If buying life insurance was as easy as grabbing dinner at your favorite fast food joint, everyone would have it. The reality is that getting approved for a policy is a little more complicated than pulling up to a drive-thru window and for some people, it’s not a quick process. However, we are here to shed some light on the buying process.
It typically takes 3-6 weeks to get life insurance. However, if you choose a non med life insurance policy, you can get life insurance in as little as 24 hours. With accelerated underwriting, it is even possible to get life insurance instantly.
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The length of time it takes to get your policy approved depends on the type of policy you buy and the company you buy it from.
From start to finish, the traditional life insurance approval process can take as long as two months to complete. If you’re interested in getting coverage sooner than that or you just don’t want to go through the trouble of a medical exam, a company that offers policies with accelerated underwriting might be your best bet. However, these policies are usually limited to $1,000,000 of coverage. Companies like Haven or Ladder can go up to $3 million.
With this type of coverage, you can complete the application online and there’s no medical exam required. Instead, the insurance company uses your answers to the health questionnaire section of the application to gauge your risk level. In terms of the turnaround time, you can get approved for life insurance in as little as 24 to 48 hours and the policy can take effect immediately.
The first step in purchasing life insurance is getting a rate quote. You can do this in just a few minutes online and once you’ve got a quote, you can move on to the more time-intensive step of filling out the application. To get an idea of how much it can cost, you can also see our life insurance rates by age page.
Depending on which insurance company you’re going through, you might have the option of doing this online as well. Some insurers, however, require you to fill out the forms by hand. In either case, completing the actual application itself can take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple of hours, depending on how detailed it is and how busy you are.
Once you’ve finished up the application you have to send it back to the insurance company for their review. If you’re doing it online or faxing it, they’re obviously going to get it much more quickly than if you have to mail it in. Within 24 to 72 hours of receiving your application, the insurance company will review it and schedule a medical exam.
The medical exam usually takes place within a week or two and it can be conducted in your home or at a doctor’s office. During the exam, you’ll be asked questions about your health and the person conducting the exam will measure your height, weight and blood pressure. You’ll also have to provide a blood sample and in some cases, a urine sample as well. Overall, the exam itself is relatively short, typically lasting less than an hour.
After you’ve completed the application and gone through the medical exam, the insurance company begins the underwriting process. How long this takes depends on how quickly the lab is able to process the results of your medical exam, whether the exam turns up any serious pre-existing conditions and whether the insurance company decides to pull your complete medical record.
In terms of the processing time for the health exam, it can take up to four weeks for the underwriter to get these results. If they request your medical records, they can be delivered in as little as one day or take up to six weeks to find their way to the insurance company, depending on how quickly your doctor responds. This is usually the main factor that determines how long it takes to get life insurance.
The insurance company begins the final review process once all of your information has been received. At this stage, the insurer is crunching the numbers to determine how much of a risk you pose, based on your age, profession and overall health. If you have to answer follow-up questions because you have a medical condition such as diabetes or high cholesterol that can slow things down.
When you’re approved, the insurance company will write up the policy and contact you with the final paperwork. You’ll need to review the terms of the policy and arrange payment of the premiums. This can take between five and seven business days to coordinate, depending on whether you’re paying via bank draft, check or credit card. Once you’ve signed on the dotted line and paid up, you’re covered by the policy.