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What to do if you’ve been declined life insurance

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Last updated: 02/02/2023 | Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Don’t be disheartened if your first life insurance application was unsuccessful. Different insurers have their own application criteria and assessments of risks, so it doesn’t mean you’ll be refused again. However, you should make note of the information we give here to help you when reapplying after being declined. 

In This Guide:

Why might I have been refused life insurance?

If you’ve been declined life insurance, your first step should be to find out the specific reasons why your application was rejected. Typically, it’ll be based on a combination of health and lifestyle factors. You can ask your doctor for a copy of your medical records or ask the insurer to send over whatever medical information they have for you. Once you’ve received this, if you’re still uncertain as to why you have been refused life insurance then speak to an insurance advisor who can assist.

If you’re a very high-risk person, an insurer may determine that it’s not in their financial interests to insure you. Or they could, but by setting very high premiums which, in all likelihood, are prohibitively expensive.

Common medical reasons that mean you can’t get life insurance

Let’s take a look at some of the most common medical conditions that cause an application to be rejected:

  • High cholesterol, lipids or triglycerides
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Elevated liver function
  • History of cancer
  • Hepatitis
  • HIV and AIDS
  • High levels of glucose or blood sugar

It’s not necessarily the case that your application will be instantly rejected if you have one of these medical conditions, but on the whole, you may find it harder to get insurance. However, if you develop one of these conditions after you’ve successfully taken out a policy don’t worry – your cover should still be valid.  

Common lifestyle factors that mean you can’t get life insurance

And now, let’s look at the lifestyle factors that most frequently lead to a rejection:

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Job risk – for example if you work at heights, in construction, at sea etc.
  • Previous rejections – a bit of a catch-22, but if you’ve been previously refused life insurance you may appear to be a higher risk.

It’s important to note that, as with medical conditions, if there is a combination of lifestyle factors that pose a risk present, then your application is more likely to be rejected.

Can I still find cheap life insurance if I’ve been rejected?

You can still get a life insurance policy if you’ve been rejected, but how competitive a deal you can get will depend on why your application was unsuccessful. So first, find out on what exact basis you’ve been declined life insurance: if it was due to lifestyle factors, then you could well get cheap life insurance in the future if you make certain adjustments, such as stopping smoking.

On the other hand, if you can’t get life insurance due to medical reasons, don’t fret. There are specialist insurers out there who will cover certain medical conditions, so you could still find a deal – your options may just be more limited. However, the cost may well be worth it for peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones are looked after should the worst happen.

Consider over 50s life insurance

If you've been rejected life insurance or you're struggling to find cover, if you're aged 50 or over then you should consider a specialist over 50s policy. Those who are eligible typically are people who are UK residents aged 50 to 85.

These are a type of 'whole of life' insurance policy that promise guaranteed acceptance, and you're not even requied to answer any medical questions when applying for it. 

While over 50s life insurance policies are a safe option if you're struggling to find cover elsewhere, you should note that these types of policy typically demand higher premiums, while the total payouts are generally lower and set aside for things like funeral costs. 

Don’t give up!

When you’ve been declined life insurance, don’t put another application in right away: it’s likely you’ll be rejected again on the same basis. We can’t stress this enough: you need to find out why you’ve been rejected and go from there. Build a solid picture so you can productively hone in on your search. Knowing this, you can then tailor your life insurance comparison accordingly rather than relying on guesswork.

Again, remember it’ll usually be a combination of factors that leads to a rejection – in few instances is it one standalone factor that’s a big red flag.

Speak to an advisor if you’ve been declined life insurance

If you’ve been refused life insurance and have discerned where your application failed, you can always seek guidance from an advisor if you don’t want to navigate the complex world of life insurance alone. Speaking to a professional will give you clarity when you proceed to compare life insurance deals with us.

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