What is life insurance policy backdating?

A life insurance application may be backdated to avoid additional costs as you age.

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Tim is a licensed life insurance agent with 23 years of experience helping people protect their families and businesses with term life insurance. He writes and creates stuff for QuickQuote and other insurance and financial websites.

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Written by Tim Bain
Founder & Life Insurance Agent Tim Bain

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.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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Quick Facts

  • As an individual with life insurance, your insurance rates will increase as you age
  • With a backdated life insurance plan, your age is lowered by a year, allowing you to save on insurance rates
  • However, backdating may not be beneficial depending on your unique circumstances

High-risk life insurance factors like age and health can greatly impact your life insurance coverage. As you get older, you become more of a risk to insurance companies and may benefit by looking into life insurance backdating.

A higher risk indicates higher insurance premiums. While aging is an uncontrollable process of life, your life insurance company may allow you to keep your life insurance age down by backdating life insurance. A single year has the potential to lessen your costs significantly. Sometimes saving money when purchasing life insurance is a driving factor for customers, which is why there are options available. Backdating insurance is situational, so it’s entirely up to the individual.

What happens when an insurance policy is backdated?

When you apply for coverage, your term life insurance policy rates will be determined by a number of factors, based on your lifestyle. Most companies look at an applicant’s medical exams, records, substance use, lifestyle choices, and age.

Altogether, these factors paint a picture of your mortality and evaluate your risk. If your insurance company determines that you have a high risk of death, you will pay more in life insurance rates. As people are more likely to pass away the older they get, your rates will increase. Backdating your life insurance policy will lower your rates despite your higher risk.

Backdating life insurance means using a previous date your policy was in effect as a way to change your life insurance age. Life insurance is the only type of insurance that will permit you to backdate your policy.

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How many months can a life insurance policy be backdated?

There is a difference between your actual age and your life insurance age. Luckily, there are ways that you can calculate your life insurance age. Of course, as you apply for life insurance, you will submit an accurate birthdate to your insurance company. Your actual birthdate determines your actual age.

However, most life insurance companies use your nearest age to determine your life insurance age. Your nearest age considers your last birthday by six months. Simply put, most life insurance companies will use your half birthday to backdate your life insurance policy. Usually, you cannot backdate your policy past six months without facing legal and financial consequences.

How can I backdate my life insurance policy?

You may backdate your life insurance policy by applying for life insurance at the right time. Waiting too long between birthdays will result in losing the opportunity to backdate your policy. Generally, if you apply for life insurance six months after your birthday, you will pay insurance rates for your next nearest birthday age.

If you submit an application for life insurance within six months following your birthday, your insurance company may backdate your policy by giving you a registration date before your half birthday, regardless of the date you actually applied.

So, if you have just turned 50, for example, you have until your half birthday to apply for a backdated life insurance policy with your 50-year-old premium. If you wait until you are 50 and 6 months old, your life insurance company will set your rates as they would if you were 51.

For what reason may a life insurance producer backdate a life insurance policy?

Your life insurance company will backdate your policy upon a timely application or request. Life insurance companies backdate policies in favor of the consumer. On top of lower insurance rates, backdating life insurance will provide you with faster coverage and convenience.

Faster Coverage

Backdating your life insurance policy will allow you to use coverage benefits earlier than the date you actually applied for coverage. For example, if you adopt a 10-year life insurance plan in 2022 before your half birthday, your policy will expire in 2032. While you will technically be 10 years older, your life insurance policy will not account for your actual age.

Convenience

Backdating your life insurance policy will give you the opportunity to pick a renewal date that conveniently works for you. Most companies do not want you to miss payments. By backdating your life insurance policy, you may select a former date that will schedule your payment plan according to a time that works for you and your finances.

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Is backdating your life insurance policy always a good idea?

Whether or not backdating your life insurance policy is a financially wise decision depends on your circumstances. Usually, you will not reap the same benefits if you use a term life insurance coverage plan or are young.

With a term life insurance policy, backdating will cost you more money in the long run. For example, if your desired backdate surpasses a single month, you must pay to backdate interest and other fees. Similarly, attempting to backdate your life insurance policy while you are young is not beneficial since young people are less of a risk than older people. Young people with life insurance typically pay lower rates as it is. You can usually mitigate the additional cost of a policy by looking for term life insurance quotes in the beginning to find the best rate, or by looking into discounts once you already have the coverage.

Insurance companies will require individuals wishing to backdate to pay their insurance rates upfront for the time used as a backdate. So, young people will not financially benefit from backdating before they have to. Additionally, if you are older and wish to backdate, you should consider whether you can afford to backdate before committing to a plan. Consider the following while deciding if backdating life insurance is an appropriate route for you:

  • The savings you will obtain compared to the costs of backdating
  • Backdating and your life insurance term length
  • Your backdating start-up expenses
  • The time frame of equalizing your finances with increased rates

Understanding Backdated Life Insurance Policies

Backdated life insurance policies are not for everyone. However, as you age, you become more of a liability for insurance companies. In turn, most companies will allow you to backdate your policy by six months if you apply at an appropriate time.

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