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Top 10 Lies Told on a Life Insurance Application

life insurance lies

In this article, we would like to discuss the top 10 most common lies or “mistruths” that many life insurance applicants tell when applying for either a traditional life insurance policy or a no medical exam life insurance policy.  But before we do that, we would like to make it clear 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 a long time ago is no longer relevant.

Nevertheless, intentionally leaving something off your life insurance application is a risky move. 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. 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:

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

This is not an easy task, which is why 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 you were originally quoted before your medical exam when your true height and weight are determined. 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, while 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 important 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…

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 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…

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 from the beginning

  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 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 a long time 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 the chances of success, it is essential to inform your agent of any felony or misdemeanor convictions so that they can guide you towards 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 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.  Especially if you currently have any of the following on your record:

  • Traffic violations: A person who has a history of traffic violations, such as speeding tickets or reckless driving charges, may be considered a higher risk by life insurance companies. This is because 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: A person who has been involved in multiple accidents may also be considered a higher risk by life insurance companies. 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: A person who has had their driver’s license suspended or revoked may be considered a higher risk by life insurance companies, as this can indicate a history of driving-related problems that may increase the risk of accidents or other incidents.
  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.


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.

Medical Information Bureau (MIB):

The Medical Information Bureau (MIB) is a non-profit organization that maintains a database of medical and other personal information on individuals who have applied for life insurance, disability insurance, or long-term care insurance. MIB’s database is used by insurance companies 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.

If an individual’s MIB file contains information that indicates that 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…

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.


There really isn’t anything wrong with applying for life insurance multiple times. The problem lies in not informing your agent of your previous applications, which sets you up for failure 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. If 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 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.


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 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.

In fact, the only reason why a life insurance company asks about an applicant’s medication history is so that they can make a decision on whether or not to move forward with their application without ordering a report.

Therefore, if you’re considering not disclosing a certain medication because you fear it may prevent you from qualifying for coverage, it’s not worth it. The insurance companies will learn about it, and not disclosing 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 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 is quite understandable why someone may believe they are not diabetic when, in fact, they are considered so by most life insurance companies. 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 diabetics, particularly if your diabetes is well controlled, as is often the case with pre-diabetes.

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.


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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