Purchasing life insurance is one of the best things you can do to help secure your family's future. But shopping for life insurance can be a time-consuming task, especially for those in the military. Trying to research and set appointments while working around deployments or other responsibilities can lengthen the process. Luckily, there are things you can do to keep the process moving.
Consider Your Needs (1 to 6 days)
Before you begin looking for a policy, give some thought to what you want and need. Talk to your financial advisor or insurance representative and consider:
- what you are protecting
- how long you will need the coverage
- how much you can afford to pay for premiums
- variables such as family, age, and health
Having a clear idea of your needs will help save time when you begin researching policies.
Shop for Coverage (1 to 2 weeks)
Once you've identified the amount, duration, and type of life insurance you need, your next step is to shop for the best coverage. This can be more complicated than it might seem. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for insurance:
- always compare similar policies
- shop around and read customer reviews
- compare premiums and ask if they can change in the future
- ask about any military restrictions or exclusions
- be aware of any commissions, surrender fees, or loads
- understand the guaranteed features, if any, of the policy
- compare cash surrender values and future death benefits, using a realistic crediting rate
The Application and the Physical (1 to 3 days)
Once you've chosen an insurance company, you'll need to complete an application and, in most cases, take a physical exam. These two steps can be done simultaneously if the nurse or doctor brings an application to the exam. To help speed up this part of the process, schedule your medical exam as soon as you can, and keep the appointment.
The nurse or doctor will record your height, weight, blood pressure, and other pertinent information. You'll be asked to provide blood and urine samples; describe your personal habits, such as nicotine and alcohol use; and provide general information about your health history and that of your immediate family. Depending on your age, the type of policy, and the amount of coverage, there may be additional tests, such as an EKG, a chest X-ray, or a treadmill test. While it may be tempting to lie about certain health-related issues, it is extremely important to tell the truth. If the company discovers that you've provided misleading information about your health condition or lifestyle, it can increase your premium, cancel your policy, or even deny a beneficiary's claim to benefits in the event of your death.
Make sure the application itself is filled out completely and accurately. Omissions, mistakes, or inaccuracies in your application can raise questions that stall the evaluation process. The more complete your application and medical information, the more quickly the insurance company will be able to evaluate it.
The Evaluation (1 to 12 weeks)
The insurance company's underwriters will review the results of your physical and application. If the underwriter needs additional medical information, the company will request access to your medical records. This information helps the underwriter determine how much to charge you for coverage. However, getting medical records can add a lot of time to the process. If the insurance company asks for your medical records, call your doctor and find out how you can help get the records to the insurance company as quickly as possible.
Approval and Issuance (2 to 4 weeks)
If your application is complete and the underwriters do not need any additional medical information, your insurance policy will be approved and issued.