How Long Does Life Insurance Underwriting Take?

Life insurance underwriting is an essential process for insurance companies to assess the risk involved in insuring the applicant. The underwriter reviews various data points, including personal information, medical history, lifestyle, and financial information, to determine the applicant’s risk profile. The underwriting process can take as little as 24 hours or up to 4-6 weeks, depending on the type and extent of the policy.

Life Insurance Underwriting Process

The traditional underwriting process involves completing a life insurance application and a health exam, including blood and urine samples. However, some insurers offer accelerated or fluidless underwriting that uses modern technologies such as algorithms and mortality modeling to determine the applicant’s risk profile. Underwriters consider both health history and lifestyle information, and applicants must sign HIPAA-compliant and other consent forms to access their medical records, prescription history, financial statements, and public records.

The following table shows the data reviewed during the underwriting process:

Personal InformationMedical HistoryLifestyle InformationFinancial Information
GenderIndividual and family medical historyHobbiesFinancial statements
AgeCurrent health conditionsOccupationCredit history
OccupationSmoking habits

Life Insurance Classifications

Based on the risk assessment, the underwriter assigns a life insurance classification, which determines the available coverage and life insurance rates. The following table shows some of the classifications used by insurance companies:

Preferred PlusQualifies for the most favorable policy terms
PreferredSimilar to Preferred Plus but with slightly higher premiums
Standard PlusFor applicants with some health issues or minor risks
StandardFor applicants with moderate health risks
SubstandardFor applicants with significant health issues or high-risk activities


The life insurance underwriting process is crucial for determining the risk involved in insuring an applicant. The underwriting process can take as little as 24 hours or up to 4-6 weeks, depending on the policy’s type and extent. Applicants must provide accurate personal, medical, lifestyle, and financial information to the underwriter to determine their risk profile and assign a life insurance classification. If you have questions or concerns about the underwriting process, consult a financial professional.

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