Term Life Insurance – You be the Judge

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Tim is a licensed life insurance agent with 23 years of experience helping people protect their families and businesses with term life insurance. He writes and creates stuff for QuickQuote and other insurance and financial websites. You can find him on Twitter.

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UPDATED: Aug 6, 2020

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Applying for term life insurance is a simple process for most applicants. But it can be a source of anxiety for some people. This is usually due to the anticipation surrounding the life insurance company’s review of the information collected about your health, financial status, and lifestyle. Sometimes it can feel as if you are sitting in front of a judge’s panel, especially if you don’t like what the judges have to say.

Judging is an unavoidable part of life. Many of us judge on some level, whether we realize it or not.  Regarding term life insurance, the underwriters, actuaries and medical directors are the ‘judges.’ After turning in your application and completing your exam, it’s time to sit back and wait for the results of the judging panel. The following tips may help you handle being ‘judged’ and provide some insight into the process.

Consider it a learning experience.

If this is your first term life insurance application, you may find it interesting to see how your mortality risk compares to the ‘average’ person. Life insurance companies use different underwriting guidelines so that you may score better with certain companies.

Try to relax… Nobody is perfect.

Even applicants in the best rating classes, such as Preferred Plus, generally have something unearthed during the application process. Perhaps they had a speeding ticket or have to take medication to control their cholesterol. They may have even added a few extra pounds since the glory days of college. Nobody is perfect, and life insurance companies don’t expect you to be either.

Voice your opinion. Your agent will listen.

If you don’t agree with the outcome of your term life insurance application, talk about it with your agent. Errors can sometimes be discovered while discussing the outcome of your application. If no errors are found, your agent will be able to help you understand the situation and your options.

Take action on the outcome.

Take the company’s decision as motivation to improve your situation. Perhaps your blood pressure readings were high on your paramedical exam. Use the experience to make some lifestyle changes for the better. You can always put the policy in force and reapply at a later date, once you’ve made improvements.

Gain some perspective.

It can seem as though your doctor’s opinion of your health is not nearly as critical as the life insurance company’s opinion. This is because your doctor and the company have different goals in mind. While they both want to see you live a long, healthy life, your doctor’s main objectives are to keep you healthy and treat you when you are not. The life insurance company, on the other hand, must accurately assess your mortality risk based on statistical analysis. And remember, your doctor doesn’t have to pay a million dollars to your beneficiary if he or she is unsuccessful!

You be the judge.

Send a letter to your agent if you have legitimate concerns about the life insurance company’s underwriting guidelines or practices. Be professional, reasonable and to the point. Provide supporting information if available. You may get what you ask for if you just ask for it.

Skip the judging altogether (almost).

Apply for a non-medical or accident-only term life insurance policy. These policies require less underwriting, including no paramedical exams!

Have you ever had an unfavorable decision on a life insurance application? If so, let us know how you handled it!

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