What is evidence of insurability (EOI) for life insurance?

Evidence of insurability is the financial justification for getting life insurance coverage and ensures your coverage is proportionate to your financial needs.

Headshot of Nupur Gambhir

By

Nupur GambhirSenior Editor & Licensed Life Insurance ExpertNupur Gambhir is a licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert and a former senior editor at Policygenius. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service Cake.

Edited by

Antonio Ruiz-CamachoAntonio Ruiz-CamachoAssociate SEO Content DirectorAntonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.
|

Reviewed by

Maria FilindrasMaria FilindrasFinancial AdvisorMaria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

Updated|5 min read

Expert reviewedExpert reviewedThis article has been reviewed by a member of ourFinancial Review Council to ensure all sources, statistics, and claims meet the highest standard for accurate and unbiased advice.Learn more about oureditorial review process.

Policygenius content follows strict guidelines for editorial accuracy and integrity. Learn about our editorial standards and how we make money.

When you apply for life insurance, insurers evaluate your financial background, including your income, assets, and age, to determine how much coverage they can offer you. That process is called evidence of insurability (EOI).

In addition to your financial profile, life insurance companies also evaluate your medical history and other lifestyle habits to determine your rates — but any health condition you may have won’t affect your EOI, only how much you’ll pay for life insurance policy.

Both evaluations are part of the life insurance application process, also known as underwriting.

Key takeaways

  • The amount of life insurance coverage you can get is determined by your evidence of insurability.

  • Your evidence of insurability is based on your age, income, assets, and the financial impact of your death on your beneficiaries.

  • The medical component of the underwriting process has no impact on your evidence of insurability; you may be in excellent health but still ineligible for life insurance for financial reasons.

What is evidence of insurability?

Evidence of insurability is proof that you qualify for the coverage you’re asking for. Your death benefit amount should align with your assets, income, and the needs of your dependents. It’s separate from your health-related history, which determines how much you pay for that coverage.

Your evidence of insurability is assessed by insurers because life insurance coverage isn’t meant to be a way for your family to get rich — it’s a financial safety net. If you die prematurely, it substitutes the financial support you provided.

Ready to shop for life insurance?

Start calculator

Evidence of insurability requirements

Your proof of insurability relies on something called insurable interest, which is essentially proof that someone would be financially burdened in the event of your death.

Insurers also look for financial justification or verification that your income and assets are proportionate to the coverage amount you’re asking for.

While your insurable interest and financial justification for life insurance can set your life insurance coverage limit, they have no impact on how much you pay for that coverage — your premiums are instead determined by your health profile, family history, lifestyle choices, and age.

You can be in perfect health but because of your financial situation, you may still not qualify for life insurance and vice versa.

If you get life insurance with a certain amount of income or assets, but your financial situation worsens after your policy goes in force, life insurance companies cannot invalidate or change your policy.

Income replacement

The life insurance death benefit is meant to replace your income if you die — insurers won’t grant you coverage beyond what’s reasonable for your financial circumstance.

If you’ve been unemployed long-term, you might not be eligible for traditional life insurance coverage whatsoever. You may be asked to prove that you are on the job hunt or to provide pay stubs and documentation from your last job.

Though stay-at-home caretakers don’t make an income, they’re still eligible for coverage based on their partner’s income or earnigns.

Age

Just as life insurance rates increase with age, life insurance companies use your age to determine the amount of coverage you can get.

Your income is multiplied by the number of working years you could feasibly have left, but in general the younger you are, the higher the amount of coverage you can get. Each life insurance company has its own general guidelines about this.

  • If you’re in your 20s, your coverage amount can get as high as 40 times your income.

  • If you’re 45, you can typically apply for a maximum of 20 times your income, because that would take you to age 65.

  • If you’re in your late 60s, the amount of coverage you can get can drop as low as five times your income.

  • Once you enter your 70s, the amount of life insurance you can get is up to the life insurance company’s discretion.

Additional factors

Aside from income and age, underwriters may look at your mortgages, debts, assets, unearned income, and financial history when deciding upon your financial justification for purchasing life insurance.

Each insurer treats each circumstance differently, and someone with no income but earnings from assets would qualify for coverage differently than someone with no income and no assets.

While it may be tempting to lie about your financial circumstances to get the best policy, life insurance companies run a soft credit check on you during the application.

If they see that you falsified information, you can be disqualified from purchasing coverage or your policy can be invalidated. Insurers also share this type of information with each other which may hinder you from shopping around for a policy elsewhere.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcies over 10 years ago and records of arrest, civil judgments, and lawsuits over seven years ago won’t show up on the soft credit check run by life insurance companies. Each life insurance company treats an individual’s financial circumstances differently.

→ Learn more about how bankruptcy impacts life insurance applications

Who has insurable interest?

The people you list as your beneficiaries during the application process must rely on you for financial support or would face a financial loss if you died. If you get a divorce or have another child, you can always adjust the beneficiary of your policy at a later date.

There are a few relationships that are valid for insurable interest. These people usually include:

  • Spouses or domestic partners

  • Children of the insured

  • Business partners

  • Ex-spouses who depend on the insured for financial support

  • Any other individual whose financial wellbeing might be at risk if the insured died

Some relationships may require additional paperwork and evidence to demonstrate insurable interest, including:

  • Girlfriends, boyfriends, and non-legal partnerships

  • Friends

  • Adult children

  • Siblings

If your beneficiary is one of the above, you’ll have to demonstrate the financial relationship of both parties to the insurer.

Life insurance companies might ask you to prove the relationship’s financial dependency or that any financial obligations are shared — such as bills or a mortgage — in order to name them as a beneficiary on the policy.

Demonstrating evidence of insurability

During the life insurance phone interview, you’ll be asked to provide some information about yourself, including your salary, age, and dependents. This usually provides the underwriter with enough information to determine your financial viability for a life policy.

However, if you’re asking for coverage that seems disproportionate to your circumstances, they may follow up with additional questions. It’s always good to have the appropriate paperwork on hand to show the underwriter in case they ask for any documentation.

Ready to shop for life insurance?

Start calculator

What if I can’t show evidence of insurability?

Just because you’re unable to prove evidence of insurability on a life insurance application doesn’t mean you’re completely barred from purchasing life insurance coverage altogether.

Individuals who aren’t able to purchase traditional life insurance can usually opt-in for a type of permanent life insurance called final expense life insurance. This type of coverage pays out a small death benefit to cover end-of-life expenses so your loved ones don’t have to.

The payout can usually cover some medical bills and funeral costs. There are two types of final expense life insurance policies to choose from: guaranteed and simplified.

Although final expense life insurance can be costlier than a term life insurance policy and doesn’t usually offer enough coverage, acquiring some life insurance coverage is better than having none at all.

Frequently asked questions

What is the evidence of insurability process?

Evidence of insurability (EOI) is an evaluation of your financial profile to determine how much life insurance coverage an insurer can offer to you. To prove evidence of insurability, you’ll be asked to disclose your income and assets.

What is my insurability limit?

Your insurability limit is the maximum coverage amount you can get and is determined by your age and income. The younger you are, the more coverage you can get in proportion to your income.

Can you get coverage without evidence of insurability?

If you don’t earn an income, you can still get life insurance coverage, though with limitations on the coverage amount or type of policy you can get.

Author

Nupur Gambhir is a licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert and a former senior editor at Policygenius. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service Cake.

Editor

Antonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.

Expert reviewer

Maria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

Questions about this page? Email us at .