If your life insurance application is declined, it means that the life insurance company you applied with decided you’re ineligible for coverage based on its own underwriting guidelines. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get approved elsewhere.
If you’re denied coverage, the first thing you should do is talk to your life insurance agent or broker. We’ll walk you through the next steps.
Reasons life insurance applications are denied
During the application process, life insurance companies evaluate multiple factors — such as hobbies, family history, health, and age — to determine your risk.
Each insurance company calculates these factors and their risk differently. One company may decline you because you have specific health issues — for example, diabetes or kidney disease — while another may accept your application and offer you the cheapest life insurance rates on the market.
These are some of the most common reasons life insurance applications are rejected:
Chronic illness: If you’re suffering from a chronic illness at the time you apply, the insurer may decline your application. Your chances of acceptance increase if you can show that your illness is being treated through an attending physician’s statement (APS).
Lifestyle: Smoking, skydiving, or a speeding ticket on your driving record won’t usually lead to a rejection, but you will pay more for coverage.
Age: The older you are, the more expensive it is to get insured. Although there are many life insurance options for seniors, the policies available may not meet all of your coverage needs or may be very costly.
Lying or withholding information: If you intentionally leave out anything the insurance company needs to know on your application or during the phone interview, the insurance company can reject your application outright or increase your premiums later.
Knowing the different options offered by some the best life insurance companies will help you get a better sense of what insurers may be a good fit for your specific situation.
What to do after a life insurance application rejection
Talk to your broker. If your life insurance application is declined, your life insurance agent or broker will contact you and explain why. Your broker can then work with you to strategize what to do next and how to get approved from another insurer.
Make some lifestyle changes. Sometimes, insurance companies will postpone your application to another date, usually six months to a year later. In that time you can improve your health or quit smoking to get approved.
Explore alternative life insurance products. If a life insurance company deems you to be high-risk, you may not be eligible for term life insurance, which is the most conventional type of coverage. However, you may still be able to get insured by purchasing final expense life insurance that offers lower death benefit payouts at a higher price point.
Ask your employer about group life insurance. Many employee benefits packages include a small amount of life insurance coverage, called group life insurance, which you’re entitled to even if you have a serious medical condition or a dangerous hobby. Usually you can be approved for group coverage without having to take the standard life insurance medical exam.
An application rejection doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get life insurance at all. Each insurance company has its own underwriting standards, so your age, certain health conditions, risky hobbies, or even having a criminal record will be treated differently depending on where you apply.
Comparing rates and applying for life insurance through an independent broker is the best way to find the right insurer for you at the best price.
To understand why your application was denied and ensure it doesn't happen again, talk to your broker. At Policygenius, our experts are licensed in all 50 states and can walk you through the entire life insurance buying process while offering transparent, unbiased advice.
They'll guide you on how to create a life insurance plan that will increase your chances of approval. They may suggest, for example, making healthy lifestyle changes or waiting a certain period before the insurer will reevaluate and approve your application.
Frequently asked questions
Why would a life insurance application be denied?
A life insurance application may be denied if you have high-risk medical conditions, dangerous hobbies, or if you left important information off your application. You may also be ineligible for certain policies due to advanced age.
How long do you have to wait to reapply for life insurance?
It depends on the reason you were denied and the insurance company. If your application was denied due to complications related to smoking, for example, you may have to wait six months or more and show lifestyle changes to the insurer.
What can make you ineligible for life insurance?
Certain types of life insurance policies, such as term life, are better suited for younger, healthier individuals. However, hardly anyone is completely uninsurable. Final expense life insurance options, such as guaranteed issue and simplified issue life insurance, are available to almost everyone.