Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
Should I get temporary life insurance?
Get coverage while waiting on your medical test results, but not everyone is eligible.
What is temporary life insurance?
Temporary life insurance is similar to a test drive of your insurance policy while underwriting is in process. While you’re supplying documentation and medical tests, you pay your premiums and get the coverage you’re applying for on a temporary basis. If something happens to you before your actual insurance policy is finalized and signed, your family can make a death benefit claim for the full amount of your temporary coverage.
Can anyone get temporary life insurance?
Before you’re offered TLIC, your insurer will ask you medical and health questions. If you have a disqualifying medical condition, you won’t be offered temporary coverage. Your age may also make you ineligible, depending on which insurance company you’re working with.
As with any life insurance policy, if you lie on your application, your coverage can be revoked, and your death benefit claim can be denied.
How does temporary life insurance work?
If you qualify for temporary insurance, you’ll receive an offer from your insurer as part of the application process. Follow these steps to start the TLIC process:
- Apply for life insurance. Once you’ve selected the policy and insurer you want to work with, start the application process.
- Ask about TLIC. If your insurer offers TLIC, you’ll get an offer in the form of a temporary life insurance receipt, which provides the terms of your coverage. Your temporary insurance payout will typically be equal to the amount of the policy you’re applying for. But insurers tend to cap this coverage at or below $1 million.
- Sign your TLIC agreement. Once you read over the terms of your temporary insurance, sign the agreement to activate it. Signing this doesn’t mean you have to accept the finalized term or whole life insurance policy.
- Submit your payment. Typically, your premium will be the estimated premium for your final insurance policy. Once you submit a payment, you’re covered. If you die after making a payment, your family can make a claim for the full death benefit amount.
- Schedule your medical exam. Temporary insurance is only meant to cover you during the stipulated amount of time you have to get your medical exam and finish the application for underwriting. This time period is usually 90 days or less.
- Receive your finalized insurance policy. Once your underwriting is complete, you’ll either receive the final terms of your insurance policy or be declined for coverage. If you choose to sign, your temporary insurance coverage ends and your new coverage begins. If you’re declined for coverage, your temporary insurance ends. You can choose to refuse the final terms or cancel your temporary coverage and application at any time.
How much does temporary insurance cost?
Temporary insurance will typically cost you the estimated monthly premium that you’ll pay for your final insurance policy. With most life insurance companies, the money you spend on temporary life insurance goes toward your first month’s premiums.
If you decide to cancel your coverage, you can typically apply for a refund of your temporary insurance premiums.
Pros and cons of temporary life insurance
- Peace of mind. The life insurance application process can be long and stressful. Temporary coverage offers peace of mind while you wait for underwriting to approve your application.
- Seamless coverage. Once your application is approved and you decide to sign the contract, your temporary coverage transitions into your final policy without a gap in coverage.
- No cost to you. Whether you end up insured or not, the money you spend on temporary coverage returns to you, either as a premium payment on your new policy or as a full refund.
- Coverage caps. If you’re applying for a larger policy, your temporary policy’s payout may fall short of your coverage needs. Insurers tend to cap temporary policies at $500,000 or $1 million.
- Not offered to everyone. Even if you eventually get coverage from the insurer, you may still be denied temporary coverage for a health issue that comes up in your questionnaire.
- Can be revoked at any time. Your temporary insurance may come with the caveat that the carrier can revoke your temporary coverage at any time and for any reason.
Compare companies that offer temporary life insurance
If you qualify for temporary life insurance coverage, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the offer. Even if your temporary coverage isn’t equal to the policy amount you’re applying for, it’s better than nothing and gives you peace of mind in the four to eight weeks it can take to underwrite your official policy. The worst case scenario is ending up with a few weeks of coverage on a policy you decide you don’t want and waiting five to 10 days for your refund.
More guides on Finder
Permanent life insurance policyholders can now funnel more money into cash value
A new change to the tax code quietly went into effect on January 1, lowering the minimum interest rate for permanent life insurance policies.
How to use life insurance to pay for retirement
A permanent life insurance policy’s cash value can be used as a retirement income supplement, though using it reduces your policy’s death benefit.
Disability insurance for business owners
Getting a policy can be complicated, but it offers protection for you and your employees.
How to separate your finances during divorce
Ways to protect your assets and what you need to know about marital debt.
How long does it take to get disability insurance benefits?
Which type of disability insurance you have influences how long it’ll take you to receive benefits. Find out how long you may have to wait.
Compare full coverage vs. liability car insurance
Which type of car insurance policy fits your car and driving needs?
FMLA vs. disability insurance
These protections work together to help you make it through your medical leave.
Finder Editorial Review Board Member: Marguerita M. Cheng, CFP
An award-winning advocate for ethical financial planning, Cheng has been helping Americans meet their life goals for over 20 years.
Whole life insurance vs. guaranteed life insurance
Guaranteed life insurance often has lifelong coverage just like whole life insurance, but comes with a high price tag since there is no medical exam required.
Whole life insurance vs. variable life insurance
Two permanent life insurance policies that provide lifelong coverage, though variable life is a riskier investment option than whole life.
Ask an Expert