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Declined for Life Insurance – Help!

declined for life insurance

You may have found this this page, after asking Mr Google a question…just like Edith:

Hi Nick, I’ve been declined for life insurance through my bank, can you help,? I’m in a bit of a panic as never expected any issues at all.  Thanks, Edith

And here’s my take on this through the medium of video – taken when I was full of manuflu BTW. I know, I know, I’m such a trooper 🙂


It’s hard to stomach when your life insurance company won’t offer you cover, especially if you were fully expecting a yes!

Why were you declined for life insurance?

Declines are quite rare. Not hens teeth rare, but about as rare as Noel from accounts getting a round in

If the insurer decides you have a pre-existing condition that could massively increase the risk of you dying prematurely then they will decline. I know, it sucks and seems so unfair.

But all is not lost, sometimes, your broker…or more than likely your bank makes a balls of presenting your application in the best light. In all likelihood, they just applied to the insurer who offered the cheapest quote without even considering how that insurer would view your health issue.

What to do if you’ve been refused life insurance?

1. Find out the reason for the rejection

Straight up, ask the life insurance company why. But be warned, unless it’s something obvious like a BMI over 50, they’ re won’t discuss the reasons for the decline with you. Instead their Chief Medical Officer will write to your GP explaining the reasons for their decline

2. Meet with your GP

Arrange a visit with your GP to review the letter of decline including all the data the insurer reviewed before declining.

You see, GPs aren’t infallible, they can make mistakes when completing reports. Crossed wires are common especially if the GP you saw for your condition has retired and another GP completed the report. Double check all the data that was provided to the underwriter.

If all the data is correct, ask your GP to be honest with you and whether in their opinion and experience, is a denial justified?

If they feel the decision is incorrect….

3. Contact a specialist broker

The first insurer you applied to wasn’t the most suitable. Pass your information to a life insurance broker who specialises in this sort of stuff (cough, cough).  They can look into better options. A  high-risk life insurance broker can quickly assess your health history and find a better insurer for you.

But please understand if the reason for the denial is too great, eg currently in treatment for cancer then it’ll be a decline everywhere. Unfortunately life insurance providers don’t have to give you cover.

4. Discuss a waiver with your bank

What happens if I can’t get mortgage protection?

If you can’t get life insurance for a mortgage, your bank may allow you to sign a mortgage protection waiver. Basically you sign a letter stating you understand the dangers of not having life cover on your mortgage and are happy to proceed regardless. Waivers are difficult to come by as they are at the bank’s discretion. If there’s a second person on the mortgage who earns enough to cover the mortgage repayments on their income alone, then you have a good chance of getting a waiver.

Tread carefully though. If you die, your partner will have to pay the mortgage on their own. Is is worth taking this risk right now or should you reconsider and rent for a while longer especially if you have been postponed and can get cover in the future.

That’s a nice segue onto the reasons for a postponement.

Why were you postponed for life insurance?

Postpones aren’t as final as declines. They really mean the insurer wants to take a wait and see approach to your application. Insurers postpone for one of the following three reasons.

1) You’re recovering from an illness or have recently been diagnosed with a new illness.

But not enough time has passed to convince underwriting that you have fully recovered.

e.g you need to be at least 5 years clear of some forms of cancer before a life insurer will approve your application.

This means the life insurance company will postpone you for another 12 months if you have been cancer free for 4 years.

2) You have medical tests/scans/investigations arranged for a future date.

The life insurance company will postpone until your test results are available.

Say, for example, you have knee surgery next month.

There is a risk involved with all surgery even if it’s not life threatening.


Life insurers are naturally risk averse so they may  postpone making a decision until after the surgery.

3) Recent results were well outside the normal range

The life insurance company will postpone making a decision if your results falls well outside their healthy range to give you time to get in under control. Think high BMI casing weight issues or high HbA1C readings for diabetics.

But a different insurer may come to a different conclusion and offer you cover.

We got cover for lady with a BMI of 48 after Irish Life postponed her.

Over to you…

Don’t panic if your bank declined or postponed you.

Check can you get cover elsewhere.

You see I know which insurance company is best for most health conditions, and if I don’t, I’ll discuss your case with all 5 providers in confidence to smoke out the best insurer for you.

So even before you make a formal application, you’ll have a good idea of your chances of getting cover and the likely final premium.

I won’t just apply to the cheapest insurer or the one who happens to pay the highest commission. I’ll apply to the one that gives you the best chance of getting cover with the least amount of hassle.

Need some help?

Give me a quick outline of your situation using this form and I’ll be right back.

If you’re in a rush, or want a quick chat beforehand please call me on 05793 20836.

Nick McGowan | making life insurance easier

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