After shopping around for life insurance and determining how much coverage you need, the next step is to complete an application. Whether you apply for life insurance online or with an agent, we’re sharing everything you need to know about the application and qualification process. Pro tip: it’s easier (and faster) than you may expect! 

What questions are on a life insurance application?

When you begin a life insurance application, it will be like any other type of qualification form, requiring your full name, date of birth, address, height and weight. You will also provide identification information such as your Social Security number and driver’s license number to confirm your identity.

Next, the application will ask for information on your lifestyle habits, such as tobacco use, alcohol intake, and possibly how often you exercise. You may be asked if you participate in risky activities (skydiving, racing, scuba diving, etc.) or a high-risk occupation. These activities increase your chances of death or injury, which can pose a risk to the insurance company. Similarly, the insurance application will ask if you have recently traveled to countries that expose a potential health risk.

Your application will also ask you to report any previous traffic violations; tickets and infractions such as a DUI can increase your premium.

It’s very important to answer these questions honestly; if the insurance company discovers that you lied about a health condition, risky activity, tobacco use, or travel to countries with potential health risks, the company could increase your premium, deny a beneficiary’s claim to the death benefit, or even cancel your coverage.  

Medical questions on the application

Next up is the medical section of the application. This series of questions will cover your health history and current medications. You will be asked if you have ever been treated for or taken medication for conditions such as asthma, depression, diabetes, sleep apnea, stroke, cancer or cardiovascular disease.

You will also need to provide a list of surgeries you’ve had, your family medical history, and any of your previous diagnoses for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

The insurance company will use this information to understand your health risk at the time you apply for coverage; younger and healthier individuals qualify for more affordable premiums.

What to expect during a medical exam for life insurance

For most individuals, life insurance companies will not require a medical exam. However, if you have certain health conditions or you are interested in purchasing a more complex type of policy, you may have to take a trip to the doctor’s office for a physical exam.

During the medical exam, the following will be examined:  

  • Height and weight
  • Vitals (pulse, blood pressure)
  • Urine sample
  • Blood sample (cholesterol, blood sugar)  

If you are concerned about passing a medical exam, you may consider purchasing a simplified issue life insurance policy. This type of policy includes a series of health questions rather than requiring you to undergo a full medical exam to qualify for coverage. In most cases, insurers will make an instant decision to qualify or reject applicants for a simplified issue policy. 

Read More

To learn more about simplified issue life insurance, check out our guide to the pros and cons of purchasing this type of policy.

Choosing a beneficiary

The next step to your application is to select a beneficiary. A beneficiary is the person(s) who will receive the death benefit of your life insurance policy when you pass away. 

You can choose more than one beneficiary, so long as you distribute 100% of the death benefit payout. You’ll want to designate an adult you trust to ensure your final wishes are met. It is not recommended to choose a child under 18 as a beneficiary; if you pass away while your child is a minor, they will have a difficult time accessing the death benefit due to legal restraints.

The underwriting process

After you complete your application for life insurance, you will go through the underwriting process. During this process, you will either undergo a medical exam or the insurance company will review your application, specifically the medical questions.

If you need a medical exam, this process could take four to six weeks. If you go through simplified or accelerated underwriting, you may receive a decision in as little as 24 hours.

Once you are approved, you will make your first payment on your policy and sign the documents to secure and finalize your coverage! From this point forward, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing your loved ones are financially protected in the event anything happens to you.

What would disqualify you from life insurance?

The most common reason people do not qualify for coverage is their age or health at the time they apply. If you have a serious medical condition, the insurer may determine that you are a high-risk applicant. In this situation, you still have several options to get life insurance. One option is to opt for employer-sponsored coverage, which often doesn’t require a medical exam. You can also get in touch with an insurance agent, who can shop around to find a policy that you will be approved for.

Working with an insurance agent will allow you to get the most affordable rate and the coverage you need to protect your loved ones, whereas an employer-sponsored plan will fall short of providing the full amount of coverage you need. 

How long does a life insurance application take?

While this seems like a lengthy list of questions to answer on your application, most online applications for coverage only take five to ten minutes to complete! If you opt to purchase a simplified issue policy, or if you qualify for coverage without the need for a medical exam, you can expect to complete your application within ten minutes.

Some products, such as term life insurance, are available through an entirely online application. Products such as permanent life insurance and final expense insurance may require that you video chat with a life insurance agent to secure the right amount of coverage.

If you need to undergo a medical exam, the qualification process can take days or weeks, depending on how long it takes to complete the medical exam and whether the insurance company needs to follow up with your physician to process your application.  

The bottom line

Life insurance is for your loved ones; your policy can provide financial protection for your children, your partner or spouse, your family, or even for your small business if you were no longer around. If you need any support when choosing a policy, a Quility agent is available to answer your questions.

If you are ready to get started, our online application for term life insurance takes less than ten minutes to complete. Protect your legacy and get a policy in place in just a few simple steps today.

Let’s Get Started

If you are ready to get coverage now, our online application takes less than ten minutes.

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Calie Brummer
Head of Digital Communications
Calie Brummer is a staff writer and Head of Digital Communications at Quility Insurance with a focus on financial well-being and life insurance solutions.