By Adam Frugoli
I was recently asked this very question by a co-worker in our agency. Oftentimes, people who are declined in their life insurance application believe they are uninsurable for the rest of their lives. This is not always the case. Many times, the underwriter is looking for more information that was not provided in the application or in the medical records. Depending on the reasoning for the denial, the applicant may be approved with another insurance company with some additional information being provided to the underwriter.
If you have been declined for life insurance or believe that you maybe uninsurable, here are a few guidelines to follow for better chances of being approved.
Do not purchase a policy on the internet. The internet is a great tool for gathering general information about products and prices, but when it comes to any type of medical condition the pricing will not be accurate. It also makes it more difficult to obtain insurance if you have been declined, so “measure twice, cut once.”
Find an independent insurance broker. Underwriting guidelines are very different from company to company. You will need a broker who can access many different companies. Some companies rate on family history of heart disease and others do not, saving you potential extra premium. In addition, many companies underwrite based on different maximum weight charts. Finding an independent insurance broker is easier than you may think – simply contact your nearest Leavitt Group agent.
Prepare a medical history letter. This document should contain a list of all of the doctors you have seen for the last five years and include the reason and outcome of each visit. It is also important to list all medications prescribed and taken during that time period.
Pre-underwrite before the formal application. Your broker should be able to prepare a short medical biography (a.k.a. Quick Quote) removing ANY identifying information to submit as an informal inquiry to multiple insurance companies. Depending on the responses, you can then submit a formal application to the company that will be the best fit for you.
Medical Exams for Life Insurance:
Depending on your age and the amount of life insurance you want to purchase, you are more than likely going to be asked to have a paramedical exam and perhaps an electrocardiogram. These tests are usually done at your home, depending where you live. It is important that you have the best possible exam. I recommend all of my clients do the following:
- Ask your insurance agent for a copy of the exam questions beforehand so you can be prepared. (The examiner will ask you the questions, but it is good to prepare beforehand.)
- Set the exam for a weekend morning – a good time is around 7:00 AM. If the exam is early in the morning, your blood pressure is less likely to be high or be stressed.
- No food, alcohol, or caffeine after 9:00 PM the night before.
- Drink plenty of water.
Following these guidelines may not gaurantee a preferred health rating; however, they have resulted in much more success than not. Here are a few examples of high-risk individuals who were able to obtain significant life insurance coverage.
- A 67-year-old man who had cancer in his lymph nodes two years previous was issued $1 million of coverage for his buy-sell insurance policy.
- A 46-year-old man who chewed tobacco and had controlled high blood pressure was issued a non-tobacco standard rate policy.
- A 72-year-old man who was on medication for Type 2 diabetes was approved at standard pricing.
As all of these clients had been turned down by previous insurance companies, these examples illustrate that “uninsurable” doesn’t always mean “uninsurable” across the board. There are options to overcome the hurdles that might have previously led to a declined life insurance application.
The coverages discussed herein are for illustrative purposes only. The terms and conditions of your specific policy may differ from those described. Please consult the provisions of your policy for the terms, conditions, and exclusions that apply to your coverage.