Life insurance is protection you might not think about until you start a family, but knowing why people are declined for policies can help you prepare. A life insurance policy keeps a spouse and children financially secure in case something unexpected happens to the head of a household. Policies make up for lost income the family needs following the loss of a parent. Staying healthy improves your life and makes it easier to qualify for a life plan.

Medical Conditions

High cholesterol and triglyceride levels indicate risks for heart disease, but insurance companies often accept applicants who have slightly higher than normal blood cholesterol counts. However, insurers turn people down for extremely high levels, says high-risk life insurance agent Ed Hinerman, of the Hinerman Group. High glucose levels suggest prediabetic conditions or diabetes, resulting in a denial of insurance. Blood tests also reveal such conditions as kidney or bladder disease, which can result in denial of coverage.

Unhealthy Lifestyle

Drinking alcohol heavily reduces your chances of getting life insurance. Insurers deny applicants who have abnormal liver functions. Blood tests can reveal alcohol marker levels that suggest alcoholic damage or hepatitis. If you smoke, your insurance could be denied or cost you more for a policy. Firms deny people life insurance for being obese, which can lead to heart disease, diabetes or other disorders. If you’re about 10 pounds overweight for your age and size, it wouldn’t normally affect your application.

False Information

An applicant who fails to mention a medical condition might cost the family life benefits when the condition is revealed later. Your loved ones won’t collect on your policy if you die from a condition you claimed you didn’t have. Some people don’t tell the truth on their applications or take a guess on information and get declined. If you aren’t sure how much you weigh and put down a certain figure, but an exam shows you weigh 20 or 30 pounds more later on, you could lose your chance for the life insurance policy, says Hinerman. You also need to tell future insurance companies about past declines for insurance. Ask your insurance agent about the application if you aren’t sure about specifics.

Risky Activities

Certain hobbies, such as skydiving or flying, might disqualify you from inexpensive term life insurance. Companies differ on dangerous activities but often charge up to $2,500 more a year for insurance if you are accepted with these hobbies. Scuba diving, hang gliding and rock climbing are other activities that lead to a decline or high rates. Dangerous occupations that include these or other activities might also lead to denial or steep premiums. If you are in a combat zone during military service, you could be denied coverage, reports FinWeb.com, an online source for personal finance information, education and advice.