Brokers share most bizarre reasons why borrowers refuse life cover

“I don’t need protection because my medium has seen me alive and well celebrating my 80th birthday”, “the Government will pay the mortgage” and “smoking is not bad for you”, are among some of the most bizarre reasons why borrowers have refused life insurance and critical illness cover, brokers have revealed.

Further reasons include: “it won’t happen to me”, “it sounds like PPI” and “that kind of thing doesn’t happen in real life.”

Newspage compiled the eye-opening experiences and anecdotes of 20 brokers below.

Simon Bridgland, broker and director at Release Freedom:

“I don’t need protection because it’s too expensive, I’m fit and healthy, my family will help out, the government will pay the mortgage, I’d rather spend money on other things, I will still be working, I’m nearly retired and, if you can believe it, smoking’s not bad for you, we don’t believe it, it’s all rubbish’, as one couple in their 20s told me recently.

“Whatever the reason given, some really don’t want to spend money on insurance they neither trust nor understand.

“People refuse to think about their own mortality, but most I believe have not had an honest conversation to discover the facts or likelihood of an event happening.

“If they had, then more people would have incomes and family covered. Often people have life cover that has been arranged on the wrong terms, usually arranged themselves after a Google search for ‘life insurance’.

“However if buyers don’t understand something, they are usually driven by price and that can lead to poor outcomes.”

Scott Taylor-Barr, principal adviser at Barnsdale Financial Management:

“Over the years I have had some very interesting reasons for turning down life insurance given. The two that stick in my mind are the chap who said he wouldn’t do any protection because “my missus wants Sky TV and that’s more important to her”, and my absolute favourite was the lady who said “I don’t need protection because my medium has seen me alive and well celebrating my 80th birthday.”

“It is unfortunate that many have a poor relationship with insurance; they tend to try and twist themselves into knots trying to find reasons why they don’t need it and then when they realise they do need it, they go looking for the very cheapest they can find, rather than look at quality of cover.

“Sadly, I am finding that the most common objection nowadays isn’t really an objection at all, it’s ghosting; the person simply stops replying to messages, emails or calls.”

Dariusz Karpowicz, director at Albion Financial Advice:

“One of the most common reasons I hear from people for not taking out critical illness or life cover is that “I don’t need protection because it won’t happen to me”.

“Either that, “it’s too expensive” or something along the lines of “I have savings” or “my friends and family will help out if something goes wrong.”

“However, it’s eye-opening to note that a basic cover plan could start from the price of a weekly coffee and snack, yet many still overlook the importance of such protection.

“It’s crucial to remember that while no one expects the worst, being prepared can make all the difference. Having some cover is better than having no cover.”

Michelle Lawson, director at Lawson Financial:

“I don’t need protection because my family will look after me” is the most common reason I’m given.

“On top of that, many people feel they are immortal and won’t ever need insurance, and that it’s an unnecessary outlay.

“So many people assume that their parents will pick up with the protection gap rather than take on personal responsibility.

“Protection really should be at the forefront of people’s minds and professional advice should be sought rather than visiting the comparison sites as there are many things to consider and take into account that these sites do not.”

Ben Perks, managing director at Orchard Financial Advisers:

“People often think that family will support them. They probably will, but the financial impact of having a critical illness can be much greater than people expect.

“So, whilst family will do their utmost to support you, they may not be able to take on all of your financial commitments.

“It is much better to make your own arrangements and have the certainty that you and your family are protected.”

Katy Eatenton, mortgage and protection specialist at Lifetime Wealth Management:

“The most common reasons given are always ‘I’m fit and well’ and ‘it won’t happen to me’.

“This totally ignores the fact that, statically, one in two people will get diagnosed with cancer.

“Leaving family and loved ones to pick up the pieces when you have gone, or worse, having to set up a go fund me page because you didn’t get your ducks in a row, is the most irresponsible thing a person can do, especially if they have had protection explained to them by an adviser.

“People need to urgently rethink their priorities.”

Justin Moy, managing director at EHF Mortgages:

“I often find that mortgage borrowers will only take what is mandatory, such as home insurance, rather than think about the wider implications of having little or no life or critical illness cover in place.

“Sadly, all too often mandatory insurance can result in misery.

“As the mortgage has been such a stretch to afford, and the payment high, rather than ensuring that the risks are minimised the opposite happens.

“Borrowers too often shy away from protection with little or no backup plan if a problem occurs.”

Elliott Benson, owner at Sett Mortgages:

“Definitely the most common reasons you hear people not taking mortgage protection are either “my parents would pay the mortgage for me” or “that kind of thing doesn’t happen in real life”, referring to critical illness and death.

“The latter being something which definitely does happen in real life unless you are immortal.

“Along with this, I have heard “it sounds like PPI”, which seems to be another reason people stay away from it.”

Ross Lacey, director and chartered financial planner at Fairview Financial Management:

“I don’t need insurance because I have cover through work.” This is a common reason given, but often when digging deeper people realise how fragile this form of protection is, as it’s based on them remaining with that same employer indefinitely and is also rarely aligned with the cover they actually need to give them the outcomes they’d like if a claim was ever made.

“In an ideal world we’d all have tons of insurance cover but this has to be balanced with the cost of the premiums.

“We all hope that any insurance we pay for is a complete waste of money as we’ll never need it, but unfortunately the real-life stats tell a different story.”

David Robinson, co-founder at Wildcat Law:

“I’m self-insured” is a common reason given by wealthier people who own their own businesses.

“They often miss the point that if they can’t work or were to die their business would also cease to function. It’s frankly bizarre.

“My favourite reason someone gave for not taking out life and critical illness cover was that they needed to insure their cat.”

Gary Bush, financial adviser at

“Mortgage applicants often confirm that they’d like to spend as little as possible covering the most important things in their life – it’s kinda what they do.

“It’s our job to explain in how little a period of time their lives would be seriously affected by short/medium term illness, critical illness, and of course, the worst case scenario, recovering from the loss of a loved one.

“The best analogy we use is to show them our analysis of their spending habits from our open banking link to their bank accounts and point out how much Costa (other coffee outlets are available) is costing them per month against how much comprehensive family and health cover can cost. I mean no one is going to die right, that’s for other people.”

Joshua Gerstler, chartered financial planner and owner at The Orchard Practice:

“I am not planning on being ill. It is not a priority for me at this point.

“My wife can sell the house and her and the kids can move in with her parents.

“Why should he get anything after I’m gone? I have always been fit and healthy. I’ll put the money in a bank account instead.”

Richard Jennings CeMAP, founder and managing director at Richard Jennings Mortgage Services:

“By far the most common reason for insurance not being taken out, we believe, are a lack of knowledge of the products and a fear of being sold to.

“These manifest in a variety of “objections” including: “It won’t happen to me”.

“Lucky you to have seen in the future and have an absolute guarantee you won’t fall ill over the next 20/25/30 years; “I will use my savings: the same savings you are wiping out to fund your house deposit.; “My family will help me”.

“This is fine short term, but what if you can’t earn an income for 15 years – what happens then?;

“I will sell my home”. And at a time you lose your health would you really then also want to lose your independence and move back home with family?

“Also, can their home accommodate any special equipment you may need?

“I think the real reason for a lack of cover is clients not being aware is that it’s a vitally under-discussed protection. There are also a lot of advisers who don’t like having difficult conversations and so avoid this.”

Aaron Strutt, product and communications director at Trinity Financial:

“Lots of people do not prioritise financial protection policies because they think they are a waste of money.

“They spend spare cash on takeaways or other non-essentials, some even insure their pets but not their family.

“Many do not take insurance because they do not think they will get ill. They say it won’t happen to them.

“Some say they will sell their house to cover their costs and as they don’t have children it is not a priority.

“Ultimately the younger and healthier you are, the cheaper the price.

“Critical illness cover is designed to pay a cash lump sum to pay for immediate problems, like private treatment or taking time off work; some policies also cover children.

“Life insurance pays out if you die or you have a terminal illness. We recently secured a £30,000 payment for a customer whose child was taken ill the day after he was born.

“During an annual protection review, we found out about the issue and processed a claim. The parents did not know they were due a lump sum payment.”

Rita Kohli, managing director at The Mortgage Stop:

“The most common reason is that people just say it’s too expensive or they just don’t need it as nothing like that has ever happened to them.

“Worse is when they say don’t worry, my family will help me out but have had no conversations with my family about this.

“Some people believe that their employer will protect them and won’t even consider that they may have to change jobs or that when they do it will be a much better package.

“We make the conversation front and centre and talk to borrowers about budgeting for suitable protection as part of their mortgage not as an add-on or perk they don’t need.”

Rhys Schofield, brand director at Peak Mortgages and Protection:

“What always blows my mind is people spending a few hundred quid a month insuring their pets but totally burying their head in their sands about insuring the very thing that funds everything in their life – themselves.

“I’ve had someone insuring their dog for £90 odd a month yet felt spending £30 a month on the full works of life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection was ‘too expensive.’

“Yes pet insurance is an important cost to factor into owning a pet, but so is protecting yourself and your family.”

Amit Patel, adviser at Trinity Finance:

“It won’t happen to me”, “My family will pay for my mortgage”, “I have savings”, “I’m fit and healthy”, “It’s too expensive” are some of the reasons people give for not wanting to take out a protection policy.

“Reality is we just don’t know what is around the corner. It’s better to have it and not need it, rather than needing it and not having it.”

Sabrina Hall, mortgage adviser and protection adviser at Kind Financial Services:

“I don’t need protection because I’m not risk averse so I don’t need it”.

“A response to which I usually point out that the risk for life insurance isn’t for you to consider, it’s for the people you leave behind and they might be risk averse.”

Hannah Bashford, director at Model Financial Solutions:

“The best one I had was “I’ll move back in with my parents.”

“The parents who had just downsized to give them the deposit to buy their first home and were now living in a two-bed cottage and the couple had two children under the age of six!”

Emily Martin, associate partner at The Mortgage Store Chorley:

“I had the insurance chat with a young first-time buyer recently. She kept telling me if anything “went wrong”, her mum would be able to help her out.

“A few days later, her mum contacted me about remortgaging to reduce her outgoings because she’s always skint at the end of the month.

“The most bizarre one I’ve had was clients who completed a budget planner and claimed to have £1,000 a month in disposable income, but had no savings and “couldn’t afford” to amend their existing £50 a month policy to something more suitable, and only slightly more expensive.”