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If you’re looking for life insurance, the easiest way to apply for a policy is online. To ensure that you’re getting the best available policy for you, compare policies from different companies.
Each company will assess your risk a little differently, which could result in different prices. Comparing will get you the best price.
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Once you’ve decided which policy to buy, you’ll need to fill out an application. Depending upon the type of insurance you’re buying and the face value of the policy, you may have to answer quite a few questions on your application.
To make the process faster and easier, it’s helpful to know what kinds of information the insurance company is likely to ask, so that you can be prepared. Here are some of the kinds of questions you can expect when applying for life insurance online.
The following information will be necessary when applying for insurance:
- date of birth
- phone number
- email address
- Social Security number
- driver’s license number
The government requires that insurance companies collect this information in order to be in compliance with The Patriot Act.
You will be asked for the name of the person who will own the policy. This will probably be you, but in some cases someone else may own a policy on you.
Sometimes spouses will own each others’ policies because of the impact on estate taxes.
And sometimes an employer will own a policy on a key employee. If the owner is someone other than you, you will need their contact and identifying information as well.
Information on Your Medical History
The insurance company wants to make sure that you are healthy if they are going to insure your life. If you have medical conditions, expect to pay more for your coverage than you would if you were healthy.
The insurance company will ask if you have ever had certain medical conditions. These may include:
- high blood pressure
- immune system disorders
- thyroid disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- brain injury
If you have been diagnosed with any of these, the insurer will ask when you were diagnosed, who diagnosed you, and what the outcome was.
The outcome may be that you are taking medication for the condition; that you had surgery for the condition, in the case of cancer, for example, or that you are managing the condition with lifestyle changes, for things like diabetes or high blood pressure.
Just because you have or have had one or more of the diagnoses that you are asked about doesn’t mean that you will be denied life insurance coverage.
If your illness or condition has been under control for some time, you can still be covered in many cases. If you have only recently been diagnosed, or have recently begun taking medication, you may be asked to reapply in a year or two when the company can determine that your condition is being managed.
In order to answer the questions on the medical section of the life insurance application, it’s helpful to have your medical information handy. You should have the name, address and phone number of your primary care physician, as well as any specialists you have seen.
You should have the name, date and hospital name for any surgeries you’ve had. If you take any medications, have the name and dosage of the medication as well as the name of the physician who prescribed it.
Be honest when you are answering the medical questions on the application. The insurance company can refuse to pay a claim on your policy if they find out that you weren’t truthful when you completed the application.
You will probably also be asked questions about your parents’ and siblings’ medical conditions, if any.
A family history of certain diseases, such as heart disease or cancer, may impact your premium.
If your parents and siblings died at young ages from disease, this may raise a red flag to the insurance company.
You may also be asked some questions about your lifestyle. Some of these questions may seem strange, but the insurance company has good reasons for asking them.
You will be asked what you do for work. Some professions are dangerous, and it is difficult for people in certain lines of work to get insurance. If you have an occupation that is unusual, be prepared to explain what it is that you do.
You may be asked if you participate in any risky activities or leisure pursuits, such as flying light aircraft, motorcycle racing, parasailing and so on.
You will be asked if you smoke. Smokers always pay a higher premium for life insurance than non-smokers. If you have smoked in the past, indicate when you quit.
You may be questioned about things like your driving history and your credit rating. If you have multiple accidents or moving violations on your driving record, you may be considered to be a higher risk.
The insurance company may look at your credit rating to be sure that you will be able to pay the premium to keep your policy in force.
You will be asked to provide the name(s) of the person or people who will receive the money from the insurance company when you die. You should have the name, address and Social Security number of anyone you want to name as a beneficiary.
Typically, married people name their spouse as the beneficiary. If you are not married, you may name your parents or a close friend. You can name a primary beneficiary and a contingent beneficiary.
If the primary beneficiary dies before you do, the payment from your policy would go to the contingent beneficiary.
If you want to name children who are under 18 years old as beneficiaries, you will need to name a guardian for them.
The insurance company cannot pay benefits to minor children, so they will pay your death benefit to the guardian who will manage the money until the children are 18 years old.
After the Application
Depending on the type and amount of insurance you are purchasing, the insurance company may require a paramedical exam.
They will send a medical professional, usually a nurse, to your home to take your vital signs as well as a blood and urine sample.
This information will be used, along with your medical history obtained from your doctor, to determine how healthy you are.
Once you have completed the application and the paramedical exam, the insurance company begins the process it refers to as underwriting.
The company will analyze your risk and assign you a classification. Companies use various terms to describe their classifications, so you may hear terms like ‘Preferred,’ ‘Super Preferred,’ or ‘Standard.’
If you have health or other issues that cause the insurer to consider you a higher risk, you may be ‘rated,’ or required to pay a higher premium.
You have the option of paying the higher premium or declining the coverage.
By comparing the policies of different insurers and completing your application online, you can help to ensure you’re getting the best policy at the best price for your needs.
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