It’s not uncommon on life insurance applications to be asked personal, even intrusive questions about your health, travel, your hobbies and even your financial well being.
While many people may have reservations about sharing some of this information, there are good reasons for the questions life insurance companies ask on the application.
- They need to know your health and lifestyle details in order to rate your life expectancy
- They need to know whether you are financially justified for the amount of coverage you are requesting
WHY DO INSURANCE COMPANIES ASK ABOUT MY HEALTH?
Most obvious of these is that the insurance company must know details about your current health as well as your medical history. Some clients complain to me that the application is too intrusive, asking questions about every possible health impairment they’ve ever had. What you need to keep in mind are two things:
First – the insurance company may be on the hook for a lot of money upon your passing so they need to uncover every detail about your current health or pertinent details from your health history
Second – understand that not all health details are significant to the underwriters
One of the questions might ask when was the last time you saw the doctor and what for. If you answered that you just recently saw the doctor because you had the flu or you had a respiratory infection, were prescribed antibiotics and the cough went away with no problems since, you don’t need to be concerned about something like that.
Keep in mind that just because the insurance company asks about it and you have to disclose something, it’s not something you necessarily need to worry about.
They’re looking for health conditions that would impact somebody’s life expectancy. These would be things like diabetes, cancer, history of stroke, etc.
WHY DO THEY CARE ABOUT MY TRAVEL PLANS?
It should also make sense that the insurance company wants to know about any possible risk – either in your lifestyle, your occupation, or travel habits to un-modernized countries where disease may be prevalent.
They also want to know if you are in the habit of engaging in hazardous activities. Even though these have nothing to do with your health it should be clear to you that insurance companies have to know about this because even if you die while racing in a dirt bike race or die traveling into the inner regions of the Amazon jungle, the insurance company has to pay the life insurance proceeds upon your death.
If you apply for life insurance, please do yourself and your agent a favor and don’t be so skeptical about their questions. They’re in business to make money.
They need details about your health and lifestyle habits in order to accurately rate your life expectancy and any potential death benefits they would have to pay.
They’re not in business to approve policies on people who has extraordinarily risky hobbies or an extraordinarily hazardous health issue.
WHY DO THEY NEED TO ASK PERSONAL, IDENTIFYING INFORMATION?
One of the first questions I learned to overcome as an insurance agent was, “Why do they ask for my Social Security number on the application?” (One client’s brother tried to convince him that I was trying to steal his identity!) That’s a simple question to answer. They have to have it in order to access your medical records. Also, there should be no opportunity to mix you up with another person with your same name and date of birth.
Granted, this would be a rare occurrence. But through chance or even fraud, crazier things have happened and death benefits would be paid out to the wrong people or not paid out at all.
WHY DO LIFE INSURANCE COMPANIES NEED INFORMATION ABOUT MY FINANCES?
Insurance companies will usually ask for your annual income, amount of assets and liabilities as well as your net worth. This has nothing to do with approving you for a certain health classification. It has to do with approving you for a certain amount of coverage. For example, if I make $100,000 per year, I might have a hard time applying for $20 million of life insurance.
I should be able to get about 20 to 30 times my annual income so $2 to $3 million could be a legitimate request for me but if I ask for $20 million you should see where they would say, “Why do you need that much coverage? You’re not worth $20 million.” Keep in mind the purpose of life insurance is to indemnify the beneficiary. That means to make them financially whole.
The purpose of a life insurance policy is only to replace what was lost financially from the insured person’s death so this is why they have to ask about your income. It has to do with qualifying for the face value. The same goes for why they ask about your assets and your net worth.
Many people purchase life insurance for estate planning purposes, and when you’re looking at large sums of insurance, sometimes they are purchased to pay an estate tax bill or for estate liquidity. In this case, they’ll want to know about the assets that you have.
It’s rare that that the underwriter will ask for more details than just a figure for your income or for your assets. They’re not going to ask for a breakdown of the properties that you own and ask for the addresses of the properties – nothing like that. At the most, they might ask for a breakdown of the asset classes that you own.
For example, if you have a $10 million estate, you might say $5 million of it is in my business, $3 million in real estate and $2 million in cash and investments – something to that effect.
I know it always feels like the insurance companies can be intrusive on their applications, but understand they’ve been in business for hundreds of years. They’re not asking you so they can share your information with anybody or so that they can be malicious with it.
They’re asking it because of qualification reasons–either qualifying for a health classification or qualifying for financial justification. Those are the two reasons that they ask anything about your health or about your finances.
I hope this clears up any questions you have about life insurance carriers’ interest in questions. If not, please feel free to call me at 877-443-9467. I look forward to hearing from you. For a free quote, feel free to use the quote box at the upper right of this page.