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Dave Says: What to Do When You're Denied Life Insurance

Dave Ramsey - September 03, 2013

What if, for some reason, you're denied life insurance? How can you still leave your family with the peace of mind that they will be taken care of? Dave has some advice!

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Dear Dave,

My husband was recently denied term life insurance because he has a criminal record from a long time ago. The good news is that, in a year, he’ll be far enough removed from the incident that he’ll be eligible for a policy. He has a whole life policy for $75,000 from before, which he doesn’t plan to cancel. We have two small children, so is there another kind of policy he could get in the interim?

Dana

Dear Dana,

If you can’t get term life insurance, you can’t get whole life. It’s the same underwriting process. I only recommend term policies, but under these circumstances I’d keep the whole life in place because he’s basically uninsurable.

There are a couple of things you can do in this kind of situation. One thing is to get a mortgage life insurance policy. These are usually available without any kind of major inspection, and they pay off your mortgage, in full, in the event of death. It’s about 10 times more expensive than regular term insurance, but at least it will pay off the house.

Another thing to look into is an automatic issue-type policy. Lots of banks offer these when you open an account. Usually, they’ll send you an offer for a $10,000 life insurance policy. But if you pick up four or five of these, then he’s got another $50,000 on top of the $75,000 already in place. It’s still not enough, but it’s better than nothing.

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But I wouldn’t spend a lot when he’s only got a year left until he can get some good, proper coverage. I recommend people have eight to 10 times their annual income in life insurance coverage. So, if he makes $50,000 a year, he needs to have $400,000 to $500,000 in a good, level term policy. That’s what you guys need to shoot for a year from now!

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.

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