Questions to expect from a life insurance phone interview

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

Logan Sachon

Logan Sachon

Published August 2, 2018

You can apply for life insurance online, but eventually, no matter where you buy life insurance, you still have to jump on a phone call to answer some additional questions in order to complete your life insurance application and move on to the underwriting process.

It’s called the life insurance phone interview, and the good news is that the phone call is easy, quick, and basically just confirms the information from your application. It’s much easier than a job interview, don’t worry. 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 during the phone interview. In fact, the phone interview can be a great opportunity to get some of your questions about life insurance answered, and to talk about how much coverage you need.


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 carriers 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, and so the insurance carriers, for now, require all applicants to have a phone interview as part of their application.

So while sites like Policygenius can get enough information from you upfront to give you an accurate estimate of what your life insurance premiums will be, you’ll still need to go through the phone interview (and a medical exam) before you can get your final rates from the insurance company.

The phone interview is a necessary part of the life insurance application process. The life insurance interview questions are a way for the carriers to get a more accurate read on your risk, and make sure they have all of the identifiable data they’ll need about you.

They’ll also be able to clarify any of the information you’ve provided up to this point so everyone is on the same page. Ultimately, the phone interview is a way to ensure your quotes are accurate.

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

Your life insurance phone interview will start with 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 is going to have some more questions.)

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

The questions about your health history includes

  • 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 there are any hereditary diseases that might play a role in your future health.

Everything that’s said during this 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 phone call usually only takes between 15 and 30 minutes, so it’s easy to get out of the way and won’t take up much of your day. Plus, if you do a little prep work beforehand, it goes even faster.


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How to prepare for your life insurance phone interview

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

Info to have on hand to help you answer life insurance interview questions

  • 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, like income and net worth (assets minus liabilities). This helps ensure you’re getting the right level of coverage. 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 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 dates 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, plane flying, etc.
  • Be ready to answer questions about your smoking and drinking habits and drug use; it can help to calculate how often you’re partaking beforehand so you’re not caught off guard during the interview. And 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 underwriting process is the paramedical exam, and you’ll schedule the exam at the end of your phone interview.

The medical exam is like your standard physical: A technician takes some 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 and takes under 30 minutes; you can schedule it at your home or office at your convenience.

The life insurance interview questions might seem like a pain at first, but once you realize what’s involved, it’s obvious that it’s a pretty quick process. If you schedule your call as soon as possible and have all the information you’ll need at the ready, you’ll be one step closer to signing your policy.

About the author

Insurance Expert

Logan Sachon

Insurance Expert

Logan Sachon is the co-founder of The Billfold, a groundbreaking personal finance site for millennials that was named one of Time's 25 Best Blogs of 2012. Her work has been published in New York Magazine, Glamour, The Guardian, BuzzFeed and more.

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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