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How long does it take to get life insurance?

Wondering how long it takes to get life insurance? We can help. Read on to find out everything you need to know.

A life insurance policy lasts a long time — 10, 15, even 30 years or more. And with that, comes decades of peace of mind and financial protection, plus, sometimes benefits for while you’re still alive.

But how long does it take to get life insurance, and what does that depend on? You have questions, we have answers. This article contains those answers, including a timeline for getting term life insurance, and an outline of the requirements that go into procuring your policy.

In this article:

For some: Minutes

At Haven Life, some of our healthiest applicants are eligible for instant offers immediately or soon after they have submitted their application online. These offers can be available for smokers and non-smokers. The maximum amount of coverage for an instant offer is $1 million. If you get an instant offer, it means you don’t need to take a medical exam — and you’re fully covered once your payment has been approved.

Even if you don’t get an instant offer, you may still be offered temporary life insurance coverage (TLIC) as soon as you apply. This is optional to cover you during the underwriting process, and while you schedule and receive a medical exam (if required). This is essentially no-risk and no-cost coverage (your TLIC payment gets rolled into your first month’s premium) that holds you over until the real thing is ready. And if for whatever reason you’re not offered coverage (or don’t accept the coverage you are offered), you won’t owe a dime for the temporary coverage you received.

And to be clear: Just because you didn’t receive an instant offer, it doesn’t mean you’re not healthy or that you won’t get the best possible rate when applying for a term life insurance policy. It just means the underwriting team needs to do a little bit more research to get a fuller understanding of your overall health. You know that saying about good things and waiting? It can definitely apply here.

For many: Days

Some other customers can get fully approved within a few days of applying. This is the case when the underwriter has follow-up questions, but doesn’t require a medical exam. In those instances, the speed of approval depends in part on how quickly the customer is able to respond to the underwriter’s queries.

For most: A couple of weeks

Most customers will need to take a medical exam in order to finalize coverage with an insurance agency. This is quick, not much different than an annual physical, and can be done at their home, place of work or the offices of the company doing the exam. It usually takes 30 minutes or less. The medical exam can typically be scheduled shortly after applying for coverage, and the results usually arrive within 7 to 10 business days.

The purpose of such an exam when buying life insurance is to better understand your overall health picture. Blood will be drawn. Fluids will be tested. Questions will be asked (and answered, truthfully, by you). This helps a life insurance company understand the risk of taking you on as a policyholder, so they can assign you the rate that makes sense given your health. This can also benefit you, if this clearer picture demonstrates that you’re healthier than shown by your initial application.

This reminds us: It’s worth noting that, because of COVID, Haven Life has expanded its window for when applicants can schedule their exam to qualify for an insurance product. This allows extra time for the labs and phlebotomists to take the appropriate precautions. In those cases, it will obviously take longer to receive coverage.

For a few: More than a few weeks

If the underwriter requires medical records (perhaps, for example, if an applicant has a chronic illness) for your term life insurance application, then the amount of time it takes to get coverage will depend in part on how quickly the applicant’s physician can provide the records. In those instances, it might take a few weeks or longer.

So, what can you do to help your insurance agency expedite things in the case when additional medical records are ordered? For one, it may seem simple, but if a special authorization form is needed (a form the medical facility requires to release records) try to sign it and send it back to Haven Life ASAP. Additionally, a call to your doctor’s office to follow up on said request never hurts when buying life insurance. Oftentimes your doctor will respond quicker to a patient’s request than they will an insurance company.

For a very few: Months

For most people, buying an insurance product  from a life insurance company takes minutes, days or weeks at the most (at least with Haven Life), but there are exceptions. If an applicant has a serious, uncontrolled condition — such as a level of diabetes that frequently sends them to the hospital, and for which they and their doctor are trying to find an appropriate treatment — or a newly diagnosed disease, it’s possible that they will be asked to reapply later when their medical condition is controlled or more fully understood. Life insurance underwriters need to see at least six months of stability in order to offer coverage to an applicant.

So in short, for most people it doesn’t take long at all to buy a life insurance policy, which is just one more reason it’s something you should take care of as soon as you can. Whenever you’re ready, we will be, too.

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About Michael Davis

Read more by Michael Davis

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html

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