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Can I get life insurance faster with accelerated underwriting?

A

A

If you're 18-60 years old and healthy, you may qualify for accelerated underwriting, which can dramatically shorten the life insurance application process.

Nupur GambhirRebecca Shoenthal author photo

Nupur Gambhir & Rebecca Shoenthal

Published October 22, 2020

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Policygenius offers accelerated underwriting through Lincoln, Brighthouse, Banner Life, and Prudential

  • Accelerated underwriting uses available data rather than relying on medical exam results

  • Your eligibility for accelerated underwriting is based on health profile, medical history, financial background, and criminal record, among other factors

Typically, getting a life insurance policy takes between four and six weeks. Most of that time is taken up by underwriting, a process in which your potential insurer evaluates the risk you pose of dying while your policy is active.

If you just want to get life insurance coverage sooner, then accelerated underwriting (AU) life insurance is a great option. Accelerated underwriting can bring the underwriting process down from several weeks to a couple of days by foregoing the medical exam and instead using readily available data and previous medical records.

Four Policygenius partner insurers offer accelerated underwriting life insurance policies. Read on to learn more about how accelerated underwriting works, if you’re eligible and why you might want to do it.

How the typical underwriting process works

Your medical history and your hobbies play a significant role in determining not only your premium rates but also whether you’re eligible for life insurance coverage at all.

During underwriting the insurance company gets a detailed picture of your health and lifestyle by evaluating your application information, conducting a phone interview, talking to your doctor, and having you take a medical exam. The insurance company also checks your driving record, prescription history, and looks you up in the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) database to see whether you’ve previously applied for life insurance.

If you have a more complicated medical history, they might order an attending physician statement (APS), which can add extra time to the underwriting process.

→ Learn more about the life insurance underwriting process here.

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How the accelerated underwriting process works

Accelerated underwriting speeds up the typical underwriting process by avoiding some of the more onerous medical steps – namely the APS request, which can take the longest to complete.

As with traditional underwriting, the insurance company will still check various databases (MIB, DMV, etc.) and you'll still have an initial medical interview over the phone, during which you’ll be asked about various elements of your health.

If everything looks normal, then you move on to the next step. But if any serious medical conditions or other concerns show up, you’ll be required to take a medical exam.

If the results of your medical exam show a more complex health history, the insurer may order an APS after all. While this is a bummer if you were trying to speed up the process, between 47% and 68% of accelerated underwriting applicants are approved without having to submit additional lab tests or an APS, according to 2020 Policygenius data.

Where to get an accelerated underwriting life insurance policy

You can get an accelerated underwriting life insurance policy through Policygenius from four of our partnering insurers: Lincoln TermAccel, Brighthouse SimplySelect, Banner Life Horizons and Prudential PruFast Track.

Below we’ll give an overview of each company’s AU option. For a comprehensive overview of each insurer’s customer services record and financial standing take a look at our life insurance company reviews.

Lincoln TermAccel

Lincoln TermAccel is a competitive policy for individuals in good health — though if you have a more complicated medical history, it may be harder to get approved for coverage.

What sets Lincoln TermAccel apart?

The policy is especially valuable to people who may not get an affordable no medical exam policy elsewhere. Marijuana smokers who don’t work in the industry can get competitive rates and smokers have a better chance of getting coverage than they would with other accelerated life insurance policies.

Even though the application process for a Lincoln TermAccel policy usually doesn’t require a medical exam, the coverage you can get is comparable. Policyholders have the option to convert their coverage into a whole life insurance policy at the end of its term. Other supplemental coverage options include the accelerated death benefits rider, children’s life insurance rider, and waiver of premium rider.

How much does Lincoln TermAccel cost?

Lincoln TermAccel premiums are some of the lowest in the industry. According to Policygenius quoting data, here’s how much you can expect to pay with a Preferred health classification for a $500,000 policy:

Monthly premiums for women

AGEAVERAGE MONTHLY PREMIUMS
25$17.31
35$19.09
45$39.54
55$88.72
60$149.65

Monthly premiums for men

AGEAVERAGE MONTHLY PREMIUMS
25$20.42
35$22.36
45$50.22
55$120.73
60$211.44

Brighthouse SimplySelect

Brighthouse SimplySelect is a no medical exam term policy that offers coverage comparable to a traditional term life insurance policy almost immediately.

What sets Brighthouse SimplySelect apart?

The application process for Brighthouse SimplySelect forgoes the medical exam and like other AU policies includes a phone interview and a review of other medical, financial, and other public information.

Your financial justification for a policy is also reviewed — and the death benefit amount will depend on your age and income. Within 24 hours of your phone interview, you’ll know if your application has been accepted, rejected, or if it has been “referred to the underwriter”. If your application is accepted, you’ll sign off on the policy via DocuSign and your coverage will be active. If it’s referred to the underwriter, the insurance company needs to ask you some additional questions before they make a decision.

The Brighthouse SimplySelect policy comes with supplemental riders. This includes a term conversion rider, which allows you to convert your coverage into a whole life insurance policy at the end of its term. You can also add an accelerated death benefit rider, which pays out some of the death benefit while you’re still alive if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness.

How much does Brighthouse SimplySelect cost?

Check out the graphs below to get an idea of how much you might pay for a Brighthouse SimplySelect policy. Your actual premiums will vary depending on your individual circumstances.

Average premiums for women:

AGE$750,000$1,000,000$2,000,000
25$24.98$30.75$53.81
30$26.26$32.46$57.22
35$30.11$37.58$67.47
40$41.00$52.95$98.21
45$61.49$80.28$152.87
50$97.23$129.81$251.93

Average premiums for men:

AGE$750,000$1,000,000$2,000,000
25$32.67$41.00$74.30
30$33.95$42.70$77.72
35$35.87$46.12$84.55
40$50.60$64.05$120.42
45$80.71$104.19$200.69
50$139.63$171.66$335.63

Methodology: Sample monthly premium rates based on 20-year term life insurance policy for a non-smoker in Preferred health rating; quotes based on policies offered by Policygenius in 2020.

Accelerated underwriting offerings available from Policygenius in 2020

If you’re not eligible for an accelerated underwriting life insurance policy from Brighthouse or Lincoln, there are other options available, though they may be more restrictive in their offerings and where they are available.

LIFE INSURANCE COMPANYTERM LENGTHS AVAILABLEAGESCOVERAGE AMOUNT LIMITSRIDERS AVAILABLETEMPORARY COVERAGE AVAILABLE
Banner/William Penn: Horizons AU10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 & 40 years20 - 40$100k - $1 millionAccelerated Death Benefit onlyNo
Brighthouse: Simply Select10, 20 & 30 years25 - 50$100k - $2 million †Accelerated Death Benefit onlyYes, subject to certain conditions
Lincoln: Term Accel10, 15, 20 & 30 years18 - 60 ††$100k - $1 millionYesYes, subject to certain conditions
Prudential: PruFast Track10, 15, 20 & 30 years18 - 50$100k - $3 millionYesNot available

†For Brighthouse Simply Select, coverage limits vary by risk class

††For the Lincoln TermAccel 30-year term, the maximum issue age is 55 for non-smokers and 50 for smokers

Methodology: Information based on policies offered by Policygenius in October 2020 and is subject to change.

What qualifies you for accelerated underwriting

Not everyone qualifies for accelerated underwriting. If you’re in poor health or have a risky hobby, like skydiving, you may not be eligible (although every insurer has different eligibility rules). Your family health history will be taken into account, and some heritable health conditions will automatically disqualify you.

You are more likely to qualify for accelerated underwriting if:

  • You're generally in good health with no family history of serious medical conditions

  • You're between the age range of 18 to 60

  • Your finances and credit score are in good shape, with no recent history of bankruptcy

  • Your criminal record is clear of serious charges, including felonies and moving violations

  • You’re a citizen or a permanent resident

  • You haven’t been declined insurance coverage in the past

Note that even if all of the above doesn't apply to you, obtaining life insurance coverage is still possible, but you will have to go through traditional underwriting instead.

Talk to a licensed representative at Policygenius to find a policy from a life insurance company that works with your particular health profile and coverage needs.

Accelerated underwriting and coronavirus

During the outbreak of COVID-19, you may be considering an accelerated life insurance policy for its quick turnaround time or lack of medical exam requirements.

If you’re young and in good health, you may be eligible to apply for an accelerated policy, but even young and healthy individuals get rejected from the accelerated underwriting process for various reasons. If that’s the case, the insurer will ask you to complete the normal underwriting and take the medical exam.

Generally, when working with a Policygenius advisor, they’ll let you know if you qualify for an accelerated policy during your initial phone interview. If your accelerated policy is later rejected by the insurer, your Policygenius advisor will work with you to find another policy option that doesn’t require a medical exam.

If you end up going through the traditional underwriting process or apply for a no medical exam life insurance policy, you can still make sure you’re covered in the interim with a temporary life insurance policy.

Accelerated underwriting FAQs

What is accelerated underwriting?

Accelerated underwriting typically doesn’t require a medical exam or attending physician statement (APS) like traditional underwriting. This cuts down the life insurance application timeline from several weeks to a few days.

What is the underwriting process for life insurance?

The process where an insurance company evaluates the risk of insuring you and determines your final rate. Someone who works on behalf of the insurance company, the underwriter, determines the risk of insuring you.

What life insurance companies offer accelerated underwriting?

Lincoln, Brighthouse, Banner Life, and Prudential offer accelerated underwriting through Policygenius.

Who is eligible for an accelerated underwriting life insurance policy?

Eligibility requirements vary by insurance company. If you’re between the ages of 18-60, are healthy, don’t have a pre-existing medical condition, have a clean criminal record, and good finances, you may qualify for accelerated underwriting.

Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir

Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir is an insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. Previously, she has worked in marketing and business development for travel and tech. She has a B.A. in Economics from Ohio State University.

Insurance Expert

Rebecca Shoenthal

Insurance Expert

Rebecca Shoenthal is an insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. Previously, she worked as a nonfiction book editor. She has a B.A. in Media and Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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