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Applying For Life Insurance: Honesty Is The Best Policy

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Failing to tell the "whole truth" on your Life insurance application can cost your beneficiaries dearly.

The healthier you are, the less you'll pay for Life coverage (especially for a Term policy). Applicants who smoke like a chimney or drink like a fish are statistically more likely to die young - which means that the insurance company will charge them a higher premium to cover the greater risk of death during the policy period. Other factors affecting premium rates include diseases such as cancer, and such health issues as diabetes or obesity that can contribute to a shortened lifespan.

When applying for a Life policy, it's crucial to be totally honest about the state of your health. Fudging the truth can lead the insurance company to reject your application or, potentially, even cancel coverage.

You might think that stating on your application that you've never had cancer when you're actually a survivor, or that you're a non-smoker when you still smoke a pack a day, are nothing but "little white lies." However, these misrepresentations won't stand up when you take the physical exam that's required for most Life policies.

In addition, many policies have "contestability clauses," which means that the insurance company can decide not to pay the death benefit during the first two years of coverage if you're proven to have lied on the application. For example, if a policyholder claimed to be a non-smoker, and then died of emphysema six months later, coverage could be cancelled if the insurer could show that smoking led to this condition - which means the policy beneficiaries wouldn't get a dime!

A word to the wise!