The first thing you need to do when you get declined for life insurance is to have the agent you’re dealing through find out the exact reason you were declined. The agent should do this automatically, but I suspect that many don’t.
Being told that you were declined because you have diabetes, heart disease, a stroke, or whatever your specific health issue happens to be is not an adequate answer and you must get more specifics.
Make sure you also get a copy of the lab results from your free insurance exam as these results can often provide enough information to determine why you were declined.
You Need To Know EXACT Reason for Decline
For example, if you have diabetes, you’ll need to find out if your diabetes is uncontrolled, what your A1C was, if you’ve had diabetic complications according to your medical records, if your weight is too high, if you have abnormal kidney functions, and if you have blood or protein in your urine.
If you have heart disease or coronary artery disease, did the insurance company feel that you have significant heart damage after heart attack? What is your ejection fraction? Was there evidence of other blockages that were not large enough to treat during initial incident based on cardiac catheterization report? Did you have an abnormal stress test since treatment? Have you had chest pain since treatment? Do you still use tobacco after cardiac treatment? These questions are types of things that can result in you being declined.
If you have any debilitation or paralysis caused by the stroke, problems with memory, or any history of blood clots in your legs or anywhere else in your body, these issues can be a problem for many insurance companies and can preclude you from qualifying with many insurance companies.
The above are the types of things your agent should let you know about if you do get declined, but if they do not provide this information to you automatically, you will need to request it if you intend to still try to get coverage!
Do You Know What’s In Your Medical Records?
I’ve found that many people don’t know what information is really in their medical records. Your doctor may tell you that you’re doing well, but your A1C is 9.5 or your ejection fraction is 45%. These are the types of things that will cause most insurance companies to decline.
I often hear, “My doctor says I’m doing great, so why was I declined?” Doctors are great, and we’d all be in trouble without them, but you have to remember that your doctor is not a life insurance underwriter and probably has no idea of the types of things that life insurance companies consider during the underwriting process.
Some life insurance company underwriters will make it hard for your agent to get specific medical information as to why you were declined because of “HIPAA privacy guidelines.” If you are told this, just sign a HIPAA authorization provided by your agent, so your agent can legally get specific health related details about why you were declined.
If your agent still tells you they cannot get you specifics as to why you were declined, just cut your losses and fire your agent, as they won’t be able to help you.
Even if ANY agent tells you that you won’t qualify with any life insurance companies, this is rarely accurate because most agents can only offer you life insurance from a limited amount of insurance companies.
Biggest Lie: “Since One Company Declined, They All Will”
Keep in mind that there are about 1,000 different insurance companies that offer life insurance in the U.S., and there are more and more companies that specialize in insuring people with health issues. The odds are in your favor in that at least a few companies will offer you coverage.
It’s also a myth that once you’re declined for life insurance you will always have trouble qualifying. I’ve had many people contact me and tell me they’re really concerned that they’ve been declined and that it is now part of their “insurance record.” It is better to never be declined because that will show up on MIB for 7 years, but being declined is not the end of the world, though many people seem to think it is.
Being declined by one or more insurance companies does not mean that all other insurance companies will decline you. As an absolute last resort, there are always guaranteed acceptance or guaranteed issue life insurance product available for which anyone who is breathing can qualify.
You need to find a good impaired risk broker or agent that has a lot of experience in getting insurance for people with health issues and can offer you coverage from hundred’s of different insurance companies.
I know firsthand that it’s a hassle to get licensed to do business with lots and lots of insurance companies because there are fees involved for each state I do business in and lots of forms to complete. I know that if I really want to do what’s best for my clients with health issues, I have to find these niche insurance companies that are good for specific ailments and get licensed with them.
In a perfect world, I’d only need to be licensed with 10 or 20 insurance companies and my working life would be so much easier, but a perfect world this is not.
Any Good Agent Will Automatically “Re-Shop” Your Case After A Decline
A good impaired risk insurance agent will automatically offer you alternative life insurance rates after you’re declined.
After gathering your health information, a good agent or broker who is working in your best interest will always look for the absolute best rates and products available to you first. While there is never any guarantee that you will qualify for a specific rate, if there is a possibility, then it makes sense to try for best possible offers first.
On tougher cases, I prefer to have my clients apply to the two most probable, best insurance companies for them since there is never any guarantee of the rate for which anyone will qualify until they go through the underwriting process. This strategy has paid off for my clients so many times that I’ve lost count.
Only one free insurance exam is required even if you were to apply to more than one insurance company. After you have your free insurance exam, ANY other life insurance companies will accept that same exam later. You won’t have to get examined more than once. Most exams and lab results from the exam are good for 6 – 12 months.
Make Sure Your Agent Has Access To Your Medical Records
If you have been declined for life insurance in past, make sure that any new agent you decide to use will able to easily send your medical records and your insurance exam results to other insurance companies later, if necessary.
This way if you happened to get declined again, it will be easy for your agent to get offers from other insurance companies.
If none of the “regular” life insurance companies with decent rates will make you a good offer, there are “high risk” insurance companies that can be used as a last resort.
These high risk companies offer simplified issue policies that require limited health information or, as an absolute last resort, you could apply for the guaranteed acceptance or guaranteed issue life insurance mentioned above.
I’ve said this hundreds of times in my career and I have to say it again, almost everyone even with the most serious health issues is insurable for life insurance. You may not want to pay what it will cost for you to get life insurance, but you are insurable!