(Frequently Asked Questions)

Applying for life insurance is a new experience for many people. We know this can be a daunting experience for many, so we have have provided these frequently asked questions to, hopefully, give you some answers to questions you might have:

What is life insurance?

Life insurance is a legal contract (policy) between you (the insured) and an insurance company (the insurer). In the contract, you agree to pay a fee to the insurance company, either periodically (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually) or in a lump sum. In return, the insurance company agrees to pay a sum of money (face amount or death benefit) to a person (or persons) or entity (e.g. a trust) you designate in the contract as the policy’s beneficiary (provided the policy is in force at the time of death).

Who needs life insurance?

If you have a spouse (or partner) and/or children that would suffer financially if you were to die, you need life insurance. There are others who need life insurance (e.g. business partners), but the main incentive to own life insurance always has been to ensure your loved ones will be taken care of financially should you die.

When should I purchase life insurance?

You should purchase life insurance now if:

  • If you are married (or about to get married) and your spouse depends on your income.
  • If you have young children (or about to).
  • If you are married and own a home with a mortgage.
  • If you have a large estate and expect that your heirs will be hit with a big estate tax bill.
  • If you are a partial owner of a business and have a buy/sell agreement with your partner(s), but no way to fund the buy-out of your partner’s shares should he/she pass away (and vice-versa).
  • If you have a special-needs child who will need special care should you and/or your spouse die
How much life insurance do I need?

There are several methods of determining how much life insurance you need. One method is using the multiple of income method, using a multiplier of your income to determine the benefit amount. Between 25 and 35, we recommend 20-25 times your income; between 35- 50, multiply your income by 15; above 50, use a factor of 10. These are only general guides, as every situation will vary.

You can also use our calculator, which uses a different method. Ultimately, the cost will be a factor too, as you have to maintain the premium payments over time.

How much life insurance can I get?

Now that you have determined how much you need, hopefully the insurance company will offer you that amount. Insurance companies use multipliers as described above and will not provide you with more coverage than they think you need, based on their formulas. There is some flexibility there, so if you have needs that exceed these formulas, your agent can help you “sell your case” to the underwriter.

What term length do I Choose?

If you have a specific time period you need covered, such as for a 30-year mortgage, select the term that will cover that period. As life insurance can be viewed as income replacement, some people try to get coverage lasting until retirement age, while others get coverage lasting until their young children are beyond college-age.

Who should I name as my beneficiary?

Most people name their spouse (or partner) as the primary beneficiary and their children as secondary (or contingent) beneficiaries. Secondary beneficiaries receive the death benefit if the primary is no longer alive. You can name any person (or entity) that has an insurable interest in you (meaning they would suffer a financial loss if you were to die).

Should I replace my current Policy?

While we don’t often advise replacement of an existing policy, there are some instances where it will make financial sense for you to do so.  Your agent should be able to advise you on whether or not replacement is a good idea for you.

Life Insurance Types

What are different types of life insurance?

There are basically two types of life insurance – permanent and temporary. Whole life insurance and Universal life insurance are two types of permanent life insurance, both providing coverage for the entire life of the insured person. Term life insurance provides temporary coverage for specified periods of time (the term), typically for 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years.

What is term life insurance?

Simply stated, it’s life insurance protection lasting a limited number of years (typically 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 years) that expires without value if the insured survives the stated term period. Most term policies can be renewed (at higher premium) at the end of the term or may be able to be converted to a permanent policy during the term period.

What is permanent life insurance?

Simply stated, it’s life insurance protection that lasts your entire life.  There are different types of permanent life insurance, including whole life, universal life. indexed universal life, variable universal life.  While we recommend term life insurance for most people, ask your agent or advisor if permanent life insurance is a good option for you.

How does return of premium like insurance work

Return of premium life insurance is level term insurance with a bonus – if you outlive your policy’s term, you will receive all your premiums back. It is more expensive than regular term insurance and the cost difference increases with age, so we don’t recommend this type of policy for older ages.

What is mortgage life insurance?

Mortgage life insurance is reducing term life insurance. The death benefit decreases annually to keep level with your mortgage balance. Due to the lower cost of level term insurance, mortgage insurance has fallen out of broad use today.

What is final expense life insurance?

Final Expense Insurance is a whole life insurance policy that is designed to pay for your final expenses when you die. Unless these expenses are taken care of with other life insurance or money from your estate, these costs are typically passed on to surviving loved ones.

Certainly, the last things you want to leave when you pass away are the costs of a funeral and other services to your grieving family members, when you can easily pre-fund all of these expenses by purchasing affordable final expense insurance.

What is no-exam life insurance?

No exam life insurance is one of the quickest ways to get coverage without having to undergo a medical exam. These policies are often easy to obtain, are approved much quicker than regular term policies, and may have higher premiums than term life insurance policies that require exams. 

What is accidental death insurance?

As the name implies, accidental death insurance offers coverage for death as a result of an accident.   These policies are guaranteed issue and, as such, there are no health questions, medical exams or occuational restrictions.

Life Insurance Quotes

Are the quotes from website guaranteed?

Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee the quotes. They are estimates based on the information you provide on the website. The final quotes are revealed at the end of the underwriting process and will be based on your application information and health and other information gathered during the process. If you have answered the questions honestly and there are no surprises during the underwriting process, there’s a strong chance your final quotes will match or be close to your original quote.

What does modal premium mean?

Modal premium is simply the premium paid on a policy, based on the frequency of premium payments, which could be annual, semi-annual, quarterly, monthly, or weekly. If you are paying $35.00 monthly premiums, your modal premium is $35.00.

What does the A.M. Best rating mean?

From the A.M. Best website: “A Best’s Financial Strength Rating is an independent opinion of an insurer’s financial strength and ability to meet its ongoing insurance policy and contract obligations. It is based on a comprehensive quantitative and qualitative evaluation of a company’s balance sheet strength, operating performance and business profile.”

As you are trusting an insurance company to be there to pay a claim, if needed, you want to make sure the insurance company will be around when needed. A Superior A.M. Best rating (A++ or A+) for an insurance company is a strong indication that the insurance company is financially sound (we also recommend looking at other independent ratings, such as Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s).

What is a health class?

Health (or risk) classes are used to help the insurance companies determine how much premium you will pay for your policy.  The less your risk of dying (based on health and lifestyle), the better your health class and lower your premiums.

Which company should I choose?

As we work with only A-rated companies, we often recommend selecting the company with the lowest premium, unless you have a preference.

The Application Process

Is there a fee for your service?

No. We are paid a commission by the insurance company if we assist you with getting your policy in force.

How long will my application take to approve?

The application processing time varies case to case, but the average time is 4 – 6 weeks from the time we receive the application in our office. The factors that slow down the process are applicant failure to completely answer questions or send in additional information and; physicians’ slow response in submitting medical records to the insurance company

When does my coverage begins?

Your life insurance coverage is in force when we receive your final paperwork and payment in our office. If you arrange for temporary insurance when you submit your application, you will be covered when we receive your application and payment in our office (check the details of your temporary coverage, as the benefit amount might differ from the death benefit you are applying for).

What is temporary insurance?

If you arrange for temporary insurance when you submit your application, you will be covered when we receive your application and payment in our office (check the details of your temporary coverage, as the benefit amount might differ from the death benefit you are applying for).

Do I have to submit a payment with my application?

You only need to submit a payment with your application if you want to acquire temporary insurance (see question above).

Why do they need social security numbers?

Social security numbers are used for the purpose of identification whether in obtaining your medical information and records, or paying out benefits to your beneficiaries. If the application asks for a social security number, it must be provided.

Why do they need my financial information?

Financial information is required on every application to determine if the amount of insurance is appropriate to your income. The information is kept private and used only for the purpose of underwriting your application only.

What do i need a medical exam?

Fully underwritten policies require a medical exam. The exam typically includes blood and urine samples, blood pressure readings, height and weight measurements and questionnaire (additional tests, such as EKG, might be required due to age or death benefit applied for). 

No-exam policies do not require medical exams, unless information in your application or medical records indicate otherwise.

I recently quit smoking. Can I get non-smoker rates?

If it has been a year or longer since you quit smoking, some companies will give you Standard Non-Tobacco rates. If it has been 2 or 3 years, a few companies will give you Preferred Non-Tobacco rates.

Will frequent international travel affect my application?

If you do travel frequently, the underwriter will want to know details of your travels, including countries visited, frequency and reason for visits (business or travel). If you travel to countries that are on the U.S. State Department’s list of countries to avoid, you might not qualify for life insurance. We know which insurance companies allow the most leeway in these lists, so check with us before you apply.

Will my credit be checked?

The insurance company does not run a credit check as a part of the underwriting process. You may be asked to provide additional financial information during the underwriting process but no official check of your credit will be performed.

Will my citizenship/residency status be an issue?

Most of the insurance companies we work with require applicants to be U.S. residents (U.S. citizens or those that have permanent visas (green cards). U.S. residents who have temporary work visas can get coverage in some cases.

My doctor said there isn’t a problem – why does the underwriter?

Your doctor is looking at your overall health and morbidity and working with you to improve conditions and maintain a healthy life and lifestyle. The underwriter is looking not only at mortality but is also governed by the policies of the insurance company. It is the underwriter’s job to determine your specific risk. There are some factors to which the underwriter has some discretion and others which are clearly laid out by insurance company policy.

If your application has been approved other than it has been applied for and your rate has been increased, we are happy to explain the circumstances which led to that decision as well as advocate on your behalf with the underwriter.

Can I change my beneficiaries at a later date?

Yes, all insurance companies allow change of beneficiary with a simple form. Your beneficiary must have an insurable interest, so make sure your new beneficiary fits that description.

Will I receive the medical result of my exam?

The results of the blood and urine tests will be available to you. They will either be mailed to you or be available online. The results come directly from the insurance company and/or the medical exam company. LifeInsure.com does not receive them as they are confidential.

Will a bankruptcy affect my application?

Bankruptcies can affect your life insurance application depending on several factors, such as how recent the bankruptcy, what type of bankruptcy and the date of its discharge. Each bankruptcy is taken on a case by case basis by the insurance company. We can help to determine if there will a problem based on your specific details.

What is the APS (Attending Physician Statement)?

The APS is a report the insurance company requests from an applicant’s personal physician when additional information is needed to support medical information disclosed in the application or in the medical examiner’s report. If there is no significant medical history, at the discretion of the underwriter, an APS might not be required. Due to physicians’ busy schedules, it sometimes takes quite a while to receive the APS from a physician’s office.

Who is my agent?

LifeInsure.com or one of it’s licensed agents will be your agent.

Who is my case manager?

You will be assigned a dedicated case manager who will be responsible for getting your application through the underwriting process quickly.  He or she will be your point of contact throughout the process

Who is my case manager?

The application processing time varies case to case, but the average time is 4 – 6 weeks from the time we receive the application in our office. The factors that slow down the process are applicant failure to completely answer questions or send in additional information and; physicians’ slow response in submitting medical records to the insurance company

What if I fail to disclose information to the underwriters?

We recommend that you reveal all information that’s materiel to the insurance application. When in doubt, it’s best to over-reveal than under-reveal. The insurance company has the right to contest a claim in the first two years of the policy if they suspect a precipitating cause of a death was known about but not revealed in the application.

Your Policy

Will my premiums ever change?

In a level-premium term life policy, your premiums will never change during the term period. If you choose to renew your policy at the end of the term, your premiums will increase significantly. In some flexible-premium universal life policies (without lapse protection), your premiums can change.

Can I convert my term policy to a permanent policy?

Most term policies have conversion privileges, which allows you to convert your term policy to a permanent policy during the term period (in some cases, the conversion option period is shorter than the term period). The main benefit of conversion is that your medical insurability is guaranteed (medical underwriting is not required for the new policy).

Can I change the benefit amount at any time?

In most cases, when you want to increase your benefit, blood and urine samples are required. Depending on your health history, your age and the amount of insurance applied for, you may also be required to take a medical exam.

Some companies allow a benefit decrease, for which medical exam will not be required.

What happens if I don’t continue to make my premium payments?

If you miss a premium payment most policies have a grace period of 30 days. At the end of the grace period, your policy will lapse and will no longer be in force. In some cases, the insurance company might reinstate the policy if you pay the premiums due.

What happens at the end of term?

Your insurance coverage expires at the end of the term. You will be given an opportunity to renew the policy, but at a much higher premium. It’s usually much less expensive to purchase a new policy, if your health hasn’t changed.

What is the contestability period?

The contestability period is the period of time during which the insurance company may contest a claim on a policy because of incomplete or misleading information furnished with the application. Most policies have a contestable period of two years.

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