Term Life Insurance – You be the Judge

Applying for term life insurance can be stressful and you may feel judged by life insurance companies. Although the company is collecting information about your health, financial status, and lifestyle, there are ways to make the application process better for both you and the company. Consider it a learning experience, try to relax, always voice your opinion, gain some perspective, or apply for non-medical accident-only term life insurance. Compare quotes before applying for term life insurance with our free tool below.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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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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