The Life Insurance Application Journey, One Step At A Time.
Step 1: How Much Coverage Do You Need?
The first step is defining how much insurance you need.
At the bare minimum, True Blue recommends you have enough coverage to pay off your current debt; however, selecting an amount that covers your long-term debt AND covering 5 years of your income is a much better plan when choosing the amount of your coverage.
Once you have the needed amount, you can run a quote through True Blue’s life insurance quote engine (no personal contact information needed) to get a rough estimate of what a policy will cost. If you want a more detailed and accurate quote for life insurance, we recommend you take our General Health Questionnaire. Our General Health Questionnaire will not only give you the most accurate life insurance quote, but it will also match you with the best life insurance companies and policies in the event you have some blemishes on your medical history.
Step 2: Filling Out The Application
After you select an insurer, you’ll be asked to fill out your application form. Expect to answer questions about your lifestyle, activities, and occupation—note that some questions might feel intrusive, or personal—but are normal. In most cases, these applications should take less than 30 minutes to complete and most of these applications are done electronically, helping save time and unneeded paper.
The quicker you fill it out, the faster your application will go. Try to return it via email, fax, or drop off a physical letter in 24 to 48 hours.
Step 3: The Life Insurance Underwriters And Medical Exam
They’ll next review your application and decide whether to continue with the application process. Should they continue, they’ll conduct a phone interview where they’ll ask you basic medical and lifestyle questions—and schedule a medical exam, if your answers are to their satisfaction and the policy requires one.
Expect to wait a week or two for the paramedical exam to be scheduled. These exams take place in their office or at your home, depending on which place you requested it. A blood sample and potentially a urine sample will be taken at the exam, along with basic vitals as would be taken at any doctor’s office. You’ll also be asked to answer basic medical questions (again) and have your height and weight measured as well. It shouldn’t take more than a half hour.
The exam is followed by a potentially lengthy waiting period, depending on your medical history and the amount of life insurance coverage you are seeking.
Your insurer will be waiting for your doctor’s medical lab to process and send your results. This could take between a few days and three weeks.
Step 4: Additional Information May Be Needed
And if this exam reveals any additional health conditions, your insurer may ask your doctor or hospital for an Attending Physician Statement (APS). This document is fairly expensive to request, so insurers typically only rely on it if they’re giving your application an unusually close examination. Should they take this extra step, add another three to five weeks to your qualification.
Whether your insurer requested medical records or are satisfied with the exam results, the final step is underwriting.
At this point, the insurance company’s underwriters will conduct an actuarial analysis, calculating your medical and lifestyle risks, and then decide how to price your premiums—or determine you’re too risky to cover. You may also receive some follow-up calls from insurers to discuss particulars of any risk factor or medical condition you reported.
Step 5: Policy Is Issued
Seven to ten business days later, assuming everything goes as planned, you’ll receive coverage.
No Medical Exam Life Insurance Policies
No exam life insurance policies are best for those looking for a much quicker process and doesn’t require a medical exam. While there is no exam, you can expect there to be a review of medical records and other records as well as questions about your overall health.
There’s a downside to these plans, however. No exam life insurance policies typically charge a good amount more, ranging from 10-20 percent more in some cases.
In addition, applicants generally need to be in good physical health to qualify. While these policies won’t involve a medical exam, they will ask a series of medical questions, and may verify these details by assessing your Medical Information Bureau report, in addition to a pharmacy and motor vehicle report.
No medical exam l life insurance is best reserved for those in good health who can’t wait for the full life insurance application process, those who haven’t visited a physician in many years, or those with a severe aversion to needles.
Additional Factors That Affect Your Application Processing Time.
Your application isn’t guaranteed to take forever but we can guarantee it’s an often variable and unpredictable process. We’ve listed a number of factors that can impact the length of your wait.
Your Insurer Requires A Credit Check.
A credit request may also further delay your application. Depending on the insurance company, this typically occurs in the event of a recent financial event like bankruptcy. Expect another an additional week, or more, for full processing.
The More Valuable The Plan, The More Scrutiny Your Application Will Receive.
Applicants with high dollar plans will be scrutinized much more carefully than the average request. Expect plans with high payouts to come with significantly longer waiting periods and more potential required paperwork.
Some Plan Types Take Longer To Process.
Specialty policies like indexed universal life insurance and cash value life insurance will be considered with extra scrutiny. Instant issue and guaranteed issue life insurance are the easiest to get, followed by guaranteed universal life.
The Older You Are, The Longer You’ll Wait (typically).
Age plays a big part in life insurance, for exactly the reason you expect: life expectancy. Insurance providers will apply extra caution when looking at applicants in their advanced age. Term life insurance and many plans specialized for seniors are readily available.
Call Your Doctor’s Office In Advance Of Any Medical Records Request.
Since a medical records request can take a substantial amount of time, it’s good practice to call your doctor in advance of a medical records request. There is no cost to you (the life insurance company will pay an applicable costs) and they’ll be more prepared should your insurer requests records.
Be Honest In Your Risk Disclosures.
Omitting any significant chronic health problem your insurance company won’t like may be tempting but this method isn’t advisable.
For one, life insurance companies spend a lot of time and resources on verifying the information in your application. They’ll peek at social media accounts and those of your friends, check if any procedures you’ve had were in relation to a risk factor like disease or a dangerous hobby, and more.
Last, but not least, the consequences for lying, called “material misrepresentation”, aren’t light. You can be denied if you’re in the application process and if they discover any untruths after you’ve been granted insurance, you’re liable to get your premium raised, a reduced death benefit, or your coverage will be discontinued altogether.
Know What You Need; Keep All Parties Accountable
There are countless factors that can determine the length of your application and many my be out of your control. Assessing your needs from the beginning is the best bet to ensure you’ve made the right choice. All that’s left after that is to keep track of all the parties involved in your application, and gently nudge the parties involved should they fall into a bureaucratic holding pattern.
Having a proactive agent will help minimize the time and stress involved in obtaining the life insurance you need. Properly educated agents know what is needed exactly and they also know how to make the process quicker, getting you the coverage you need in less time. Finding an agent that is focused more on service and less on their commission will help make the life insurance application process easy and carefree.
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