Foreign Travel in Life Insurance Underwriting – An Update

UPDATED: Feb 25, 2020

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The life insurance underwriting landscape is changing rapidly regarding foreign travel guidelines. Since 2005, several states have passed legislation prohibiting or restricting the use of foreign travel plans for underwriting purposes.

While still open to interpretation, most insurers have responded to the legislation by avoiding adverse underwriting actions based solely on a proposed insured’s past or future lawful travel in those states where it is now prohibited. These states currently include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Washington.

Life insurance companies are allowed to include foreign travel related questions on their applications in all states except Florida. Many continue to collect this information, even if only for data collection and research.

In those states where no related legislation exists, life insurance companies continue to scrutinize the foreign travel history and plans of proposed insureds. While guidelines vary by company, it is safe to assume that if the planned destination is found on the U.S. State Department’s Travel Warnings List, the application will be declined.

Most life insurance companies have extensive lists of their own that include other countries likely to be declined, as well as acceptable countries. If you have foreign travel plans or travel regularly, it is best to provide this information up front and allow our representatives to contact several companies on your behalf. Doing so will help secure the lowest premium possible for your circumstances.

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