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Not everyone qualifies for life insurance. Even if you are in excellent health, you could still be denied life insurance, believe it or not.

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It sounds crazy – why would an insurance company turn down someone in great health?

The truth is, they look at many other factors, not just health, although it’s a big one. They also look at your occupation, hobbies, and even your driving record.

One or all of these issues could disqualify you from getting life insurance.

Reasons you may be Denied Life Insurance

Every person has unique qualifying factors with life insurance. Some will cause you to pay higher rates, and yet others will disqualify you completely.

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Here are the top reasons insurance companies disqualify you, applicants, for life insurance.

A Pre-Existing Condition

Not all pre-existing conditions result in a declined application, but many do. The key is to prove you have it under control. You can get life insurance with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, if you prove you’re managing it and don’t have any other issues resulting from it. Many chronic illnesses cause other issues alongside it, which increases your chance of premature death.

Mental Health Issues

If you have diagnosed mental health issues, it may cause a declined application. Every provider differs in their acceptance of mental health issues. For example, someone with a history of hospitalization due to depression and/or suicide attempts may not get coverage. Someone else with diagnosed depression or anxiety with it under control and hasn’t had hospitalizations may get coverage, though.

Poor Driving Record

Driver Caught DUI

Your driving records affect your ability to get not only car insurance but life insurance too. If you have a history of speeding, DUIs, or reckless driving, it may stop you from getting life insurance.

Insurance companies look at your risk of dying because of your driving habits. A single ticket or even two won’t cause you to get declined, but a history of bad behavior or, worse yet, a revoked license will.

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Blood or Protein in your Urine

Most life insurance companies perform a urine test as a part of the medical exam. If protein or blood shows up in your urine, it could be a sign of a severe illness. While they won’t automatically decline you (most of the time), they will ask for a report from your doctor proving you don’t have a serious medical issue that could cause them to decline your life insurance application.

Poor Lifestyle Habits

If you drink excessively (not just a couple of drinks a week), it may cause a denied application. Chronic drinking causes liver issues, which leads to a shorter life. Insurance companies typically won’t insure anyone with high liver markers.

Risky Occupation

If your job risks your life, you may be declined life insurance with certain companies. Jobs that include climbing, use of heavy machinery, or dealing with crimes may cause life insurance companies to reject your application.

For example, construction workers, roofers, and airline pilots often have a more challenging time finding coverage, and when they do, they pay higher premiums.

Risky Hobbies

professional climber

A roller coaster habit or even driving a motorcycle may not result in a denied application, but regular risky hobbies might. If you have a knack for thrill-seeking and participate in hobbies like rock climbing, white water rafting, or skydiving, you may find it harder to get life insurance than those who don’t.

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Lying on your Application

If you don’t act honestly, you won’t get insurance. Even if you choose a no medical exam policy, insurance companies can deny your claim if they find out you committed insurance fraud.

You must be upfront and honest when you answer every question and not stretch the truth even a little. Insurance companies can and will find out the truth, so always be honest about your medical history, habits, and any other information they ask you to provide.

No Insurable Interest

If you don’t have anyone who relies on you financially, an insurance company may not approve your application. They may also deny it if you’ve applied for multiple insurance policies in a short period as it’s a sign of fraudulent activity.

Family History of Cancer

If you have a family history of cancer, it is not one of the instant disqualifications for life insurance, but it could play a role. Insurance companies will weigh the risks for you based on your family history and your medical health check before deciding.

Do Critical Illnesses Disqualify you for Life Insurance?

Most insurance companies won’t deny you life insurance if you have a critical illness if you can provide proof you’re managing it. Common examples include diabetes and high blood pressure. If you’re under a doctor’s treatment and can prove your levels are stable, you’ll have a better chance of qualifying (at a higher rate).

If you were previously denied Life Insurance, will you be denied again?

Being denied life insurance is an unpleasant situation, but it doesn’t pave the way for future applications.

Insurance companies will know about your denied applications, but they won’t use it to determine your eligibility. Each company has its own requirements. They’ll consider your denied application and possibly inquire about the reasons, but it won’t automatically cause them to decline your application.

Bottom Line

Insurance companies want applicants without significant risks of dying prematurely. This doesn’t mean you have to be in perfect health, have a non-risky job, and the ideal lifestyle, but to avoid being denied life insurance, it’s important to make your application as attractive as possible.

Before you apply, look at your life from a life insurance company’s perspective and determine your risk. Maybe you need to improve your health, drop some weight, or kick bad habits before applying. Your life insurance application will be better received when you have few (or no) risks of premature death.


Meet Aaron H., a senior life insurance agent from California with 15+ years of experience. With a major in finance, excellent analytical and communication skills, and a passion for helping clients find personalized solutions, Aaron is a trusted advisor in the industry. He stays up-to-date on the latest trends and developments by attending webinars and workshops, reading industry blogs, and writing informative blog posts on this website. Aaron also has a keen understanding of SEO and online marketing, which he uses to help his clients reach a wider audience and get the coverage they need. He cherishes spending quality time with his wife, two children, and elder parents.