If you are considering applying for life insurance, you may wonder what types of information they will need from you and what questions they will ask on the application. You do not need to be worried! While the full life insurance application is fairly long and comprehensive, the information is only used by the life insurance company to try to classify your risk of dying prematurely. Here are some questions to expect on the life insurance application and some other things to expect as you apply for life insurance.
Most Common Questions
These are the most common questions on the life insurance application. While the questions will vary a bit depending upon the company that you are applying with, and the exact product that you are applying for, you can count on these questions to be pretty consistent.
- What medical conditions do you have? A key aspect of the life insurance application is to ask questions that attempt to quantify your overall health condition and the odds that you will pass away prematurely. This is not to say that having health issues disqualifies you from insurance coverage, but it may affect the price that you pay. A life insurance application will ask about current conditions that you have, past conditions you may have had, and also attempts to assess your BMI to spot the potential for future issues. Based upon your medical status the life insurance company will classify you into a health rating class.
- Are you a smoker or tobacco user? Few commonly used products shorten life expectancy more reliably than smoking tobacco. Similarly, using “chew”, “dip” or other forms of tobacco also significantly increase your risks of cancer and a myriad of other health complications. Every life insurance company classifies tobacco users as a separate “smoker” health rating.
- Do you take medications? This can be a double-edged sword. While taking medications often means that an underlying health concern exists, life insurance companies also look favorably upon the fact that you are under a physician’s care and medication is controlling those issues. It is important to be honest about the medications that you take, and they may be seen as a positive overall to your life expectancy.
- What is your family history? Life insurance companies want to know if you have a family history of disorders such as heart disease, cancer, neurological issues, and autoimmune disorders. Family history may signal that there is a genetic risk of you also contracting the same disorders. Family history alone will not necessarily alter your health rating, but a family history in conjunction with displaying the same traits yourself does not help.
- Your driving record. If your driving record indicates that you participate in risky behavior such as speeding or operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol it may affect your health rating and therefore the amount that you pay in premiums.
- If you participate in risky hobbies. Life insurance companies usually want to know if you skydive, paraglide, scuba dive, or rock climb. That’s because these hobbies represent a much higher risk of death than other hobbies such as sports or intellectual pursuits. The life insurance company may issue you a policy but include a rider that precludes them from paying out your death benefit if your cause of death is deemed to be one of these risky hobbies.
- Criminal history, if any. A criminal history can also represent a pattern of risky behavior, and according to statistics criminals generally do not live as long as law-abiding citizens. A serious criminal conviction can lead to the life insurance company rejecting you as an applicant.
Besides medical questions and questions assessing your health status, a life insurance application also contains many administrative questions required to issue the policy. You will need to name the owner of the policy, the applicant for insurance, the payor of the policy, and the beneficiaries. Potentially, these can all be different people. You also need to provide addresses, social security numbers, ages, and other identifying information.
Another important component of the life insurance application attempts to assess the suitability of the policy. This means whether or not the type and amount of life insurance are appropriate given your financial situation. The application will ask about your income, net worth, and relationship to the insured. Everyone who buys a policy must prove an insurable interest in that person’s life. This helps prevent fraud and gambling on life insurance. An insurable interest is always assumed to exist on your own life and the life of a spouse or parent. Insurable interest can be proven in other situations where the owner depends upon the insured person being alive for financial reasons, such as key man life insurance at a corporation.
As a part of the life insurance application, you may also need to grant permission to the life insurance company to access your medical records or submit to a paramedical exam. They may also
These administrative questions are easy to forget about but equally important to finish your life insurance application.
Questions and Pieces of the Paramedical Exam
An important part of some life insurance applications is the medical exam (in the industry referred to as a paramedical exam). Depending upon the company and the amount of insurance applied for, the exam may vary slightly. Typically, it will include a measurement of:
- Your height.
- Your weight.
- Your vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, pulse, reflexes).
- A urine sample will be given.
- A blood test may be given depending upon the amount of insurance applied for.
- An EKG may be performed depending upon the amount of insurance applied for, a larger policy will require one.
- The examiner will also ask about your health if you have concerns, how often you exercise, and how you eat.
Advice on Filling out the Application
The most important part of filling out the application is to be truthful. If you lie, your beneficiaries may not receive the death benefit that they are counting on. If you have health concerns, it may not disqualify you from being insurable, and it may not even cost you more money. If the underwriter finds that you purposefully lie on the application, they may reject your exam. Honesty is always the best policy.
You also want to take your time and fill in every question. The application is long, and it is easy to get sidetracked or try to hurry through parts of it. If you are missing a question, or you miss a signature field or a place where you are supposed to initial, the underwriter can not finish processing it. You will need to resubmit those pages with missing information and it will cost you far more time in the long run. The best bet is to take your time and make sure that you complete each portion of the application.
Are the Questions Different on the Application for Different Types of Life Insurance?
Yes! Each company has a different application for each type of life insurance. Whole life, term, universal life, and variable universal life insurance each have different but similar applications. Other types of life insurance applications may differ a bit more. A special type of life insurance called simplified issue life insurance has way fewer questions. This type of life insurance has very limited underwriting, and the purpose of the application is only to ascertain if the applicant has any serious or terminal health issues. Another type of life insurance called guaranteed issue asks even fewer questions since an applicant of any health status is able to qualify.