Best Life Quote

Reasons People Get Declined for Life Insurance

Written By Doug Mitchell

Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA.  Doug has spent close to 30 years in the insurance and financial planning industry and has held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, health.  Doug is also a financial blogger addressing the topics of life insurance, annuities and retirement income planning.

Holly Mitchell  &

Holly Mitchell’s background in life insurance insurance goes back to 1985 when she worked for her father who was a New York Life agent. Holly has a marketing degree from Auburn University and has had a life insurance license since 2008. In addition to advising life insurance for customers all around the country, Holly is our website fact checker.

Rob Pinner   &

Rob Pinner is the founder and CEO of Pinner Financial Services servicing all 50 states. Rob started his insurance career in 2002.

Louis LaBash

Results-driven and innovative life insurance professional with 30 plus years of life insurance industry sales and marketing experience. Recognized as a pioneer in the field, leveraging phone and internet channels to exceed personal sales of over $100 million during the first decade of the 21st century. Creator of a highly effective intuitive IUL life insurance sales software that facilitated the sale of millions of dollars of indexed universal policies by numerous life insurance agents. Proven track record as a Managing General Agent (MGA), Life Agent, IUL Life Insurance Sales Software developer, and leading-edge creator of insurance marketing tools, educational content, and delivery systems.

Table of Contents

Adverse health conditions are generally thought to be the reason why one would be turned down for life insurance coverage, but health conditions are only one reason why you could be turned down.

There are other reasons why you could be declined and this article will provide you with information, tips as well as what to avoid if you are in any of these situations. Here are the top 6 reasons you could be turned down.

Before we start looking at some of the reasons people get declined, let’s talk about alternative choices. We talk to a lot of customers who’ve been rejected in the past.

Reasons You Could Be Declined For Life Insurance

A lot of these people think they’re stranded without coverage. This isn’t true. Regardless of your past relationship with life insurance companies or any health problems, there are options.

If you are one of the people who’ve gotten a rejection notice, go ahead and call one of our independent agents.

Adverse Health Conditions

Health conditions are the most common reason for being denied life insurance. If you have a condition like heart disease, cancer, or even if you’re obese, you may be declined life insurance coverage. The good news is that there are insurance companies that cater to individuals with pre-existing health conditions.

These companies offer what is known as high-risk life insurance. If you have an existing health condition, you may need to seek the services of a high-risk insurance agency (like ours) who will assist you in figuring alternatives to the tradition of life insurance coverage.

The specific health condition and the severity, there is a chance you applied with the wrong carrier. Some carriers are wary of getting insurance to anyone with health problems.

There are PLENTY of companies which are willing to give coverage to people with health problems.


In general, you have the freedom to determine how much life insurance coverage you want for yourself. However, when you attempt to purchase an amount of insurance that is considered excessive, some life insurance companies may decline you. Depending on your age it may be reasonable to request 10 to 30 times your annual income in coverage amount.

person in front of computer with declined stamp across screen and wallet open

However, if you request 40 times your income, that may be considered excessive unless you have a valid reason for seeking such a high valued policy. If you have no income, insurance companies may consider your spouse’s financial status when determining a reasonable amount.

Still, if you request an amount that is out of the “norm” based on your income or ability to pay the premium, you may be declined unless you can justify the need to have that amount of life insurance.


If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are likely to be declined life insurance coverage until your bankruptcy has been discharged for at least one year. However, if you file under Chapters 11, 12, or 13, some insurance companies may provide you with life insurance coverage so long as you are committed to making debt payments.

If you have had a bankruptcy make sure you find out which life insurance company would be right for you as different companies have widely different guidelines when it comes to bankruptcy.


If you have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) three or more times over the past ten years, you will almost certainly be denied traditional life insurance coverage.

If you have been convicted one or two times in the past ten years you can get approved, albeit at a higher premium. Knowing which companies to apply with is key to getting approved.

If you’ve only been convicted with one DUI, then you won’t get declined depending on how long ago it was. If it was in the past year, there is a chance you’ll be rejected. As long as it’s been more than a year, preferably longer, you’ll be in the clear.

Criminal Record

If you have a criminal record, life insurance companies take into consideration the type of conviction, the length of time since your conviction and, if applicable, the length of time since your probation. Most traditional insurance companies will deny you coverage for multiple felony convictions.

For a single felony conviction or a couple of misdemeanor convictions, you may be able to obtain coverage.

Drug or Alcohol Use

If you have a previous history of any kind of abuse of drugs, alcohol or other prohibited substances, you can be declined without review. Alcoholics are going to face premiums which can be as much as 100% more or get outright rejected. It’s based on liver function and medical tests.

However, let’s say you had a history of drug use, yet you have been completely clean for three or more years (or, in the case of alcohol use, you have been clean for more than two years) and are in good overall health, you can get approved.

Declined – Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance

If you’ve been declined for any of these reasons, and you don’t think you can get coverage. One of the options is to apply for a guaranteed issue policy. There is no application process and you can be protected in a matter of minutes.

Let’s walk you through the guaranteed acceptance life insurance process.

First, you pick a company. Then you give them very simple info. Name, zip code, age, tobacco usage, and a couple of other simple questions.

After this, they are going to give you a rate, you give them payment info and that’s it! In as little as a few clicks, you can have life insurance protection. Here is the problem, they are expensive and they are too small.

They are not the most effective use of insurance money or they have a low threshold for max coverage.

We only suggest using guaranteed issue plans as the very last option for coverage. More than likely, they are going to be too small. Yes, having some coverage is better than none, but you should make sure your family will have a large enough plan.

Final Thoughts on Being Declined for Life Insurance

All of the situations outlined above represent the types of high-risk situations that our high-risk life insurance agents can assist you with to get the best possible coverage relative to your particular situation.

If you experience one of the above situations, contact us at 800-712-8519 or fill out the form on this page so that we may assist you in meeting your life insurance needs.

After you give us a call, we will give you quotes in less than 10 minutes. We want to save you as much time as possible and get you covered as quickly as possible. We don’t want to sell you the most expensive policy as quickly as possible.

We’re going to take the time to find what you truly need.

Picture of Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA. Doug has spent close to 30 years in the life insurance and financial planning industry and has held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, health. Some other notable items about Doug: Top of the Table Million Dollar Round Table member (MDRT). (MDRT is a global, independent association of the world’s leading life insurance advisors) | Premier Partner with Lincoln Financial and Cabinet Member | Served two years as President of the Auburn/Opelika Association of Financial Advisors | Life Millionaire status at Horace Mann Insurance Company and was awarded the Life Agent of the Year Award | New York Life, Executive Council Member | Currently serves as President of Ogletree Financial, a life insurance General Agency. | Doug is also a financial blogger addressing the topics of life insurance, annuities and retirement income planning.

Get your Quote