London, Feb 24 : Being overweight will cost you more than just your health, for insurance firms in Britain are going to levy a 'fat tax' on the seriously obese.
Costs for the seriously overweight could be 50 percent higher on new premiums, and the threshold at which the higher rate starts will be lowered.
The country's biggest life insurer, Legal and General, confirmed that 13 percent of new applicants face paying the higher premiums, which apply to anyone with a body mass index of 30 or higher, the point at which people are declared medically obese.
The increased charge can be up to 400 percent if you fall into other high-risk categories, such as being a smoker or having previous medical conditions.
"Most people understand that poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to health problems but they might not realize that being significantly overweight would also make their life insurance more expensive," the Scotsman quoted Russ Whitworth, Legal and General's director of underwriting and claims, as saying.
"Although it is not an exact science, we find that BMI is the best indicator of the risk of being overweight, so it pays to stay in shape," Whitworth added.
A spokesman for the Association of British Insurers said: "If you are obese, you are at greater risk of contracting certain diseases. It is just the same as increasing the premium for a smoker or somebody with previous medical conditions."