5 surprising things that can prevent you from getting life insurance

There are many legitimate reasons for being denied life insurance coverage, especially if you have a history of high-risk behavior. (iStock)

Applying for life insurance is typically pretty straightforward: you'll undergo a medical exam and answer some questions about yourself. But you might hit unexpected snags during the application process, depending on your lifestyle.

It's commonly known that it's harder to get life insurance coverage if you have a chronic illness or if you're a smoker, but there are many legitimate reasons why a life insurance company may deny your application. Here are five things that may prevent you from getting life insurance:

  1. Dangerous hobbies
  2. DUI convictions
  3. Hazardous employment
  4. Obesity
  5. Mental illness

Even if you're able to find life insurance coverage, your premiums are likely to be much higher if you have any of these risk factors.

Having a hard time finding life insurance? You can compare multiple insurance providers and get free quotes on Credible's online marketplace.


1. Dangerous hobbies

Thrill-seekers might have a hard time getting a life insurance policy, or at least an affordable one. It can be harder to find an insurer that will offer coverage if you have hobbies that are considered dangerous, such as extreme sports, skydiving or dirtbike racing, for instance.

During the application process, you'll be asked about your high-risk hobbies. You should be honest, since your insurer may deny your death benefit if they learn you lied in the application. Also, if you're able to take out an insurance policy, then you may not be fully covered if you die while participating in one of these activities.

Your application likely won't be denied if you just dabble in these types of activities, but serious competitors may have a harder time finding insurance. Make sure you explore all your life insurance options on Credible so your loved ones are covered if an accident occurs.

2. A bad driving record

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal because it's highly dangerous — 29 people die in crashes involving an impaired driver every day in the United States alone, according to the CDC. For many life insurance providers, a record of multiple DUIs is a dealbreaker.

Life insurers charge higher premiums for drivers who have had a DUI conviction in the past five or 10 years, and some will even deny coverage if they observe a pattern of risky behavior behind the wheel. However, you may be able to ask for a rate reduction a few years after your DUI, if you can avoid any other driving incidents.


3. Hazardous employment

Certain jobs pose a greater risk of injury or death just by the nature of the work. If you work in an industry that's considered hazardous, it may be difficult to get approved for a life insurance policy. Some of the most dangerous jobs in America include loggers, roofers, construction workers, truck drivers and steel workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fortunately, select insurers specialize in insuring people who work in these industries. You'll have to do some research based on your profession, and your insurance premiums may be higher. Plus, your employer may offer group life insurance, so it's advisable to talk with your company's HR department.

4. Obesity

Around 40% of U.S. adults are obese, according to data from the CDC, leading to an uptick in obesity-related health conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. These ailments are some of the leading causes of premature death in America, so it makes sense that obesity can make it harder to obtain life insurance.

Insurers set premiums and determine eligibility based on a number of health factors, including weight and height. It's unlikely that you'll be denied coverage for being slightly overweight, but you could be denied if your obesity is causing more severe health issues.

5. Mental illness

Being diagnosed with depression or anxiety can make it harder to obtain life insurance. A life insurance provider will want to know about any medications you're taking, or if you've ever been hospitalized. You're more likely to be denied coverage if you were hospitalized due to anxiety or depression in the past year, or if you've attempted suicide in the past.

There's good news, however. If you have a steady history of mental health treatment, you may still be eligible for competitive life insurance rates. Plus, many insurance companies are lenient for consumers who have been diagnosed with a mental illness.


How to find life insurance if you're considered high risk

If you're considered high risk, or if your life insurance application was denied, you have options. Here are a few things you can do to find coverage:

  • Work with a licensed independent broker. They'll have more industry knowledge and may be able to connect you with a less stringent life insurance company.
  • Consider simplified-issue life insurance, which doesn't require a medical exam. This type of insurance is typically more expensive, though.
  • Shop around with multiple insurance providers. Just because you've been denied from one life insurance company, you may still be eligible through others with different guidelines.

You can learn all about your life insurance options on Credible. You may be able to save up to 40% on life insurance by comparing quotes.


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