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Foreign Travel Can Affect Life Insurance Buyers

Amy Danise

Traveling around the world can prove troublesome if you’re also applying for life insurance. Many life insurance companies view travel to some parts of the world as a risk they don’t want to take on. They’ll decline a life insurance application if you have travel plans to certain countries.

A life insurance application will typically ask if you plan to travel outside the U.S. or Canada. If you are, you may also be asked to complete a “foreign travel questionnaire,” such as this one from Banner Life. The questionnaire will ask where you plan to go, for how long and the reason (such as business or to visit family).

If you have travel plans to certain countries, you may face a life insurance application denial or a surcharge -- meaning a higher rate. Or a life insurer might postpone the application decision until you return.

Some insurers classify countries into groups and base pricing decisions on the group and how long you’re going for.

Countries with a U.S. Department of State travel warning, alert or advisory are often the basis for decisions to decline an application. These currently include places such as Afghanistan, Haiti, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Yemen.

State laws might help

Whether travel plans are allowed to affect a life insurance application vary by state. Some states have laws that are meant to curb life insurers’ ability to reject you based on foreign travel. For example, Florida and Georgia have laws that prohibit life insurance companies from refusing to sell you coverage solely because you plan to travel abroad.