How To Get Life Insurance If an Undocumented Immigrant

We will dive in and tell you that: Yes, life insurance for undocumented immigrants is possible! The key is to apply with the right company and with the right agency. Throughout this post, we will be covering the requirements, list your options and we will also answer 5 of the most common questions when it comes to life insurance for an illegal immigrant.

We have divided the post into several parts, so please jump to the topic that interests you the most.

What we will cover

Is it possible to secure life insurance for undocumented immigrants

What are the requirements to buy life insurance

What are my options for life insurance? And how to choose the right one for me

5 FAQs when it comes to life insurance as a non-US citizen

Prior to jumping into the topic, we would like to point out that we specialize in life insurance for foreign nationals. We study carrier’s guides and industry standards. This helps us present you with options based on your unique circumstances. If after reading the article, you have follow-up questions, or would like us to present you with custom solutions, simply reach out to us. 

Is it possible to secure life insurance for undocumented immigrants?

We already answered this question, but we feel we need to expand on it a little bit more. Most life insurance companies will underwrite your health AND your immigration status when reviewing your application. They will decline your application, if you do not have the “right’ visa type or your country of origin is not on the approved list. This is simply their business model and how they have decided to select their clients.

Our job is to know this and as an agency to present you only with carrier options that will underwrite you, not your visa or immigration status. When it comes to life insurance for undocumented immigrants, the choice of company is really the key. It will be the difference between getting your application approved or declined.

What are the requirements to buy life insurance?

This is one of the key parts of this article. We will list the requirements or the things that life insurance companies are looking for when you apply for coverage:

You have to be physically in the US

This may be obvious, but we felt the need to start here. In order to buy US-based life insurance, you need to be physically in the US. There is no exception to this rule. 

Have ties to the US

Most of our clients have been living in the US for a number of years and have built a life in the country. Typically, they will be renting or owning a home, working in the US whether as an employee or self-employed or their children will attend school in the US or are even US citizens. The main thing life insurance companies are looking for is why a US-based life insurance policy makes sense for you. What are your financial connections to the country? 

Unfortunately, if you do not have strong financial ties to the country, your application may be denied.

Have a Social Security Number or ITIN 

Some companies will require you to have SSN in order to approve your application. While others can still consider you if you have ITIN. We have contracted with a carrier that can approve you even if you do not have either of them if you meet other criteria. We have created a separate article on life insurance without a SSN.

Companies view the SSN or ITIN as one extra verifiable data point on you. It will help them run several different reports needed when underwriting your application. In addition, if you have an income in the US, you would need to report that and pay taxes. Therefore, you would need to have either social or ITIN. If not, the companies have asked how you file your tax returns.

Have a US bank account

US life insurance policies must be paid using a US bank account. Companies will not allow foreign bank account transfers, the use of Money Orders, or cash payments. This is an additional protection measure to ensure there is no money laundering or other illegal activity. 

Having a US bank account it also serves as an additional identity verification.

What we would like you to take from this part of the article is that the companies will run a lot of data reports. This helps them identify the applicant and to ensure that there are no misrepresentations on the application.

Qualify based on health and lifestyle

Having to qualify for life insurance based on your immigration status in the US, is just one of the many parts of the application. In addition, companies will ask for your health history, list of medications you are or have been prescribed, family history, etc. In other words, they will ensure that you qualify for this insurance medically.

The life insurance companies will also ask about your lifestyle. Please do not be alarmed if a company asks about your driving record, financial circumstances, or if you have been convicted of any felonies. To them, these are signals that help them predict risk and account for it accordingly.

Possible medical exam when applying for life insurance

It is very common for a life insurance company to require a medical exam as a part of a life insurance application. The life insurance company will order the exam and they will cover the cost for it. Please note, that we will help you schedule the exam and coordinate the process.

While this may be an extra step you need to take to get your application approved, we will ensure it is as easy as possible. 

On a final note, there is a company that may be able to waive the medical exam requirement if you apply as an undocumented immigrant. Please note, this is on case by case basis and we will not know until your application has been submitted and reviewed by the company.

What are my options for life insurance? And how to choose the right one for me

Please note that when it comes to options for life insurance for undocumented immigrants, there are only a handful of companies we can choose from. This means that we are limited as to the number of companies we can apply to. 

However, this does not mean that these companies are not “good” or highly rated, quite the opposite. As an agency, we make it our mission to represent only carriers that have been in business for a number of years and have maintained “A” or better rating for financial strength.

Term life insurance

This is one of the most popular options and it is available to non-us citizens. As the name suggests and you probably know, term life insurance is coverage for a specific duration. The plan can be a 10, 20, or 30-year term. After the term ends, the plan will discontinue. This is why the term is priced lower compared to other options because it offers only temporary insurance.

Permanent life insurance

This is the second type of life insurance. There are several different products that fall into this category, based on their main objective. The goal of permanent life insurance is to provide you with lifelong protection and in some cases, additional features as cash value accumulation. Because of that, permanent life insurance policies are priced higher when compared to term.

As we mentioned, you can design your life insurance with several different focuses:

  • Life-long protection – these types of plans offer you peace of mind that you will not outlive your life insurance. Your family will be protected, whenever you pass away. 
  • Cash value growth and use life insurance as retirement planning – there are other life insurance products, that can help you not only provide you with peace of mind that your family will have financial security, even if you are not around, but also can help you accumulate cash value. The money in your cash value account is yours and you get to decide how would you like to use it. 

We have clients who are not able to set up any retirement planning, may not qualify for Social Security Benefits and this is their only option to plan for the future. 

So, which option is best for you and how do you decide?

This is not an easy question, as our circumstances change, but what we tell our clients: look at your needs. Are you looking for life insurance to protect the children while they are little and maybe cover the mortgage? Well, these are temporary needs. Children will grow up and become financially independent; the mortgage can be paid off or the balance significantly reduced. In this case, it makes sense to cover temporary needs with temporary coverage or term insurance.

However, things can be a bit more complex than that. In most cases, clients have a mix of temporary and permanent needs. We all know that we will die one day. There will be the need to cover for our funeral, this is a permanent need. In addition, what are your plans for when you get older? In many cases, non-US citizens or permanent residents are not able to participate in any retirement plans or even draw out of Social Security benefits. If that continues to be the case, what are you planning to do when you are no longer able to work?

This is where cash-value life insurance can really be beneficial.

When we work with our clients, we try to go over that with them and create a custom solution that helps them not only cover their immediate needs for coverage but also plan for the future. 

We have also created an article outlining what we believe is the best life insurance strategy for overall protection. 

5 FAQs when it comes to life insurance as a non-US citizen

Q: Will my immigration status be a problem?

A: This is one of the very first questions we are being asked before a client is ready to apply. He or she wants to know their immigration status may pose any problems. As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, it is our job to pre-screen life insurance companies and work only with the ones that will underwrite you, not your visa.

Q: What if I’ve been denied life insurance before due to being an illegal immigrant?

A: This is something that we’ve experienced quite often. A number of our clients have tried to get life insurance before, just to be turned down due to citizenship. Please rest assured that this will not affect your chances of getting coverage now. The key is to disclose the denial when applying with a new company.

Q: Will I pay extra as a non-US citizen or green card holder?

A: No, you will not pay extra for life insurance if not a US citizen. Life insurance companies do not surcharge you based on your citizenship. 

Q: Will my family be able to get the death benefit if I pass away?

A: You are setting up your life insurance to protect your family and you are concerned if they will be able to file for the benefit if they are not in the US or if their immigration status is uncertain. We completely understand that and that’s why we’ve created a comprehensive guide on naming a foreign national as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy. 

Q: What if I move back to my country of origin?

A: Most US life insurance policies will cover you worldwide, as long as the policy is active. In other words, you need to make sure that you maintain the billing and that the plan has a current mailing address in the US. We have created a complete guide on how will foreign travel affect your life insurance. 

In Conclusion,

You can get life insurance if you are an undocumented immigrant. The key is to apply with the right life insurance company, as most will underwrite your immigration status before looking at your health and lifestyle.

When planning for your financial future, it is also very important to look at your overall needs, goals, and circumstances, to create a plan that addresses them. Life insurance is an important financial planning tool and if designed properly, can not only help your family financially if you prematurely die, but it can also help you while alive.

We hope you find this helpful and are looking forward to working with you in creating the financial plan that fits your needs and goals. 

Thank you!