If you’ve been looking for a life insurance policy, you probably know that you’ll need to go through the underwriting process to determine how much you will pay for your monthly premiums. But just what is this process? It simply means that, when you apply for a life insurance policy, the insurer will gather information about you so they can determine how much of a risk you will be to insure. It might sound a bit scary, but it is a very routine process, and will not prevent you from finding a great policy at an affordable price. While some insurance companies will have different criteria for their underwriting process, there are some general things you can expect.
What Life Insurance Companies Will Look At
In order to determine if they should insure you, and how much they should charge you for premiums, life insurance companies will need to gather information from you to get a glimpse of what your overall life expectancy might be. They’ll want to know if you have a relatively healthy lifestyle, or if there might be anything you are engaging in that could lower your life expectancy, such as smoking or doing a hazardous job. Things like that will be taken into account, which could mean higher rates or possible denial of your application.
The factors that insurers take into account include:
- Medical Factors– Insurers will want to know your height and weight, if you smoke, if you use any prescription or recreational drugs such as marijuana, if you have a history of medical conditions like heart disease or diabetes, and your family’s medical history.
- Lifestyle Factors– They will also look at your driving and criminal record, and will want to know about anything risky that you engage in, such as skydiving or even foreign travel.
- Financial Factors– Finally, you will have to disclose your current occupation and income, as well as your financial history, including any bankruptcies.
How the Underwriting Process Works
Now to look at how the underwriting process works when you apply for a life insurance policy. Your insurance company will go through the following steps:
- Reviewing your application– The insurer will check your application and make sure that the information you provided is complete and correct, including your listed occupation, your date of birth, and what type of coverage you are looking for.
- Administering a medical exam– Depending on the type of life insurance policy that you choose, you might have to undergo a medical exam to determine how healthy you are. It will check your weight, height, and blood pressure, and you’ll be required to give blood and urine samples. However, if you choose to purchase a no medical exam life insurance policy, you will skip this step.
- Checking databases– After reviewing your application and your medical exam, the insurer will look at some third-party sources to get information, including your driving record and prescription records over the last few years. This is to make sure that you did not lie about your medical history on your application, and to make sure that you do not have any past DUIs or major infractions on your driving record.
- Requesting your physician’s statement– This step will usually apply to you if you are older and applying for a large amount of coverage. Life insurance companies might ask your physician for a statement certifying that you are in good health, to make sure that you are not taking out a life insurance policy because you are battling a terminal illness or are likely to pass away soon.
The underwriting process can take up to 8 weeks. Once it is complete, your insurance company will assign you an insurance classification. There are four basic classifications that determine your rate and eligibility for a policy:
- Preferred Plus is the best rating that you can receive, and will allow you to get the lowest rates available.
- Preferred means you are in fairly good health and can receive affordable premiums.
- Select classification means you will be approved, even though you might have a history of previous illnesses.
- Standard classification means you have a family history of health problems and other issues, and that you will pay higher premiums.
Every life insurance company has different criteria for its underwriting process, which is why it is important to shop around and compare plans from multiple insurers. There are many different kinds of life insurance policies to choose from, including whole life insurance, term life insurance, and final expense insurance, so if you’re not sure where to begin, consider using online tools, or speaking with an agent. The right policy for you is out there!
We have provided the top insurance companies that offer life insurance policies below; each can give you hassle-free assistance and the most competitive rates in the nation. Always check multiple sites to make sure you have bargaining power and know the advantages of each company. Make sure a hard time isn’t made harder by a financial burden, check life insurance rates today.