Do you travel outside of the United States on a regular basis? Maybe you travel to the Middle East, Parts of Asia, India or Pakistan. If you do, you should be aware that foreign travel questions are on nearly every life insurance application. For some, foreign travel can present some challenges. There are some parts of the world that are unstable due to civil unrest and countries with governments that are hostile to the U.S. The US State Department puts out travel warnings for US citizens on an ongoing basis. You can find them at:
Now it seems that every time I talk to someone about their foreign travel being “dangerous,” I hear the same thing which is, “I travel there all the time, I have family there, business partners, etc. It’s not risky or dangerous at all.” So what should you do if you want to apply for life insurance and your foreign travel, on a regular basis, takes you to countries that are viewed unfavorably by underwriters? You should shop around and get preliminary evaluations before you apply. Every company has a list of countries that they put on their “will not approve” list. Other countries are designated for rate ups. But not all lists are the same. One underwriter’s decline is another’s approval. These are the common variables:
- How long is your average travel time? Some applications ask if your trip is typically more than 30 days. Others have shorter time spans.
- What is the purpose of your travel? Do you go for business, to see family or is it just a vacation.
- How frequently is your foreign travel? Once a week, month, year?
- Where do you go, even within the country of destination? This is probably the most important question.
Recently I had a client who wanted to apply for life insurance but he traveled a couple times a year to Iran. Every company I checked had Iran on the decline list. I inquired with some of my underwriting contacts and to my surprise, discovered that there was a company that had Iran on the preferred travel list. And this was a top rated, A+ company.
So if you are applying for life insurance and the question of foreign travel is going to come up, ask your agent before you apply if it will present any issues with their company. If the answer is yes or maybe, try and find a company where your particular travel schedule does not get flagged for rate ups or a decline. Here is a small sample of countries that I’ve found on acceptable foreign travel lists in the past: Algeria, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and many others. Call us to look up any other country.