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How long does it take to get life insurance?

Jun 24, 2020 4 Minute Read

Life insurance is designed to protect your family for years to come. Luckily, getting covered doesn’t take nearly that long.

Traditionally, buying life insurance could take up to eight weeks in some cases. Today, innovations in the industry are making the life insurance approval process simpler and easier, whether you’re trying to get pre-approved for life insurance or applying for life insurance approval online. Here’s what to know about how long the process takes when buying life insurance.

How long does it take to get life insurance approved?

The life insurance approval process depends on the type of policy you’re applying for and your own background. Knowing what to expect ahead of time can help the process go more smoothly. The steps involved include:

  • Getting a quote. You’ll probably want to compare prices from multiple companies to see what types of life insurance you qualify for and what they’ll cost. The good news: Online quoting makes this easy. At eFinancial, you can compare prices from top-rated 20+ companies online in one minute. See your personalized price.
  • Submitting an application. Once you compare different types of life insurance and choose a policy, applying is the next step. In the past, applicants had to fill out this paperwork by hand and either mail or fax it in, which took days or even weeks. Today, many companies will help you complete the application online or over the phone. This process typically takes 20 to 30 minutes and includes questions about your health and personal background.
  • Taking a medical exam. Once you apply, some policies require you to take a medical exam. In this case, you need to schedule medical exam at an approved facility or you can arrange for someone to come to your home, office, or other location of your choice. The amount of time required for this step varies depending on how busy your schedule is. If you want to get covered more quickly, you can look at simplified issue life insurance or other policies that don’t require an exam. That type of coverage often costs a little more, though, so make sure to balance the convenience against the long-term costs. With technology advancements, some insurance companies are also using analytics to waive the medical exam, which means you receive coverage faster. Learn more about medical exams.
  • Going through underwriting. Once you’ve submitted your application and taken your medical exam, the insurance company begins the underwriting process. This includes verifying what you’ve submitted, evaluating your application, and confirming the final price for your coverage. In the past, this process could take four to six weeks. Factors like credit checks, advanced age, medical records, and the type and value of your policy can also add time to this process. Today, some types of life insurance offer accelerated underwriting, which means you can get covered as quickly as the same day. Ask your agent about the options available to you.
  • Enjoying peace of mind. Once the underwriting process is complete, your life insurance kicks in. In most cases, your policy is in effect from day one. One exception to this is guaranteed issue life insurance, which typically has a graded period. If you die during the first two to three years of the policy, your family will typically just have the premiums refunded. After this graded period, they are eligible for the full amount. With most policies, though, you can feel confident that your family is protected right away.

Still have questions or want more information about life insurance? That’s what we’re here for. Get a quote or call one of our agents to get started.


At eFinancial, our goal is to make life insurance simple, affordable, and understandable for everyday families. This content is intended for educational purposes only. Each post is carefully fact-checked, reviewed and updated regularly to ensure the information is as relevant as possible.