When applying for life insurance, companies generally require both a medical exam and a health questionnaire as a part of their risk assessment. The higher the risk, meaning your chances of dying young, the more expensive the premium.
In some cases, an insurance company will refuse to give coverage at all. Let’s look at common cases.
If you have already been diagnosed as terminal, an insurance company will not grant a policy other than a guaranteed acceptance policy. Such a policy is expensive and pays out minimally or not at all in the first two years. As such, a guaranteed policy is probably going to return less than the premium paid, so it’s better to save your money.
A significant history of hard drug abuse or alcoholism can often preclude you from insurance.
Any form of cancer is going to be highly scrutinized, but there’s a variety of different outcomes depending on your specific case.
Cancer that has already metastasized – that is, spread to other areas of the body – will likely make you uninsurable.
However, cancer that was caught early will not weigh nearly as unfavorably. In addition, if you have been declared cancer-free for a certain period of time, you may also be insurable. This also means a second application might be accepted after a certain period of time even if your first application was denied. The type of cancer is also a factor, as some have far higher rates of survival than others.
Recent Heart Attack
A recent major medical event such as a heart attack may also preclude you from life insurance. However, over time, you can regain insurability status, particularly if you take care of yourself.
A recent full stroke will likely preclude you from insurance for a time. However, the specifics can greatly affect insurability in the future. Often there is a wait period of several months or years to judge recovery. If the stroke caused no long-term complications, and there’s no reason to suspect you’ll have another, you’re likely to eventually become insurable again.
Conditions Not Under Control
Eligibility with conditions like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol often depends on the degree to which it is controlled. Just because you were once denied because of high blood pressure or cholesterol doesn’t mean that verdict will always be in effect. Work on reducing those problematic areas and you may find yourself insurable again.
What You Can Do
Obviously, keeping healthy is the best way of remaining insurable. But, if you’ve already been denied, lifestyle changes can go a long way in improving your chances for coverage. Things you can do include:
- Not smoking
- Moderate alcohol drinking
- Controlling weight
- Reducing sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats from your diet
- Eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fiber
- Keep to a regular exercise regimen
- Take your medication and make follow-up appointments with your doctor as directed
The ability to report a healthy lifestyle is one of the reasons why applying for a standard policy rather than a no-medical policy can be important even for people with a poor health history, because you can explain lifestyle changes to the medical professional supervising the exam.