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Top 10 Lies Told on a Life Insurance Application

life insurance lies

This article discusses the top 10 most common lies or “mistruths” that many life insurance applicants tell when applying for a traditional or no-medical-exam life insurance policy. But before we do that, we want to clarify that…

Not all “mistruths” are lies, and not all lies are “mistruths”.

Sometimes, people make mistakes when answering questions on a life insurance application or assume that something that happened long ago is no longer relevant.

Nevertheless, intentionally leaving something off your life insurance application is risky. Doing so could potentially jeopardize your chances of being approved for coverage or even undermine the validity of the entire policy. Therefore, we would like to review some of the most common life insurance lies that we typically encounter at IBUSA and briefly explain how they could potentially affect the outcome of your life insurance application.

Top 10 Most Common Lies Told on a Life Insurance Application

  1. You are misstating one’s actual height and weight.

One of the most common factors most of the best life insurance companies use when determining who will and won’t be eligible for coverage or a particular “health rating” is 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:

The issue is that life insurance companies cannot test individuals year after year to monitor their health status. Instead, they must rely on the information available on the day of the application to decide on the applicant’s health in the next 10, 20, or 30 years.

This isn’t easy, so insurance companies ask for specific details such as height and weight. This information can be used to estimate how an individual’s current height and weight ratio may affect their future health status.

Fortunately, misstating your current height and weight will not necessarily prevent you from qualifying for coverage. However, it may affect the price initially quoted before your medical exam when determining your true height and weight. It is important to note that misstating other information on the application could have more severe consequences, which we will discuss later in this article.

  1. No, I’m not a smoker!

Regarding this particular “lie,” people usually fall into one of two categories. The first group consists of those who do not consider themselves smokers. In contrast, the second group comprises individuals who smoke but do not want to pay the higher rates that typical tobacco users are charged for using tobacco. Therefore, they lie to obtain cheaper term life insurance rates.

Regarding this issue, it is essential to note that on most traditional term or whole life insurance policies, the question about tobacco use is not focused on how often you use tobacco. Instead, insurance companies typically ask:

“Have you used ANY type of tobacco or nicotine products in the past 12 MONTHS?”

Notice that the question does not ask if you smoke two packs of cigarettes a day or if you occasionally smoke one or two cigarettes a year. It only asks if you have used any tobacco or nicotine products in the past 12 months.

Now, if you have…

If you have used tobacco or nicotine products within the past 12 months, most life insurance companies will consider you a tobacco user and charge you a tobacco rate. Unfortunately, this health rating is usually two or three times more expensive than a non-tobacco user rate, which highlights the high-risk smoking poses.

However, some life insurance companies differentiate between various types of tobacco use. Therefore, some tobacco users may still qualify for a non-tobacco rate if they apply with the right life insurance company and disclose their tobacco usage upfront.

Where we run…

Into trouble is when an individual fails to mention that they do use some 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 to see if they have previously applied for a life insurance policy.

In cases where…

If an applicant is found to have lied about their tobacco usage, they may still be approved for coverage, but they will be charged a tobacco rate. This is regardless of whether they could have qualified for a better rate had they been truthful.

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

This used to be a question that would make it difficult for some folks to be able to qualify for 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…

Suppose an insurance applicant fails to disclose their usage or chooses to lie about it. In that case, it’s entirely 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 remain dozens, if not hundreds, of other insurance companies that haven’t.

Which means that…

Suppose you didn’t disclose your marijuana use to your agent, and they didn’t recommend applying with one of these more “marijuana-friendly” companies. In that case, 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 to see if they have previously applied for a life insurance policy.

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

While discussing a felony or misdemeanor conviction may not be comfortable for some, it is a crucial question that should not be ignored during the life insurance application process. Many individuals choose not to mention their convictions, assuming it won’t matter much if it occurred long ago. However, different insurance companies have various rules and regulations concerning felony or misdemeanor convictions. Some companies are interested in all convictions, while others may only be concerned with convictions within the last 5 or 10 years.

To increase your chances of success, inform your agent of any felony or misdemeanor convictions so that they can guide you toward the life insurance company that will best suit your needs. Failing to do so could result in your application being denied merely because you applied 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 significantly determine whether an individual might 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 two years or has been arrested multiple times for driving while under the influence (DUI). What usually surprises many folks is that just having a suspended driver’s 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.

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

This is why…

If you have any “issues” with your driving record, you will want to let your insurance agent know right away because this will be discovered during most routine life insurance applications. Especially if you currently have any of the following on your record:

  • Traffic violations: Life insurance companies may consider a person with a history of traffic violations, such as speeding tickets or reckless driving charges, a higher risk. These types of violations can indicate a lack of responsibility or disregard for traffic laws, which may increase the likelihood of accidents or other incidents that could result in a claim on the policy.
  • DUI/DWI convictions: A person who has been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) may also be considered a higher risk by life insurance companies. This is because these types of offenses can indicate a problem with alcohol or drug abuse, which can increase the risk of accidents or other incidents.
  • Multiple accidents: Life insurance companies may also consider a person involved in multiple accidents a higher risk. This is because multiple accidents can indicate a pattern of risky or careless driving behavior, which may increase the likelihood of future accidents or incidents.
  • Suspended or revoked license: Life insurance companies may consider a person whose driver’s license has been suspended or revoked a higher risk, as this can indicate a history of driving-related problems that may increase the risk of accidents or other incidents.
  1. Nope, this is my first time applying for a life insurance policy.

There are usually two 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 they’re currently working with another agent and looking to see which agent will find them the “best” deal.


They’ve recently applied for coverage elsewhere and either didn’t get approved or were approved at a rate 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 get nervous about folks applying for multiple insurance policies simultaneously because they don’t want to find themselves “overinsuring” someone. If you are approved by one or both insurance companies, you will likely need to explain why you have applied for multiple policies if you intend to accept both.

Insurance companies…

We 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, allowing different insurance companies to share “generalized” applicant information.

Medical Information Bureau (MIB):

The Medical Information Bureau (MIB) is a non-profit organization that maintains a medical and other personal information database on individuals who have applied for life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term care insurance. Insurance companies use MIB’s database to assess the risk of insuring a potential policyholder and to help prevent fraud.

When an individual applies for life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term care insurance, the insurance company may request access to their MIB file as part of the underwriting process. The MIB file can contain information such as the individual’s medical history, prescription drug history, and other personal information. The insurance company will use this information to assess the individual’s overall health and determine the risk of insuring them.

Suppose an individual’s MIB file contains information that indicates they may be at higher risk for certain medical conditions or other problems. The insurance company may use this information to adjust the individual’s premiums or to deny coverage altogether.

If you have applied for life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term care insurance and have concerns about your MIB file, you can request a copy of your file and review it for accuracy. If you find any errors or inaccuracies, you can contact MIB to request that they be corrected.

Which brings us…

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

Common situations we’ll encounter are…

Maybe someone applied six months ago and tested positive for nicotine or marijuana, or perhaps 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 know they applied for a different policy within the past 12 months.


There is really nothing wrong with applying for life insurance multiple times. The problem is not informing your agent of your previous applications, which sets you up to fail again.

When you apply for the second time, the new company will have access to your previous application results, which can reveal important information like a positive nicotine or marijuana test, high blood sugar levels, or high blood pressure readings. This information could cause the new company to ask more questions about your current application.

Honesty with your current life insurance agent can pay off. Suppose you inform your agent of your previous applications and their outcomes. They can use this information to determine which 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 uncommon for someone to “fail” to remember that they have been diagnosed with a particular condition, especially if it 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 daily 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 it.

Common conditions folks will often fail to disclose may include:

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

From there…

The insurance company will usually be able to examine the “kinds” of medications you may have been previously prescribed to deduce the “type” of problems you may have had or currently have 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 to lying about any previous diagnosis:

  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.

Mainly if you were only prescribed a medication for a very short period.


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, mainly if the medication is one used to treat a severe medical condition or has the potential for being abused.

In either case…

Failing to disclose any medication you may have been prescribed is probably one of the easiest ways for a life insurance company to uncover dishonesty, as all this information is readily available through a Prescription Database check.

The only reason a life insurance company asks about an applicant’s medication history is so that it can decide whether or not to proceed with their application without ordering a report.

Therefore, it’s not worth it if you’re considering not disclosing a certain medication because you fear it may prevent you from qualifying for coverage. The insurance companies will learn about it, and not telling it will likely hurt your chances of qualifying for coverage and may even waste your time if you need to take a medical exam.

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

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

This is why…

It is quite understandable why someone may believe they do not have diabetes when, in fact, most life insurance companies consider them so. So, if you have been informed that you may have pre-diabetes and you are not entirely sure whether this is something you need to disclose, our advice would be to mention it to your life insurance agent if you have been asked to monitor your daily blood sugar or if you have an A1C greater than 7.

Moreover, if you are currently taking medication to lower your blood sugar, most life insurance companies will typically consider you diabetic. The good news is that several life insurance companies offer very competitive pricing for people with diabetes, particularly if your diabetes is well controlled, as is often the case with pre-diabetes.

It’s quite understandable 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 seven chances are you’re probably going to want to mention this to your life insurance agent.


If you are currently taking medication to lower your blood sugar, you will typically be considered a person with diabetes automatically by most life insurance companies. The good news is that several different life insurance companies offer very competitive pricing for people with diabetes, 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 dangerous job (think offshore 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…).

This is in addition to various other “factors” that may affect the outcome of one’s life insurance application.

This is why…

We at IBUSA always advise new clients to 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 would be one or two different life insurance companies that may specialize in that “type” of issue.

The good news is…

Here at IBUSA, we work with dozens of different life insurance companies, so when we encounter 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 qualify for, call us, and let’s see what we can do for you!

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