How long does it take to get a term life insurance policy in force? For this blog I will assume that you are applying for coverage that requires a medical exam. The quick answer is that you can have coverage in place as quickly as 3 weeks, or it could take six months or more. However, most cases are 1-2 months.
You and your agent are the most important factors in the timetable. Your agent is responsible for getting you the application, setting up your exam, sending that exam to the carrier, and getting any other requirements the insurance company wants. The more organized your agent is regarding follow up, the faster requirements get completed. If you want a speedy turnaround time, you have to respond to your agent’s inquiries promptly! In our office, we communicate with our clients at least weekly to inform them of any outstanding requirements and/or keep them apprised of where they are in the underwriting process.
Your time frame in returning the application to your agent is the first step. Well, actually, how fast do they get the application to you? Next is how quickly can you have your paramedic exam? After that, the ball is in the insurance company’s court. Life insurance underwriting is the next step!
Once the insurance carrier has your application and paramedic exam, your lab report will be ordered. This will go to an underwriter for an initial review. If no other information is needed, your application can be approved with this information. Usually these are policies where the insured gets a super-preferred or preferred rating (the two best underwriting classes).
Based on your medical history and your lab results, the underwriter may want to review your doctor records. This is where things can bog down! The records get ordered and... I have seen records come in the next day, and I have seen records take 2 months or more to be released. If your records are at the VA Hospital, or Kaiser Permanente or another large HMO or hospital, they may require a special authorization as well (and it may take 1-2 weeks to find this out). A good agent calls the doctor’s office to see if a special authorization is required- sometimes we can save 2 weeks with just one call! Then your agent should follow up regularly with the copy service to move this process along and, if necessary, have you call the doctor directly to assist.
So all in all, you and your agent are the most important factors in keeping your application moving through the process. In general, without medical records being ordered we have policies in place usually within 4 weeks. With ordering records we average about 2 months. We try to make the process painless for you by keeping on top of things!
Photo credit: Julian Lim