Should obese people pay more?

Should obese people pay more?

The “weight debate” has been reignited following the release of contentious new research that suggests obese people face a much higher risk – of up to 80 percent – of death in a car accident compared with people of normal weight.

The controversial findings have caused some to call for higher insurance premiums for people who lead “unhealthy lives”, something that the federal government does not allow.

Transport safety scientists at the Universities of California and West Virginia found the cause could be that safety in cars is engineered for people of normal weight, not for the obese.

They found that the higher the victim’s body mass index (BMI), the less effective car safety mechanisms – such as seat belts – appeared to become. Obese women were found to be the most at risk, while the risk of death for people with a BMI of 40.0 or above was 80 percent higher than for people of normal weight.

The research follows a separate online study conducted last year by CoreData, which revealed that 53 percent of Australians believe obese people should pay more for private health insurance than their thinner compatriots.

But experts argue that making insurance more expensive for those with unhealthy lifestyles isn’t as simple a fix as it sounds.

Do you deserve a cheaper deal?

Michelle Hutchison, spokeswoman for RateCity, said people’s time could be better spent looking for a cheaper deal on their own insurance premiums rather than courting higher rates for others.

“Australians stand to save themselves hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars by taking the time to compare insurance quotes,” she said.

Price shouldn’t be the only thing you look at though, she said – far from it. For car insurance, for instance, some of the other factors include no-claim bonus, excess, whether the provider offers a replacement vehicle and the locations of their chosen repairer, to name a few.

“There’s no shame in saying: ‘I want a cheaper deal’. And if you think the features of a cheaper policy stack up well then make sure you look closely at it,” she said.

Like all financial products you need to read the product disclosure statement for insurance policies carefully: “the devil is always in the detail of the fine print.”





Did you find this helpful? Why not share this article?



Money Health Newsletter

Subscribe for news, tips and expert opinions to help you make smarter financial decisions

By signing up, you agree to the Privacy & Cookies Policy and Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy


Learn more about car insurance

Can you insure your car for 6 months?

Most Australian insurers won’t offer you a 6-month car insurance policy, so you may need to buy a policy that covers your car for damages and cancel it after six months. You will need to purchase comprehensive car insurance to protect your car from accidental damage, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters.. 

Consider checking whether your 6-month comprehensive car insurance will cost more if you pay monthly or six-monthly premiums instead of a one-time annual premium. Another question to ask the insurer is whether you’ll need to pay administration or cancellation fees when you cancel the policy.

Alternatively, you can look for a suitable ‘pay as you drive’ car insurance policy, which usually offers you the coverage of a comprehensive car insurance policy but only requires you to pay for the distance driven. Such a policy may not be the ideal 6-month car insurance plan as it is based on how much you drive rather than for how long. If you need to drive a lot, you may end up paying more than you’d pay for regular car insurance. 

Does insurance cover a stolen car if keys were in the car?

A car insurance policy that covers the theft of your car, such as third party fire and theft insurance, usually covers a stolen car, even if the keys were in the car’s ignition.

However, your insurer may deny the claim if you live in an area where there have been several car robberies reported recently. They will see you leaving the keys in the car as a case of negligence. In such cases, your insurance provider may even expect you to have installed anti-theft security measures in your car. 

You may need to confirm whether or not you left your keys in your car, and if they had been stolen or misplaced, before filing your car insurance claim. The loss or theft of your car keys may be covered by a comprehensive car insurance policy, but usually as an optional item.

If you can confirm that your car keys were stolen, mention this in your claim as this will help establish that your car was not stolen as a result of your negligence.