denied life insuranceA life insurance policy provides the comfort, security and peace of mind of knowing your family has a comfortable safety net in place should tragedy strike. But what happens when you try to provide this security and end up being denied a life insurance policy? It can be a scary situation, but try not to worry, as there are certain steps you can take to make sure you and your family can get the coverage you need.

First, some basics on how life insurance works:

When you take out a policy, the first thing your insurance provider will do is give you an evaluation and group you into a risk class based on health and lifestyle factors such as weight, tobacco use, drug and alcohol use, medical conditions, having a dangerous job, or engaging in high-risk recreational activities. Life insurers use this risk classification to determine your premiums, and to limit their own risk when taking on a new client. However, if your health and lifestyle are deemed too risky, they might not be able to offer you a policy at all.

So what do you do if you are denied?


Ask the insurance company for the specific reason behind your denial. Taking out a life insurance policy can be a fairly involved process with a good deal of paperwork. For this reason it’s not uncommon to encounter mistakes and misunderstandings along the way. So simply requesting information can often help you get to the bottom of why your application was denied. Policies can be denied due to technicalities like failing to provide certain information, misplacing a form, or other sorts of simple misunderstandings. So if you are denied, try to stay calm and be sure to communicate with your provider to sort out any mistakes and make sure all of your paperwork is in order.

Get a Checkup

Another common reason for denial is the identification of a medical condition during the underwriting process. Depending on the severity of the issue, this can be a minor, or major setback. If it’s something you were previously unaware of, you should make an appointment with your doctor right away to address the problem. Once a prognosis is made and treatment has begun, contact your insurance provider to reevaluate your case.

Take another look at your records

Sometimes you can be denied on medical grounds due to mere mistakes in your medical records. If you were denied for medical reasons, but your exam shows that you’re perfectly healthy, check with your doctor to verify the accuracy of your records and medical history. Once the discrepancies are corrected, your life insurance application should be good to go.

Be careful

As mentioned above, risky behavior can seriously affect your chances of being approved for a life insurance policy. If you’re an avid skydiver, alligator wrestler, or chainsaw juggler you might want to look for some safer hobbies. If you can prove that you’ve changed your risky ways for a certain amount of time (usually between 6 months to a year), you’ll have a much better chance of getting approved.

Shop Around

Every insurance company has its own criteria for assessing the risk of its applicants. So if you are denied by one provider, see what else is out there. You can use our life insurance quote tool to compare rates from top-rated life insurance companies, in minutes. Shop around at different companies and talk to agents and brokers. You might be pleasantly surprised.

If you are denied, the important thing is that you don’t panic. Communication is key. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your insurance company with any questions you have about your denial. Remember: they want your business, so it’s in their best interest to help you find a way to lower your risk and get covered as soon as possible.