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Every time someone applies for life insurance they ask the question, “so, how long will it take?” After 500 years in the business I have only been right 3 or 4 times………….but in general!!

Let’s review the variables. Applying for insurance sort of insinuates that a person has to make a decision to buy. I have seen that take anywhere from minutes to years. Even though I have been blamed for that period of time also, well, out of my control, not my fault! I refuse to push anyone to buy. I am not a closer. Don’t like being closed so I don’t use “closing techniiques”.

So, let’s assume the decision has been made. Again, applying for life insurance takes two things to get the ball rolling, a signed application and an exam. Most often that is done simultaneously as the examiner takes an application with them to your exam. You donate blood and urine, tell them all about your sordid medical history, get your blood pressure taken and then they have you sign the application (which, by the way, has the authorization that allows the company to look at the lab results). I have actually had clients refuse to sign the application until they know what their lab results are. No application, no labs.

A lot of agencies require money at this point. My professional opinion is that requiring money is nothing more than a way to make you commit (at least mentally) to an end product that you haven’t seen, and at this point really don’t know the cost of. My advice. Keep your money until the agent or agency produces a policy and you review it and like it.  If they require money, find an agent that doesn’t. Whether or not they have your money has no bearing on the application process. If they tell you it does, they are lying!

At this point I generally tell clients that, if there aren’t any medical records involved, it will take 2-3 weeks after the exam for the company to approve the application. If you have or have had any health issues and the company wants to see your medical records, you can add 1-12 weeks to the process. This is simply the length of time it takes your doctor to copy and release your records. The average doctor probably gets it done in 2-4 weeks.

I know that seems like a long time, and it is. The truth is that if you were lying in an emergency room in some kind of acute distress, and the ER doc needed to see your medical records, he would probably have them within the hour. Worst case, next day.

It’s for this reason that anyone applying for life insurance should take the time to call their doctor’s office and let the keeper of the records know that it is personally very important to you that they release all the information in a timely manner, say one week. If they sound like you are stretching their imagination with that request, suggest that you can stop by and get the records so you can make a copy. Doctors aren’t real keen on you having a copy of your medical records and often this will prompt them to move a bit quicker. Not a bad idea to follow through on getting a copy though. I had client’s who were caught in a record twilight zone after Katrina. If they would have had a copy it would have saved them months.

Oh, the answer to the question! Having already warned you that I’m almost never right, on average it takes 4 to 6 weeks after the exam and application are completed to get a policy approved.

Bottom line. If you need it next week, you started too late. You can do what’s called a conditional receipt, some call it binding the insurance, but that can be another whole can of worms. I’ll cover that in another post.