Can I get instant life insurance?

The life insurance application process typically takes 4-6 weeks, but if you need coverage sooner, you can get a faster decision with an instant life insurance policy.

Nupur Gambhir

Nupur Gambhir

Published June 18, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The life insurance application process usually takes 4-6 weeks, but 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

The life insurance application process can take 4-6 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 coverage almost immediately, but the process is entirely contactless.

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What is instant decision life insurance?

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 can be ideal in states with stay-at-home mandates or if you’re uncomfortable with having a medical examiner come into your home. Since it is contactless, you don’t have to worry about being exposed to disease-carrying germs or being underinsured during a pandemic.

Instant decision life insurance approval

There are three possible outcomes when you apply for an instant decision life insurance policy:

  • Approval
  • Denial
  • Refer to underwriter

Approval

An approved instant decision life insurance is obviously a great thing. All you have to do is pay your first premium and sign your final policy papers — and voila! Your policy goes in force.

Denial

A denial and refer-to-underwriter decision can get a bit more complicated but aren’t always cause for concern. Here’s why:

While a denial 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 — and a competitively priced one at that — you just might have to go through the traditional application process.

Refer to underwriter

A refer-to-underwriter outcome, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily mean bad news for your instant decision life insurance application. It simply means that more evidence is needed by the underwriter to get approved for your policy. The life insurance company wants to take a second look at your application and may possibly ask some additional questions before offering you coverage. And after a second look, if they do end up denying you coverage for an instant decision life insurance policy, remember that it doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible for other, more traditional life insurance policies.

Where can you get instant life decision life insurance?

Policygenius offers instant decision life insurance through our partner, Brighthouse, and their SimplySelect life insurance policy. Instant decision life insurance through Brighthouse is comparable to a traditional term life insurance policy — it offers term lengths of 10, 20, or 30 years and up to $2,000,000 in coverage.

How does Brighthouse SimplySelect work?

If you’re between the ages of 25 and 50, you could be eligible for an instant decision life insurance policy from Brighthouse. An instant decision policy doesn’t mean that the application process isn’t just as thorough. Similarly to most traditional life insurance policies — and instant decision policies, for that matter — the underwriting process for an instant decision life insurance policy via Brighthouse will involve a thorough evaluation of your family history, lifestyle choices, medical history, and background, which will include the following:

  • Previous physicals and labs
  • Pharmacy records
  • Prior diagnoses and procedures
  • Medical billing records
  • Credit history
  • Driving history
  • 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. Depending on your age, you can only apply for a certain amount of coverage in proportion to your income. Here’s what you can expect:

AGETIMES INCOME
40 and under30x
41-4525x
46-5020x

After your application is processed, you can generally expect a decision on your life insurance application within 24 hours, though this can be longer with extenuating circumstances. If you’re approved, the payment information is usually drafted up right away, and once you sign the final policy paperwork, you’ll have in force life insurance coverage — before that, you may be covered by temporary coverage if you provided your banking information during the call.

How much does a Brighthouse instant decision policy cost?

Check out the graphs below to get a sense of what you might pay for an instant decision life insurance policy through Brighthouse. You’ll notice that, as with any other life insurance policy, the earlier you get coverage, the less you’ll end up paying.

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

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

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 male in Preferred health rating; quotes based on policies offered by Policygenius in 2020.

Supplemental coverage

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:

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How the instant life insurance application process works

Though the application process for instant life insurance isn’t lengthy, it still has multiple components that are important to understand.

Know what to expect

Understanding what the instant life insurance application entails can make it all the easier to navigate, especially if you receive a “denial” or “refer to underwriter” decision.

There are a number of factors that go into determining whether or not you’re eligible for an instant decision life insurance policy, which replicates what would be seen in a traditionally underwritten policy. Underwriters will evaluate your medical history, insurance history, credit score, motor vehicle report, and any other attributes that are indicative of your mortality risk.

They pull this information while you’re on the phone with them to determine whether or not you’re eligible for an instant decision life insurance policy.

The life insurance medical exam

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.

How to prepare for an instant decision life insurance application

When you’re applying for an instant decision life insurance policy, you can’t change your history. But understanding it fully is the best way to be prepared for your interview. 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.

Lying on your application

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 application rejection. And If you lie and are caught after your policy is in force, 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.

Finalizing your policy

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 policy offer, you’ll submit the DocuSign with your electronic signature to accept the policy — and its premiums — and your coverage goes in force.

About the author

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.

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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