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Top 10 Lies Told on a Life Insurance Application

life insurance lies

In this article, we wanted to take a moment and discuss to top 10 most common lies or “mistruths” many life insurance applicants will tell when applying for a traditional life insurance policy or a no medical exam life insurance policy.

Now…

The first thing that we want to make clear is that not all “mistruths” are lies, and not all lies are “mistruths”.

After all, sometimes folks will just make mistakes when answering the questions asked on a life insurance application or sometimes just assume that something that happened 25 years ago isn’t relevant anymore.

And while…

That may be true, the last thing that you want to do is intentionally leave something off of your life insurance application. This is because by doing so, you could potentially jeopardize being approved for coverage, or even worse, you could potentially undermine the validity of the entire policy!

This is why…

We wanted to take a moment to review some of the most common life insurance lies we’ll typically encounter here at IBUSA and briefly describe how they could potentially affect the outcome of your life insurance application.

Top 10 Most Common Lies Told on a Life Insurance Application

  1. Misstating one’s true height and weight.

One of the most common factors most of the best life insurance companies like to use when determining who will and won’t be eligible for coverage or a particular “health rating” will be one’s current height and weight.

After all…

Being overweight is commonly considered a cause for one to develop all sorts of medical conditions, including:

You see,

The problem is, life insurance companies don’t have the luxury of being able to test an individual year after year to see how someone is doing.

Instead, they need to take all the information they have on the day that you apply for coverage and try to make a decision about how health you may be in 10, 20 or 30 years from now!

Which as one…

Can imagine isn’t all that easy of a task to accomplish which is why they want to know exactly how tall you are and exactly how much you weigh so that they can then use this information to make an educated guess about how your current height and weight ratio may affect your future health status.

The good news is…

That unlike several of the other possible “Lies” or “Mistruths” that we’re going to cover later, misstating your current height and weight generally won’t prevent you from being able to qualify for coverage; it may just change the price that you were originally quoted prior to your medical exam when your true height and weight are determined.

  1. No, I’m not a smoker!

With this particular “lie,” we generally have folks that are going to fall into one of two different categories.

The first group of people will be those who don’t consider themselves smokers, and the second group will be those who do but don’t want to have to pay higher rates typical tobacco users are charged for using tobacco, so they lie to get cheaper term life insurance rates.

So…

With this in mind, let’s first address the fact that on most traditional term or whole life insurance policies, the question regarding tobacco use isn’t going to focus on how “often” you use tobacco, rather what most insurance companies are going to ask is…

“In the past 12 MONTHS, have you used ANY type of tobacco or nicotine products?”

Notice…

The question didn’t ask if you smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, or if you just occasionally smoke one or two cigarettes a year. The question asks if you have used (tried) any tobacco or nicotine within the past 12 months.

Now if you have…

What you’re going to find is that most life insurance companies will consider you a tobacco user and will charge you a tobacco rate.

Unfortunately, this life insurance health rating will generally be two or three times more expensive than a non-tobacco user (which should tell you something about what the statistical data on smoking is showing life insurance companies).

The good news is…

That some life insurance companies will consider certain “types” of tobacco differently than other types.

And on occasion, some tobacco users may still be able to qualify for a “non-tobacco” rate provided that they choose to apply with the “right” life insurance company and disclose their tobacco usage up front.

Where we run…

Into trouble is when an individual fails to mention that they do use some type of tobacco or nicotine product, and this usage is discovered by the insurance company handling the applicant’s application.

A discovery that can occur:

  • During the medical exam (if applicable).
  • When reviewing one’s medical records (if applicable).
  • When reviewing one’s prescription medicine report (have you recently been prescribed medications to help you quit smoking).

Or by reviewing one’s MIB report if they have previously applied for a life insurance policy.

In cases where…

Something like this is discovered, what usually happens next is that the applicant may still be approved for coverage.

Only now they will have to pay a “tobacco rate” whether or not they might have been able to qualify for a better rate had they been open and honest right from the start.

  1. No, I’ve never used any type of Marijuana Product?

This used to be a question that would make it difficult for some folks to be able to qualify for a traditional life insurance coverage. Fortunately, as individual states begin loosening up their own laws regarding marijuana use, some life insurance companies have also decided to become more lenient when it comes to insuring those who choose to use marijuana for recreational or medical reasons.

That said however…

If an insurance applicant fails to disclose their usage or chooses to lie about it, it’s quite possible that your life insurance agent may not recommend the “right” life insurance company for you. This is because for every one or two different life insurance companies that have loosened up on their underwriting practices when it comes to those who do use marijuana, there still remains dozens if not 100’s of other insurance companies that haven’t.

Which means that…

If you didn’t disclose your marijuana use to your agent and he or she didn’t recommend applying with one of these more “marijuana friendly” companies, chances are you may be denied life insurance coverage. Or you may be forced to pay an added premium because you initially failed to disclose your use in the beginning.

Possible ways it might be discovered could include:

  • During the medical exam (if applicable).
  • When reviewing one’s medical records (if applicable).
  • Previous encounters with the law for possession.

Or by reviewing one’s MIB report if they have previously applied for a life insurance policy.

  1. Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor?

While this may not seem like a very personal question for some, truth be told, for a lot of folks who have been previously convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, it’s not something that they want to talk about. Particularly when it comes to talking about it with a life insurance agent!

Which is probably…

Why, lots of folks will often choose not to mention it or just “assume” that if the conviction occurred a long time ago, it’s not really going to matter all that much! This could be true provided that you do decide to purchase a life insurance policy with the “right” company.

You see…

When it comes to felony or misdemeanor convictions, different life insurance companies are going to have different rules and regulations. Some life insurance companies are going to want to know about ANY felony or misdemeanor convictions, while other insurance companies may only be interested in convictions that occurred within the past 5 or 10 years.

Which is why…

It’s so important to let your agent know if you have, in fact, been convicted of any felony or misdemeanor so that he or she can help guide you towards the life insurance company that is most likely going to provide you with the greatest opportunity for success.

Otherwise, you may find your application denied simply because you choose to apply with the wrong company.

  1. Do you have any issues with your driving record?

Notice how “vague” this question is? It’s vague because one’s driving record can play a major role in determining whether or not an individual might be able to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy.

And while…

Most folks can understand why a life insurance company might be interested in avoiding insuring someone who has seven speeding tickets in the past 2 years, or has been arrested multiple times for driving while under the influence (DUI), what usually comes as a surprise to a lot of folks is just having a suspended drivers license could prevent someone from qualifying for coverage.

Even if someone’s license has been suspended for:

  • Unpaid parking tickets.
  • Driving with an expired registration.
  • Or perhaps just being behind on child support payments.

And to make matters even worse, most insurance companies aren’t even going to care if you’ve stopped driving altogether. They’re still going to want to postpone your life insurance application until you’ve resolved all of your “issues” that you may have with the DMV.

This is why…

If you do have any “issues” with your driving record, you will want to let your insurance agent know right away because this is something that will be discovered during most routine life insurance applications.

  1. Nope this is the first time I’ve ever applied for a life insurance policy.

There are, usually two different reasons why someone might choose to “lie” about whether or not they have applied for another life insurance policy within the past 12 months.

The first reason is that they may not want to let a life insurance agent know that that they’re currently working with another agent and looking to see which agent will find them the “best” deal.

Or… 

They’ve recently applied for coverage elsewhere, and either didn’t get approved or were approved at a rate that they’re not happy about.

Which is fine…

Shopping around and/or getting a second opinion is a good thing. The only problem is, that insurance companies tend to get nervous about folks applying for multiple insurance policies simultaneously because they don’t want to find themselves “over insuring” someone which means that if you are approved by one or both of the different insurance companies, you will likely need to explain why you have applied for multiple policies if you do intend on accepting both.

Insurance companies…

Will learn about the other applications because information like this is shared within a central database referred to as the Medical Information Bureau or MIB, which allows different insurance companies to share “generalized” applicant information with one another.

Which brings us…

To the second reason why someone might choose to “lie” about whether or not they have applied for another life insurance policy within the past 12 months which is because they were either denied coverage or not satisfied with the rate that they may have received.

Common situations we’ll encounter is…

Maybe someone applied six months ago and tested positive for nicotine or marijuana, or maybe their blood sugar levels or cholesterol levels were high who knows. All we know is that they don’t want to let their current agent that they did apply for a different policy within the past 12 months.

Now…

There really isn’t anything wrong with this other than the fact that by not telling your agent that this is the case, all you’re really doing is setting yourself up for failure once again.

You see, when you do choose to apply this second time, whatever company you do choose to apply with will have access to the previous application results meaning that if you did test positive for nicotine or marijuana, they will be able to see this.

Or if…

Your medical exam test results showed a high blood sugar level or high blood pressure reading, your approval rating will alert the new insurance company that they need to ask more questions about your current application so that they can understand why our received the rate you did when you previously applied.

And here is where…

Honesty with your current life insurance agent can pay off because, if he or she knows you have applied elsewhere and he or she is told how that previous application went chances are they’ll be able to use this information to help determine what “other” company may provide you with a better opportunity for success!

  1. Have you been diagnosed with any pre-existing medical conditions?

It’s not all that uncommon for someone to “fail” to remember that they have been diagnosed with a particular condition, especially if the condition isn’t that serious or isn’t currently causing them to suffer. That said, however, just because you are no longer suffering from a particular medical condition on daily basis or just because you have been “cured” of a particular condition doesn’t mean a life insurance company isn’t going to want to know about.

Common conditions folks will often fail to disclose may include:

In cases like these, what will usually occur is that your pre-existing medical condition will be discovered during underwriting usually when an insurance company orders a Prescription Database Report on the applicant which will disclose any previous medications that he or she may have been prescribed.

From there…

The insurance company will usually be able to look at what “kinds” of medications you may have been previously prescribed in order to deduce what “type” of problems you may have had or currently have today and “re-evaluate” whether or not they want to proceed with your application.

This brings us to our next common “lie” which in many ways is similar lying about any previous diagnose, which is…

  1. Failure to disclose any and all prescription medications you have been prescribed.

Now if fairness, it’s often difficult to remember or even know all the names of the different prescription medications one may have been prescribed throughout one’s life.

Particularly, if you were only prescribed a medication for a very short period of time.

However…

If you have been taking a medication repeatedly for years and years and fail to mention it when asked if you have been prescribed any medications on your life insurance application, this omission can raise quite a few flags particularly if the medication is one used to treat a serious medical condition or is one that has the potential for being abused.

In either case…

Failing to disclose any “types” of medications you may have been prescribed is probably one of the easiest “lies” for a life insurance company to uncover because all of this information will be readily available to then within a Prescription Database check.

In fact…

The only real reason why a life insurance company chooses to ask an applicant about their previous medication history is so that in clear cut cases, they may be able to make a decision about not moving forward with one’s application without actually having to order this report.

Which means that…

If you’re consciously thinking about not disclosing a certain medication for fear that it may prevent you from being able to qualify for coverage, don’t bother cause the insurance companies will be able to learn about it, and not disclosing it to them will likely only “hurt” your chances of being able to qualify for coverage as well as potentially waste a lot of your time should you need to take a medical exam in order to qualify for coverage.

  1. I’m not Diabetic, my doctor just said I am “pre-diabetic”.

When it comes to diagnosing diabetes or treating diabetes, there are definitely a lot of opinions and options out there. Some physicians will quickly turn to prescription medications to help someone lower their blood sugar while others will first try diet and exercise and see if someone might be able to control their blood sugar naturally.

This is why…

It’s quite understandable about why someone may “think” they aren’t actually diabetic when in fact they are in the eyes of most life insurance companies. So, if you have been told you may be “pre-diabetic” and you’re not 100% sure if this is something you need to disclose, our advice to you would be that if you have been asked to check your daily blood sugar or you have an A1C greater than 7 chances are you’re probably going to want to mention this to your life insurance agent.

Additionally…

If you are currently taking a medication to lower your blood sugar, by definition you will typically be considered a diabetic automatically by most life insurance companies. The good news is that there are several different life insurance companies out there that offer very competitive pricing for diabetics particularly if your diabetes is well under control which most “pre-diabetics” are.

  1. Lifestyle omissions.

The last “lie” or “omission” that we wanted to take a moment and focus on actually encompasses several different factors that may come into play. These types of “omissions” will typically focus on lifestyle choices that in the eyes of the insurance industry may make you a greater risk to them. Examples may include failing to disclose that you:

  • Have a danger job (think off shore oil rig or hazardous material truck driver).
  • Participate in dangerous hobbies (think skydiving or bungee jumping).
  • Enjoy traveling to exotic and potentially dangerous locations (think Iran, Haiti, North Korea, etc…).

In addition to a variety of other “factors” that may potentially affect the outcome of one’s life insurance application.

This is why…

We here at IBUSA always advice any new client to always disclose anything that they feel may potentially affect the outcome of their life insurance application because the truth is, in many cases had we known exactly what the issue might be, there usually is one or two different life insurance companies that may specialize in that “type” of issue.

The good news is…

That here at IBUSA, we work with dozens of different life insurance companies so that when we do run up against one of these different “types” of issues, we’ll usually have a solution that our clients can turn to. So, if you’re ready to see what you might be able to qualify for, give us a call and let’s see what we can do for you!

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