If you are seeking life insurance, the application process can be overwhelming. Here’s a straightforward guide to step you through the process.
- Initial consultation with a broker
The first thing you’ll need to do is contact a life insurance broker. The broker should step you through determining three things; the amount of life insurance you need, the type of life insurance you need, and then shop the market to find the least expensive companies for your specific amount and type.
- Completing the paper application
Each life insurance company has it’s own application forms, however they have similiar sections. Your broker will step you through each of the sections. The sections are as follows:
- The identification section is where you’ll complete your full name, address, and id verification such as driver’s license number.
- The policy ID section is where you’ll specify the amount and type of life insurance you’re applying for, the premiums, and name and beneficiaries.
- The lifestyle section has questions that will ask about smoking and activities such as scuba diving.
- The non-med section is next, and despite it’s name actually inquires about medical questions. In many circumstances you may skip the non-med section entirely (these questions will then be asked by the nurse, see number 3 below).
- The temporary insurance section is also optional. This section will ask you between 3 to 6 broad medical questions. If you’re able to answer all those questions ‘no’, and you submit a deposit of your first month’s premium, then the broker is able to bind your life insurance coverage conditionally, right at that point. If you are unable to answer the questions successfully or choose not to deposit your first month’s premium, then your coverage will take effect once the policy has been delivered and is in force.
- The last step will be signatures where you will declare that you’ve read all the fine print. Some of the primary things you’ll be signing for is to allow the life insurance company to ask others for information (such as your doctor, obtain a driving abstract if required, etc). In addition the insurance industry maintains a database of medical information called the Medical Information Bureau (MIB, or Men In Black as it’s affectionately called in the industry). By signing the application you’re providing permission for the insurance company to both query the MIB to review any past life insurance applications as well as insert information from your current application into the database.
- Medical exam
The medical exam is a lot less intensive than most people expect. There are two parts to the medical exam, a physical part and a questionnaire part. A paramedical will contact you by phone to book an appointment at a time that’ s convenient for you. You should take the exam first thing in the morning, with nothing to eat or drink other than your routine medication (discuss this with the paramedical when they call).The physical part of the exam normally consists of measuring your height and weight, your blood pressure and heart rate, and a quick urine test and blood test. That’s it for the physical part.The questionnaire part is a series of about 20 medical questions. These questions are designed to illicit your entire medical history. You should answer all questions in full detail – including things you expect have nothing to do with life insurance or are insignificant. Treat the questions as a transfer of your medical history from your brain over to the paramedical. Include dates, symptoms, doctors seen, treatment, tests, and resolutions.
- Policy Delivery
Five to eight weeks later in most cases your policy should arrive at your broker’s office. The broker will confirm that your insurability hasn’t changed since you took the medical exam. If nothing’s changed, the broker will deliver the policy. Final paperwork is signed, payment, if any, is taken by the broker, and your policy is in force.
And that’s it – you’re insured and ready to go! If you have any questions or concerns about your life insurance application, feel welcome to contact our office.