Declined for Life Insurance? Here are your options

If you’ve had an application for Life Insurance refused, you might feel confused, disappointed, even angry at a decision which has left the people closest to you without protection in the event of your death. Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to be the end of the road. This handy guide explains what might have gone wrong, why you might have been declined, and what your options might be from now on.

Why were you refused Life Insurance?

Beagle Street responds to Life Insurance applications by either:

> Accepting an application

> Turning it down (in cases where circumstances make us unable to insure someone)

> Referring it to our underwriters

Sometimes, if you’ve declared a health condition in your application, it may be that we would require a medical report to insure you. As this is something that we’re not able to offer, unfortunately we can’t provide you with life cover.

A referral involves a manual underwriting review, performed by a specialist, which usually takes about 2 working days. 

Couple deciding on life insurance options

That lets us take a closer look at any applications which don’t fall under common criteria, and be 100% sure we’re making the right decision for everyone involved.

No matter how a Life Insurance application gets denied, it can’t hurt to contact the insurer and request more information. If it’s possible for them to clue you in, that could inform your next steps and make it easier to get cover next time, but even if they can’t give you specifics, it’s still possible to make some educated guesses…

Reasons for declining Life Insurance applications

The specific reasons for denying a Life Insurance application could vary from company to company. Different insurers have different speciality areas and processes, meaning there are multiple reasons why a Life Insurance application might have been refused. Sometimes, it’s a combination of different health and lifestyle factors which lead to a decision.

If the insurer is able to give you more details about why your application was rejected, it may help you to find a more specialist insurer for your circumstances.

From an insurer’s perspective, the company needs to be sure that it’s making a wise decision by insuring you. So for example, a combination of a high BMI and a family history of heart problems could be considered a red flag. For some insurers, to cover such a person for any reasonable amount, they’d have to set premiums which would be prohibitively expensive for the person involved, and that’s no use to anyone.

Also, bear in mind that the art of assessing insurance applications is as much about knowing how different factors stack up and interact. Someone who smokes (usually a major factor) but who is otherwise in good health could be seen as less of a risk than someone with multiple smaller but connected issues.

Which medical conditions affect Life Insurance decisions?

Whether your chosen Life Insurance company needs to see the results of a full medical exam before approving your application, or whether they offer Life Insurance with no medical, you’ll still need to answer some questions about your health which will most likely factor into their decision to insure you or not.

It’s important to bear in mind that decision about whether to offer you Life Insurance is based on the information you provide. Pre-existing conditions and family medical history are often taken into account, but developing a condition after a policy has been set up shouldn’t invalidate your cover.

A few common examples of medical conditions which could be seen as a risk by Life Insurance companies include:

Medical conditions Life Insurance

Being overweight can lead to a number of related conditions and can have a negative impact on your cardiovascular health. Obesity, or even just a high BMI is unlikely to prevent you from getting Life Insurance on its own, but in combination with other medical and lifestyle factors, it could potentially sway a decision.

This can be a sign of diabetes, which affects one in every 16 people in the UK alone. Again, by making positive lifestyle decisions, the impact of the condition on your Life Insurance application could be minimised. For more details, visit our dedicated page on Life Insurance with diabetes.

A family history of cancer could be a big red flag to Life Insurance companies, especially when combined with other factors. If you’ve previously had cancer and beaten it (congratulations!) this could also have an effect on Life Insurance applications. See our dedicated page on Life Insurance and cancer for more information.

As with cancer, a diagnosis of HIV and/or AIDS could mean that Life Insurance can’t be guaranteed. We have full details of getting Life Insurance with HIV and AIDS on our site.

With diagnosed cases of hepatitis, Life Insurance companies may want to see that steps are being taken to mitigate the impact of the condition and maintain a long-term recovery.

From an insurance point of view, approving Life Insurance with blood in the urine involves balancing the risk of potential related conditions like kidney disease, diabetes or hypertension. Some of these can be serious, so insurers could need more details before making a final decision.

As part of a medical report, elevated liver function could affect Life Insurance decisions as it sometimes serves as a sign of other underlying problems. It can be caused by certain medications, or it might point to something more serious like alcohol abuse or an ongoing medical condition. Insurers might want to know the underlying reason for it before making a decision.

As with a high BMI, there’s not much about high cholesterol in and of itself which should get you turned down for Life Insurance, but it can point to (or lead to) other issues, as well as combining with other factors to elevate the risk of insuring you.

Alcohol lifestyle factors life insurance

Lifestyle factors affecting a Life Insurance application

Along with diagnosed medical conditions and your family medical history, Life Insurance applications are also affected by lifestyle choices. Anything which might elevate your risk of untimely death could be seen by insurers as reasons to raise premiums or, in extreme cases or where multiple factors are concerned, reasons to decline an application.

Just like medical factors, applications are more likely to be denied if a combination of these lifestyle factors are in play at the time of your application. Often, there’s some direct link between medical and lifestyle issues (such as with smoking’s effect on cardiovascular health), but even if, for example, a dangerous job doesn’t have any link to a family history of cancer, both could form part of the decision.

Non-medical issues that impact a Life Insurance policy can include (but are definitely not limited to) the following:

Lifestyle factors affecting a Life Insurance application

Along with diagnosed medical conditions and your family medical history, Life Insurance applications are also affected by lifestyle choices. Anything which might elevate your risk of untimely death could be seen by insurers as reasons to raise premiums or, in extreme cases or where multiple factors are concerned, reasons to decline an application.

Just like medical factors, applications are more likely to be denied if a combination of these lifestyle factors are in play at the time of your application. Often, there’s some direct link between medical and lifestyle issues (such as with smoking’s effect on cardiovascular health), but even if, for example, a dangerous job doesn’t have any link to a family history of cancer, both could form part of the decision.

Non-medical issues that impact a Life Insurance policy can include (but are definitely not limited to) the following:

Income limitations. Some insurers (not us, we hasten to add) will take into consideration your income when deciding on a Life Insurance application. Obviously, insurers need to know that applicants will be able to keep up their premium payments, and if someone is in temporary employment, working a zero-hours contract or on a low income, that might not be as sure a bet as they’d like.

Alcoholism, smoking and drug use. These three things can all affect your eligibility for Life Insurance, depending on the length and severity of use and the time since you quit. Check out our guide to Life Insurance for smokers. Regarding drug use, see our page on Life Insurance for drug users for more details.

Hazardous occupations. At its core, Life Insurance is all about assessing the risk of you dying and leaving your loved ones unprotected. So, if your occupation elevates that risk, then insurers might need to take that into account. Jobs which could be seen by insurers as high-risk might include things like:

  • logging workers
  • fishers and related fishing workers
  • airline pilots and flight engineers
  • roofers
  • structural iron and steel workers
  • refuse and recyclable material collectors
  • electrical power-line installers and repairers
  • drivers (depending on what you drive)
  • farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
  • construction workers.
Roofer working construction high risk job for Life Insurance

Hazardous occupations. At its core, Life Insurance is all about assessing the risk of you dying and leaving your loved ones unprotected. So, if your occupation elevates that risk, then insurers might need to take that into account. Jobs which could be seen by insurers as high-risk might include things like:

  • logging workers
  • fishers and related fishing workers
  • airline pilots and flight engineers
  • roofers
  • structural iron and steel workers
  • refuse and recyclable material collectors
  • electrical power-line installers and repairers
  • drivers (depending on what you drive)
  • farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
  • construction workers.
Roofer working construction high risk job for Life Insurance

Dangerous hobbies. As with your job, any hobbies you enjoy which carry a risk of injury or death might contribute to a Life Insurance application getting denied, if an insurer feels it puts you at too great a risk. At Beagle Street, we don’t actually ask about this and you can read more about Life Insurance for extreme sports and hobbies on our site.

Poor driving record declined for Life Insurance

Driving record. This is a niche question which doesn’t get asked by all insurers, including Beagle Street, but some insurers will want to know the state of your driving license. A clean license could mean you’re a responsible driver, but if you’re a couple of points away from being disqualified, it might indicate that you’re a greater insurance risk and affect the decision on your application.

Driving record. This is a niche question which doesn’t get asked by all insurers, including Beagle Street, but some insurers will want to know the state of your driving license. A clean license could mean you’re a responsible driver, but if you’re a couple of points away from being disqualified, it might indicate that you’re a greater insurance risk and affect the decision on your application.

Previous declines. Obviously, if you’ve had Life Insurance declined by one insurer, the next one you apply could want to know why. A large number of refusals is likely to mark you as a high-risk candidate, increasing premiums or making it much more difficult to find any cover.

Refused Life Insurance – what are your options?

If you don’t know exactly why you were turned down for Life Insurance, it can be hard to plan out your next steps.

If you do decide to apply for Life Insurance after being declined elsewhere; take your time and do your homework. As mentioned above, multiple refusals on your record aren’t going to look good, so be extra careful when it comes to researching the kind of insurers who might be able to help you the second time around. It might be that a specialist insurer will have the expertise needed to offer the right cover to people in your situation, it’s just a case of doing the legwork to find them.

What not to do when you’ve been refused

If you’ve been denied Life Insurance due to the information you provided to the insurer, it can be tempting to go to another insurer and provide different information in order to boost your chances of being accepted: Don’t do this.

If it ever emerges that the information you provided when applying for Life Insurance wasn’t totally honest (to the best of your knowledge), it could risk voiding the entire policy, wasting your premiums and denying your loves ones a payout upon your death. That could, in turn, mean leaving those closest to you in severe financial jeopardy having been denied the cash sum they were expecting.

Similarly, if you’ve been refused cover with a company, don’t change your answers on another application with them to see if you’ll be accepted. Even if initially accepted, you may later have the application declined or the policy voided because of the differences between the two applications.

Of course, there’s a difference between getting your weight wrong on one application, then correcting it on the next one, and deliberately giving untrue or misleading details to try and affect a decision. Just use common sense and answer all questions with complete honesty to ensure you get the Life Insurance cover that’s right for you.

Let’s recap: your options after being declined

As we’ve explored, being refused Life Insurance isn’t the outcome you wanted, but it’s not the end of the story unless you decide it is. By taking stock of your position and playing it smart, you could secure yourself a better outcome next time by taking steps like:

  • Working with your prospective insurer for details of why you were declined.
  • Ensuring all the medical information you provided is correct and up to date.
  • Exploring the different factors affecting the decision and seeing what lifestyle changes you can make.
  • Researching specialist insurers with experience of insuring people in your position.
  • Resisting the temptation to bend the truth on your next application.

Securing the right Life Insurance, the Beagle Street way

Beagle Street is committed to helping as many people as possible find peace of mind and protect their loved ones with the right Life Insurance at the right price. If it’s at all possible to insure you, we want to find a way to do it that works for everyone.

Beagle Street is different to a lot of other major insurers. For example, we provide Life Insurance without a medical report. Instead, we use a simple online medical questionnaire which covers the details which are relevant to your application in a fraction of time it takes to get a medical from your GP.

We also don’t ask about a lot of things which some other insurers seem to think is vital to your application. For example, if you’re into extreme endurance or other energy-intensive hobbies, we trust that you’re responsible enough to take the necessary safety precautions. If you feel like your hobbies or interests have blocked you from getting Life Insurance in the past, Beagle Street could be the solution you need.

If you’ve been turned down for Life Insurance in the past, or if you’re in any doubt at all about whether or not you might be able to get covered, it’s a good idea to give us a call.

So, to take the first step towards sorting out your Life Insurance needs, contact Beagle Street today or get a Life Insurance quote online.

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