How Long Does it Take to Get Life Insurance?

In getting life insurance, the insurer will give two options: to undergo a thorough medical examination or not. The way to have approved, fully underwritten life insurance is indeed long but has advantages. Although, we believe that no medical exam life insurance also has benefits.

Although few couldn’t wait, most people still want to have their life insurance application to get approved and processed as they have likely understood the importance of being insured, particularly on what it does to their loved ones once they’re gone.

The truth is, life insurance is not a ready-made type of agreement. Insurers have many factors to consider before providing the policy coverage and premium rates.

If you want to know the process of applying for life insurance and how long it would take to get one, stay and read on, as we will discuss why insurers take time to provide rates and approve applications.

What is Underwriting?

Underwriting is a process insurers make to analyze all the statistical data that they have collected from the person’s medical and driving records up to the work environment and risk. It helps to determine the person’s eligibility and to get the most appropriate premium rates, policy coverage, and benefits or the amount that the beneficiaries will receive.

Know the Application Process First

policy application processChoosing a suitable coverage policy will help to estimate the amount of money the beneficiaries get in the future. Also, knowing the nitty-gritty process of life insurance can set the expectation, particularly in the waiting time.

The first step will be determining insurance coverage. Just like in a loan application, where applicants have an idea of how much they need to borrow, a person who wants to get life insurance should also be familiar with the types of coverages.

To name a few: Term Life Insurance, which ends after 5-20 years, depending on the agreement; Permanent Life Insurance is also widely-used. It stays in force while the insured person lives and payments are up-to-date; and, Life Insurance, which comes with a cash value that insurers can borrow.


Obtain an application questionnaire. It will ask for personal information like the nature of work and if you are actively participating in any outdoor activities or sports. The questions may lead to any records of drug abuse, how often do you take alcoholic drinks, or if you do smoke. It will also require the person to enumerate all pre-existing conditions if that applies.

It is very crucial, to be honest in filling out the form. Do not attempt to hide or deny any details as this can result in a voided policy, or the beneficiaries will not get any money after the insured’s death.

Following is the medical examination. This process is for those who opt to undergo the required medical procedures. The doctor will request for vital signs like body temperature and heart rate. Doctors may also request blood samples, urine collections, and x-ray. Ask the physician if you can have the procedures completed at home.

If the physician or the medical results show new or additional health problems, the insurance company may request supporting documents like APS or Attending Physician Statement. Expect that the cost of this document is relatively high, and it may add 2-3 weeks to your application process.

Then comes the underwriting. Here is where underwriters carefully evaluate all gathered information. Once they finish the assessment, they will inform you of what your rates would be. Afterwhich, they will issue you your life insurance policy.

Required Time for Underwriting

Underwriters are very resourceful. They will get all the records needed from hospitals, as well as from public offices, then reviews them carefully. All insurance companies categorize the health status of their applicants into different classifications.

These classifications range from being the healthiest person with no personal and family records up to the person with average health status but with minor health conditions and family clinical histories.

It is likely to have faster results if the applicant is in the first class. The timeframe is 7-10 business days but may take longer for those who have pre-existing conditions. It may take 2-4 weeks or even longer if there are necessary documents needed.

Again, once they have all the requirements, the underwriter will re-evaluate the equivalent amount of risks that they need to include to the premium. Each classification has its corresponding premium amount. The premium rates vary because applicants have different health status.

How Long Does It Take to Get Life Insurance Approval?

approval timeInsurance companies have already set-up standard procedures in processing life insurance applications, with or without a medical examination. Meaning to say, they already know how to assist individuals regardless of what their health status is.

Some insurance policies get approved in just a matter of 24-48 hours, while others take 6-8 weeks or even longer. The processing period differs since there are two types of policies, and those are: Fully Written Medical Exam Policy and No Medical Exam Policy.

Fully Written Medical Exam Policy

The most suitable type of coverage that a person could get is the fully underwritten exam policy. It requires thorough medical procedures like blood pressure and body temperature monitoring, not to mention body weight and height assessments. It also includes laboratory testings like urinalysis and blood samples for complete blood count and to check the sugar level. Likely, medical examiners would also require cholesterol level testing.

Once you’re thru with the medical exam, the clinic or hospital may need to forward the results for evaluation to a diagnostic center. That alone may take a couple of days, however, if the clinic does the assessment, that could cut a big chunk on the waiting period.

Considering all the medical results and lab tests is a must to underwriters. A person who has no to little health problems could mean lesser work for the underwriter, which means faster application results of about 7-10 business days. That’s 1-3 days for application processing, 2-3 days for underwriting, another 1-3 days for approval, and lastly, 1-3 days for issuance of approved life insurance.

On the other hand, if the person has multiple health problems, the process may take a little longer, particularly at the underwriting stage.

No Medical Exam Policy

Getting the fair rates through a fully-written exam policy sounds just about right, but there are still a few who would go for No Medical Exam Policy. These people are likely to have no time to do the check-ups and lab testings, not fans of needles, not qualified to get traditional insurance, or just wanting to have the application get approved as quickly as possible.

Since there is no medical record required, the underwriter will focus more on the submitted application form and background checking. Gathering information from public offices like the DMV will only take a few hours since they are likely available immediately.

Hence, the fastest application that could get processed would only take 24-48 hours. An application can only take longer of up to 4-6 weeks if the applicant fails to disclose all needed information, which may require resubmission.


Whether you want to go with the strict process but with reasonable rates from fully underwritten policy or go fast-track by applying for No Medical Exam Policy, make sure to provide accurate information and cooperate when needed. It would help speed up the process and avoid problems in the future, particularly during claims.

Linda Chavez

I'm a burial & senior life insurance expert, independent agent, Founder & CEO of Seniors Life Insurance Finder. I have been working in this sector since 2004 and established my own company in 2014. I have a team of seven members, and we are trying hard to share the knowledge we've gathered. We know how difficult often it is to find an affordable policy. Hence, we are doing our best to help you.