Applications for Insurance Coverage

Have you ever got the feeling that the insurance company trying to sell you life insurance did not want you to tell the truth? Have you ever had an agent say “you don’t have to put that down?”

The questions on many applications are very difficult to understand. For instance, “Do you smoke?” I don’t consider myself a smoker in any shape, form or fashion, and no other sane person would. ( I have plenty of other vices, to be sure, but not this one.)

Nevertheless, I made the mistake of answering that question “Yes” 6 years ago because 2 or 3 times a year I used to smoke a cigar with the guys. I use the term “smoke” lightly – it would be more accurate to say that I allowed the cigar to burn between the index and middle finger of my hand while using my right hand to raise a Bombay Saffire on the rocks (two olives) to my parched lips.

My candor raised the premium on my policy dramatically – and I learned a lesson. No – not a lesson to lie – a lesson that smoking an occasionally stoggie with my brothers or friends was not worth $12.87 per uninhaled puff.

Here is a decision about a woman who died of breast cancer. When her husband tried to collect on her life insurance policy, the insurance company denied the claim, saying that she had lied about her smoking history. The California Supreme Court does a great job explaining why there was a genuine issue of material fact and remanded the case for trial.

Be careful out there.