5 Ways to Sabotage Your Term Life Insurance Application

Applying for term life insurance can be a simple process when you do it right. However, there are small mistakes that can turn into big problems and sabotage your life insurance application form. Read now to avoid the most common five ways to sabotage your life insurance application: 1) fast before your paramedical exam, 2) don’t drink alcohol before your exam, 3) don’t exercise before your exam, 4) don’t travel abroad before you apply for life insurance, and 5) be honest on your life insurance application.

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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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Everyone makes mistakes, right? Sometimes we just don’t think straight, we forget things, or we simply cut corners hoping to get away with things we know we shouldn’t. Well, when you are applying for term life insurance, honest (and not so honest) mistakes can cost you big time!

The following are surefire ways to botch your term life insurance application and some tips for avoiding them.

1. Not Fasting Before Your Paramedical Exam

Insurance companies don’t require a fasting exam, but we always recommend fasting for about 8 hours before your exam anyway (even if the paramedical nurse says you don’t have to). A non-fasting blood test may show slightly elevated readings for blood glucose and triglycerides. Fasting has little impact on cholesterol and A1C levels, but it’s better to fast anyway just to be safe. You’ll feel better knowing unfavorable test results due to eating before the exam are unlikely. Of course, follow any doctor’s orders if you have any medical impairments that don’t allow you to fast. And be sure to take any prescription medications as scheduled.

2. Drinking Alcohol the Evening Before Your Paramedical Exam

One or two drinks the night before the exam sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? For some, it may not be a problem, but you just might be one of the unlucky drinkers caught with elevated liver enzymes. Alcohol is metabolized by the liver using enzymes that break down the alcohol to be expelled from the body as waste. Even small amounts of alcohol within 24 hours of your exam may temporarily cause an increase in liver enzymes. This makes life insurance companies nervous, and they may charge a higher premium for applicants who show abnormal readings for this test. It’s best to skip the spirits for a couple of days before your paramedical exam.

3. Exercising Vigorously before Your Paramedical Exam

Exercise is always good for you to – almost. Vigorous and strenuous exercise can cause an elevation in the muscle enzyme creatine phosphokinase (CPK). Other very dangerous diseases can cause abnormalities in this muscle enzyme also, so life insurance companies take notice when it’s out of the normal range on your lab results. Light exercise shouldn’t be a problem, just be sure you aren’t over-exerting yourself right before your paramedical exam.

4. Travelling Overseas Around the Time of Your Application

Each state has its set of insurance regulations they must follow. Your term life insurance policy will be underwritten and issued according to these regulations. Most US-based life insurance companies will not issue a policy for a person while they are in another country. If you decide to jump on a plane to France for two months at any time during the application process, you might have to wait until you return to your home state to finish up.  It’s best to get your term life insurance policy in force well in advance of any planned foreign travel.

5. Being Untruthful on Your Application

This may sound obvious, but you might be surprised. Even a tiny fib on your application could be considered a felony! Insurance fraud is not to be taken lightly, as it can cause the life insurance company to void your policy or deny a death claim. Lying on your application defeats the purpose of getting term life insurance in the first place. You want to feel secure knowing your life is covered, not worried the company may deny your family in their time of need. Don’t risk it. Be completely honest on your term life insurance application so you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with being covered!

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