Updated May 4, 2021|8 min read
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You can get life insurance quotes instantly, but the life insurance application process can take 5-6 weeks to complete. And while there are options for temporary coverage in the interim, it can still be a big financial risk to retain that coverage gap.
That’s where instant decision life insurance comes in. Not only can instant decision life insurance get you quotes and coverage almost immediately, but the process is entirely contactless. Brighthouse and Lincoln are two insurance companies we work with at Policygenius that specialize in instant decision life insurance policies.
Read on to see if you qualify for instant life insurance and how to get covered by an instant decision policy.
The life insurance application process usually takes 5-6 weeks
If you apply for an instant decision life insurance policy, you get a policy decision almost immediately after you apply
Instant decision life insurance applications evaluate the same factors as a traditional life insurance policy, such as your build, medical history, and insurance background
An instant decision life insurance policy is the fastest way to get coverage and is completely contactless
Instant decision life insurance policies are exactly what they sound like — you get an application decision almost immediately after your initial phone call. An instant decision life insurance policy is comparable to a traditional term life insurance policy and can offer the same coverage, but is quicker to obtain and doesn’t include the life insurance medical exam.
During the coronavirus outbreak, an instant decision life insurance policy allows you to skip the in-person medical exam if you’re uncomfortable with having a medical examiner come into your home. Because it is contactless, you don’t have to worry about being exposed to disease-carrying germs or being underinsured during a pandemic.
There are three possible outcomes when you apply for an instant decision life insurance policy:
Referred to underwriter
An approved instant decision life insurance is obviously a great thing. All you have to do is pay your first premium, sign your final policy papers, and – voila! –your policy goes in force.
A denied and referred-to-underwriter decision can get a bit more complicated but isn't always cause for concern.
While a declined application means that you aren’t eligible for an instant decision life insurance policy, it doesn’t mean that you’re not eligible for life insurance altogether.
You can still get a policy — often at a competitive price — you just might have to go through the traditional application process and wait a few more weeks.
A referred-to-underwriter outcome isn’t always bad news for your instant decision life insurance application. It simply means the underwriter needs more evidence to approve your policy. The life insurance company will take a second look at your application and will probably ask some additional questions before offering you coverage. It’s possible to get denied after the underwriter reviews your application more thoroughly, but remember, that it doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible for other, more traditional life insurance policies.
Instant decision policies: Brighthouse vs. Lincoln
|Policy||Age requirements||Coverage limits||Term lengths available||Non-medical exclusions||Policy activation|
|Brighthouse SimplySelect||25-50||$100k - $2 million||10, 20, 30 years||Felonies, bankruptcy, DUI/DWI, moving violations||1 business day|
|Lincoln TermAccel||18-60||$100k - $1 million||10, 15, 20, 30 years||Felonies, DUI, moving violations, hazardous sports, private pilots||2 business days|
An instant decision policy doesn’t mean that the application process isn’t just as thorough. Similar to most traditional life insurance policies, the underwriting process involves a thorough evaluation of your family history, lifestyle choices, medical history, and background, including:
Previous physicals and labs
Prior diagnoses and procedures
Medical billing records
Relevant public information such as criminal history or bankruptcy
They’ll also evaluate your evidence of insurability, which is the financial justification for the amount of coverage you’re asking for. You can only apply for a certain amount of coverage depending on two factors: your age and income.
Brighthouse SimplySelect is best for individuals 25-50 in good health who want to be insured within a day or two. Regular marijuana smokers can get covered, but tobacco use may disqualify you from this type of instant policy.
Here are the general income requirements for a Brighthouse SimplySelect policy:
|40 and under||30x|
Check out the graphs below to compare sample quotes for an instant decision life insurance policy through Brighthouse. You’ll notice that, as with any other life insurance policy, the younger you are when you get coverage, the less you’ll end up paying.
Many life insurance policies come with additional coverage called life insurance riders and an instant decision policy from Brighthouse is no different. SimplySelect policies come with two riders that you can utilize while you are still alive:
Term conversion rider, which converts your term policy to a whole life insurance policy, meaning your policy will last for the rest of your life
Acceleration of death benefit rider, which pays out all or some of the death benefit to your beneficiaries.
While Brighthouse’s SimplySelect policy is an affordable coverage option for eligible applicants, there are a few key details about the policy to keep in mind:
Regular premium payments can be made by check only or EFT bank draft only. While most other life insurance companies allow a credit card to be used for the first initial payment, SimplySelect coverage only accepts an EFT bank draft.
Additionally, you’ll be asked to provide your payment information while you’re on the phone with the life insurance agent — before you even receive an application decision. This enables the insurer to draft up your policy details immediately if your application is approved, ensuring expedient coverage. Your policy is only activated after you’ve provided your eSignature on policy documents, and you will be refunded if you opt out of coverage or if your application is rejected.
The bank account used to make payments must be in the name of the insured on the policy.
There is no online portal for a Brighthouse SimplySelect policy. Instead, to make changes to your policy (such as updating your beneficiary designation), reach out to your Policygenius representative.
Ready to shop for life insurance?
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. Policies are available to individuals 18-60, with some age restrictions for 30-year term lengths and smokers.
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 tobacco smokers have a better chance of getting coverage than they would with other life insurance policies.
Here are the general income requirements for a Lincoln TermAccel policy:
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 based on age, gender, and face value:
In addition to a term conversion rider and accelerated death benefits rider, policyholders have the following rider options:
Children’s life insurance rider, which pays out a small death benefit if one of your children dies
Waiver of premium rider, which draws from your death benefit if you become disabled and can no longer pay your life insurance premiums
Understanding what the instant life insurance application entails can make it easier to navigate, especially if you receive a “denial” or “refer to underwriter” decision.
Instant decision life insurance doesn’t require a medical exam — but that doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook for disclosing your medical history. That’s a guaranteed issue life insurance policy — which usually doesn’t offer adequate coverage and comes with an exorbitant price tag.
The life insurance medical exam is essentially an annual physical, so instead of requiring you to take a new one, the insurance company looks at your previous medical records to make a policy determination. While you’ll answer questions about your medical history with the underwriter, they’ll also be pulling from your previous prescription history, labs, and checking if you’ve ever been denied life insurance for medical reasons in the past.
When you’re applying for an instant decision life insurance policy, you can’t change your history. But giving comprehensive answers will help prevent denial or further inquiries into your application.
Underwriters need enough evidence to support offering you a policy, so the more you are able to offer them, the better. You can prepare by having your full medical history written down before you hop on your call.
You should be completely honest during your phone interview. Even though an instant decision life insurance policy doesn’t use labs to make a policy decision, they still look at your medical and prescription history.
If you claim to have a perfect medical history, but the insurer sees that you have a prescription history of insulin, this is going to raise some questions. And if you’re caught intentionally lying, you’ll receive an automatic policy rejection, which can be seen by other life insurance companies when you apply elsewhere. Each life insurance company will handle this info on a case-by-case basis, so while you may still be able to get normal coverage with another insurer — you could also face high premiums or an application rejection. And if you lie and are caught after your policy is active, the insurer can then refuse to pay out the death benefit to your loved ones.
Basically — don’t lie. The consequences aren’t worth it and a less than perfect history doesn’t mean you’re disqualified from getting a life insurance policy. Insurers take a holistic look at your background to make a policy determination.
Ready to shop for life insurance?
There are two (contactless) steps to finalize your instant decision life insurance policy. First, you’ll need to sign off on your application documents via DocuSign before they’re submitted for review. If you’re approved, you’ll again need to electronically submit your signature to accept the policy offer and get life insurance coverage.
If you purchase your instant decision life insurance policy through Brighthouse, the first step looks a little different. Instead of electronically signing off on your application documents, you will provide a voice signature while you’re on the phone with your agent. After you get your quotes and policy offer, you’ll submit the DocuSign with your electronic signature to accept the policy — and its premiums — and your coverage goes in force.
The life insurance application process isn’t complicated, but it can take between five to six weeks on average. Instant life insurance policies from Brighthouse and Lincoln can get you covered within days.
Instant issue life insurance is a policy that does not require traditional underwriting. You forgo the medical exam and instead, the insurance company reviews existing medical, driving, and financial records to determine your eligibility and premiums.
If you qualify for instant issue life insurance, you can get life insurance in as little as one to three business days.
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