Knowing you may be denied life insurance for reasons outside your control can be scary, especially if you’re not sure you’ll be approved for coverage. Fear not, we have your back.
Your life insurance application may be declined due to health issues, dangerous behaviors, or medical history. More specifically, some of the most common reasons for denial are the following:
- Lipids, cholesterol, or triglycerides
- Glucose or blood sugar levels
- Elevated liver function
- Hepatitis that is discovered on the life insurance exam
- Positive alcohol marker
- Blood or protein in the urine
- Motor vehicle report
- Financial justification
- Previous Denials
If you have never been declined but are fearful of what may pop up on your exam, consider our article exam versus no exam life insurance. It might be your best choice is to choose from among the top no medical exam life insurance companies.
Every Life Insurance application will have one of 3 outcomes: You will be approved, declined or postponed. Now we all know what it means to be approved. And typically, when an insurance carrier postpones an application, they will provide detailed information on how to move forward with completing the process. But what does it mean to be declined?
- Does this mean that you can never get life insurance?
- Were you denied by every insurance carrier, or just one?
- What should you do at this point?
What to Do If You Are Denied Life Insurance
Your application was declined, so now what?
The first thing you should do if you’re declined for life insurance is to find out why (if the insurer didn’t tell you). And, since every insurer has different guidelines for approving and denying life insurance applications, you should get a second opinion. Just because one insurer denied you for line insurance, doesn’t mean they will all decline to cover you.
A second opinion from an agency that:
- works with multiple top rated life insurance carriers and understands what each carriers underwriting guidelines are,
- specializes in hard to place cases and high risk life insurance, and
- willing to go the extra mile for their clients: you are more than an application, you are a valued client! (see our 4 Step Process for Getting clients with Pre-Existing Conditions life insurance).
Unfortunately, it’s possible multiple life insurance companies will decline to cover you. If that’s the case, Talk to your doctor. You may be able to work on your health and buy coverage when you;re in better health.
You may also be able to apply for guaranteed issue coverage, thought this type of life insurance will like cost more and come with a much smaller death benefit. Still, it’s an option.
Top 10 Reasons For Being Declined Life Insurance
#1. Lipids, Cholesterol, or Triglycerides.
- Elevated cholesterol levels can often lead to a denial on life insurance as well as an unpleasant surprise for the applicant.
- Surprisingly enough, elevated blood pressure levels are usually NOT a reason to be declined life insurance. However, it is one of the top reasons for being approved but in a different health category than you applied for.
#2. Glucose or Blood Sugar Levels.
- Elevated glucose or blood sugar levels are another silent killer to a life insurance application and typically a surprise to the applicant. For that reason we have put together two separate articles on diabetes. If you have diabetes then please see our article, Life Insurance with Type 2 Diabetes or Life insurance with Type 1 Diabetes.
- However, it is important to note that a life insurance denial with one carrier, may be an approval with another. This is why its important to apply with an agency that can “shop” your medical exam results with multiple carriers if need be. That way you shop the front end and the back end.
#3. Elevated liver function.
- Often times, clients will receive results indicating an elevated liver function exam, only to learn later on from their primary care physician that everything is normal. For this reason, if you have been denied life insurance coverage, its important to know which life insurance carrier denied you. For these clients we typically encourage them to reapply elsewhere with a new exam to get a better rate.
#4. Hepatitis that is discovered on the life insurance exam
- Now Hepatitis B or C that has been treated may be OK after treatment. But if you have just discovered that you have Hepatitis B or C, the insurance companies are simply going to deny you life insurance coverage until after you have received treatment. You still can qualify for life insurance with chronic hepatitis B or C but you must be under some sort of regimen for treatment.
#5. Positive Alcohol marker.
- This is not a test for alcohol in the system. A few drinks here and there is not going to create a positive alcohol marker. A positive alcohol marker is run when liver functions are elevated and is used to determine if the applicant’s drinking is well above what is considered “normal levels”. A positive alcohol marker is a quick way to receive a life insurance denial.
#6 Blood or protein in the urine.
- This can be caused by extreme physical exercise or kidney disease. It should always be followed up with an exam from your primary care physician and if it turns out to just be an anomaly, life insurance companies will often ignore the paramedical exam results as long as you have updated test results from you physician.
For more on what underwriters look for you can read our article, What do life insurance companies look for?
#7. Motor Vehicle Report.
- One of the leading causes of death, to what would otherwise be a healthy individual, is a motor vehicle accident. For this reason, multiple tickets, accidents, or DUI’s during a set period of time could lead some carriers to either deny your life insurance application or postpone your life insurance application until your DMV record is clean.
#8. Financial Justification.
- This one is a difficult one, because insurance companies have set ratios based on income and total net worth of the client that they will insure up to. These ratios are basically the same across the board with all of the insurance carriers.
- Unfortunately some insurance agencies place additional internal restrictions that they have chosen to use as a cost saving mechanism which has nothing to do with the carrier themselves.
- For example: Some insurance agencies simply won’t write a term life insurance policy for someone who’s household income is less than $30,000. These agencies have made the financial decision to avoid those lower income households in an effort to reduce their own costs.
- Obesity is a hard one, but not all carriers will look at weight the same. This is one of the areas where life insurance carriers will vary the greatest.
- Knowing your actual weight and applying with the most liberal carrier for build requirements (your build is you height to weight ratio) from the start will be the number one determinant in getting approved at the best rate class possible when overweight.
- Don’t risk being declined or rated with an insurance carrier whose build requirements are too strict.
#10. Previous Denials.
- Insurance companies subscribe to what is called the Medical Information Bureau. It is a report that is shared among the insurance companies sharing information about previous life insurance denials or approvals on other insurance applications. Its purpose it to protect insurance companies from applicants who may be lying about their current health conditions.
- Just because you have been previously denied life insurance does not mean you will be denied again.
The takeaway from all of this is that you should always get a second opinion.
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