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Applying for Life Insurance? Here's What to Expect Thumbnail

Applying for Life Insurance? Here's What to Expect

Life insurance is an important part of your estate planning strategy. You can use it to provide money for your children's education, cover your funeral expenses and leave money behind for loved ones. Understanding what to expect and what you need for the application can help make the process easier. 

Below we’re discussing what you need to complete the application, what your medical examination might include and what to do if you don't pass the health requirements. As you begin researching, your financial advisor or insurance agent can help you decide which policy best suits your needs and budget. In the meantime, keep reading to learn more about securing a life insurance policy. 

Information Needed for the Life Insurance Application

If you could just pick a policy and pay the premium, buying life insurance would be simple. 

Unfortunately, there are a few more steps to the process. To start, you’ll want to choose between permanent and term life insurance. A permanent life insurance policy covers you for your entire life, while term life insurance covers you for a set period of time. Additional steps and considerations include:

  • Calculating how much coverage is needed (based on spouse's earning potential, the age of your children, current debt levels, monthly expenses and more). 
  • How to pay for the policy (annually, semi-annually, quarterly or monthly).
  • Other life insurance policies you may already have. If you already have life insurance or are applying for more than one policy, this may cause the insurer to question why you need additional coverage.
  • Your annual income
  • Net worth, including assets such as real estate, stocks and cash assets.

Medical Information

Even though you undergo a medical exam as part of the application process, you should still expect medical questions on the application. These questions may include:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Date of birth
  • Lifestyle habits 

If you smoke, drink or have other lifestyle habits that the insurer considers a risk, it may impact your eligibility for life insurance or the price you pay for your policy. 

What Can I Expect During the Medical Exam?

The medical exam for each insurer may vary slightly. However, you can expect to undergo an in-person medical exam at a location approved by the insurance company. For some, this is the most uncomfortable part of the process.

During the exam, the medical professional guides you through the requirements, which may include:

  • Documentation of your medical history (including surgeries, prescription medications and other details)
  • Details about your family's medical history
  • Current blood pressure
  • Current heartbeat characteristics
  • Height and weight
  • Blood and urine samples
  • Questionnaire or interview about lifestyle habits such as drinking, exercise, smoking, recreational drug use, travel and certain risky hobbies

There may be other tests depending on what policy you choose, your age or the amount of coverage needed. These could include a chest x-ray, an EKG or a treadmill (stress) test. 

What If the Insurance Company Denies My Application?

Your options after an insurer denies your application depend on the reasons for the denial. If you were turned down due to health risks, you can seek a policy that doesn't require a medical exam. These policies, however, can cost more money. You can also seek life insurance through your employer during an open enrollment period. These policies often don't require a medical exam. Additionally, you can wait, improve health conditions under your control and try again later down the road.

Your insurance agent can help you choose a policy that works best for you and helps you leave a legacy behind for your beneficiaries. In the meantime, consider making healthy lifestyle choices that make it possible for you to support your dependents for a long time to come. This will help you keep your premiums down and let you get as much life insurance as your budget allows. 

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.