A life insurance application is a pretty substantial document. People can sometimes get pretty frustrated with how long it takes to complete the application process and get their life insurance approved. The application itself is long. It averages about 30 pages, and each page needs to be initialed or signed at least once. It asks a lot of information about you, and there are a lot of ways to mess up or leave the application incomplete. A life insurance company will not process an application until every piece of information is complete and scrutinized. Here are some ways to speed up the application process and get your life insurance approved more quickly.
Set Aside Plenty of Time to Fill Out the Application
We won’t lie, the life insurance application is annoying to fill out. It is quite long, and there are a lot of places to sign and initial. Typically, every page of the application needs to be initialed and many have multiple signature lines. There are also over a hundred questions, checkboxes, and places to describe health concerns. The application wants to know everything from your vital information to your exercise habits to your hobbies. Most people get very bored while filling it out and want to get through it as fast as possible. This is a huge mistake.
This is a great example of taking some additional time on the front end to save a lot of time later. If you submit an incomplete application, not only will you need to get the life insurance company the missing information, you may need to re-fill out the pages of the application with missing content, and re-initial and sign them as well. It sometimes takes another in-person visit with the agent, or at the very least is annoying. The underwriting department will not let the smallest piece of information be incomplete to approve the policy.
Make sure that you take plenty of time to fill out the application the first time. Do not fill it out in a rush and try to focus the entire time. It may take about half an hour to complete, but it is well worth the time to get it done correctly the first time. Make absolutely sure that you sign and initial every field that requires one (they are very easy to miss) and double-check the application before you submit it.
Disclose any Health Concerns During the Application
If you have any known health issues, do not try to conceal them when you fill out the application. They will almost certainly come up when your underwriter pulls your medical records, or at least during the paramedical exam. Be forthcoming and honest about any high blood pressure, cholesterol, pre-existing diseases, or even the fact that you smoke or use tobacco. If you don’t disclose it, it will raise questions about why you tried to hide it. It will also probably require additional information, which will take time. If you disclose everything that you know about every health concern that you have on the front end, you can also explain them and save more time on the back-end.
Schedule your Life Insurance Medical Exam ASAP
If a life insurance medical exam is required, it needs to be performed, processed, and reviewed by the underwriting department before your application can move forward. If you schedule your exam early it won’t be the information that holds up the process. Sometimes, a piece of the exam isn’t done correctly or information ends up missing when it is received by the life insurance company. If any follow-up exams are required you can find out early and get that scheduled as well.
Return Underwriter Phone Calls Quickly
Sometimes, the underwriter working on your policy will contact you directly, or they may contact the agent to prod you for information. If you wait to get back to them, the application will sit. They will not move forward and process other pieces of it if they are waiting on anything. Your best bet to keep them working and to keep your file on the top of their desk (metaphorically since they work paperlessly) is to respond quickly and signal to them that you will be responsive and want the policy issued quickly.
Apply for a No Medical Exam Policy
There are certain types of life insurance policies known as simplified issue policies that do not require medical exams and have limited questions on the application. There are also guaranteed issue policies, which also do not require exams. Both of these types of policies can be issued very quickly by the life insurance company and the application only takes a few minutes to fill out. Unfortunately, these types of policies also represent the most risk to the life insurance company so they cost the most money. They also come with limited death benefits and the most rules about times when a claim is not valid. People are best served in the long run by applying to a traditional life policy. A level term life insurance policy is by far the least expensive type of life insurance.
Come Prepared and Listen to your Agent
Your life insurance agent has probably been through the application process hundreds or even thousands of times before. You would be wise to listen to her advice and come as prepared as you can. If you are filling out your application in person, you may want to send an email or give a quick call to your agent’s office and ask if there is any information that you should have available when you fill out the application that some people may not know off the top of their heads.
How Much Time Should you Expect it to Take?
The actual application can take quite some time to fill out. Expect to spend an hour filling it out and making sure that it is all complete. It may be done faster, but takes at least 20 minutes unless it is a simplified issue policy. Once everything is submitted, expect the life insurance company to take about a month to process the exam and application and issue the policy. Depending upon how backed up the underwriting department is, or not, it can take between 2 and 6 weeks for them to process your paperwork.