How long do you have to have life insurance before you die?

Wondering how long you have to have life insurance before you die? Most life insurance providers have a waiting period of no more than 90 days before a death benefit is available. Life insurance policies without waiting periods include guaranteed issue, no exam, and instant issue life insurance.

Ready to compare quick life insurance quotes?

Your life insurance quotes are always free.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

Full Bio →

Written by

Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right life insurance coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident life insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one life insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our life insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different life insurance companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

Quick Facts

  • In most cases, you have to have life insurance for a certain period of time before you die
  • Life insurance waiting periods typically range from 60 to 90 days
  • Guaranteed issue, no medical exam, and instant issue life insurance policies are available for those who want to avoid a waiting period

Waiting too long to get term life insurance quotes could be a big mistake if you don’t outlive your life insurance waiting period. How long do you have to have life insurance before you die?

There will be an assortment of variables that determine how long you’ll need life insurance before your insurer will pay your death benefit. We’ll break down the ways life insurance will not pay out and how to avoid them.

It’s important to know how long you have to have life insurance before you die. It’s also important to get the best life insurance rates possible. Get free quotes in minutes using our free quote tool above.

How long do you have to have life insurance before you die?

You might be surprised to learn that many life insurance policies have waiting periods before a death benefit becomes available. This means dying right after getting life insurance might reduce or void your death benefit.

What is the waiting period for life insurance? This is basically a period of time at the initiation of your life insurance policy in which the death benefit is not available.

Why is there a waiting period for life insurance? Some policyholders could knowingly purchase a policy with a terminal illness and be due a large death benefit without paying a fair share to the insurer.

Imagine if John Doe purchased a term life insurance policy worth $500,000 and only made one monthly payment of $50. These scenarios would bankrupt life insurance providers.

Ready to compare quick life insurance quotes?

Your life insurance quotes are always free.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Your life insurance quotes are always free.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How long do you have to have a life insurance policy before it pays out?

There is no standard waiting period for life insurance companies to abide by. Below are some examples of waiting periods for popular life insurance providers.

  • State Farm – 60 Days
  • Prudential – 90 Days
  • Northwestern – 90 Days
  • MassMutual – 60 Days

Many companies offer life insurance policies and may not inform you about a waiting period. You’ll need to ask or be attentive during the underwriting to see how long your life insurance provider’s waiting period is.

Do all life insurance policies have a waiting period?

Thankfully, not all life insurance policies have a waiting period. Many permanent life insurance options become effective immediately. For term life insurance, guaranteed issue life insurance policies are the best bet.

Guaranteed issue policies are considered one of the top no waiting period life insurance options. Some companies will refer to these policies as no exam life insurance policies.

How can I get an insurance policy with no waiting period? Most of the top life insurance providers offer some sort of policy that voids the waiting period, usually at an added expense.

Even at an added cost, many Americans actually overestimate the cost of term life insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

You’ll want to speak to an agent about life insurance with no waiting period. These policies take on different names from different companies. Common names are instant issue, no exam, and guaranteed issue life insurance.

How Long You Need Life Insurance Before You Die: The Bottom Line

If you’re searching for life insurance, you’ll want to know about any potential waiting periods to protect your beneficiaries. Otherwise, you might want to pay a little extra for life insurance with no waiting period.

How long do you have to have life insurance before you die? Don’t forget, it depends on the company and policy you choose. Take advantage of our free quote tool below to get competitive rates from top life insurance providers.

Ready to compare quick life insurance quotes?

Your life insurance quotes are always free.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

QuickQuote is a BBB Accredited Business. BBB