Why Wasn’t I Approved?

by Bestow Team | January 01, 2018

Assessing risk isn’t easy and sometimes we have to make the hard choice. The truth is, we really do want to offer coverage to as many people as possible.

If you’re here, you probably received a message from us that reads something like this:

“Unfortunately, we’re unable to continue with your application at this time. We’re constantly working on expanding insurability, so if you don’t qualify for a policy with Bestow right now, check back with us again in the future.”

We know… it’s not what you expected. But as with every business, there are just certain risks we’re unable to take on at the moment.

While we can’t cover you right now, our friends at Quotacy*  work with dozens of insurance carriers and can help you compare coverage options.

Reasons Why We Can’t Offer Coverage

As a new company, we want to set ourselves — and our members — up for long-term success. That’s why Bestow has partnered with some of the largest industry players with strong financial ratings (A+ rated by A.M. Best). We’re in it for the long haul.

Life insurance underwriting is all about taking risks. In short, because Bestow doesn’t require a medical exam to get life insurance coverage, there are limitations in who we can initially extend coverage to. Here are some reasons why we weren’t able to offer coverage:

1. Your Profile

Your age, height, and weight all play a role in underwriting. The combination of these factors could make you ineligible depending on your responses.

In regards to age, we currently only offer coverage to individuals ages 18-60. The term lengths that may be available to you (ex. a 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30-year term) also depend on a variety of factors including age, gender, and tobacco usage.

2. Your History

Certain medical conditions may make you ineligible for a policy with Bestow. Heart disease, cancer, or kidney disease are just a few examples. (Read the rest in our FAQ.)  If you are unable to get coverage due to a medical reason, you’ll receive specific information about it via email, as well as information on where that medical data came from. We’ll also include information on who to contact in case something doesn’t look quite right.

We also conduct a background check, so a criminal history or a drunk driving conviction may prevent you from getting approved for a policy.

3. Your Occupation

Jobs like logging or installing power lines are extremely high risk, so many life insurance companies likely won’t extend coverage. If you do work in a high risk occupation, reach out to your employer or union to see what life insurance coverage options are available to you.

On the other hand, the number of hours worked is also taken into consideration. In order to be eligible for coverage, you must work at least 30 hours a week, be a full-time homemaker, or be a student.

The 30+ work-hours rule doesn’t apply to stay-at-home parents with side hustles. If you do some gigs for extra cash (maybe you have an Etsy store, drive for Uber, or run a website) but are predominantly a stay-at-home parent, you fall under the homemaker category. Similarly, students who work a bit for some extra income are still considered students and can apply for coverage.

4. Your Hobbies

Thrill seekers and adventurers, your favorite hobbies may get a lot of love on Instagram, but not from our insurance partners. And they aren’t too keen on your planned visit to that country in the middle of a war. See which habits and hobbies life insurance companies look at in our post about underwriting and risk factors.

5. You Already Have Too Much Coverage

While it’s great to be prepared, certain insurance levels extend beyond rational limits. Life insurance is meant to provide a financial safety net, and is often sized relative to your assets or future income. For example, someone earning $25,000 who is trying to get $10 million in life insurance would be beyond our coverage threshold. Our application also takes into account existing coverage you may have with other life insurance companies.

6. Your Citizenship Status

Many life insurance companies only offer policies to U.S. citizens. We’re fortunate to be able to serve permanent residents as well. But if you aren’t a citizen or permanent resident, we are not able to offer coverage options at this time.

Good to Know: Contestable Period

The contestable period is a time frame where life insurance companies can investigate the cause of death of the insured (with Bestow, this is the policyholder). It’s two years in most states and generally takes effect immediately upon policy purchase.

During the contestable period, the life insurance company will review whether intentionally inaccurate or false information was provided in the application for life insurance. If so, the falsified claim could be denied.

Now, let’s be clear. This doesn’t mean that they’re looking for an out. Our partners have fantastic reputations, notably serving millions of families for over 150 years. But it’s important for your life insurance company to try and prevent life insurance fraud. You can find more information, including noted exclusions, in your policy documents and in our FAQ.

What to Do If You’re Unable to Buy a Policy With Bestow

Don’t give up!

Just because you weren’t eligible for a Bestow policy doesn’t mean that you’re not eligible for life insurance at all. Here are a few options to help you get covered.

Contact a local independent agent or broker.

Licensed insurance agents can either work directly for one company (aka captive agents) or be independent and work with several insurance companies. The latter will know what kind of risks life insurance companies are willing to take on and can help you find a company that will extend coverage to you.

You can also reach out to the insurer of your car, homeowners, or renters insurance policy to see if they have coverage options that fit your needs. Or, compare coverage options online at Policygenius*.

Take advantage of your employer group plan.

A common workplace benefit is group life insurance. While there are sometimes limitations to how much coverage you can get, there is often a set amount that is offered to all eligible employees. Supplemental coverage may require more paperwork and a medical exam, but you can at least take advantage of the coverage automatically available to you. Learn more about getting life insurance through work.

*Disclosure: Quotacy and Bestow have an affiliate partnership. Bestow receives commission fees from referrals to Quotacy. PolicyGenius and Bestow also have an affiliate partnership.