How to handle unexpected life insurance application questions

When it comes to planning your financial future, life insurance is a key piece of the process – particularly for those of us with families or partners.

But once you start to complete the application with your life insurance agent or advisor, you may be taken aback or made uncomfortable by some of the questions being asked.

“Why would they need to know that?” you may be thinking.

Essentially the reason these questions are part of the application is because knowing these details is crucial in order for your insurance company to assess your health and risk factors. That’s why it’s important you take the time to provide thorough, accurate answers.

But just because the questions can get personal, that doesn’t mean there’s any reason to be concerned or nervous.

Plus it’s not like you’ll be doing this alone. The agent or advisor you’re working with will be there to help you whip through the application process in no time!

Also read: Pop quiz – How badly do you need life insurance?

We spoke to Nad Khoja, an insurance agent contracted with Foresters Financial who kindly offered to address some of these touchy questions.

Let’s talk about those unexpected questions on your application

According to Nad, when filling out a life insurance application, many clients believe they’ll simply have to fill in their name and contact information with an additional question or two.

But in reality, many more details are required – including questions about potential medical conditions that you may have.

“There are actually about 25 to 30 very detailed questions about health issues”, says Nad. “For example, the application will ask you about your family history – i.e. if your mother, father, brother or sister has any medical conditions.”

Also read: Busted! 8 Myths about life insurance

Nad also pointed out a few other questions that tend to take applicants by surprise:

  • What’s your history of drug use within the last ten years?
  • How much alcohol do you drink?
  • Do you smoke?
  • How many speeding tickets have you received?
  • How much money do you make?

If you do find these types of questions intrusive, just relax and answer honestly. Keep in mind that your agent isn’t judging you. Over the years, they’ve heard it all. Nothing is going to surprise them!

Plus, by filling out the application together you and your agent will be establishing a foundation of trust that you can build on each time you meet in the future.

But why do these uncomfortable questions have to be asked?

Your life insurance agent’s top priority is to make sure your family would quickly and easily receive the money owed to them by your life insurer if you were to pass away.

And the best way to ensure that will happen is for your agent to get honest answers from you for each of these questions. They’re simply covering your bases.

Also read: Head to head – Life insurance vs. mortgage insurance

Although it may be uncomfortable in the moment, by answering each question honestly you can rest easy knowing your family’s finances will be protected if you pass away.

But what about those speeding ticket questions?

Yes, in addition to the medical history questions there are also going to be some risk-related lifestyle questions.

A question about speeding tickets or extreme sports may seem unrelated to health, but something like multiple speeding tickets can be seen as an indication of the types of risks you take. The purpose of these questions is to help your agent develop a personal risk profile for your application.

How should I answer these unexpected questions?

The answer is simple: honestly.

Because if you pass away within two years of purchasing your life insurance policy, your insurance company will conduct an investigation to ensure all of the information on your application was accurate. That’s why it’s critical that you answer all questions honestly and accurately.

And if you’re not sure how to answer a question, just ask your agent or advisor for help. That’s what they are there for!

Also read: Procrastination solutions – Getting started with life insurance

Nad Khoja enjoys assisting clients and their families financially. He is also dedicated to volunteering within his community. This dedication to volunteering and giving back has led to Nad being recognized with several volunteer distinctions and awards.

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Pira Kumarasamy

Pira Kumarasamy is a Toronto-based freelance writer and communications consultant in the financial space. She has a background in economics and enjoys making complex financial topics relatable to the average Canadian. Her areas of interest include financial markets, student loans and real estate. You can reach her on Twitter (@FrugaFinance) or LinkedIn.