How to apply for life insurance
After getting a quote, you can start the life insurance application process. This typically involves answering more than a few questions about your health, such as your height, weight, past or current medical conditions, and your immediate family's medical history. Additionally, you'll need to finalize your policy's details, including your coverage amount and beneficiaries. Depending on the insurer and policy type, you may also need a physical exam.
What medical questions appear on a life insurance application?
Life insurance companies typically ask a range of questions about your health, including your:
Height & weight: Insurers use your height and weight to assess your body mass index (BMI), which factors into your rate and coverage eligibility. Learn more about how weight affects your life insurance coverage.
Age & date of birth Your age helps determine if you meet the provider's requirements for life insurance. Your age also factors into your overall health risk and, by extension, your rate.
Lifestyle: Insurers generally want to know about activities that increase the risk of illness, injury, or death, ranging from smoking to rock climbing. They may also ask how often you exercise.
Past or current health conditions: Your rate reflects any existing medical conditions you have, and the prescriptions you take. You may need to provide the diagnosis date, symptoms, treatment, and recovery date for each medical condition you have. You may also need to give the name and contact information of the physician who treated you.
Family medical history: These questions help inform your future health risks, especially conditions that may run in your immediate family, such as cancer or heart disease.
After you've submitted your application, your insurer will likely require a physical exam, which will include measuring your blood pressure and taking blood and urine samples. If you'd prefer to skip this step, some companies offer life insurance without a medical exam. However, you can expect to pay a higher premium for some policies that don't require a physical. Learn more about life insurance medical exams.
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What non-medical questions appear on a life insurance application?
Apart from medical questions, you'll also need to answer questions about how much coverage you're buying, who should receive your policy's death benefit, and any other life insurance policies you have or have applied for.
Coverage amount: You'll choose the amount your policy will pay your beneficiaries when you pass away. With term life insurance, coverage options typically start at $50,000 or $100,000. The maximum amount you can buy will vary based on how much coverage you qualify for.
Beneficiary: Your beneficiary is the person or legal entity receiving your policy's death benefit once you pass away. Learn more about life insurance beneficiaries.
Other life insurance policies: Your insurance company will ask about any additional policies you have or are applying for to verify what coverage you already have and to ensure you aren't buying coverage beyond what you reasonably need.
How do life insurance companies check medical backgrounds?
Most life insurance companies are members of the MIB Group, an organization that maintains a database of the medical history you've previously provided on applications for life, health, and other types of insurance. When you apply for a new life insurance policy, the insurer may compare your submitted medical history against the medical history you've previously provided to other companies to ensure consistency.
What happens if you lie on a life insurance application?
Lying about yourself on a life insurance application is always bad. It could result in denying your application or, worse, denying a life insurance claim. Other consequences may include a higher insurance premium or cancellation of your policy. Learn more about life insurance fraud and how to avoid it.