is to say, if you get the rate class correct- your rate will be correct. The problem with online tools is that people generally think they are inn better or worse shape than is reality.   

If you are unsure about rate class you should choose a range and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Alternatively, you can fill out the customized quote form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

How Can I Improve My Underwriting Rating And Lower My Life Insurance Cost?

The most effective ways to improve your life insurance rating are to use an agent that has access to the companies that will view you most favorably and to take care of your health. 

See Why to use Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance after Weight Loss Surgery  to better understand the reason to use an independent agent.

As far as lifestyle goes, if you take diet and exercise seriously along with limiting alcohol and quitting smoking (if you smoke), it should be reflected in your blood markers. 

If you have had weight loss surgery, documenting compliance with medical advise and any medications is very important. Obtaining  a physicians letter stating that you have been compliant and improving is helpful.

Do these things and you can't help but improve your health and your life insurance rating.  

What Are The Best Life Insurance Companies After Weight Loss Surgery?

Life insurance companies have differing appetites for specific risks. These appetites are reflected in underwriting and ultimately pricing. Simplified issue carriers will be state dependent and  three of the better known term carriers for dealing with weight loss surgery are Prudential, American General (AIG), and Banner.

However, risk appetite can, and does, change and the only way to guarantee the best possible deal is to work with an experienced independent agent. see the case study here to get a clear understanding.

What Is The Application Process For Life Insurance After Weight Loss Surgery?

Regardless of your pre existing condition, the application process is largely the same. The life insurance application process is an eight step process that includes choosing your terms, picking a carrier, submitting to the exam,  and signing documents (digital signatures accepted). The entire 8 step process is laid out for you here

Traditional Term Life Insurance After Weight Loss Surgery

While standard rates are possible, it's not uncommon for applicants to receive substandard or  "table rated" offers. The severity of the health rating, and corresponding price, can vary significantly. 

Therefore, it's important that you use an agent that is experienced with weight loss surgery cases, and has access to the carriers most likely to be receptive.

The process of obtaining a term life insurance offer with lap band surgery is  similar to seeking  life insurance after a heart attack,  Sleep Apnea or AFib and many other specific conditions.

Terms Lengths

Primarily, term life insurance is available for lengths ranging from 5 years to 30 years with 20-year terms being the most popular. Term policies usually have a minimum face amount of $50000, and the policies terminate at the end of the term period or can be renewed annually at a vastly increased rate.

Possible Underwriting Grades For Life Insurance After Weight Loss Surgery 

Because Life insurance applications are evaluated on a case by case basis, your story always matters.

That is to say two people with the same age and condition may get significantly different offers from the same company based on age of diagnosis and patient compliance. Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are the best estimates based on experience.

Best Case - If  mare than a year has passed and there are no complications and excellent follow up and compliance,  some cases have a chance for a standard. Simply use the quoter on the left for a standard quote.

Mid Case -If more than a year has passed and you have very mild complications such as bloating and diarrhea, you may be looking at a mid substandard rate. You calculate this rate by multiplying the standard rate by 1.5 (Table 2/B) or 2 (Table 4/D).

To learn about how table ratings work click here.

Pricing For Term Life Insurance

At the top of this article we stated  that any body can be approved for affordable life insurance after weight loss surgery. Note, however, we mention "affordable" rather than "inexpensive" or "low cost". The reason for the distinction is that all too often, life insurance after weight loss surgery is not cheap life insurance.

In fact, because the coverage can be  expensive on a per benefit dollar basis, the benefit is reduced to make the life insurance affordable. While this is often not an ideal situation, the truth is we all have to live within our budgets, and sometimes the way to make life insurance after weight loss surgery affordable is to  reduce either the term of coverage or the benefit amount. 

The difficult part of term life insurance with weight loss surgery is finding the best deal. This is because different carriers have differing appetites for certain kinds of risks. As a result navigating this process is not as easy as using a quote tool or the sample rates below.  This is discussed in greater detail in the case study.

Case Study Pricing Policies After Bariatric Surgery

So, I have been droning on about the importance of using an independent Agent and you may think that sounds a bit self serving coming from an independent agent.

You'd be are right, it is. However, it is also the (provable) truth.

Please see the case study below . it will show why it is in your interest to have as many options as possible available when shopping for life insurance after bariatric surgery or any impairment.

Gender: Male Age: 48

$250000 20 Year Term

Tobacco: Yes

Gastric Sleeve - mild bloating , Surgery @ age 46 (2 years)

OTC use of anti diarrhea medications 

No Other Health Concerns

This looks like a best case scenario that would be either standard or Table 2/B or 4/D depending on the insurers appetite for a mild complication weight loss surgery risk. Let's take a look at the rates.


This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates Prudential is 33% more expensive than Protective.

On its face this seems like a pretty straight forward choice and if underwriting grades between carriers is the same, it really can be that simple.

This kind of easy price shopping is particularly useful for younger folks in good health and demonstrates why you want to use an independent Agent.

For people who have had weight loss surgery or suffer from  any  serious diagnosis, it gets much more complicated.

Because life insurers manage their appetite for specific risks by being more lenient or more stringent with underwriting grades, you need to know which company will grade you a standard or table 2 risk and which ones will grade you as table 4-6.

In the case above Prudential (the second most expensive standard smoker rate) is likely to be the best deal because the more competitively priced carriers will likely rate the risk table 2-4 while Pru might well go standard.

This is something you can't know by simply looking at the lowest price. In this case using an independent agent could save you 22% (the difference between Prudential @ standard and North American @ Table2).

That's a really big difference when you consider that over the life of the policy it adds up to over $13,400.

Why You Should Use An Independent Agent When Shopping For Life Insurance After Weight Loss Surgery

Now you already understand that your story matters, and that two people in similar situations can get very different offers from the same carrier.

What you might not know is that different insurance companies will also treat each case differently.

For example TransAmerica may have more of an appetite for the risk weight loss surgery presents than say Protective. In this case the underwriting grade will reflect this increased appetite.

So, if your Agent only represented one carrier and you found out later that that you could have gotten a rate 35% or 45% better, how would you feel?

You'd probably be pretty peeved either at the agent or yourself or both. So it's important that your Agent represent multiple carriers.

In fact a good independent agent will have access to over 50 carriers. This ensures the best chance at a good rate.

Note that if he doesn't, he probably won't be in a hurry to let you in on this information.

Your Next Step

Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate quote possible, it's time to gather the information and speak to an independent Agent (raising my hand).

Simply give us a call or shoot an email over and we can get you started.

We are committed to totally transparent pricing (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like), and making the application process as painless as possible.

Thank you for reading this article about life insurance after weight loss surgery, if you have any questions,we'd like to hear them.

Bonus: The most common Mistakes made buying life insurance and how to avoid them

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Fast Facts About Weight Loss Surgery

According to the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, just under 200,000 bariatric surgeries were performed in the US in 2015.

While bariatric surgeries are performed disproportionately for women patients, a study by the  University of California -San Diego School of Medicine shows  men have a significantly higher rate of complications. 

The average cost is between $14000- $23000 depending on the procedure undertaken.

Sore pretty famous people have had bariatric surgery. Among the better known are: singer Etta James, television personality Al Roker, novelist Ann Rice, and politician Chis Christie.    

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