Life Insurance Underwriting

life insurance

When you finally decide to purchase a life policy, you likely will undergo extensive underwriting. When compared to health insurance underwriting, life insurance underwriting may feel like police are interrogating you. The process goes back many years for your questioning. If a company flags you, they may still sell you a life policy but apply higher monthly premiums; others may deny you coverage.

Life insurance underwriting follows generic criteria across the board. This condition doesn’t mean that all companies judge you equally. While some may be more relaxed, others can be tough. Based on the information gathered, policies will rate you from good, better, to best rates. To help you avoid any surprises when you decide to sign up, today we will go over some of the most common life insurance medical questions. We will also help you understand the flags that make you ineligible for life insurance.


Nicotine is one of the first flags on any life insurance underwriting. You must be free of nicotine for at least two years to qualify for a good standard. Insurance companies examine your family health history, whether it be siblings or parents, any cardiovascular illness, cancer problems, or death in the family. They will also check for any previous cancer history and your current blood pressure levels. Standard or preferred rates will not allow your BP levels to exceed 155/94.

Another medical impairment that underwriters are looking for is high cholesterol without exceeding 300. Your HDL ratio cannot exceed 8.0. If you have had any heart disease, you may not be able to get any of the preferred rates due to the seriousness of the condition. Even driving records are combed through as insurers look for any previous DUI history and reckless driving or suspensions. Besides these medical impairments, you could receive disqualification for many other health conditions.

Test & Denies

Although every insurer judges differently, they can disqualify you for cancer, HIV/aids, obesity, diabetes, Parkinson’s, or heart disease. Know that most companies do extensive tests. These tests may include vital signs, urine samples, blood samples, EKG or treadmill, doctor examination, and X-ray.

Though this might seem like a ton of conditions, life insurance protects you and provides help for your family if anything ever happens to you. Talk to your agent today about your life insurance questions and possible plans that fit your life insurance needs.

Life Insurance Questions?

We hope that this information on underwriting was useful to you.

If you’d like to learn how we can help you plan your retirement, call Empower Brokerage at (888) 539-1633 to speak to one of our Life and Annuity experts or leave a comment down below.

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This article was revised on 6/10/24.

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