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What is life insurance underwriting?

The underwriting process is how premiums for all insurance types (car, auto, life, driver, health, etc.) are determined. The job of an underwriter is to look at an application and calculate risk—as in what’s the risk that the applicant will pass away and how soon. There are a number of standardized formulas available to calculate risk based on age, gender, body mass and even how dangerous your hobbies are.

Companies get to choose which formulas they use to determine prices, so shopping and comparing coverage can get time consuming and confusing. At SelectQuote, we can do the legwork for you, searching some of the most highly rated companies and comparing rates in just minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Underwriting

How long does the underwriting process take?

To get started, we can provide you with a pretty accurate life insurance rate based on your health and the information you provide. Remember: the more accurate information you can provide, the better. Following your application, you’ll have to have a basic medical exam, which takes less than an hour.

Once your application and medical exam are sent off to a life insurance company’s underwriter, it can take up to eight weeks to hear back.

While each life insurance policy looks a little different, typically your life insurance goes into effect at the time your application is received and/or following your first premium payment is made.

What if the underwriter doesn’t like what they see on your application?

Underwriters often recognize there are individuals behind each application. Some life insurance underwriters may put your application and medical exam results through an additional evaluation to help improve your risk score, which often results in a lower premium rate for you. It’s crucial to provide accurate, in-depth answers to any questions on the application. The more information you provide, the more in line your life insurance quotes will be.

Is there a way to accelerate the underwriting process?

The underwriting portion of obtaining life insurance can take weeks, so if you’re looking to get covered quickly, accelerated underwriting is an option available to you. Accelerated underwriting doesn’t cost anything extra and shouldn’t raise your premium options, but you might have to accept a lower coverage amount.

Learn more about accelerated underwriting.