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July 15, 2021

What to Do if You Find a Mistake on Your Life Insurance Application?

life insurance application mistakes

Mistakes on life insurance applications happen, which is why it’s important to always review your life insurance application before submitting. However, what happens if you find an error on your life insurance application after it’s been submitted, and what are the potential consequences? Read this blog to find out.

The potential consequences of life insurance application mistakes

As we all know, mistakes happen – whether it be misplacing your keys or writing your previous address on a life application form. While no one is perfect and mistakes are human, a small mistake or misunderstanding on a life insurance application can have big consequences.

In many cases, the burden of honesty also lies on the consumer, leaving them with the burden of verifying and correcting any mistake on a life insurance application. This means any mistakes on a life insurance application can actually put the policyholder at risk. For example, some potential consequences of life insurance application mistakes include:

  • Application rejection:

    If the information provided on a life insurance application is vague or questionable, life insurance companies may reject the application.
  • Flagged for fraud:

    Insurance fraud is a big deal. The punishment for insurance fraud may include prison, jail, civil penalties, criminal penalties, and more.1 In addition, the insurance company may cancel your policy, reduce the benefit amount, or something more depending on their policies for providing incorrect information on a life insurance policy, including accusing you of fraud.
  • Claim denial or policy rescission:

    In the event a claim is filed and the information submitted on the life insurance application is incorrect, the death benefit could be denied or the policy rescinded based on the language found in the contract.

To avoid these potential consequences, always make sure to review a life insurance application twice over before submitting it to the insurance company.

Common mistakes on life insurance applications

While double-checking a life insurance application before submission is a great way to prevent mistakes, some may find a mistake has been made after sending off the application. Some common life insurance application mistakes to double-check for prior to submission include:

  • Incorrect contact information:

    Whether it’s a home address, phone number, or email, having the right contact information in place is essential for life insurance companies. Make sure all contact information is accurate, up-to-date, and displayed neatly to avoid any mistakes on an application.
  • Wrong age:

    Any application submitted with the incorrect age or birthdate can make it difficult to recover benefits once a claim is filed. In fact, some life insurance companies include a “misstatement of age provision,” which states that an insurance company will only pay the amount of benefits that would have been purchased for the premium if the correct age or birthdate would have been provided.
  • Missing information:

    Are you missing information on your form? In most cases, insurance companies will reach out and ask that it is provided. However, if the missing information comes in the form of omission, like not listing a full medical history, insurance companies may consider this fraud and deny any benefits.

So, you found a mistake on your life insurance application. Now what?

No one is perfect, and even if we review our documents, sometimes we miss an error or two. When resolving mistakes on a life insurance application, make sure to first determine where the application is in the approval process, as resolving mistakes on an application prior to its approval will have a different process than approved applications.2

  • If you find a mistake before the application is approved …

    Generally speaking, if any error is found on a life insurance application, it is best to immediately contact the customer service department of the life insurance company the application was sent to or your life insurance agent. If the application has not yet been approved, you may be able to make changes to the application over the phone with typically no requests for supporting documents, however this is not guaranteed and should not be expected.2
  • If you find a mistake after the application is approved …

    If the mistake is found after the application is approved, contacting the customer service department of the life insurance company the application was sent to is still the first step. However, the process for correcting a mistake on an approved application is often lengthier. In many cases, if the error is spotted after 30 days of the approval, documentation will be needed to modify the life insurance application unless proven that the error was made by the insurance company.2

Regardless of where a life insurance application is in the approval process when the error is identified, it is always best to ensure that any supporting documents needed to modify an application are available when ready. Requirements for life application alterations vary by life insurance company and by state laws and regulations – so be prepared!

Use prevention strategies to avoid life insurance application mistakes

Filling out life insurance applications can be a long and difficult task. However, the best way to ensure that all applications submitted to the life insurance company are correct is by helping to prevent mistakes from happening in the first place. A great way to help prevent life insurance application mistakes is by:

  • Being in a sound body and mind when filling out the application
  • Connecting with a licensed life insurance agent to help walk you through the application process
  • Slowly working through and reading the application
  • Returning to the application after 24 hours to review it one final time before sending the application to the life insurance company

Minimizing mistakes on a life insurance application takes some time and patience, so make sure to adopt these prevention strategies when filling out any life insurance document, as no one wants their claim rejected due to a mistake on their life insurance application!

  1. Sparks Law Firm, Insurance Fraud, 2021
  2. Internal Globe Life Resource, Insurance Fraud, 2021

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