For most being declined for life insurance feels a little like being convicted of a crime that you didn’t commit. It’s also scary not knowing what to do, whether to try again, whether you will be black balled because of the decline, who knows.

The problem from my end is that there are so many companies in the business that simply avoid risk be declining anyone for anything that could be wildly assumed to have a negative impact on their life expectancy being 100+. Those companies far outnumber those who really weigh mortality risk and assess appropriate decisions. This is problematic for customers because all companies represent themselves as fair and competent. Maybe 2 of every 100 companies that sell life insurance are telling the truth.

Just a little disclaimer. There really are times when every company out there should choose not to accept a life insurance risk. My contention though is that 9 out of 10 declines could be reversed in the hands of the right agent using the right company.

A decline usually comes with an explanation like, “decline due to information in Dr Smith’s medical records”, or “declined due to abnormal lab results on insurance exam”, or “declined due to abnormalities on ekg”. My recommendation is that you don’t waste a lot of time asking the insurance company for more details. You won’t find out anything fast and in most cases it will be another rather vague answer. Instead, take what they told you and get the lab results, the ekg or Dr Smith’s records and find an independent agent that can review that information informally with an underwriter friend (we all have one) and find out exactly how to tackle the problem so that you can get approved.

Declines don’t blackball your chances of getting insurance. One company’s decline will look to another company like an opportunity. In many cases I think it actually gives the good underwriters incentive to show how it should be done. There really is such a wide disparity between company underwriting guidelines and philosophies that it really isn’t crazy to go from a decline from Company A to a preferred from Company B.

Bottom line. So, declines give you the information you need to 1. choose the right agent who can then 2. choose the right company who can then 3. approve a new life insurance policy.