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Top 10 Lies Told on a Life Insurance Application
When you learn how companies price their life insurance policies, it may be tempting to fib a little on your application to get a better rate or increase your chances of approval. But not being honest can cause more harm than good.
If you lie on your insurance application, there's a good chance the insurer will find out the truth anyway during a medical exam or with access to your medical records. Get caught lying on your life insurance application now, and the insurer may decline you for a policy or charge you higher premiums.
If your application is approved, the insurance company has a two-year contestability period. If the insurer discovers your lie during this time, it can cancel your policy. If the lie isn't discovered until a loved one files a life insurance claim, your beneficiaries may not receive the full death benefit that you've been paying for.
Honesty really is the best policy when it comes to life insurance. Of course, not every applicant agrees, so here are the ten most common lies told on a life insurance policy—and how telling them could affect your application, life insurance rates, and coverage with the best life insurance companies.
Lie #1: I don’t use tobacco
Given the much higher premium cost associated with using tobacco, it’s no wonder why applicants will frequently deny using tobacco. But not all fibs are considered fraud. Some applicants don't know they're lying. That is because in the life insurance industry, tobacco use applies to “any” use and “all” forms of tobacco—not just cigarettes.
So even if you only smoke one cigarette a month and don’t “feel” like you’re a real “smoker,” guess what? You are according to many life insurance companies.
Or how about someone who has quit smoking but still uses Nicorette gum? Too bad and so sorry—you too would be considered a tobacco user.
The reason why is because the insurance companies aren’t looking for "tobacco" levels in one's system, they’re looking for nicotine levels in one's system.
So if you’ve used any of the following products within the past 12 months you would be considered by most insurance carriers a “tobacco” user:
- Chewing tobacco
- Electronic cigarettes
- Nicotine gum (i.e. Nicorette)
Now given the obvious financial saving by qualifying for a non-tobacco rate class, life insurance companies are well aware that applicants may try to “under-estimate” their use of any of these products. Which is why they employ the use of very accurate testing procedures, and when available, will also use medical records to uncover possible tobacco usage.
Because if you do lie on your insurance application, insurance companies have what is called a “contestability period” which states that within the first two years of a policy being put in force, the insurance company has the right to contest any information that you’ve submitted upon your application.
Which means that should you pass away within two years of starting your application and you intentionally lied on your application, the insurance company could deny your claim and simply return your paid premium to your family.
Therefore, what one should do instead of lying on their application is to be sure that they are considering all of their options before applying. In the case of tobacco users, there are a few carriers that are much more liberal when it comes to tobacco use and for example may not consider the following a tobacco user:
And the insurance carriers will therefore give clients who use these products a non-tobacco rate class! But not all companies or agencies have such loose guidelines so make sure you choose an agency, life TermLife2Go, that can place you with the best company for tobacco use.
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Lie #2: I never use drugs
Illegal drug use or even use of legal medical marijuana is often something that many life insurance applicants will try to conceal from their life insurance application.
These applicants generally believe that as long as there aren’t any drugs in their “system” i.e., in their blood or urine, they’ll be fine. What these same applicants aren’t aware of is that often times insurance carriers can learn about an applicant’s previous or current drug use from many other sources, such as a client's medical or criminal history.
That being said, there are insurance carriers that are relatively lenient when it comes to some legal and illegal drug use but only if it’s disclosed right from the beginning!
Lie #3: I only weigh that much after the holidays!
You weigh what you weigh, so there’s no reason to lie about it. In fact, even if weight isn’t a problem for you, you might be amazed at how much a few pounds one way or the other can affect the cost of your life insurance when overweight.
For this reason, when you decide to apply for life insurance, know exactly what you weigh in the afternoon. This way you can plan to take your medical exam in the morning which should mean that you will weigh a few pounds less than the weight you gave on your application.
By doing this you will give yourself the best chance to qualify to the rate that you have been quoted!
Lie #4: Travel and dangerous hobbies
If you going to travel to a potentially dangerous location or you just love jumping out of airplanes or other such dangerous hobbies, let your life insurance agent know about it right away.
The reason is because these types of lifestyle choices could have a significant effect on your life insurance application. So much so that they could even lead to being denied coverage by some life insurance carriers altogether!
Don’t think you do anything that would be considered dangerous?
Well, how about traveling just south of the border into Mexico? That would be enough to be denied by one of the largest life insurance companies in the world! So even if you don’t think something is a big deal, don’t think that the insurance company that you’re applying for life insurance with feels the same way!
Lie #5: I’ve never been depressed
The first conversation that you have with your life insurance agent about depression shouldn’t be after the insurance underwriter has ordered and reviewed what is called a “prescription database check.”
What’s a prescription database check you ask?
A prescription database check is what nearly every traditional term or whole life insurance policy application will require prior to approving ones application. This report will include a list of every prescription medication you’ve ever been prescribed by your doctor.
The insurance company will then use this information to determine if it is willing to offer the applicant coverage right away or request additional medical records from the applicants doctors prior to making a final decision. This can delay underwriting as the carrier is now waiting on a physician statement that explains your medication history.
Now the reason why you shouldn’t be discussing depression with you agent for the first time after this report has been ordered is because there are certain insurance companies that are much more lenient with depression than others. So do yourself a favor and let your agent know if you’ve ever been diagnosed for depression or ever been given medication to treat depression. That way your agent can place you with the most depression friendly carrier available. By doing so you could be saving yourself thousands of dollars over the life of your insurance policy!
Lie #6: What DUI?
Having one DUI 10 years ago is not a big deal when it comes to getting life insurance. But having one 10 months ago could be, especially if it’s your second or third!
For this reason, it’s important to let your life insurance agent know right away if you have any DUI’s on your record. After all, the insurance companies are going to order a motor vehicle record report so it’s not like keeping it a secret will really work!
All it will do is prevent your life insurance agent from selecting one of the few DUI friendly life insurance carriers that will be more forgiving than most when it comes to recent DUIs and multiple DUIs.
Lie #7: I’m an excellent driver
Again, the insurance companies will order a motor vehicle report which will outline any tickets or accidents that you have on your record. So be honest right from the start! This way you’re agent will be able to recommend the life insurance best suited for your situation.
Having a lot of parking tickets might not be an issue. However, multiple speeding tickets are a red alert to a life insurance company that you might be a reckless driver. Once again, some companies are more lenient than others in this area, therefore admit it up front so your agent can place you with the best company available.
Lie #8: I’m not diabetic; my doctor just said that I may be PRE-diabetic
In the life insurance world, there really aren’t any “gray” areas when it comes to being diabetic. You either are or you’re not. And once you’ve been diagnosed, you’re going to be considered diabetic for life.
So, who is considered a diabetic in the life insurance world?
- Anyone that has been prescribed medication to treat diabetes (with the exception of gestational diabetes).
- And anyone with an A1C blood sugar level above 7.0.
If this describes you, guess what... insurance companies are going to consider you a diabetic. Now the trick is knowing which insurance companies cater to diabetic cases and which ones don’t. We work with the most favorable life insurance companies for diabetics. Therefore, we can get you the best price possible for diabetic life insurance.
Lie #9: Nobody in my family ever gets sick
That may be the case, however certain insurance companies will often use a family's medical history to determine what rate class an individual will qualify for. A family history of the following can all play a role in what rate class you will ultimately qualify for:
- Heart disease, or
Now if your agent knows about your family history from the start, he or she can guide you towards those life insurance carriers that may not consider a family history of cancer, heart disease or stroke in their underwriting process.
Lie #10: Yes, I make $100,000 a year delivering newspapers
Life insurance policies are designed to “indemnify” the injured party at the time of loss.
Indemnify: compensate one from harm or loss.
So your life insurance policy, when in place, should be able to protect your family in the event of your death up to the dollar amount that they would suffer financially due to your death.
Insurance companies don’t want to insure an individual above and beyond this calculated value. For this reason, insurance companies have designed and put in place safeguards to protect themselves from “over insuring” any one individual.
So if your 60 years old and earn $30,000 dollars you’ll probably have a hard time qualifying for a $2,000,000 dollar life insurance policy even if you were fine paying for it. This is because the insurance company doesn’t want to make you worth "more dead than alive.”
Because of this, people will often exaggerate how much they earn so that they can then qualify for a much larger life insurance policy. The only problem with this is that beyond it being obvious fraud, it may also open up the application to added scrutiny by the underwriter making it even more difficult to get approved at any level.
In cases like these, if the amount being applied for is justified and makes sense, underwriters will typically find a way. However, unless the applicant is honest from the beginning, these types of cases will usually be denied right from the get go!
Lying on a life insurance application may be tempting, but doing so can cause declined applications, higher premiums, or declined claims. If the insurer can prove you lied intentionally (called a material misrepresentation), you may even be charged with life insurance fraud.
Insurers have many ways to double check what you've stated in your life insurance application. They can see your medical records and those of your family from the Medical Information Bureau. They can check your DMV records and other driver's licence information. And they can uncover many pre-existing health conditions during a health exam.
Instead of fibbing on your application in hopes of a better rate on a life insurance policy, work with an independent licensed insurance agent who understands your health situation. This agent can help you compare rates from multiple companies, and likely knows which companies have the best prices for specific situations. Use our quote tool to get started.