Are you worried about what will happen to your dependents’ financial security after you die? It’s a common concern, but there’s an easy way to ensure your family’s finances are stable.
By purchasing life insurance, you can fiscally help protect your loved ones by continuing to provide for them after you’ve passed away.
The process of life insurance underwriting might seem complex, but your part of the process is actually quite simple. Your insurance company will do most of the work.
Types of Life Insurance
First, you need to determine what type of life insurance will work best for you and your family – term or permanent.
Term life insurance provides coverage for a set period of time, typically 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years. You pay a set premium for the length of your contract. Term life insurance is the most affordable type of life insurance.
Permanent life insurance provides coverage for your entire life. It’s pricier than term life insurance, but as long as you pay your premium, you’re guaranteed that your coverage will never increase and will never end.
Complete your Application
After you’ve decided which type of life insurance you’d like, you’ll need to begin shopping for the best possibly quote for your coverage.
Shopping for rates online with an independent agency like Top Quote Life Insurance is a great way to start. An independent agency that specializes in life insurance coverage will be able to quote you more than one company to ensure you are receiving the best price.
Once a price and company has been narrowed down the next step will be the application process.
The life insurance application will consist of personal information such as:
- Annual Income & Net worth
You’ll also need to provide some personal info, like your height, weight, lifestyle habits (e.g., do you smoke? do you drink?), and annual income.
If you’re considering lying about any of your information, such as your weight or whether or not you smoke, DON’T.
Providing false information during the life insurance underwriting process can cause you to have a higher premium or be denied benefits altogether. Your insurance company may even flag you so that other companies will know you were denied coverage because you lied.
Schedule a Medical Exam
The next step in the life insurance underwriting process is to get an in-person medical exam.
Your insurance company will schedule a licensed healthcare professional to meet you whenever and wherever is most convenient for you, including your own home. The exam typically takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
The paramed will confirm the information you provided on your application, then will measure your height and weight, take your blood pressure, and collect blood and urine samples.
Here are some tips for your exam:
- Schedule it for as early in the day as possible. You’re required to fast for 8 to 12 hours prior to the exam, so schedule your exam for early in the morning to make that as painless as possible.
- Drink lots of water. You may not be able to eat, but you can definitely drink water. Doing so will make it easier to provide blood and urine samples.
- Provide a list of medications. Your paramed will ask you for a current list of all of your prescription and over-the-counter meds, so having that ready to go will move the process along.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Try to get 8 hours of sleep the night before your exam. This will help reduce stress and lower your blood pressure.
- Avoid salt and sugar. In the days leading up to your medical exam, cut back on processed foods that are high in salt and sugar. Instead, eat healthy foods that will help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
- Limit exercise. This one probably seems counterintuitive, since exercising is considered a healthy habit. But intense exercise 24 hours or less before your medical exam could increase your blood pressure and potentially elevate the protein levels in your urine.
Life insurance underwriting with no medical exam
You also have the option of applying for life insurance with no medical exam, also known as simplified life insurance underwriting.
Because you’re not required to get a medical exam with this type of life insurance underwriting, the process can be completed more quickly and easily. So this can be a huge benefit if you’re in a hurry to get coverage.
However, there are some cons to consider. Life insurance with no medical exam has higher premiums, and it limits the coverage amount you can get, often to $250,000 or $500,000.
After you’ve completed your application and had your medical exam, a life insurance underwriter will analyze the results. They may also contact your doctor to request other medical records.
Your underwriter will analyze the following factors:
- Gender (some states offer unisex insurance rates)
- Height and weight
- Family health history
- Marital status
- Number of children
- Amount of life insurance you already have
- Tobacco and alcohol use
- Amount of travel
Your underwriter is looking for any information to help them determine what level of risk you are and, therefore, how much to charge you for your life insurance coverage.
After your underwriter has reviewed all of your information, your life insurance request will be approved or denied.
Unless you opted for life insurance underwriting with no medical exam, the process can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on when your lab results arrive, how much information they requested from your doctor, etc.
Keep in mind that if you were denied for being high risk, you can still get life insurance through companies that specialize in high-risk coverage.
Once you’ve been approved, you’ll want to do the following:
- Check your coverage. Depending on the rate you received, you may want to buy more coverage.
- Accept the policy. Let your agent know that you’d like to move forward with the life insurance policy.
- Receive your policy. Your agent will send your policy to you through email or standard mail.
- Sign your policy. To confirm that you accept the terms, sign the policy and send it back to the company.
Ways to Reduce your Premium
Life insurance underwriters look at several factors when determining whether or not to insure you, and how much your premium will be. The most subjective factor is lifestyle – whether you smoke, what your are hobbies are, if you’re overweight, and so on.
The higher the insurance company considers your risk level to be during the life insurance underwriting process, the higher your premiums will be.
Concerned that you may end up paying a higher premium because of your high-risk lifestyle? There are a few things you can do before you get a quote to help lower your premium.
Quit using tobacco
Using any kind of tobacco product – cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco – will greatly affect your premium, so you should quit before you apply for life insurance. Keep in mind that most insurance companies require you to be tobacco-free for at least one year to qualify for lower rates.
Don’t drink as much – or at all
Excessive drinking poses a potential health risk. Reducing or eliminating your alcohol intake makes you more likely to get a lower premium than if you drink regularly.
Shed some pounds
Being overweight or obese is considered a high risk, and you’ll pay higher premiums because of it. Losing weight could lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, and reduce your risk of developing diabetes. The lower your risk are for these things, the better your premium will be.
Improve your driving
This one might be surprising, but some underwriters pull your driving records to see how safe of a driver you are. If you have too many traffic violations, your insurance company may view you as high risk and hoist your premium.
Get a handle on chronic health conditions
Getting life insurance with a chronic illness might seem impossible, but it’s not. Several factors go into whether or not you can get life insurance, including the type and severity of your illness and your family history.
Control your condition with medication, diet and lifestyle changes before applying for life insurance. If your life insurance underwriter sees consistency, it will help with your premium.
Other ways to reduce your premium
Beyond making lifestyle changes, you can also get a lower premium by doing the following:
- Buying life insurance earlier in life. If you get life insurance while you’re young and healthy, you’ll get a lower premium, and you can lock in that rate for the rest of your life.
- Preparing for your medical exam. By properly fasting, drinking lots of water and getting a good night’s sleep before your medical exam, you can help ensure the best possible results. And the better those results, the lower your premium will be.
- Paying annually rather than monthly. Some insurance companies offer discounts when you pay your premium yearly instead of monthly. It will cost more initially, but you’ll end up saving money in the long run.
Getting life insurance is a crucial step in making sure your family is financially safe and secure after you’re gone.
Now that you know more about life insurance underwriting, you have the information you need to get the process rolling.
Contact us at any time for a quote, or just to talk about your life insurance needs.