Getting Approved for Affordable High Risk Life Insurance

An increasing number of people find themselves in the “high risk” category for life insurance these days. In fact, only around 15% of applicants get access to standard top tier rates, according to Best Life Rates. Your chances of getting approved for life insurance will be largely determined by your lifestyle, occupation, and hobbies.

More people now have pre-existing conditions that limit their ability to get insurance. Combine that with a high-risk profession and one or two adventurous hobbies, and getting approved for life insurance can seem like an impossibility.

Contrary to common belief, you don’t have to suffer from a potentially terminal illness, such as AIDs or cancer to be deemed high risk for life insurance. Being slightly obese, smoking, or drinking more than 14 units of alcohol per week are all warning signs to potential insurers. Anything that puts you at a higher probability of dying before your true life expectancy nudges you deeper into the high-risk insurance category.

But, there are ways of digging yourself out and improving your chances of getting approved for life insurance. Furthermore, within the high-risk category, you do not need to settle for the first offer you come across. There are ways to find and get approval for better rates.

Uncovering Reliable High-Risk Insurance Coverage

There are multiple categories for High-Risk Life Insurance, including PTSD, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Furthermore, certain professions and hobbies, such as Police, Pilot, Scuba Diving, and Race Car driving, can increase the risk from the insurer’s point of view. When that happens, there is a greater likelihood that you will either have to pay more for your life insurance premiums or be denied a policy altogether.

It is true that some will find it more challenging than others to find proper insurance coverage, depending on individual circumstances. But, despite what many people believe, it is possible for those deemed “high risk” to find affordable life insurance coverage. One of the first steps to achieving that is to find a reliable high-risk insurance agent.

Why You Need a High-Risk Insurance Agent

If your lifestyle, hobby, or occupation are such that your chances of approval for life insurance will be adversely affected, you will need to be extra diligent with your application. That means gathering and submitting incredibly detailed information about your circumstances. If for example, you have a pre-existing illness, insurers will want to see plenty of supporting documents to gain a full understanding of the diagnosis. That includes things like doctor’s notes, medication, and medical appointments.

The more information you provide about your circumstances, the faster insurers can assess your application. Information gathering is a tedious process, however, and not always straightforward. As a result, some people rush the process and hamper their chances of getting approval or access to better rates.

That’s one of the main reasons to work with a high-risk insurance agent. Experienced agents not only know the type of information that will best support your application, but they will also be able to advise you on many aspects of a high-risk life insurance application. That kind of help can prove invaluable moving your request along quickly and smoothly.  

Then, there is the cover letter – a letter sent along with your application that expands on your situation and gives more context than that of the answers in your main application. It is your chance to appeal to the human underwriters who assess each case on an individual basis. A cover letter is not essential, but a good one can unlock access to more favorable life insurance rates. Here again, an experienced agent can guide you to crafting a suitable cover letter that works.

Approval and Denial

Life insurance companies do not follow the same processes for assessing applicants. Each will look at individual situations differently. So, being denied insurance from one company does not mean you can’t find success elsewhere.

If, however, you have been denied life insurance by one company there is a good chance that your application was not strong enough. As mentioned earlier in this article, it is best to work with an experienced high-risk agent, but here are a few tips for increasing your chances of approval:

  • Get a full medical examination – Medical examinations can be expensive, but they are crucial for a high-risk person applying for life insurance coverage.
  • Lay out all the details – Whether working with an agent or not, you will need to provide a high level of detail regarding your occupation, lifestyle, and medical history.
  • Include a cover letter – This is worth restating. A cover letter can help sway an underwriter to a favorable decision. It is your opportunity to expand on key points within the application.
  • Pay annual premiums – If you can pay your life insurance premiums annually, rather than monthly, you can save 5-10%. That savings percentage will help to offset the increase in premiums that occurs as a result of your high-risk situation.
  • Ask for a reconsideration – If your situation changes from year to year, it is a good idea to ask the insurers for a reconsideration of your application. You can do that as often as once per year.

High-Risk Insurance Premiums

As you may have guessed, high-risk insurance policies are assessed and finalized slightly differently than normal. The primary reason for that is the higher costs attributed to these types of policies. In general, the greater the insurance risk, the higher the premiums.

But, that does not necessarily mean a linear increase with each progressively risky policy. Insurance underwriters use a combination of table ratings and flat extras when determining the cost of high-risk policies.

The table below, courtesy of Best Life Rates, illustrates price fluctuations based on a $100 base premium. You can see how the price is affected by the table rating as insurance risk factors increase the rating.


Initial PremiumRatingIncrease (%)New Premium

Looking at the table above, it is relatively easy to understand how premiums are affected by high-risk factors. But, it does not give an entirely accurate prediction of what your final rating will be, mainly because the underwriter will consider other factors and ultimately decides the final rating.


The underwriter might decide that a flat extra is more appropriate for your case, or a combination of flat fee and table rating is necessary. A flat fee is based on your policy details rather than the premium – the calculation process is different. An underwriter determines the flat extra fee, and that will be multiplied by the number of thousands your premium covers.


So, if you need a policy for the amount of $500,000, the base premium will be $1,000 per year. If, for example, the flat extra has been determined to be $1.00, times that by $500,000 to get a fee of $500 ($1.00 Flat Extra Fee x 500 Units of Insurance = $500 Fee). The annual total for your premium would thus be, $1,500.


Flat extra fees are not permanent. Depending on your circumstance, the fee could be applied for a few years, more than a decade, or as long as you carry the risk.


Some Do’s and Don’t for High-Risk Insurance Approval


Getting approved for high-risk insurance is not always easy, but it is definitely within the realm of possibility. You need not settle for the first or most expensive option either. Within the high-risk life insurance category, there are plenty of affordable options to suit a variety of needs. To ensure you unlock the best policies for your circumstance, you must:


  • Work with an agent
  • Know your risks
  • Supply all the necessary information
  • Be patient
  • Be honest

The process for getting high-risk insurance may seem arduous and time-consuming, but you’ll be glad you did it. Taking the extra steps necessary will help ensure you get the best, most affordable life insurance coverage no matter your lifestyle, occupation, or hobby.