Applying for Life Insurance

Last updated: March 29, 2016

What You Can Expect and Look for

Choosing Your Company

The Kansas Insurance Department (KID) analyzes insurance companies’ financial conditions, monitors underwriting and claims practices, and reviews new policy forms.

  • As of March 2015, there were approximately 530 companies authorized to sell life insurance in Kansas.

  • Make certain the company you’re considering is licensed in Kansas.

  • Call their toll-free hotline at 800-432-2484 if you are unsure whether the company you are considering is licensed to do business in Kansas.

Choosing Your agent

Agents must be licensed in Kansas to sell you a life insurance policy.

  • Approximately 22,500 resident agents have a Kansas insurance license.

  • Verify the credentials of your agent before making a major purchase.

Besides selling policies, life insurance agents are paid commissions to provide services to their clients. You should expect certain services from your agent:

  • They should advise you on the right insurance policy to fit your needs.

    • The agent should consider your entire financial picture before selling you a policy.

  • They should explain the cost and coverage of a policy to you.

  • They should keep you informed of the latest insurance developments that may be of interest to you.

  • They should review your current insurance coverage with you periodically.

    • This helps you understand changes in your financial or family status that may affect your insurance requirements.

Direct Marketing

You can also buy life insurance without the help of an insurance agent.

  • Life insurance is also marketed and sold to consumers directly by insurance companies.

    • This may be done by mail, phone, television, and the Internet.

      • In these cases, an insurance agent will not be involved in the sale.

  • Make sure you fully understand the provisions of a life insurance policy before purchasing from a company.

  • Never make an uninformed decision, and don't give in to pressure. Avoid getting scammed.

Completing the Application

When you have chosen the policy and amount of insurance you want, the agent or company will have you complete an application. It will ask for personal and medical information and about the type of policy and the amount of coverage you want.

  • The company uses this information as evidence of insurability.

  • Based on this information, the company will determine whether it will issue a policy to you.

    • A copy of the application is attached to the policy and becomes a permanent part of it when issued.

It is important that you answer all the questions on the application as completely and truthfully as you can.

  • A misstatement or omission could make the insurance invalid.

  • If someone has helped you fill out the application, check it for accuracy before signing.

  • Under no circumstances should you sign a blank or incomplete application.

You will also name your beneficiary or beneficiaries on the application.

  • Your beneficiary will receive the death benefit when you die.

Underwriting (Qualifying for Coverage)

Your life insurance premium is based on the type of insurance you are purchasing and your mortality (risk of death) class.

  • The type of insurance is your choice.

  • However, your mortality class is determined by an underwriter.

    • The underwriter uses a process to classify the amount of risk that your mortality class poses.

      • This is one reason you may find that companies charge different premiums for similar policies.

    • Your mortality class is determined by factors like age, sex, medical history, habits, residence, and occupation.

The company’s decision to insure your life is based on the application, the medical examination (if required), inspection reports, statements from your physician, special questionnaires, and intercompany data.

  • If the underwriter determines that you are in a substandard mortality class (your risk of death is greater than normal), your policy will be “rated”.

    • This means the premium will cost more than the normal (standard) premium.

Remember, a substandard policy rating is one company’s opinion.

  • A different company, given the same information, may not rate you at all. Or it may give you a lower rating.

    • You should get more than one quote for life insurance.

If you are rated, you should be told the reason (such as health or occupation).

  • If at some later time the reason for the original rating improves, notify your agent and insurance company and request that they review the situation.

  • Your rating may be reduced or eliminated entirely.

Upon Receiving Your Policy

Review your policy summary. Ask your agent to go over the plan provisions.

You have a minimum 10-day “right to return” or “free look” provision on your policy.

  • If within ten days of receiving the policy you decide that you do not want it, the company is required by state law to return all the premiums you have paid.

    • (Unless you have purchased a variable policy, in which case the refund amount is based on the performance of the investments you have chosen).

  • You may return the policy to either your agent or the company to receive your refund.

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