Can Travel Affect Your Life Insurance Application?


Unless you work in life insurance industry, you probably can’t even understand the logic of this question. After all, what do a person’s travel habits have anything to do in the slightest with a life insurance application? Actually, depending on where it is you travel to, the effects can be substantial.

It’s All About the Destinations

Generally speaking, there is no issue with traveling frequently in the United States or Canada, or for that matter to Japan, Australia, or various countries in Europe. The problems arise when you’re traveling to countries with known issues that could affect your life expectancy in a very direct way.

For example, most of us are familiar with the threat of terrorism being more acute in certain countries, particularly in the Middle East (though it can also happen in other regions as well). But there are also countries that are experiencing political instability, and where safety is a major concern.

But perhaps even more common are countries that are experiencing significant health crises. Some countries in the world are so poor that they lack basic services, such as clean water and rudimentary healthcare. Such places can and often are breeding grounds for serious disease, many of which are ultimately fatal.

Regular travel to such countries will be a concern to a life insurance company, because it could be an indication that they will be paying a claim on the policy sooner than later.

…And the Frequency of Travel to Those Destinations

Occasional travel to hazardous destinations may be less cause for concern on a life insurance application. But more frequent trips could be an indication that you are being exposed to serious risk of an early death.

If you travel to a dangerous region a couple of times in a decade, this may not be a problem. But if you visit such locations three or four (or more) times per year, or you are a regular traveler to those destinations, this can be a serious risk to a life insurance company.

Exotic Travel – How Common Is That?

This kind of travel has actually become more of a concern for life insurance companies. In part it’s because more people are traveling to more remote destinations. The wider availability of low-cost air travel is making it possible. And thanks to the Internet, people are able to get information on less popular destinations.

Young people in particular are often drawn to exotic locations, as a way of building new experiences early in life. After all, if you have a goal of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s probably best done while you are young and single, rather than waiting until you have children when it will become impractical.

The Internet is also playing a part in a different way. It makes it possible to remain connected with your home base from virtually anywhere in the world that has an Internet connection. That not only lowers the barriers to people traveling to out-of-the-way destinations, but since many people also earn a living on the Internet in some form or fashion, taking time to travel to such locations is less of a financial issue.

Life Insurance Companies Don’t Want to Pay Out Early Claims

So why should life insurance companies care where you travel to, and how frequently? After all, it’s not like you’re not taking precautions. But everything in the life insurance universe is based on risk. Anytime a life insurance company accepts a new insurance client, they have to carefully measure the risk of an early death.

If you take a life insurance policy, then die three years later, the life insurance company will have to pay out a claim, one that won’t be remotely covered by the premiums you will have paid.

In managing risk, life insurance companies try to take policies on the largest number of people who are more likely to live to their full life expectancy. Since travel to dangerous locations could result in an early death, insurance companies will want to know where you travel to, and how frequently you go.

How Will the Insurance Company Know Where You Travel To?

Life insurance applications typically have a question that relates to travel. It is usually worded something like “Have you traveled outside the country within the past two years?” Or, “Do you plan to travel outside the country in the next two years?” A positive answer to such a question will of course invite more questions that will attempt to get you to provide much more specific information.

You can ignore the question and simply answer “no”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the issue is solved. In the event that you were to die within a couple of years of the issuance of the policy, and it was clear that the death was the result of travel to a foreign location that is deemed dangerous, the insurance company can open up an investigation.

If that investigation reveals that you were a regular traveler to dangerous countries before and since your application, they could revoke the approval. That means that your beneficiaries would not be paid at face value of the life insurance policy. At best, they may be entitled to any refund of the premiums paid. Since this represents a form of insurance fraud, the company will be within its legal rights to do this.

Which Insurance Company You Apply to Can Make All the Difference

If you are a frequent traveler to dangerous locations, which company you apply to for life insurance will make all the difference. Some companies will charge you a higher premium rate for dangerous travel, while others may decline your application altogether. But there are companies out there that take a much more liberal view of such travel, and will take such a policy at a better rate.

We know who those companies are, and we can help you get the best life insurance at the lowest possible premium, even if you do travel to dangerous locations. Give us a call, and put our knowledge to work for you.