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What is a Life Insurance Application?

A life insurance application is the process each life insurance provider requires before they will bind coverage for you. Applications vary depending on the provider and the life insurance product you want to buy. Many life insurance policies require a medical exam, for example.

What to expect on a life insurance application

A life insurance application consists of a series of questions. Many will be standard, like your age, height, address, and employer. You will also get asked about your current financial situation (e.g., your annual income) and lifestyle. The insurance provider wants to know if you consume a lot of alcohol, smoke, or regularly undertake any high-risk activities like skydiving, rock climbing, or piloting a plane. They may also inquire about how frequently you exercise.

In other words, the insurance application will ask questions that indicate to the insurance company how risky you are. Many of the questions on the application give the insurance company a way to evaluate how long they expect you to live. A longer lifespan means more time to pay your premiums or less risk for the insurer.

Beyond that, the process to apply for life insurance depends on the type of life insurance you want to buy:

Traditional life insurance

Many life insurance policies require a medical exam. This life insurance medical exam is conducted in person with a qualified healthcare professional. Generally, they’ll gather information about:

  • Your current state of health, including any diagnosed conditions

  • Your blood pressure

  • Your family’s medical history

  • Any medications you’re taking

No-exam life insurance

With a no-exam life insurance policy, you get to skip the exam we just outlined. However, they are usually only intended for those who are in very good health, and the insurance carrier will often reserve the right to request your doctor’s records. They may even order a regular exam if deemed necessary.

Details you decide during the application process

As part of the application process, you hammer out the specifics of your policy. On your application, your life insurance provider will most likely require you to make decisions about:

  • Your death benefit. You get to decide (up to a limit) how much you want your policy to pay out when you pass away.

  • Your beneficiaries. You also get to decide who receives that payout.

  • Your premium schedule. Many life insurance applications allow you to say how you’d like to be billed for the policy, whether that’s annually, monthly, or on some other schedule.

Your potential life insurance company will also likely ask about any other life insurance policies you have, either pending or already in place.

Don’t lie on any portion of your life insurance application. You will be asked to sign your name to your policy, and any intentional misrepresentation during the application process can be considered fraud.

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