I was working with a client on quotes the other day and he was telling me about a friend who had decided not to even pursue life insurance because he was convinced that he was probably not insurable.

You know it’s kind of like that old saying, “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask”. Well, the only sure way to get declined for life insurance is to just not apply. The client went on the explain in quite a bit of detail what his friend’s heart issues were and the truth was that he was, in all likelihood, insurable at a standard or maybe a slightly rated premium.

I would be the last one to claim that I can get traditional insurance for anyone that wants it. The truth is that there are folks that are only eligible for guaranteed issue life insurance. But don’t ever declare yourself uninsurable without putting in an honest effort to see what might be available. What most people find is that life insurance companies aren’t nearly as brutal as one might think.

In the recent past we have placed pleasantly surprised clients with a history of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, certain types of cancer, sleep apnea, mood disorders including bipolar disorder and people who have undergone gastric bypass surgery, angioplasty, and other heart procedures such as ablations to stop arrhythmia.

Many of these people had been declined by one or more companies before we were able to successfully get them coverage. So, don’t ever declare yourself uninsurable and don’t assume that all companies will view you the same or that all agents will know where to take your business in order to be successful.

Don’t take agents at face value. If an agent listens to your health history, especially a challenging one, and then just shoots a quote from the hip, they’re either very, very good or foolish. And I would go so far as to say that they would probably all be foolish shooting from the hip. The very, very good agents don’t want to waste your time, their time or paperwork by not getting it right the first time, so they will ask you to wait a few days while they informally shop your information and get multiple underwriting opinions. They may ask you to provide documentation to help with that process.

I routinely ask for copies of labs for diabetes, copies of stress tests for heart issues and copies of sleep studies when shopping sleep apnea cases. It’s a much better and more rewarding process when done right the first time.

Bottom line. Don’t be afraid to find out the truth about where you fit into the life insurance picture. I know I tend to make things bigger than they need to be when I don’t know where to turn for help. Seek out an independent agent who seems to truly understand your health issue, spell out your goals and do all you can to work with the agent. In most cases success will follow.