You’ve taken an important step in life by deciding to go through the life insurance application process. While it’s not difficult, it may take some time and involve several steps. Here’s what you need to know.
In most cases when you buy an individual life insurance policy, the insurer will go through what the industry calls, the fully underwritten process. Think of this as a thorough evaluation.
When you first meet with your agent, he’ll ask you a number of general health questions to start the application process. To give the insurance company a more complete picture of your lifestyle and health, a follow-up telephone interview and paramedical exam are next. It’s nothing to worry about, but it’s good to be prepared. Here’s what you can expect.
First, an employee from the insurance or paramed company may call you to get more detailed information about your personal and family’s health history. You’ll also be asked for some financial information. This call usually takes about 20 minutes.
It’s a good idea to gather your information before the call so you have everything you need at your fingertips. You’ll be asked about the doctors you see, any recent hospitalizations or ER/urgent-care visits, and the medications you take. The interviewer may also ask about your net worth and income (as well as your spouse’s, if you’re married).
Next comes the paramedical exam. This is an assessment conducted by a licensed medical professional and should take less than half an hour. Usually, this can take place when and where you choose, including your home or office. The paramedical professional takes a blood pressure reading, notes your height and weight and generally collects a blood and sometimes a urine sample. If the insurance company thinks it’s necessary, based on the information you provided, it may request an ECG or EKG reading.
Of course you’ll want the best possible results for your exam, so here are some tips. Schedule your exam for first thing in the morning. Then, 24 hours prior to the exam, avoid strenuous exercise and get a good night’s sleep. In the 12 hours immediately prior to the exam, avoid alcohol, caffeine, high-cholesterol foods and pain medication.
And the best advice of all: Relax! Keep in mind that you can contact your insurance agent or the insurance company at any point if you have questions about the application and underwriting process.
Once the phone interview and the paramedical exam are complete, the underwriting department of the insurance company will review your full application. Your agent will notify you when a decision has been made. If coverage is approved, your policy will be delivered to you. At that point, you can review it and if you have any questions about your new policy, be sure to ask your agent. And the final step? A hearty congratulations on protecting your family’s future.
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