I’m all for rounding off. I mean if I owed someone $9 and I had a ten in my wallet and they didn’t have change I would call it good. I know. I know. One of the reasons I’m not filthy rich or any other kind of rich.

There is something of a rounding off that often goes on when people ask for life insurance quotes. The game is “If you don’t ask about my exact condition, then the answers to your health questions is NO”. If I ask if you ever been diagnosed with or treated for chest pain, high blood pressure, heart murmur, heart attack, high cholesterol, stroke or other disorder of the heart or circulatory system and I don’t specifically ask about POTS, Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, you could sort of round it off and say no to that question. Technically POTS isn’t like heart attack, heart murmurs or stroke, but it may or may not be relevant to the quoting process. So instead of rounding down, in a quest for accurate quotes it’s in your best interest to round up. Take the high road and say, “I don’t know if this fits in that category, but I was diagnosed with POTS 5 years ago”. Leave it up to the underwriter to decide if it’s going to affect the quotes or not. That, of course, assumes you don’t have an agent that shoots from the hip, but rather gets all of the relevant information and shops it to the very underwriters who will ultimately see the information and approve your policy.

Rounding off goes on a lot with weight. I recently spoke with someone who said they were 5’4, 250#’s. No health issues other than obesity, so I sent out quotes based on that. Given the relatively young age, mid 30’s, the rates were very reasonable. When I sent the quotes I noted that they were of course subject to an exam where the weight would be checked. I got a call a few days later saying that they had some work to do. It seems this person had rounded down to the nearest 250#. Actual weight? 330#. While that is an extreme miss, it does seem to be fairly common for people who are very overweight to not necessarily be in touch with exact specifics. I don’t say that in a mean spirited way. I just think when weight is a life altering issue, if it were me, I probably wouldn’t be keeping track of it daily.

Same with things like blood pressure. If someone admits that they are treated for high blood pressure, one of my first questions is whether the high blood pressure is well controlled. If the answer is yes then I ask what their most recent readings were. If the answer is something like 145/90 then reality is that they have rounded off the yes answer relative to what their blood pressure was before it was treated. It is by no means well controlled, but it’s much better than it was. None of these examples are necessarily attempts to fudge on or manipulate the quote process, but they do impact the quote if all of the information doesn’t get to the agent.

I think it helps if life insurance quote seekers understand that insurance companies ask “Have you ever” questions and they do it for a reason. It’s much easier to quote or underwrite a policy if you have too much information and have to throw out what is irrelevant, but not having enough or not having accurate information is a sure way a quote that won’t stand up to an application being underwritten. When the underwriter sees your records, they will be perfectly clear about your health history and they aren’t likely to round off for you.

Bottom line. If you expect a accurate quotes you have to find a life insurance agent that cares enough to review your entire health history with you. If they ask about the last 5 years they are misleading you and themselves. If you had breast cancer 10 years ago or a mild heart attack 15 years ago, it may or may not impact the final underwriting, but it still needs to be available for review. If you have any questions or have run into problems getting accurate quotes, call or email me directly. Let’s talk.

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