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As life insurance professionals, we are always surprised by the number of people who believe they cannot qualify for a policy.
And there are those, too, who put off applying for life insurance because they believe their occupations or medical conditions or whatever would cost too much money and would be out of their reach or that there would be too many hoops in the application process through which to jump.
In fact, there are policies, sometimes called hard to place life insurance or high risk policies, that are made for the right high risk candidates.
One of the more rewarding moments in our work is when we are able to surprise such applicants with an affordable life insurance policy from a highly-rated company. And that happens far more than you might think.
So, let’s take a look at some of the more common misconceptions people have about underwriting guidelines and what does and does not make a person hard to insure.
Are major medical conditions an automatic rejection?
No, not necessarily.
But before we go any further, it is important to point out that no two life insurance underwriters are working from the same sets of guidelines. What one company might consider an uninsurable medical condition, there are many others who are willing to approve you depending on treatment, recovery, and other factors.
That being said, here are a few of the major medical conditions for which many people are shocked to learn does not automatically deny their life insurance applications:
● Heart disease
● Hepatitis B or C
● Parkinson’s disease
● Sleep apnea
Let’s consider cancer for a moment. Most people seem to think this disease is impossible to insure.
As there are many forms of cancer, though, underwriters will have different criteria for each when reviewing your application. But every cancer, depending on the severity of the disease and other factors, is possibly insurable.
For example, a man with prostate cancer may find he qualifies for affordable, high-quality life insurance. His age, the Gleason score and grade of the tumor, and other details such as the effectiveness of treatment will all factor into the underwriter’s decision.
A woman with breast cancer, on the other hand, is often considered for life insurance only after a number of years have passed since a successful treatment with no recurrences. This is, of course, because breast cancer behaves quite differently than prostate cancer.
But regardless of the type of cancer – lung, colon, leukemia, etc. – qualifying for a life insurance policy might not be as difficult as you think.
The same is true for all of the major medical conditions listed above. Your individual situation, as well as the individual underwriting guidelines, will ultimately determine whether your application is approved or denied.
This is why it is important to consult with an independent life insurance agent, preferably one who is works with several companies. A good independent agent will be able to shop the market for you to help you find the most affordable rates for you.
Will dangerous occupations deny you life insurance?
Again, there are a lot of things to consider here. But the nature of your job will not likely prevent you from qualifying for life insurance.
Some of the more hazardous occupations the people believe will make them difficult to insure are:
● Commercial aviation
● Commercial driving
● Jobs requiring foreign travel
Believe it or not, your occupation poses very few obstacles to the life insurance approval process. To give you a better idea, let’s take a closer look at each of these.
1. Commercial aviation
Contrary to popular belief, many applicants in the commercial aviation industry are approved for preferred and super preferred life insurance policies, which are the very best the industry has to offer. And these policyholders include not only pilots but all members of the aviation crew, as well.
When applying for a life insurance policy, underwriters will look at your employer’s track record for aviation safety, the kind of aircraft in which you are flying, the nature of the flights, and your typical destinations. Of course, factors like age and medical history are also considered.
For pilots, the underwriter will be interested in your experience, including your flight rating and logged hours.
2. Commercial driving
Aside from your medical history, underwriters will be most interested in your driving record when reviewing your life insurance application.
In other words, the underwriter will look at the kinds of infractions listed in your records, how many and how often these infractions occur, at-fault accidents, driving suspensions, etc. A record with multiple instances of DWI will not likely be considered for life insurance. However, a single DWI on an otherwise good driving record will probably not be a problem for approval once the commercial license have been reinstated.
3. Jobs requiring foreign travel
For United States citizens who travel less than 6 months out of the year, most life insurance plans might be available. For longer duration of travel, underwriters will likely consider your status as being “foreign residency.”
Insurance companies will be interested in the nature of the work and the reason for travel, the nations you will be visiting, and how frequently you will be traveling. Other factors, such as your age and overall health, will also be considered.
However, there are some kinds of occupations requiring foreign travel that very well could prove difficult to insure. These often include professions like missionary work, foreign news correspondents, security personnel, and other occupations that are more likely to place the individual in harm’s way.
And, of course, visiting any nations currently under a travel warning from the United States will likely result in denied life insurance applications.
Do risky recreational activities make you hard to insure?
This will depend on the types of activities in which you participate, as well as the individual underwriter’s guidelines. And there are too many variables to possibly list here.
Instead, let’s consider the two recreational activities most often associated with “high risk” – SCUBA diving and mountain climbing. Despite what you may have been told, it is possible to regularly engage in these activities and still qualify for an affordable life insurance policy.
Take SCUBA diving, for instance. Some 3 million Americans are estimated to actively participate in this passion. And while there is certainly potential for risk here, annual fatalities aren’t as common as one might think.
Underwriters will be interested in your SCUBA certification and experience, the kinds of diving in which you participate, the frequency and depths to which you dive, and other details. In most cases, you may qualify for a standard, preferred, or better policy. If you engage in more dangerous types of diving or have other major medical conditions, your application for life insurance might be denied.
While it is hard to say how many Americans participate in recreations like mountain climbing, the underwriting process will be similar to that of a person engaging in any other kind of dangerous activities. Underwriters will want to know, for example, about your experience in the sport, the kinds of climbing you do, and often you do it. Depending on your situation, you may qualify for standard or better policies. On the other hand, those who frequently engage in solo climbs or who climb in mountain ranges with higher instances of fatalities, such as Denali, may be denied.
Are there other factors that might make you hard to insure?
In a nutshell, yes.
One of the not as well know factors we see that makes it more difficult to insure an applicant is their choice in the kind of life insurance plan they desire. Term life insurance, which provides a guaranteed death benefit over the term of coverage, typically 10 to 30 years, will often require underwriters to consult more difficult guidelines.
So, if you believe yourself to be at higher risk due to medical history, occupation, recreational activities, or other circumstances; you might want to consider more closely a permanent life insurance policy. These permanent policies provide coverage for the life of the policyholder and the guidelines tend to be a little more lenient. Furthermore, a lot of insurance companies offer credits to higher-risk applicants for things such as regular exercise and annual checkups. These credits can then be used to lower the costs of premiums.
There are other factors, of course, that could make it difficult to get approved for coverage. Ultimately, getting a better understanding of your situation will come down to you consulting with a life insurance agent who is qualified to advise you further.
Apply for hard to place life insurance
As you can see, many people are able to qualify for affordable life insurance policies despite what they might think about the risk of their own circumstances.
The most important thing you can do moving forward is to actually begin shopping for a life insurance policy. That is the only way to know whether you will qualify for the coverage you need – reading one article after another only takes you so far. And the best way to shop is to speak with an independent life insurance specialist.
For example, we at SpectrumInsuranceGroup.com are not limited to a single provider, but instead represent several of the top-rated companies. This means that, should you qualify, you will get the best options available at the best rates.
Spectrum Insurance Group is made up of life insurance agents who are licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Spectrum Insurance Group has helped 1000’s of consumers purchase life insurance online & over the phone.
All content on this site has been written by life insurance experts & licensed life insurance agents.