UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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Honesty is the best policy.
When you’re applying for a term life insurance policy, that age-old cliché is absolutely on the money.
Term life policies typically have a two-year contestable period during which your policy could be canceled or your benefit decreased by the insurance company for one of these two reasons:
- You omitted information (for example, not disclosing you have cancer).
- You outright lied in an attempt to defraud the insurance company by making you seem like a lesser risk than you are.
Among the most common things people lie about on their term life applications are:
- Incidence of cancer in their family
- Use of tobacco
- Their driving record
- Illegal drug use
- Income level (which dictates the benefit amount you’re eligible for)
Although most policies require a paramedical exam as part of the life insurance application process, the testing (which centers around height, weight, blood pressure, and basic blood and urine testing) might not detect when people are lying about certain medical conditions or substance use.
But term life insurance companies do have resources they can turn to if they suspect you’re not being honest. The MIB (Medical Information Bureau) maintains a database insurers can use to verify that applicants haven’t left out important health information. Insurance companies can also access motor vehicle reports to see if you have any driving violations—including DUIs—on your record.
Lying on Your Term Life Insurance Application has Consequences
If you get caught in a lie on your life insurance application, insurance companies will likely rate you at a higher premium or deny you a policy. If you were granted a policy and later are found to have lied on your application, your policy could be revoked.
And if you lied or misrepresented information on your policy and you die, the insurance company could either lower the benefit your family receives or deny the claim, period.
Being truthful on your term life insurance application is the way to go. If you’re concerned about something in your medical history, on your driving record, or relative to your lifestyle diminishing your chances of getting an affordable term life insurance policy, talk with a trusted insurance agent. That’s one of the best ways to learn about how much your particular concern will affect your chances of getting a policy and how it might impact your premium.