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The Life Insurance Application Process

"What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork." —Pearl Bailey

If you've never applied for life insurance before, you probably aren't sure what to expect. Is there a lot of paperwork? What's the difference between a quote and a rate? We're here to help. This is our complete guide to the process, telling you what to expect at every step.

Our streamlined online application process is fast, convenient, and best of all, free. For over 40 years, we've helped families buy life insurance. That's more than half a million families! If you're ready to be next, here's what to expect when you buy life insurance online. Our step-by-step video series will help explain it all.

Click Here for Life Insurance Quotes!


Step 1: Get your free quote

Young woman sitting in front of a laptop.
The life insurance application process begins when you get a free online quote.

It all starts here! Use our easy online quoter to check out the rates and insurers available to you. Just fill out our form with a few key pieces of information:

  • Coverage amount you want
    • Select amounts ranging from $25,000 to $5,000,000
    • If you're not sure how to choose, our quote form has easy on-the-page tips for making your selection
  • Term of coverage you want
    • Term life policies in 10, 20, or 30-year terms
    • Return of premium policies in 20 or 30-year terms
    • Lifetime coverage
  • State of residence
    • States regulate life insurance carriers; rates may vary by state.
  • Birthday
    • Insurance rates vary by age.
  • Gender
    • Insurance rates vary for men and women.
  • Height/weight
    • Insurers use your height and weight to get a general idea of your overall health.
  • Health class
    • Insurers ask you to pick one of four rate classes based on your health:
      • Preferred Plus: no health problems, non-smoker, no family history of diabetes or cancer
      • Preferred: no health problems, haven't smoked in 1-3 years, no family history of diabetes or cancer
      • Standard Plus: minor health problems, haven't smoked in 1-2 years, some family history of medical problems
      • Standard: some health problems, haven't smoked in 1 year, some family history of medical problems
  • Tobacco use
    • Insurers want to know if you use tobacco now, or have done so in the past.

Once you input your information, click "Compare Quotes" and you'll see an instant list of quotes, sorted by lowest price. We'll even highlight the lowest rate for you, right at the top of the list! Trusted Quote will never, ever sell your information or use it for anything except bringing you the most affordable life insurance quotes on the market.

To learn more about this part of the process, watch our Step 1 video below:


Step 2: Fill out an application

If you see something you like in your quote results, click "Continue." Just fill in your name, address, phone number, email, and any other additional medical information that the insurance company might want to know about you. That information gets sent straight to our insurance advisors, who put your information into the application for the policy you've selected. You don't have to do a thing!

Once we've started filling out your life insurance application for you, we'll need to give you a call. Every carrier has a different application form, and some want more information than others. We'll get in touch with you and ask you for the answers on the remaining application questions. These usually have to do with details about your health history or finances. (Some insurers want to know about your finances in order to estimate how much risk they take by insuring you.)

When the application is completed, all we need is your signature. Many insurers let us do this digitally, so all we'll need to do is email you a copy of the completed application for your approval. For insurers who still require paper applications, we'll mail you the application via Priority Mail, with the places for your signature clearly marked. When you're done, just slip it into the postage-paid envelope we provide and drop it in the mail.

To learn more about the application, watch our Step 2 video below:


Step 3: Take a medical exam

All life insurance carriers require that you have a brief medical exam before they'll issue your policy. The exception to this is if you're buying a "no medical exam" policy, which removes this requirement. Don't worry—this part is easy!

When our agent gives you a call to finish up your application (see previous step), they'll also order your free medical exam. It costs you absolutely nothing. Our medical examiners are from Superior Mobile Medics, a professional mobile medical examination company. Once we tell them you need an exam, they'll contact you to set it up. You pick the time and place, and they come straight to you. It could be your home or office, at any time on any day of the week.

During the exam, a mobile nurse will take some of your basic health information:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sample
  • Urine sample

There's nothing to be nervous about—especially not since you can read our 7 Secrets to Save Big Money on Your Life Insurance Policy. To learn more about the medical exam, watch our Step 3 video below:


Step 4: Wait for underwriting

This is probably the easiest step for you, because there's nothing you need to do except wait. Your insurance provider is doing all the work in this step. Expect them to take 4-6 weeks to receive and process your application.

You might wonder what they're doing during this time. They're looking at your application and estimating how much of a risk you'll be to insure. For example, young, healthy applicants present less risk than older or unhealthy applicants. The insurance company's underwriters will look at your medical history and try and put a monthly dollar value on the amount of risk they feel you represent. That dollar value is what becomes your final rate. In most cases, this will match your quoted rate.

Sometimes insurance underwriters need more information about you in order to assign you a "rate class." They may need to request medical records from your doctor, for example. This can often take quite a bit of time. It can take several weeks for the requests for information to be processed and information transferred. Then, the insurance underwriters need time to look at the information they receive.

As soon as they've made a decision about your application and offered a rate, we'll be in touch with you by email or by phone. If their offer happens to be different than the rate you got in your original quote, we'll go over your options. It's very common for the same individual to be offered different rates by different carriers, even though those carriers are all looking at the exact same information.

To learn more about what affects your rate class, watch our video below:

To learn more about the entire underwriting process, watch our Step 4 video below:


Step 5: Accept your offer & receive your policy

Once the insurance underwriters approve your application, they'll offer you a rate and ask if you'd like to accept the offer. This is always your decision. In most cases, your rate will be very near the quote you received in step 1. (If it isn't, don't panic—we can help you sort out your next steps.)

We'll send you all the policy paperwork, including your proposed rate, electronically (if the carrier allows) or by Priority Mail (if they require hard copies). All you have to do is sign them and send them back to us along with any payment required to put the policy in force. Once we get these documents from you, you're done! Just keep making your monthly payments and your policy will be there to protect you.

To learn more about wrapping up the process, watch our Step 5 video below:


If, at any point in the process, you need help or have questions, you can call us. Your agent will be happy to help!

Reach us at 800-823-4852, Monday through Friday between 8 am and 5 pm (Pacific time).

Click Here for Life Insurance Quotes!


About Trusted Quote

For over 40 years, our company has helped half a million American families protect their future with life insurance. We provide fast, free quotes for life, disability, long-term care insurance, and more.

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Copyright 2002-2013 Pinney Wholesale Insurance Services - All Rights Reserved 2266 Lava Ridge Court, Roseville, CA 95661


*Comparison of each carrier’s best published rates for a
10-year level term policy, 30-year-old non-smoking female


^Represents 10-year level term life insurance rates for 40-year-old female,
in good health, no tobacco, residing in Ohio.

R. Jan Pinney CLU, ChFC is a licensed life insurance agent in all states and the District of Columbia. The following agent license numbers are provided for R. Jan Pinney as required by state law: CA agent #0440057, LA agent #291116, MA agent #1674866, MN agent #20270113, UT agent #58330, agent R. Jan Pinney, DBA Pinney Insurance Services. Commercial use by others is prohibited by law. This site provides term quotes. Each rate is a quote based on information provided by the carrier. No portion of Trusted Quote may be copied, published, faxed, mailed or distributed in any manner for any purpose without prior written authorization of the owner.

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