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Is December the best month to buy life insurance?

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It's not uncommon for consumers to want to edge out any system and find a lucrative loophole. Does this make December a prime candidate for best month of the year to apply for life insurance?

For most, it won't make a difference. But in the situation of an applicant seeking aggressive underwriting, it might play a small role.

But what on earth does December have to do with life insurance? Really, it doesn't. But December has a lot to do with the insurance company behind the policy itself. It's no secret every company is looking to pad their books for the fourth quarter, and subsequently the year-end numbers.

Turnaround times are, on average, 4-6 weeks for most life insurance carriers on issuing a regularly underwritten policy, because it's simply indicative of how the underwriting process works. Take an application, demand a physical, call for doctor's records, review, call for more doctor's records... you get the picture.

In the case of an insurance company, there is generally no premium accepted until there has been an offer made to the applicant. Hence, to take in the maximum amount of premium before the end of the year, they had better issue some policies, and fast.

In the event a person struggles with their health, and the carrier is probably going to be on the fence about whether or not to make an offer, wouldn't it make sense to put a little pressure on the time frame in which the company has to make its decision?

Some say yes, some say no.

But there's more to it. Even the agents who are aiding the consumers in finding coverage have skin in the game.

December is the last month each year life insurance agents have to qualify for MDRT, the top respected honor for the industry. The qualifying dates are within the calendar year, and are awarded based on production in year. Submitted business doesn't count, but paid commissions do.

In this respect, as a high risk life insurance applicant, there is much ado about applying for life insurance in December, as you have an agent pulling every string he can for you, and an issuer on a tight schedule to clear the cases before the ball drops in New York.

So you're convinced you could benefit from a timely sign date? Here's a few tips to help you get the ball rolling even faster.

If you're considered a high risk life insurance applicant, it means you have a hazardous occupation, a health condition which is potentially chronic or severe, or maybe you participate voluntarily in dangerous activities. (Running with the bulls never looks good on a life insurance application!)

Your underwriter is going to want to know exactly what the deal is, so give them the outlet and resources ahead of time. This can greatly reduce processing and underwriting times, by days or even weeks.

You could also call your doctors preemptively to alert them of the coming requests, and ask they have the records handy for submission. Doctor's offices are notorious for exhausting the allotted time limits wreaking havoc on deadlines.

Finally, completing your medical as fast as possible helps, too. This is key in getting the lab work to the insurer expeditiously, and will greatly help you out.

December isn't synonymous with getting a guarantee, but it could definitely help. If you find yourself struggling to find good coverage, add it to your Christmas list.

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