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Life insurance application explained

Wondering how to fill out a life insurance application? Take a look at what information you need to provide and why.
Deciding to take out life insurance can feel like a big decision. It could have a large positive impact on your loved ones’ finances if you passed away. Once you’ve chosen your product, completing a life insurance application form should be straightforward.

Life insurance application questions

The questions providers ask can vary as insurers have different systems, called underwriting criteria, to decide how much your premiums will be. They generally cover your past and current health, occupation and lifestyle. But don’t worry – this personal information will only be used for your application and will not be shared. Take a look at some of the questions you may be asked:

An insurance policy is a legal document, so you’ll need to provide your legal name (no nicknames). It means records all line up and helps claims get processed without any issues.

Date of birth
Your age is one of the primary factors used to help decide costs. The older you are, the more likely it is for your premiums to be higher. This is because you’ll be more prone to certain health conditions and people tend to be in better health when they are young.

Sex at birth
Life insurance companies will ask for your sex at birth as the life expectancies for men and women is different. Women on average live 3.7 years longer than men, so they can sometimes have cover over a longer period of time. This can also make it cheaper.

Length of time
Would you like cover for a specific term or a lifetime? This will impact the cost. Whole of life insurance doesn’t expire but it does tend to cost more.

Amount of cover
This is the amount paid out if you pass away. For example, if you have a large mortgage, you’ll want more cover. The more cover you want, the higher your premiums will be.

Height and weight
Your height and weight combined with your age reveal your BMI (body max index). BMI results can indicate if you are likely to develop weight-related health problems. A higher BMI could increase your insurance. But some insurers may ask for a medical examination or more information.

Lifestyle habits
Some lifestyle choices increase your risk of developing health conditions, like smoking and drinking alcohol. Insurers may charge more for cover if you smoke or drink a lot because it means you’re more likely to claim. But health habits can lower your premiums too, like regular exercise.

Working in a high-risk occupation can mean having to pay more because they can risk an individual’s life. Insurers could charge more because of this.

If you have any dangerous hobbies like skydiving or bungee jumping, your quote may be higher than someone who doesn't.

Medical history
Insurers may ask about any medication you take and past surgeries. This is because pre-existing conditions are often exempt from cover. In some cases, insurers may even decline an application. This makes it very important to disclose the information. They can also ask about family medical conditions (some are hereditary).

Medical evaluation
Your insurer may request a medical evaluation if they have concerns about your medical history. In the exam, they would likely check your vitals and take samples, such as blood or urine.

What do I do if I've made a mistake on my life insurance application?

If you’ve made a mistake on your life insurance application form, contact the insurer as soon as possible. If your loved ones needed to make a claim and there was a mistake, this could affect the size of the pay-out. They might get less than expected, or nothing at all. Depending on the error, the insurer may need to revise your quote.

If you realise you made a mistake but don’t tell the insurer, your policy could be void. So it’s vital that you tell the insurer. This ensures financial protection for your loved ones should the worst happen.

What can I do if my life insurance application is declined?

It’s disappointing if your life insurance application is declined. But there are a few things you can do. The first is to double-check your application and look for any errors.

If everything looks okay, speak to the insurer and find out why they declined you. Life insurance applications are declined for specific reasons. For example, they may not cover people who’ve had particular illnesses in the past.

Some insurers will cover people who’ve had cancer in the past, but others may not. If you are declined, shop around and get in touch with different providers. If you’re struggling, try speaking to an independent financial adviser. They’ll be able to advise you on the best product for your circumstances.

Can I cancel a life insurance application?

You have the right to cancel a life insurance application at any time. If you’ve found another provider who offers a product you prefer, you can change your mind. If you decide you don’t need it at all, you also have the right to stop the application.


Once your cover has begun, you can cancel the insurance whenever you want. You’ll need to notify your provider first. It’s worth double-checking your policy details to see if you will incur any fees too. Remember – you won’t get back any money you paid into the policy so far.


Some providers offer a ‘cooling-off period’. This is a set time at the beginning of the policy where you’re allowed to change your mind – without paying any fees.

Relevant guides and articles

  • Changing life insurance 

    Thinking of changing life insurance provider or product? Read our comprehensive guide on reviewing your cover, amending your policy, and switching.

  • Life insurance beneficiaries 

    Our guide to life insurance beneficiaries looks at who can be a beneficiary, how it affects estate planning, and we delve into the different processes.

  • Life insurance premiums 

    How are life insurance premiums calculated? Here’s everything you need to know about premiums, how they’re calculated and things to consider.