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How to Buy Life Insurance (and How Long it Takes for an Application to be Approved)

How you buy life insurance and how long it takes depends on:

  1. How quickly you need it
  2. and if you’re ok with taking a medical exam

Pick the option below that suits your needs better:


Key Features:



Key features:

  • 10% TO 40% HIGHER COST

Applying for Life InsuranceI can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a call from a prospect who asks something like this:

“Chris, how quickly can I get some new life insurance coverage in place?  My current term policy’s premium is increasing in a week.”

Ladies and gentlemen, please don’t let this happen to you.

Approvals in a Few Days to 8 Weeks – Does that Help?

The application and approval times vary depending on how much information you give the company.

For example, some applications require a medical exam, while others don’t.  Keep in mind that the more the insurance company knows about you, the lower the cost of insurance.  (i.e. No Exam policies cost 15-20% higher than Traditional Exam policies, on average.)

Read through the timelines below, and allow yourself the appropriate amount of time to get your new policy in force.

If you are applying for life insurance for the first time, please understand in most cases, especially if a medical exam and medical records are required, this is a bit of a process, and will not happen overnight.

No Exam Life Insurance – Takes Approx. 2-10 Days to Make Effective

In the case of No Exam Life Insurance, no medical exam is required.  Some companies may approve you and issue your policy in as little as 1-3 days, but sometimes it takes up to a week depending on the company.

Here are the steps to buy no exam life insurance and apply:

  1. Call Us for a Quote at 877-443-9467 – Our quote form only quotes traditional policies that require exams.  Call us for no exam rates.
  2. Simple Application – The application is simple and typically requires very few questions.  We can typically fill it out for you and send it to you for electronic signature.
  3. Phone History Interview (in some cases) – Some no exam policies require a short phone interview, where most of the same questions from your application are re-questioned to you.  This call may be made within 1-3 days of receiving your application.
  4. Policy Issue – Your policy may be approved and issued on the same day or within 2 days of your phone history interview.  Your policy is then mailed you, which may take 2-3 more days.  In most cases, your policy will have a couple “delivery requirements” that may need to be signed and sent back, such as a policy delivery receipt.  This can be done by email or fax on the same day the policy is received, and once received by the company, your policy would be placed in force either the same or next day.

Please note, that while No Exam policies get issued quickly, they typically cost more money than a type of policy that requires a medical exam.  The more information a company knows about you, the less risk they take on, and can therefore charge you less.

NOTE: Also, please note that while most no exam companies approve you without seeing your medical records, some will order your records, which can add weeks to the approval process.

So if you want to pay less, you might elect to apply for a policy which requires a medical exam, as I describe below.

Traditional Application with Medical Exam – Approx. 4-8 Weeks to Make Effective

Getting quotes and applying is simple.

You simply:

  1. Get a Quote Here or Call Us at 877-443-9467
  2. Apply for Coverage – We can start the process online or by phone.  We’ll get the application to the point where all you have to do is sign.
  3. Sign your Application – We typically send our applications with electronic signature

In this scenario, when your underwriter reviews your life insurance application answers and/or exam results, he or she orders medical records from your doctor/s.  Obtaining medical records adds 3-4 weeks , on average, to the underwriting process.

While it typically takes 3 to 4 weeks to obtain a set of medical records, we’ve seen them come back very quickly… sometimes in just a few days from the date of originally requesting them.  On the other hand, it could take months to obtain them.  The process of obtaining records varies so much for the following reasons:

  • Most doctors’ offices are inundated and backlogged with these requests.
  • Many offices charge a fee, such as 25 cents per page.  It usually takes a week for payment and processing.
  • Occasionally, records are lost, incomplete, difficult to locate, etc.
  • Often times, your general records are ordered from your general MD, and information is discovered in those records necessitating additional records from other doctors.

We’re really at the mercy of the doctor’s office here, and how quickly they get the records out.  In one extreme example, we ordered records for a couple living in Michigan over 3 months ago, who previously lived in England.  It took over 3 months to locate their records and obtain them!

I Would Like to Apply for Life Insurance – What Now?

You can get started with an application either by calling us toll free at 877-443-9467 or by filling out a quote request using our form on the right, and when you find the policy that suits you best, select “Request Application”.

*Huntley Wealth Insurance and its representatives do not give legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal or tax adviser.
Chris Huntley
Chris Huntley is the owner of Huntley Wealth Insurance, a San Diego life insurance agency. You can find him on Google + and Facebook. Over the past 8 years, Chris has consulted with over 2000 individuals about their insurance needs. He is a proud husband and father to three adorable girls.
Chris Huntley
Chris Huntley

All Comments

  1. SeniorCitizen on September 3, 2013, 4:25 pm

    Hi Chris, can you advice me to expedite the process for with medical exam application? 4-8 weeks looks like a long time for me as I urgently need some coverage and I don’t to make any delay. Any advice?

    • Alice on September 2, 2015, 7:30 am

      Good Information about insurance quotes. Is Medical Examination is necessary for senior citizens?

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