How Does Personal History Affect Life Insurance?

Insurance companies won’t rush into a contract without first doing plenty of research. For that reason, an insurance applicant is asked to provide extensive details about their health history, habits, environment, and insurance status before a new policy is even considered.

One of the more valuable forms of information is an applicant’s health record, which provides detailed information about previous illnesses, injuries, or surgical procedures.

If an applicant is currently under treatment, has been scheduled for surgery, hasn’t fully recovered from an illness, or has to undergo diagnostic testing, they may be denied coverage or their application may be delayed. Depending on the illness, most life insurance companies impose a waiting period for a number of pre-existing medical conditions that can range from diabetes to breast cancer.

If questions are raised about the person’s health or it seems information has been omitted on the application, the insurance company will contact the individual’s physician for more detail. If you smoke, drink or have a hazardous lifestyle, this may result in a denial or a rated policy (which can double or triple the amount of premium). And, finally, an insurance company will look into the number of applicant denials from other companies, or if a previous policy has ever been rated.

Edward E. Graves, author of “McGill’s Life Insurance,” says anything that may increase a potential policyholder’s risk of mortality is a concern to life insurance companies.

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