Denied life insurance

Having a pre-existing condition that's excluded by a policy is just one reason your life insurance application could have been turned down.

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Being accepted for life insurance isn't a given. And if you've been refused insurance, it's important you understand exactly why. The good news? There are a number of ways to help ensure a future application is a successful one.

What you need to know

  • Your medical history is a key reason why a life insurer may reject your application. Lifestyle factors can also play a role.
  • It could be worth checking to see if you were turned down owing to an error.
  • An experienced insurance broker can help you source a policy that is matched to your needs.

Why was my life insurance application denied?

Let’s take a closer look at 4 of the most common reasons people are denied life insurance.

Health reasons, including pre-existing conditions

The most common reasons for a denied life insurance application have to do with the applicant’s health.

  • High cholesterol. Heart disease is a leading cause of death in Australia, killing 1 person every 12 minutes, while stroke is the third leading cause of death. High cholesterol levels can cause both of these conditions and could be enough for an insurer to reject your application.
  • High blood glucose. High blood sugar levels lead to type 2 diabetes, a condition that causes a wide range of health problems.
  • Being overweight or obese. Carrying too much weight puts you at a higher risk of a wide range of health problems and complications. At best, being overweigh could lead to higher premiums while it's possible you may not be able to access cover at all in some cases.
  • Positive drug test. In addition to the many health risks drug pose, it's also the case that drug users are more likely to find themselves in hazardous situations.
  • Mental illness.People with a history of significant mental health challenges may struggle to access life cover in some cases. An insurer will consider the seriousness of any condition you have, and the success of any treatment when deciding whether or not to offer you insurance. Read more on depression and life insurance.
  • Cancer. If you’ve had cancer in the past, your chances of accessing life insurance are drastically reduced. However, the insurer will determine your level of risk based on the type of cancer you had, how far it progressed and how long you’ve been in remission.
  • Positive alcohol marker or elevated liver function. The presence of carbohydrate deficient transferrin (CDT) in your blood is a telltale sign that you’re a heavy drinker. CDT not only causes serious damage to your body but also increases the likelihood of you getting into life-threatening situations. Signs of elevated liver function are also a red flag that you’re consuming an excessive amount of toxins.
  • Hepatitis. If you test positive for Hepatitis B or C, your application may be rejected.
  • Blood or protein in urine. The presence of blood or protein in your urine could be an indicator of serious kidney problems. However, it could also be a sign of something far less sinister, so further testing may be required if you want to qualify for cover.

3 more reasons why you could be refused life insurance

Your life insurance application may also have been denied for a reason that has nothing to do with your health, such as if:

  • 1. You work in a hazardous occupation. If your working environment or regular duties expose you to a higher risk of illness or injury than the average job, there’s a possibility an insurer may not cover you. Examples of risky jobs that may not be covered by a life insurer include commercial fisherman, miner, farmer, tree lopper, defence force members, firefighters and garbage collectors. You can also check out the list of Australia’s most dangerous jobs, which is compiled based on data from Safe Work Australia.
  • 2. You participate in dangerous pastimes. When you apply for life insurance, you’re asked questions about the hobbies and pastimes you use to fill in your spare time. If you’re a keen BASE jumper, skydiver, pilot or scuba diver, or if you regularly participate in a range of other extreme sports, that could be the reason why your application was rejected.
  • 3. You have a poor driving record. Car accidents are a common cause of death for people who are otherwise in perfect health. With this in mind, if you’ve been involved in multiple accidents, if you’ve got a drink-driving or drug-driving conviction, or if you’ve ever had your licence suspended or revoked, it won’t look good on your life insurance application.

What options do you have if you are denied life insurance?

If your life insurance application has been rejected, there's still a few things you can do to find the cover you need:

1. Find out why and double-check.

You have the right to know why your application was rejected. It may include your occupation type or because of medical exams. It's entirely possible that a mistake was made or something that can be addressed, such as a smoking habit.

Speaking with the insurer who's turned you down is a good starting point. Also, you could run any medical records used for denial past your doctor for a second opinion, and potentially source more details about how a condition you might have is manageable.

2. Work with an adviser.

A qualified life insurance adviser can help you find a different provider who may offer you insurance where another has denied you. Keep in mind they will only be able to help if the reason for denial is one that another provider will accept. If you have diabetes, for example, you may still be out of luck.

3. Look for insurance via your super.

Because superannuation funds insure large amounts of people all at once, they're often willing to insure people who might be viewed as too risky by other insurers. If you can't get life insurance through a regular provider, see if your super fund will cover you.

health reason

How a broker can help if you've been denied life insurance

If you have been denied cover in the past, or you think it likely you will be denied in the future, it can be helpful to speak to a life insurance broker. These experts will be able to help you navigate insurance brands and offer you the best shot of successfully taking out cover. Fill out the form below to speak with a broker.

Enter your details and one of our partner brokers will call you. They will discuss your quote, options and available products.

Do you smoke?

An adviser can help you find cover from trusted life insurance brands.

  • Get competitive quotes from multiple brands
  • Lower rate of declined claims (according to ASIC)
  • Save time and effort

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