How to Apply for Universal Life Insurance

The process of signing up for universal life insurance — or any type of life insurance, for that matter — is different from other insurance policies you may have purchased. You can’t simply complete the process online from start to finish. You may be able to get a quote online or over the phone in just a few minutes, but the entire process may take several weeks to a month. You usually have to go through an application process that may require a medical exam and an evaluation of your risk factors. 

 1. Determine whether universal life insurance is right for you

Before applying for universal life insurance, decide whether it’s really right for you. If you’re looking to provide your loved ones with a safety net in the event of your death, you may be better served by a term life insurance policy lasting for only the length of time you need it for. If you want to grow your wealth, investing in the stock market or real estate is likely a better option. 

Talking to a CFP or another financial professional can help you determine if universal life insurance is the best fit for you. Just be aware that some financial professionals receive commissions from selling insurance products to their clients, which might skew their advice. Consider looking for a fee-only planner, since they are fiduciaries who must give financial advice in your best interest. “It’s nice to have a third party that’s interested in you, not interested in selling a policy,” says Lewis.

 2. Shop around for quotes

If you’ve decided that universal life insurance is right for you, you can start shopping around for quotes. Many companies offer online quotes in just a few minutes, while others require you to speak with an agent to get an estimate. The initial quote you get isn’t a guarantee of your actual premium, but it can give you an idea of which carrier is most affordable. You’ll still have to go through the application process and, in many cases, a medical exam to determine your actual costs.

 3. Complete your application

To qualify for a universal life insurance policy, you’ll first have to complete an application. On the application, you’ll have to answer questions about your lifestyle and medical history. Questions that you’ll likely have to answer include your:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Employer
  • Annual income
  • Age 
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Medical conditions
  • Lifestyle habits and hobbies

“They’ll want to understand your lifestyle,” Lewis said. “Are you a smoker? Are you a pilot? Those things make a difference on your premium.” It’s critical that you don’t lie on your application. An insurance policy is a contract, and by providing false information, you run the risk of voiding the contract or your insurer either canceling your policy, or worse, refusing to provide a death benefit to your beneficiaries.

 4. Complete a medical exam

Many life insurance policies require a medical exam to determine whether you’re eligible for a policy and determine your premium. During the medical exam, you’ll answer questions about your medical history and your family’s medical history. You’ll also get a thorough physical that includes the doctor measuring your blood pressure, pulse, height, and weight and collecting a blood and urine sample. Not all insurance policies require a medical exam, but keep in mind that those that don’t may come with higher premiums.

 5. Finalize your policy

Once the insurer has finished underwriting your policy and you’re approved, you’re all set. You can sign any necessary documents, designate your beneficiary, and pay your first month’s premium. In some cases, your application may be denied or postponed due to health or lifestyle factors. In this case, you can make lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, losing weight, or switching to a less high-risk career and then reapply down the road. You could also try applying for a different policy through a different insurer. 

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