Many of the clients that we speak with don’t know the exact amount of life insurance coverage that they want. In many cases the amount of coverage they want is dictated about the cost of policy. To determine the cost on the policy it requires them to go through the process of underwriting. At the end of underwriting they will get an insurance rating, such as preferred elite, preferred, standard, etc. and that will actually determine the rate. With the rate established, we will truly be able to tell them the cost of the various face amounts. If they are up in the air then we will suggest that they underwrite and get approved for the maximum amount of coverage that they might want. During the underwriting process, which takes about 6 weeks, they can think about what they truly want for face amount.
It makes sense to underwrite for the max, as it is easy to go to the carrier to cut down the face amount to a lower number. The only thing that they can’t do is go up. In other words, if you try and go up in coverage amount it may require new underwriting. If you have to re-underwrite that can present a hassle for the client and really makes little sense to do it that way. When you apply with a carrier for coverage, you have no obligation to the face amount or even to accept the policy, so why not just underwrite for the most you might actually want in coverage.
Getting life insurance when you have diabetes is definetly a possibility. If you are suffering from diabetes and want to apply for life insurance, there are some important questions to ask.
When were you first diagnosed?
Do you take insulin?
Do you take oral diabetic medications?
What is your current height and weight? Have you lost weight or gained weight since your diagnosis?
Do you suffer from any complications like-diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy?
Do you have amputations or are you on dialysis?
What is your current A1C reading and how long has it been stable?
Are you participating in a diet or exercise program currently? Are you curbing your lifestyle to improve your condition?
Do you and how often do you check your blood sugar at home?
Are you compliant with all treatments and recommendations of the doctor?
Do you suffer from any other ailments or take any other type of medication?
With these answers it is helpful as we take this to the underwriters. The more information and the more proactive you are when you have diabetes, the better. Usually, table 3 or 4 underwriting rating is the best you can receive when you are on insulin. If it is non-insulin we are seeing as high as standard with many companies and even preferred with a select few.
In order for you to get a valid quote for life insurance, you need to give the field underwriter (the agent) as much information as possible. I see these advertisements that say, if you are a 40 year old male, you could get 500,000 dollars of life insurance for 22 dollars or whatever. This is based on absolutely the top underwriting classification. In other words, you can get this if your health is absolutely perfect.
You need to realize that a quote is simply an estimate of what the premium will be after underwriting. After underwriting, each applicant will either be declined or receive an underwriting rating. This underwriting will be either preferred, standard, or table rated. This is why we ask several questions, before we give a quote. We want our clients to go into underwriting with a realistic expectation. If they complete underwriting and the rating is better than we had quoted, then they are happy. When you are looking to get your next quote, make sure that you have provided all of the necessary information. Anything relating to health, medications, avocations, family history, tobacco use, etc. needs to be disclosed. If you don’t you will probably be in for a disappointment when you actually apply for a policy.
If you are a smoker/tobacco user you will automatically pay a substantially higher life premium than a non-smoker/non-tobacco user would. The good news is that you can get a non-smoker or even preferred rating if you stop using tobacco for at least 12 months. Most companies will allow you to qualify for this rating at that point.
Obviously, smoking opens the door for all sorts of health risks and the insurance company is very focused on that. Not only smoking, but any form of tobacco use like a pipe or smokeless. It also negatively effects return of premium (ROP) policies as much more premium must be paid. ROP’s tend to be a better fit for clients that are younger and non-tobacco. If you don’t have insurance, I would certainly not wait until you have reached 12 months with no use. This is a risky proposition as you could be uninsurable at that point. I recommend to my clients that are quitting to get the protection in place and then we will re-underwrite once they hit that point.
One company that has a favorable treatment of smokers is John Hancock. They have a Universal life product that you can qualify for as a non-tobacco user in the first 12 months. The stipulation is that you must submit to a medical at the end of two years, to prove that you are still tobacco free. You can visit Hancock online at www.johnhancock.com to read more about this policy type.