Jeffrey Manola is an experienced life insurance agent and the founder of Top Quote Life Insurance. His mission when he created Top Quote Life Insurance was to provide online consumers searching for life insurance with the absolute best quotes for term life insurance, permanent life insurance, no medical exam life insurance, and burial insurance. Not only does he strive to provide you with the ...

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Written by Jeffrey Manola
Founder & Licensed Agent Jeffrey Manola

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insur...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Feb 10, 2022

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right life insurance coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident life insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one life insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different life insurance companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

Facts You Should Know

  • Reasons to be denied life insurance can include poor health or risk-taking activities
  • If you’re denied life insurance, you may want to lower your risk factors
  • If you’re high-risk and able to get life insurance, you’ll likely pay more for less coverage

There are many common reasons to be denied life insurance, including your health and what you spend your day doing. If there is a high likelihood of you dying during the life insurance policy, you’ll likely have a hard time finding coverage. However, if you can minimize your risk factors, you may be able to get a policy that isn’t too expensive.

Even if one or more of the reasons to be denied life insurance applies to you, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool to see what you could pay for a policy today.

What are common reasons to be denied life insurance?

Can life insurance be denied? Depending on different circumstances in your life, you can be denied life insurance when you apply. Typically, life insurance companies will reject anyone who poses a higher-than-average risk of dying during the policy’s life.

Since the insurance company is a private business, it will always try to profit before having to pay out. Through the underwriting process, the life insurance company will examine different areas of your life to determine what you pay. The higher your risk, the more you’ll pay to cover that risk.

If the insurance company doesn’t see how it can make money before you pass, it won’t give you a life insurance policy. Some of the life insurance denial reasons are:

  • Poor physical health
  • Dangerous habits or activities (skydiving, bungee jumping, etc.)
  • Advanced age
  • Lack of evidence of insurability
  • Dangerous jobs
  • Criminal and financial record

If your insurance company can detect risk in your past actions, it may be more difficult to obtain a policy. Even if you could get a life insurance policy with one or more of these conditions, you’d pay far more than an average consumer. Usually, high-risk individuals are limited in what coverage they can claim, and they are sometimes capped at $30,000.

What is evidence of insurability?

Evidence of insurability is the process where you prove a right to insure yourself or someone else. This can involve health checks and other tests to ensure that your insurer isn’t taking on unwanted risks by insuring you.

If you’re trying to insure someone else, you’ll need to prove that you are connected to that person and have a right to take out a policy on them. For example, if the loss of that person will financially impact you or someone close to you, you can take out a life insurance policy on them.

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What makes you uninsurable for life insurance?

The truth is that there are many reasons that you could be denied life insurance coverage. For example, pre-existing conditions, dangerous activities, or a poor financial record might make it harder for you to get affordable life insurance rates. This is due to the insurance company’s worry about the financial risks incurred by taking you on as a client if your risk of death is higher than average.

If you’re doing something labeled as risky, the best thing you can do is stop that activity before you apply. Another option is eating better and exercising regularly to get in the best physical shape you can be for any medical exams or other qualifying tests.

Can I be denied life insurance due to prescription history?

Whether or not you’ll be denied based on your prescription history will likely depend on the reason that you’re taking those medicines. If you have a pre-existing condition, you’ll likely face higher prices or denial from the policy due to the risk that your insurance company takes on.

Some of the medical conditions that can get you denied for life insurance if they are severe enough include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Progressing mental illness
  • Cancer
  • Recent stroke or heart attack

Your insurance company will need to account for the consequences of these medical conditions, which could eventually lead to early loss of life. If the insurance company takes on the risk of someone who’s had a terminal disease in the past, there’s a much higher chance of the condition resurfacing and affecting when the company may have to pay out a claim.

Can I be denied life insurance due to my job and hobbies?

Believe it or not, you can be denied life insurance due to your occupation and what you do in your free time. If you’re lending yourself to more dangerous activities, your insurance company won’t be happy about taking on that additional risk. The best thing you can do in this situation is to find a group insurance company or change your lifestyle habits to minimize disqualifying factors.

Only the most dangerous jobs in the country will get you denied life insurance. Holding a job in one of the industries with the highest fatality rates makes it considerably more difficult to get coverage. According to the Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, these  industries include:

  • Loggers
  • Pilots and flight engineers
  • Derrick operators in oil, gas, and mining
  • Roofers
  • Garbage collectors

Any job where someone will be interacting with heavy machinery or hazardous materials poses risks. Likewise, working at great heights poses a risk of falling, meaning near-certain death if no safety precautions are taken.

Some of the hobbies that might get you denied life insurance are the adrenaline-seeking sports many enjoy. However, the insurance company sees it as a tempting fate and will likely refuse your life insurance if you’re constantly involved in these sports.

Furthermore, if you don’t tell your insurance company and die during one of these activities, your insurance company can deny the death benefits to your beneficiary.

When does life insurance not pay?

Two of the most common reasons life insurance won’t pay out include contract breaches or lapsed payments on the bill. Either of these can serve as a reason for you to be denied the death benefit. While there are many reasons why you could be denied death benefits, almost all have to do with some form of a policy breach.

Some of the reasons you can have your life insurance claim denied include:

  • Lying. If you’re found to have committed insurance fraud by lying on your application, you’ll be denied the death benefit.
  • Hobbies. Risk-taking activities that you don’t disclose to your insurance company will keep you from getting the life insurance death benefit.
  • Murder. If you’re murdered by your beneficiary or anyone close to them, the insurer will withhold the death benefit.
  • Suicide. If you lose your life by your hand, the insurance company may still pay out, but it will often be after the first two years of the policy and at a decreased amount per the policy’s suicide clause.

Any reason that puts your death into question will likely cause the insurance company to withhold funds until it’s cleared up. This is why it’s essential to be honest with your life insurance company the first time because you can’t appeal the decision to withhold life insurance once you’re gone.

How can I improve my chances of getting a life insurance policy?

When considering your first life insurance policy, you should consider how the life insurance company will view your health and daily activities. For example, if you’re a riskier individual or have poor health, the insurance company will be less inclined to approve your coverage.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have options. You’ll need to improve your health and cut back on dangerous activities to get a good life insurance policy. This can include eating better, getting medical conditions treated, or catching up on your financial obligations.

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Being Denied Life Insurance: The Bottom Line

While being denied life insurance can be disappointing, the reasons for that denial often make sense. For example, when an applicant is denied life insurance because of high-risk habits, minimizing your exposure to that factor is often enough to requalify you. Therefore, being denied isn’t necessarily an end-all-be-all. Lifestyle adjustments according to your reasons for denial should be enough to help you qualify for life insurance if you decide to apply again.

Now that you know the reasons you may be denied life insurance, enter your ZIP code into our free quote tool to see what you could pay for a policy today.