Steps that life insurance companies take to underwrite a policy and ensure the lowest premium. 

The Application Process can take 45 days or longer to achieve the best possible price.

Completing The Application Completing The Medical Examination Medical Underwriting

The information for your application is taken
and reviewed by your agent

A medical examination is
scheduled and completed
and sent to the underwriting

Your personal and medical information is reviewed by the underwriter. The underwriter may request additional information on your medical history
from your doctors; and may also
request verification of your
financial need and/or your
personal lifestyle history.

Risk Classifications Quoting A Premium

Your underwriting risk classification and premium rate is established by the insurance company's underwriter.

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The underwriter will then quote a premium cost to provide the requested coverage to you with the option to accept or decline the coverage.

1. Completing The Application
Application information is taken over the phone in an easy 5 minute interview. 

Do not misstate your medical history in order to get a better insurance rate classification. Insurance companies will investigate your medical history through the results of your medical examination and inquiries to the Medical Information Bureau (MIB), which is a clearinghouse of medical information for all insurance companies.

2. Completing The Medical Examination
Insurance medical examinations are generally done by para-medicals, who are licensed health professionals, and are independent contractors hired by the insurance company. The basic medical examination can include a physical exam, urine specimen, and blood work. For higher amounts of life insurance coverage, a treadmill, EKG, and X-ray are usually required.

- Get a good night's rest the night before your exam.
- Fast for at least eight hours before the exam.
- Don't smoke or chew tobacco for at least an hour before the exam.
- Avoid coffee, tea, or other caffeine drinks prior to the exam.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages for at least 36 hours prior to the exam.
- Limit salt intake and high-cholesterol food 24 hours before your exam.
- Don't engage in strenuous physical activities 24 hours before the exam.

3.  Medical Underwriting
Each insurer sets its own underwriting standards. Then each application for insurance is reviewed to determine if the applicant meets those standards. Life insurance underwriting requires total medical underwriting and risk classification.  Medical underwriting involves assessing the applicant's risk of death.  An underwriter reviews your life insurance application and the results of your medical examination. Underwriters have the option to order whatever additional medical tests they deem necessary  Life insurance applicants are grouped together into risk classes and charged premiums relative to their risk classification. Applicants in a higher risk classification are charged a higher premiums.  The insurance company wants to see if you have any health condition that could eventually affect the insurance company's risk. Blood samples will test for the presence of antibodies or antigens to the HIV virus; cholesterol and related lipids; liver or kidney disorder; diabetes; antibodies to hepatitis; prostrate specific antigen; and immune disorders. Urine samples screen for tobacco/nicotine use, certain medications, cocaine, and other drugs. Remember, medical underwriting differs only slightly from company to company.

4.  Risk Classifications

If you are a better-than-average risk, have not used tobacco products in the past 5 years, have an excellent lifestyle and excellent medical history, no significant disease in your family history, with no dangerous hobbies or extended foreign residence,  you may be charged a preferred or super preferred rate.


If you are considered a typical risk, you will be charged one of the standard rates.

If you pose an above-average risk, you may be classified as an increased risk and charged a higher premium.


If you are rated as uninsurable, you may be denied coverage entirely.

Options if you are rated or declined?
More than 90 percent of life insurance policies are issued as applied for. If you are rated or declined, the rating is not always permanent. Quitting smoking, weight lose, bringing down your cholesterol or blood pressure will change your rating as an insurance risk and may change your risk classification.

5.  Quoting A Premium
If a medical problem is discovered, you may be offered a rated, or substandard premium. This means you won't be declined but you'll have to pay a higher premium if you want the life insurance. There are two types of risk ratings.   They are flat ratings and table ratings. For instance, the underwriter will usually issue a flat rating for a short time after a major surgery. However, a person with high-blood pressure would usually receive a table rating.  Table ratings are a percentage of the standard premium. For example, a Table B rating might be 140 percent of the standard premium.  an underwriting decline becomes part of a permanent record with the Medical Information Bureau which is then available to all insuring companies.

Sample General Guidelines (Companies May Differ!)

GUIDELINES Preferred Plus Preferred Regular/Standard
Family No cancer or cardiovascular death of either parent before age 60. No cancer or cardiovascular death of either parent before age 60. No more than 1 cancer or cardiovascular death of parents before age 60.
Blood Pressure 140/85 150/90 155/95
Cholesterol Levels Under 210, HDL: Less than 5.0 Under 240, HDL: Less than 6.5 Under 280, HDL: Less than 8.0
Health History No history of major health conditions, such as, cancer, diabetes, heart disease. No history of major health conditions, such as, cancer, diabetes, heart disease. Some major health conditions allowed.
Driving History No more than 2 moving violations in the past 3 years. No record of DUI or reckless driving. No more than 2 moving violations in the past 3 years. No record of DUI or reckless driving in the past 5 years. No more than 2 moving violations in the past 3 years. No record of DUI or reckless driving in the past 2 years.
Tobacco No use of nicotine products in past 3 years. No use of nicotine products in past 3 years, also preferred smoker rates available. No use of nicotine products in past 1 year, also standard smoker rates available.
Substance/Alcohol Abuse No history of alcohol or substance abuse. No history of alcohol or substance abuse. No alcohol or substance abuse in the past 7 years.
Aviation available with additional rider. available with additional rider. available with additional rider.

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We offer term quotes for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 year term periods. Our universal life products can be quoted to cover a term of up to age 120. Not all term product quotes from all term companies quoted are available in all states.