Questions to expect from a life insurance phone interview

The phone call is quick and easy, as long as you’re prepared.

Rebecca Shoenthal author photo

Rebecca Shoenthal

Published September 24, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A phone interview is required by life insurance companies as part of the application process

  • The call usually only takes between 15 and 30 minutes and you’ll be asked about your health history, hobbies, and finances

  • The phone interview helps ensure you’re buying the right amount of life insurance coverage for your needs

You can apply for life insurance online, but eventually, no matter which company you choose, you still have to jump on a phone call to complete your life insurance application before moving on to the underwriting process.

The phone interview is used to verify your answers to the life insurance application questions. Don’t worry, it’s much easier than a job interview. And when you apply for life insurance through a non-commission-based insurance broker like Policygenius, you don’t have to worry about being upsold. The phone interview can be a great opportunity to get some of your questions about life insurance answered and help you find the right coverage amount.

IN THIS ARTICLE

Why you need a life insurance phone interview

If you’re applying for life insurance online, it can be disheartening to learn that you’ll eventually have to get on the phone. But for now, you have to — the insurance companies require it. The insurance industry in each state is regulated by a state insurance board, and while some boards don’t require a phone call to be part of the life insurance application, some do. So across the country, insurance companies currently require all applicants to have a phone interview as part of their application.

While sites like Policygenius can get enough information from you upfront to create an accurate quote for your life insurance premiums, you’ll still need to go through the phone interview (and a medical exam in most cases) before you can get your final rates.

The phone interview guarantees that all your information is accurate, which means your rates will be accurate too. The interview questions help the insurer assess your risk and gather all the necessary information.

Misrepresentations of your health, hobbies, or lifestyle on your application could be considered insurance fraud. The phone interview adds an extra layer of protection for you, the insurance company, and your beneficiaries to ensure you’re purchasing the right type of policy.

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What kinds of questions are asked in the life insurance phone interview

Your life insurance phone interview will start with verification of some basic personal and financial information (your Social Security number, your net worth). The insurance agent will ask questions about your job, assets, and financial obligations to get an idea of why you’re applying for life insurance, and whether the amount you’re applying for makes sense with your financial situation. (For example, if you are applying for a $1 million death benefit, but you’re unemployed and have no assets, the life insurance company will want to learn more.)

The rest of the questions are about your health and habits. This part of the interview process helps the insurance company determine how risky you are to insure so they can complete the underwriting process and set your premium rates. That’s why you’ll be asked about your health history, your family’s health history, and any dangerous hobbies you partake in, such as racing, scuba diving, mountain climbing, skydiving, or hang gliding. You’ll also be specifically asked about aviation hobbies.

The health history questions might include:

  • Whether you’ve recently lost or gained weight, quit smoking, or if you have a history of cancer
  • Your medical history information, including diagnoses, treatments, procedures, and any prescription drugs
  • Your family’s health history, to see if any hereditary diseases might play a role in your future health

Everything that’s said during the phone interview is confidential (you can read up on HIPAA laws for more detail) so there’s no need to fear your personal information being leaked or sold. And the call usually only takes between 15 and 30 minutes, so it won’t take up much of your day. Plus, if you know what to expect and come prepared, it’ll be even faster.

How to prepare for your life insurance phone interview

The easiest way to get through your phone screening quickly is to have all of the information you need at the ready so you can answer the questions accurately. You’ll be able to answer some of the questions off the top of your head, but to save time, you may want to dig up the answers before the call.

Info needed for the life insurance interview:

  • Your driver’s license number and Social Security number
  • Information about other life insurance policies you have, including policy numbers if you have them handy (insurers want to make sure you aren’t over-insured)
  • Financial information, including income and net worth (assets minus liabilities); rough figures are fine, and you don’t need to share account info
  • Citizenship documentation (read more about life insurance for visa and green card holders)

Info to help you answer questions about your health history

  • Dates of treatments, surgeries, diagnoses, and procedures, especially in the past 10 years
  • Prescription names and dosages for current medications
  • Name, addresses and phone numbers for your current doctors
  • Info about your family’s health history, including major diagnoses and ages and causes of death, if applicable
  • Your current weight and a record of any major fluctuations

Info to help you answer questions about your habits and hobbies

  • Think ahead about how often you exercise and participate in sports activities, especially extreme sports like hang gliding, scuba diving, racing, flying, etc.
  • Be ready to answer questions about your smoking, drinking habits, and drug use; if you’ve quit smoking, make sure you know the date you’ve quit.

Calendar (for confirmation of medical exam)

One final piece of the typical underwriting process is the paramedical exam, which you’ll schedule at the end of your phone interview.

The medical exam is like your standard physical: a technician takes body measurements like height, weight, and blood pressure, you’ll probably give a blood and urine sample, and you’re on your way. The exam is free (the insurance company covers it) and takes under 30 minutes. You can conveniently schedule it at your home or office.

The life insurance phone interview is relatively quick. Although some questions might seem invasive, they’re necessary to get you the right coverage. By knowing what to expect and coming prepared, you’ll be one step closer to signing your policy and getting the necessary coverage.

Life insurance phone interview FAQs

What questions do they ask when you apply for life insurance?

Most life insurance applications ask about your medical history, driving record, medications/prescriptions, age, hobbies, job, and history with drugs and alcohol. The answers you provide on your application are verified during the phone interview.

Can I skip the life insurance phone interview?

Nope. It’s required by all insurance companies across the country. But don’t worry, it only takes 15-30 minutes.

How do I prepare for a life insurance interview?

Have your driver’s license, medical records, names, and contact info for your doctors, net worth, and current weight and height readily available before you jump on the phone so you don’t have to scramble for specific information.

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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