Everything You Need to Know About Applying for Life Insurance


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Written by
Farmers CSR for 4 Years
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Reviewed by
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent
UPDATED: 2021-04-30T20:01:27.811Z
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A photo of a life insurance application.

Applying for life insurance is something most people don’t often think about. Even though we may only have to do it once or twice, it is still absolutely necessary.

Since it can be a confusing and somewhat stressful process, we will help walk you through it. Our goal is to make it so there will be no surprises when you begin the application process.

Even though the process of applying can feel stressful, you must get life insurance. When you have a life insurance policy, you can feel at peace knowing that if anything were to happen to you that your family doesn’t have to worry about financial issues.

What Is The Application Process Like?

Applying for life insurance can look different depending on the policy. You can almost always count on having to report your medical history and your current medical condition. While exposing all your medical issues may feel uncomfortable, it is completely necessary.

During this process, you should be open about any medical issues you have. If you are not, it may potentially cause issues for your family down the road.

The application process for life insurance asks in-depth questions, about subjects like your finances, income, personal habits, and current weight.

You will need to be honest when applying. Lying about your weight or drinking habits may not feel like a big deal to you, but it can cause huge issues in your policy and even in the life insurance payout down the line.

What Can You Expect From The Medical Exam?

Going into your life insurance medical examination can feel scary and intimidating. Stay calm and be as specific and honest as possible when answering any medical questions.

In regards to medical and other personal questions, here is what to know when applying for life insurance.

You can expect them to do all of the basic checks that you would usually do during a standard physical. They will also take a sample of your blood and urine for testing purposes.

You must disclose any previous procedures you have had and share any family medical history that you are aware of.

On a case-by-case basis, you might have to partake in more tests if deemed necessary due to personal factors or specific policy requirements.

Follow directions and follow the directions for the best possible outcome. The last thing you want to do is make it seem like you have something to hide.

Pro-tip: Make sure that on the day of your exam you are feeling well, both mentally and physically. During your exam, you will want to be feeling your best so that you can answer questions accurately.

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What Specific Questions Will You Answer?

Here are some of the topics you can expect to answer about when going through the process of applying for life insurance.

  • Questions regarding your tobacco use
  • Questions about any recreational drug use (including marijuana)
  • Questions about the frequency of alcohol use
  • Weight and weight gain
  • Exercise and activity habits
  • Organ transplants and past medical procedures
  • Past diagnoses
  • Family medical history including serious conditions such as cancer, heart disease, etc.

Besides medical-related questions, you should also expect to answer questions about your traveling habits. Insurance companies consider frequent travelers (outside of the country) to be at higher risk.

Normally, they will ask you what your intentions are for visiting or working outside of the country for the next couple of years. They may also ask about any ties you may have to property or business in other countries.

Life insurance companies will also ask you about your financial situation. The reason behind this is because taking out a life insurance policy should provide your family with the same level of support you are providing them with now.

If you attempt to take out a policy that is way higher than the income you currently have, it may trip red flags (but is not impossible to do, of course.)

Here are some questions about your finances asked by life insurance companies during the application process.

  • Income information for the past few years
  • Alternate insurance
  • Any bankruptcies
  • Debt and personal assets
  • Information about any dependent family members you provide for financially

Finally, the life insurance companies will ask personal questions about any criminal history you have, your citizenship status, previous convictions, and your place of birth and social security number.

This is not a complete list of all the personal questions they may ask you, but you can expect them to ask at least the questions listed above.

As mentioned earlier, lying about any of the answers to these questions will only hurt you in the end. Insurance underwriters do their research to check the accuracy of the information you supply them with.

Lying to life insurance companies can result in them tagging you. This alerts other life insurance companies that you were dishonest during the life insurance application process.

The Different Kinds Of Life Insurance

Another part of what to know when applying for life insurance is understanding the different types of life insurance policies that exist.

There are different kinds of life insurance plans (which would explain why people may have to apply for life insurance more than one time). The two kinds of life insurance that exist are term life insurance and whole or permanent life insurance.

The difference between these two types is that permanent life insurance never ends, and you do not have to change it. Term life insurance is temporary and expires after a certain period.

Things to Consider When You Apply for Life Insurance

When you determine the details of your life insurance policy, you will need to consider several factors.

Depending on your age and what stage of life you are in, the policy right for you may differ. You may want to consider other factors such as the ages of members of your family, and how much monetary value you supply to them.

If something were to happen to you, how much money would they need each year? For how many years would they have depended on that amount of money?

One life insurance company recommends taking out a policy that equals five years of pay and would cover any outstanding or future debt.

It is challenging to think about, but you must put some thought into this. It could greatly impact your family’s life.

While those plans that have no medical exam required may seem tempting, it's a good idea to go the traditional route unless you have no other option . These policies are often excessively expensive in price. It is worth the extra time to go through the process and get an affordable rate and plan.

How Long Does the Insurance Application Process Take?

The application process for life insurance can very in time to complete. It can range from very to one or more months to complete. Unfortunately, that fact has caused many people to decide to quit the process and remain uninsured.

Going through the process may be a headache, but it is well worth it to know your family will have coverage. The process may feel lengthy, but the payoff is priceless.

Can I Get an Idea of How Much My Policy Would Cost Before I Begin the Application Process?

The answer to this is yes, you can. It may not be completely accurate without going through the entire formal process. However, many companies will provide tools to get a general ballpark of what a policy would cost for you. You can check out questionnaires and life insurance quote tools to get this information.

It’s best to decide what company you’re interested in starting a policy with and beginning the process.

Wrapping Up the Application Process

Most of your worries should be addressed after you go through the questioning and the medical exam for your life insurance policy application. It will take the insurance company several weeks to review this information and check its accuracy.

You will also sign an agreement that states you state that this information is correct to the best of your knowledge.

The processing time for life insurance policies can vary. After you have completed all of the steps, it can still take longer if the company requires additional testing.

Circumstances that could potentially cause the process to take longer are if a medical concern pops up in your exam that requires more testing or if there are any additional statements or documents from a doctor.

Once they have collected, reviewed, and checked your application for accuracy, your policy will start within a short period of time. After that, depending on the type of life insurance coverage plan you have selected you will have coverage for life or for a set time.

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