Guaranteed-issue or underwritten: What are the fundamental differences?
It’s a question that comes up frequently among dental students around the country. It’s important to know the differences between these two types of
underwriting for life insurance policies, so you can make an informed decision about the process for obtaining this valuable protection.
What is underwriting?
When you apply for insurance, you are essentially asking the insurance company to take the risk of having to pay a claim in the future. Underwriting
is how an insurance company can determine the level of risk involved with insuring you and how much insurance you may be qualified to purchase and at
what cost. For life insurance, this determination is usually based on your health and age.
Medical underwriting typically follows these steps:
1. You fill out an insurance application to provide personal details, such as your health status. This will include information such as any health
conditions, your family medical history, medications you’re taking and health-related information such as your height and weight.
2. After you submit your application, the insurance company will order a medical exam. The medical exam is standard; a nurse or paramedic will
draw blood, measure your height and weight, take your blood pressure and ask some medical questions.
3. The insurance company will request your medical records from your primary care physician and review them along with the results from your medical exam.
Getting your medical records from your healthcare provider can sometimes delay the approval process.
4. The insurance company may also look at other factors. They may review your driving record, occupation and hobbies.
5. Based on the review, the insurance company will make an “offer.” This offer will include the amount of insurance they are willing to provide and
how much it will cost for you to purchase it.
The entire underwriting process typically takes four to ten weeks depending on how much information is needed.
Guaranteed-issue skips the medical underwriting process.
With guaranteed-issue insurance, you won’t have to go through a medical exam or answer any medical questions, and approval usually takes a fraction of the
time of an underwritten policy. Keep in mind, the coverage may be subject to a pre-existing conditions limitation. This means benefits may not be payable
for death resulting from a sickness or condition that existed or was treated prior to enrollment.
It’s understandable why this coverage is so appealing. After all, why go through a medical exam and answer personal medical questions if you don’t have to?
Why wait ten weeks if you can receive an approval so much faster? The reason is simple: cost.
With most guaranteed-issue policies, you will generally pay more for the convenience of skipping the underwriting process. Likewise, there may be a
limitation on your coverage amount (typically $50K–$100K depending on age).
So, it comes down to a choice between the speed and convenience of guaranteed-issue insurance or the higher coverage and typically lower cost of an
A good choice: ADA student members insurance at no cost.
There is a guaranteed-issue life insurance policy available to ADA student members at no cost throughout dental school*. It’s a benefit of your ADA
student membership. This coverage includes $50,000 of term life insurance and $50,000 of accidental death coverage — which doubles to $100,000 on July
1 of the year you graduate. And because it’s guaranteed-issue, you won’t have any medical exams or underwriting to worry about.
The no-cost coverage will remain in effect through December 31 of the year you graduate.
In December, you’ll receive an invoice to keep the coverage in place. This specific insurance offer was designed with you in mind to be guaranteed-issued
without a cost markup and offered at a standard rate, giving you an easy way to stay protected during a typically busy time as you begin your career.
Simply pay the invoice to continue the coverage trusted by generations of ADA members and dental students to help protect their families.
and follow the prompts to request activation — it will just take a few minutes. Once the insurance is activated, you can apply for additional coverage
as your needs change, as well as coverage for a spouse, by completing an application and going through the normal underwriting process.
If you have questions about underwriting, guaranteed-issue,
or the no-cost ADA student members insurance available to you, contact an Insurance Plan Specialist at 855.411.5198 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Student coverage is issued regardless of your condition if you are under 45. Benefits are not payable, as defined by the respective policy, for death or disability resulting from a
sickness, disorder, physical condition, or symptom that existed or was treated within 12 months prior to enrollment.