What To Do If My Life Insurance Application Is Declined?

Getting your life insurance application declined doesn't mean you can't get life insurance again. Continue reading to learn more.

April 1, 2021

Has your life insurance application been declined?

Do not worry. It is not the end of the road for you.

An application denial does not necessarily mean you cannot get life insurance. Another insurer may well rate you as insurable and offer you the desired coverage. Even if that does not happen, there are other life insurance products that you can purchase to secure your family’s future and give you peace of mind.

Continue reading to find out about the various options available to you.

Why is My Life Insurance Application Being Declined?

Your insurance application could be turned down for a number of reasons, such as:

Poor Health

Life insurers view customers as different levels of risk, and classify us into groups depending on our overall health. More than anything, insurers do not like early deaths. This is because it means they must issue a payout before they could collect many premiums.

If your risk of early death is severely high, carriers may reject your application. Health conditions that could lead to denial include cancer and HIV, among others.

Hazardous Occupation/Hobby

Not all jobs are created equal. Some occupations are more hazardous than others. Examples include pilots, flight engineers, and truck drivers. If your profession carries a higher degree of danger, you may find it hard to get coverage. Likewise, a dangerous hobby — like bungee jumping or skydiving — could lead to a life insurance application denial.


Life insurance contracts are based on trust. But what if you break the trust by purposely lying or withholding information on your application? The consequences of lying can be severe, so you should not even entertain this idea.

If you get caught, the insurer will immediately reject your application. What is more, the incident will be logged into a central database. Which means other insurance carriers with whom you may apply later will find out about your misdeed. Consequently, they may reject your application as well.

Driving Record

Reckless driving is linked to a higher risk of death. That is why, insurers also look at your driving record while evaluating your application. If your driving record is spotty, you may be denied life insurance coverage.

Criminal Record

A serious criminal record may discourage life insurers from offering you a policy. Likewise, your application will be rejected if presently you are facing felony charges.

Poor Financial Situation

Insurers look at your personal financial situation as part of their evaluation process. You may be denied if you:

  • Are not able to afford the cost of insurance
  • Have a lot of debt
  • Previously filed for bankruptcy

What Can I Do If My Life Insurance Application is Declined?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. What you should do after you are denied depends solely on why you were rejected in the first place.

But one thing is certain: having your life insurance application turned down does not automatically mean there is no way to get life insurance. In most cases, it is possible to buy some form of life insurance coverage.

First, get in touch with the insurer to learn the logic behind your denial. Insurance carriers share detailed information regarding it upon request. Next, depending on the reason for disapproval, you can explore one of these options.

Request Reassess

Insurance companies evaluate your application on the basis of the information provided by you and your exam results. If you made an honest error on your application, you can request the carrier to reassess your application with correct medical data.

Reapply After Some Time

Let’s say you were rejected due to uncontrolled diabetes. Try to make amends by taking your medication on time, regularly monitoring your sugar levels, and making lifestyle changes. Reapply once your diabetes is under control or at least not severely high.

Similarly, if you have too much debt, you may consider reapplying after you have paid off all or a good part of it.

Try to Get Coverage with Exclusions

In rare circumstances, insurers agree to offer coverage with one or more exclusions. For example, let’s say you were turned down because of an underlying heart condition. A carrier may still be able to offer you coverage but exclude death due to heart complications. That is, the insurer will not issue the death benefit if you die because of your underlying condition.

A life insurance application denial will stay on your record for as long as seven years.  Furthermore, other insurers can see this information, along with the reason for rejection. Life insurance companies share limited information regarding applicants through Medical Information Bureau (MIB). MIB provides fraud protection to insurers from applicants who would try to hide or withhold information when applying.

As you can guess, hiding or omitting crucial information on your application will get you nowhere. If there is some mismatch between the information provided and medical exam results, the insurer will likely scrutinize your application more rigorously.

There is a good chance you will be caught and be turned down. Worst case scenario: Your beneficiary will be denied the claim if you die and the insurance company finds out that you lied.  

What Options Are Available to Me After Having My Life Insurance Application Declined?

Woman thinking at her desk

If you have received a denial, you may want to consider any of the following options:

Employee-provided Life Insurance

Group life insurance plans through work are guaranteed. That means people with serious health conditions can qualify. If your company offers life insurance as a part of the employee benefits package, sign up for it.

Look for a More Lenient Insurer

Just because one or two insurers have turned you down does not mean every insurer will. Some insurance companies are more lenient than others for certain medical issues. Speak to an agent or do online research to find out if there is an insurer that may be willing to offer you coverage.

Consider Other Life Insurance Policies

If you do not make the cut for the term or permanent life insurance, check out other coverage opportunities. These options, however, are usually more expensive than term life. That said, having coverage will give your loved ones some financial protection and you some peace of mind.  

  • Guaranteed Life Insurance

Guaranteed life insurance neither involves a medical exam nor health questions. That means you can get coverage regardless of your health. The death benefit, however, is usually small. But, as they say, some life insurance is better than none.

So, what is the maximum death benefit?

Most providers do not offer more than $50,000. Also, premiums are considerably higher than a comparable standard policy.

Guaranteed life insurance is typically used for covering end-of-life and funeral expenses. It is a good option for applicants who do not qualify for the standard coverage because of poor health.

  • Simplified Life Insurance

Simplified life insurance has more lenient criteria than standard life policies. Unlike the latter, it does not require a medical, and eligibility is assessed on the basis of your response to a few simple health questions.

The coverage, however, is lower than standard policies and the premium higher. But it is more affordable compared to a comparable guaranteed life policy. First, give simplified life a try if you are turned down for standard life insurance.

  • Mortgage Life Insurance

This life insurance product ensures your family does not lose their home after your death. If you pass away, the policy will pay off the outstanding mortgage balance.

Since mortgage life insurance does not involve a medical exam, most people qualify for it. You can buy it when you sign up for a home loan or shortly after it.

Can I Change Any of the Information if My Life Insurance Application Got Declined?

There are several things you can do to improve your chances of getting approval. For example, if you recently have had financial troubles, defer applying until you have cleaned up your credit report.

All insurers have specific rules for dealing with applicants who have recently filed for bankruptcy. Try to find out this information before you apply for coverage with a provider. Some insurers will not consider your application until 12 months have passed since you filed for bankruptcy.

Also, make sure all information provided by you during the application process is accurate. Life insurers use this information to decide your eligibility, and an unintentional mistake can lead to a denial.

At times, a health issue may affect eligibility or the premium rate. In either scenario, delaying the application until you have improved the underlying issue is a good idea.

A spotty driving record is another red flag, as it points toward a higher risk of death. While a poor driving record is not easy to clean up, you can adopt safe driving habits from now onward to avoid collecting any further demerit points. You may also consider taking classes to give your driving record a boost.

How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

You need enough life insurance coverage to pay off your outstanding debts and cover your financial obligations. In most cases, 10-15 times the yearly income is a sweet spot. That said, you may have unique responsibilities and hence may require more coverage. Speak to an insurance expert if you are in doubt about how much coverage will be enough.  

Who Can I Talk to About My Situation After Having My Life Insurance Application Declined?

Rejection can be hard to deal with — be it a denied college application, a job rejection, or declined insurance application. We cannot offer you much help with the first two, but we can provide you the right answers if life insurers are turning down your application left and right.

At Dundas Life, we will first assess your situation and give you a summary on all the options available to you, including their pros and cons. And, once you have decided on the coverage that works best for you, we can help you get the lowest-possible premium rate.


Life insurance application form

Having your life insurance application declined does not mean you will never be able to get life insurance. Or that you will not get any life insurance at all. Each insurer follows different underwriting guidelines. If one provider turns you down, there is a chance you may still be able to get the desired coverage from another insurer.

First, learn the reason for rejection. Next, speak to your insurance agent or broker to find out the available options. You may have to make lifestyle changes to get a re-evaluation. Or they may suggest waiting for a certain period before approaching the insurer again.

If you have a serious underlying health condition, see if you can get group life insurance through your work. If not, a simplified life or guaranteed life policy may be your best option.

Speaking with an independent broker, like Dundas Life, is the best way to ensure you get the right coverage at the right price.

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