Can I Qualify For Disability Insurance?
The Underwriting Process Explained
This is a financial services product that has to be purchased while you are still in relatively good health. One cannot buy a disability insurance policy after you have been diagnosed with a dreaded illness that is likely to result in a claim, or after you have suffered from an accident that might interfere with your ability to work and earn an income. The underwriting process is fairly extensive, and this page is designed to help you understand exactly what is going to happen should you apply for a policy. We realize that most people have some sort of medical history, it is extremely rare for us to see an application with a "No" answer to every medical question on the application. There are some medical histories that are most likely not going to be accepted like; Recent Cancer History, ALS, or poorly controlled diabetes. There are also many histories or current conditions that may not result in a declination of coverage entirely, but could be excluded from coverage like a history of back pain, or a history of any mental or nervous disorders. A third possible underwriting outcome is an increased rating on the policy for issues like being overweight. Feel free to call us during the week with any questions about your ability to qualify for disability insurance at 888-513-2300.
Step 1: Field Underwriting
When you are discussing the quote you received with your assigned agent, your agent is also asking you several questions to help him understand whether or not you will likely be approved for a policy by the insurance company. We have placed thousands of policies in-force for our clients over the years, and our agents are all very experienced in the underwriting process. If you have specific questions about your health history, and your ability to get a policy just ask your agent what he or she thinks. There is a good chance that we have dealt with it before, and can give you a relatively accurate expectation for a final outcome before we even get to the application. Our goal is to make sure you have a very clear expectation of what your policy is going to look like and cost at the end of the underwriting process. We try our best to make sure there are no surprises, and so long as you answer all of our questions in detail, we have a pretty good idea of what the company will do. As your agent, we do not get to see the actual medical records, lab results, or prescription history like the underwriter does, so we can't guarantee you that a policy will be offered exactly as we think it will, but you will find we are fairly accurate with the expectations we set based on our experience.
Step 2: Filling Out An Application
A disability insurance application is a fairly extensive document that you and your agent will complete together over the phone. Once the application is completed we will send it to you for review and electronic signature before submitting it to the insurance company and beginning the underwriting process officially with Berkshire Life. The application will have sections covering your contact information, your medical history, as well as your income and occupational history. The medical section has many questions designed to give the insurance company a complete profile of your medical history, the physicians you have seen, as well as any treatments or medications prescribed by those physicians. It is absolutely vital that you provide complete and accurate details on the application, there really is nothing more damaging to your ability to secure a policy than having the underwriter discover a medical history that you did not disclose on the application. Be prepared to provide your agent with a complete list of physicians you have seen, contact information, as well as the dates involved. The underwriting team wants to review an application and feel that they are getting full disclosure, and they are most interested in what the outcome and current situation is today. If you had a medical situation in the past, and it is completely resolved with no further issues make sure to note this on the application. If you have a medical situation that began in the past, and is something you are still receiving treatment for make sure to disclose this as well.
Step 3: Underwriting
Once the application has been filled out and signed, the underwriting process begins. We will submit the application to the home office underwriting division, and we will order the necessary paramedical exams. Depending on your age, and the amounts applied for, there will be different paramedical requirements. Commonly we will schedule somebody to call you to have a blood and urine test completed. The results of this test will also be sent directly to the underwriter on your case. It is also fairly common for the underwriters to order copies of your medical records from physicians you have seen recently. This is something they will do directly with your physician's office, and not something you have to obtain on your own. There will also be an additional telephone call you will receive going over the application one more time. Information in this call is used to ask some of the same questions on the application, and to delve deeper into some of the yes answers you already have listed on your application so the underwriters have a better understanding of your medical history. It typically take about a month for the home office to make a final decision on your application. The faster you schedule your paramedical examination, and answer the telephone inspection report, the faster they are able to get all your medical records and make a final decision. Keep in mind the final determination is made by somebody who does not know you, so the more complete and detailed the information you initially provide on the application the more comfortable an underwriter is going to be giving you a policy.
Step 4: Issued Policy
Once the underwriter has hopefully approved your application, the home office will issue a disability insurance policy for you and your agent to review together. If all goes well, the policy will be issued exactly like your agent told you it would be. If any changes were made, your agent will review those changes with you, and you will have to sign off on each and every modification made from the original application. If any exclusion riders were issued because of pre-existing medical conditions, you will also have to sign off on these as well.
Step 5: Policy Acceptance / Placing In-Force
If you are happy with the policy that has been issued, sign off on all of the delivery requirements, and make your first premium payment the policy will be placed in-force. Once the policy is in-force you finally have disability income insurance protection. You can choose to pay for your policy through an automatic bank draft every month, or you can be billed quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.
Do not hesitate to give our offices a call to discuss your medical history, we will not waste your time. We will tell you up-front whether or not you are likely to be a candidate for a personal disability insurance policy. Our disability insurance agents are awaiting your call at 888-513-2300.