Top 10 Reasons to be Denied Life Insurance

(And What to Do About It)

Last Updated June 11, 2024
stressed senior couple denied life insurance

     You chat with an agent for a carrier and take time out of your day to go through their application process for life insurance. You answer all questions and wait the allotted amount of time to find out the status of your application. You get a letter or email and it shows you the bad news.  Unfortunately, it is completely possible that you are denied life insurance. What are the reasons for be denied life insurance and what can you do when about it? Final Expense Benefits goes through the top reasons why you would get denied and what you can do about it. 

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Top 10 Reasons to get Denied for Life Insurance

1.) Serious Medical Condition

Serious Medical Condition Denied Life Insurance       Underwriters, the people who work for insurance companies that assess the risk level of prospective clients, want to insure low-risk applicants. You may be denied life insurance if you have a moderate to severe medical condition. Some moderate conditions that can be reversed or reduced, like obesity, may not get you an outright denial and may just raise your premiums. But obesity coupled with high cholesterol or diabetes will cause you to get denied life insurance. 

     More serious conditions, however, like HIV/AIDs, cancer, Lou Gherig’s Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis are far more likely to get you denied life insurance. Underwriters consider people with these conditions to be high-risk applicants. Most life insurance companies will ask you to submit to a medical exam. During these exams, you will have to submit a urine sample. If this sample contains traces of protein or blood you will be denied life insurance. If this is the reason for your denial, you can have your primary care physician analyze a sample for you. They can then submit their notes to the insurance company for reevaluation. 

     Also, failure to disclose this information will result in your application being denied life insurance. Underwriters may decide to contact your healthcare providers in order to confirm what you stated on your application. Make sure that you understand and answer all applicable questions to the best of your ability.

2.) Advanced Age

     All life insurance agencies have a specified limit on the ages they will cover. You may be denied life insurance due to advanced age, which is why it is always best to apply as early as possible for life insurance. The reasoning behind this is that the older an applicant is, the more likely they are of having health problems. If you are denied life insurance due to age, then it may be best to look for a term life insurance policy or final expense insurance policy.

3.) Financial Issues

     Being a high-risk applicant for life insurance is not just reserved for those in poor health. Folks who have struggled financially may find themselves denied life insurance from a provider. Companies check your credit score, net worth, and current income in order to determine how much of a face amount you qualify for.  Having filed for bankruptcy can also cause you to be denied life insurance. Life insurance companies try their best to minimize all possible risks and you may be a risk if you are not financially stable enough.

4.) Alcoholism

     While having a few glasses of wine with dinner will not get you denied life insurance, having a chronic issue with alcoholism could be a strong case for denial. During the medical exam, they will draw blood and run tests to indicate whether or not you have higher-than-average levels of alcohol consumption. Alcoholism is incredibly detrimental to your health as it can cause liver disease, fibrosis, and alcohol-associated hepatitis. Chronic health issues almost always coincide with alcoholism so underwriters will typically deny life insurance to people with alcoholism.

5.) Incorrect Information on Application

     When filling out an application for life insurance, it is incredibly important that you understand all questions being asked of you and that you answer all of the questions honestly. Incorrect information will result in your being denied life insurance. If you come across a health question that you do not understand, ask the agent to clarify it or reach out to a medical professional to have them explain the questions to you. Always double-check your personal information on the application like your name, address, phone number, and any other information they may ask for.

6.) Criminal Record

     People make mistakes but some mistakes are more severe than others. If you have a criminal record then you could be denied life insurance. Of course, this all depends on the company to which you are applying for insurance and the severity of the crimes committed. More serious offenses and repeat offenders are at a higher risk of being denied life insurance than a one-time offender. Life insurance companies run background checks on each person who applies, so being upfront about your background can be helpful.

     If you have been charged with a felony, always wait until after the proceedings and your sentence are done before applying for life insurance. If you try to apply for life insurance while simultaneously serving time in prison, your application for life insurance will be denied. Although at Final Expense Benefits, we do have a list of insurance policies for inmates. It is worth noting that you can be denied life insurance death benefits if you die as a result of a felony. An example of this would be if you were killed during a high-speed car crash due to running from the police.

7.) Positive Drug Test

    As stated previously, life insurance companies will ask for your urine and blood samples. Illicit drug use can cause an immediate denial of life insurance. Insurance companies will examine your urine sample to see if you test positive for any of the following drugs:

  • AmphetaDenied Life Insurance because of medication mines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine 
  • Nicotine
  • Opiates
  • PCP

     Some of these drugs listed can be prescribed legally or obtained legally but can still pose a threat to your coverage. If you are denied life insurance because of your prescription medication, you can send a letter from your doctor containing the reason for your prescriptions. Insurance companies may still see you as a high-risk applicant and deny you. If you are a smoker, you may not be denied life insurance coverage outright but may find your premium rates are higher. You can still find the best insurance option for smokers with Final Expense Benefits.

8.) Previously Denied Life Insurance

     Insurance companies subscribe to a service called the Medical Information Bureau, aka MIB. MIB’s underwriting services are exclusively used to measure the risk and eligibility of individuals for health and life insurance companies. The MIB has access to whether or not you have applied to other life insurance companies and what the status of those applications are.  

     If the MIB reports back that you have applied for, and were denied life insurance from, many companies then that could be seen as a red flag on your applications. The best course of action is to see what the initial reason for your denials was and act accordingly. You may need to find an alternative to life insurance depending on what the reasoning is behind your denial.

9.) Hazardous Jobs

     Some careers are more dangerous than others and could result in you getting denied life insurance. Manual laborers and career fields that are tough and demanding on the body may be seen as riskier for an insurance company to insure, especially if there is a mortality rate within that line of work. A list of hazardous jobs includes things like:

  • Roofers
  • Pilots
  • Truck Drivers
  • Construction workers
  • Farmer/Rancher
  • Police officers
  • Iron and steel worker
  • Garbage collectors

     If you work in of the aforementioned careers, you may have a hard time getting life insurance. You may want to talk to your employer about your options as most of these types of careers may offer some type of group life insurance for its workers. 

10.) Having a “Dangerous Hobby”

    If you are someone who is a thrill seeker and likes to live life on the very edge, you may actually be at risk of getting denied life insurance. Insurance underwriters are always looking to minimize all risks and hobbies such as skydiving and scuba diving could put you at risk for bodily harm. Other risky hobbies that can result in denied life insurance include:

  • Rock Climbing
  • Motocross
  • Aviation
  • Hang gliding
  • Big Wave Surfing

     The more you participate in these hobbies the more likely you are to be denied life insurance. However, if you have been trained or licensed to do a certain hobby then the insurance companies will see that you are serious about your safety. If you are someone who likes to participate in these high-risk activities, getting certifications and training could minimize the amount of your rates and help you from being denied life insurance altogether.

How to Appeal a Denied Life Insurance Claim

     So you have been denied life insurance and wish to appeal the decision. There are a few things you can do the increase your chances of successfully appealing for life insurance.

Senior couple doing retirement paperwork

Get Information About Why You Were Denied and Review it

     Once you received official notice of your denial, find out the reasons why you were denied life insurance. The notice you receive will clearly state the reasons for the denial. If there is something within the letter that you do not understand or need to get clarification on, you should contact the insurance company to explain their reasonings and request a copy of their policy for you to review. Always get the denial information in a writing. If a company calls you with the denial information, make sure to explicitly ask for that information in a letter or email. 

     After reviewing the information on your denied life insurance policy, you may find a discrepancy or error that has been made. If the error is health-related, you can go to your primary care physician and request a physical be done. This can help mitigate your insurance claim denial and get you the appeal you need. If the reason you were denied life insurance was not health-related, then look back at their reasonings to ensure that it is valid. 

Understand the Process of Appeals

     When you call the insurance company to understand why you were denied, be sure to ask how and when to submit your appeal. Each insurance company has an appeal process and a time frame with which to appeal. Be sure you have a clear understanding and guidelines for how and when to submit your appeal.

Collect all Necessary Documents and Submit Them Ontime

      In order to appeal a denied life insurance claim, you will have to gather all necessary information and paperwork and submit them before any deadlines. Learn exactly what you need and what information they will request from you. You can learn more about the appeals process by contacting the insurance company directly. 

     Documents may include your credit report, medical information from your doctor, and recent information on your personal history. Be sure to include any notations of improving or continuously improving health conditions and if you are part of any health programs (weight-loss program, gym membership). This could also include any certifications and training for dangerous hobbies that could have gotten you denied life insurance as well. 

What To Do When Denied Life Insurance

Happy senior man and woman run together along footbridge in summer

Make Lifestyle Changes

     Changes that can help benefit your health and wellness can also lower your premium rates on a life insurance policy. Underwriters want to insure people they deem as low risk. To make yourself appealing to underwriters, you can start small with healthy habits. Eating right and exercising can be a way to lower your weight, which is a factor for underwriters. 

     Another way to make yourself a lower-risk applicant is you can take steps toward decreasing your alcohol consumption and decrease smoking. While some prescription drugs are necessary for treatment, recreational drug use can be decreased in order to give you a better rate. 

We understand that this option is not accessible to everyone as pre existing conditions can be a reason for denial. But for some folks, making small changes over a year can be very helpful when looking for life insurance.

Ask your Employer about Group Life Insurance

     Some careers may be deemed too risky for just anyone to ensure. Police officers, roofers, and laborers can get hurt on the job and therefore are considered a higher risk to underwriters. If you find yourself getting denied life insurance because of this, you can see if your employer offers group life insurance. This might be your best option since the carrier your employer works with understands the hazards of the job and has agreed to work with your employer. Even if you do not have a dangerous job, you may find yourself getting denied life insurance for health reasons. Asking your employers about their group life insurance may be a good idea for you as well.

Consider Alternatives, Like Burial Insurance

     Burial insurance, or final expense insurance, is a great alternative for anyone who has been denied life insurance, especially if the reason is due to advanced age or health problems. Final expense insurance companies have no medical exams and simple application processes. Also, most final expense companies specialize in working for seniors, so you can make sure you are covered and that your remaining expenses are covered after you pass.

Best Burial Insurance for When You Are Denied Life Insurance

     These $10,000 coverage policies have steady and affordable premiums for the life of the policy. If you are looking for great coverage with low monthly premiums, we recommend these top carriers for all of your final expense needs. If you are denied life insurance you can still find coverage with any one of our top-rated insurance companies. This is Final Expense Benefits best $10,000 insurance policies for seniors.
Company 50 y/o Male 50 y/o Female 60 y/o Male 60 y/o Female 70 y/o Male 70 y/o Female

These figures were obtained from the NFDA and are estimates only. For a detailed quote, please contact an agent. 

     Final Expense Benefits partners with over 20 carriers with customer satisfaction guaranteed. They offer no medical exam options at much more affordable rates that fit your needs.  Some of our highly-rated carriers include:

     If you are looking for trusted and affordable final expense insurance, the experts at Final Expense Benefits have got you covered. Call one of our talented agents today at 1 (866) 311-4338 to get an affordable quote with one of our highly-rated insurance carriers. 

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