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You meet with a life insurance agent to purchase insurance in case of your unexpected death. The agent presents the different options, discusses your needs and goals, and recommends a policy. You agree and ready to move forward. After she asks you for your name and birth date, she asks, “What is your social security number?” You think, Geez. I thought I didn’t need one?
You gulp, “I don’t have one…”
The agent appears dejected, and you are sad. You know how important life insurance is to protect your family. You both don’t know what to do next.
Don’t worry. We at My Family Life Insurance know what to do next. In this article, we discuss how to purchase life insurance without a social security number.
Why Do You Need A Social Security Number For Life Insurance?
Actually, you don’t. Nope. Nada. It is not an industry requirement. You can purchase life insurance without a social security number. The issue is most carriers require it.
“Well, John, why do companies require it?” you ask. That is a good question. The answer is the insurance carrier wants to know who you are. There is a myriad of reasons, and they are important:
- money laundering – money laundering is the process of making illegally obtained money appear “clean” through a series of transactions in legitimate financial transactions. These transactions commonly include life insurance. For example, a drug dealer who places his drug money through a series of life insurance transactions is money laundering.
- you are who you say you are – with identity theft rampant, carriers want to make sure you are who you say you are. This follows the US Patriot Act as well.
- MIB report – we discussed the importance of the MIB report. Your social security number will help the carrier obtain the correct report.
- pharmacy / health / motor vehicle records – for the same reasons as the MIB report. You want to make sure the carrier has the right information. If you have a common name, you wouldn’t want a carrier selecting the wrong person based on the name only.
So, these are the main reasons carriers require a social security number. However, there are many carriers that don’t require a social security number. Let’s talk about those situations in more detail and the steps to purchase life insurance without a social security number.
How To Obtain Life Insurance Without A Social Security Number
We outline the steps below on how to purchase life insurance without a social security number. The application and underwriting requirements really depend on your situation. In general, here are the steps to obtain life insurance without a social security number.
(1) Obtain an ITIN
(2) Evaluate life insurance companies that allow ITINs
(3) Go through the underwriting process as required
(4) Reach out to us if you need any assistance
We discuss these steps in more detail next.
1st Step: Obtain An ITIN
If you don’t have a social security number, most likely it is because you are a/an
- foreign national
- resident alien
- undocumented immigrant
See our article on obtaining life insurance for non-citizens. Valid green card holders can usually obtain life insurance easily because they possess a social security number. Visa holders can Our article explains more in detail how that process works.
However, if you are living here in the United States, with intentions on living here long-term, you can purchase life insurance without a social security number. You will need an ITIN. This is the 1st step. What is an ITIN? It is an individual taxpayer’s identification number (ITIN). You can obtain it from the IRS through form W-7. ITINs are used for income-tax reporting only. You will need an ITIN if you generally meet the following:
- foreign nationals and others who have federal tax reporting or filing requirements and do not qualify for SSNs.
- non-resident alien individuals not eligible for a SSN. You are required to file a U.S. tax return only to claim a refund of tax under the provisions of a U.S. tax treaty.
- other examples of individuals who need ITINs include a:
nonresident alien required to file a U.S. tax return
U.S. resident alien (based on days present in the United States) filing a U.S. tax return
a dependent or spouse of a U.S. citizen/resident alien
a dependent or spouse of a nonresident alien visa holder
Please note that means undocumented immigrants here in the US can obtain life insurance with possession of an ITIN.
2nd Step: Work With Life Insurance Companies That Allow ITINs
Many carriers require social security numbers. If you are a Green Card holder, you pretty much can apply to any carrier as a US citizen. If you don’t have a green card, then only certain carriers will insure you. Once you have an ITIN, we can proceed with the insurance application process. This includes reviewing your needs, determining a budget, and applying for life insurance. This is the 2nd Step.
We work with several carriers that allow ITINs on its applications.
One we enjoy working with has a very simple application process. You can purchase up to $250,000 of term life insurance. Your spouse and children can be on the same application. The application includes 4 required health questions. If you are unfamiliar with the life insurance application process, that is unheard of for term life insurance. The application process can be administered completely online or with the help of us. The process is very easy and does not take a long time to complete.
That seems where a majority of agencies stop. We don’t.
We work with a handful of other carriers that allows ITINs on their life insurance applications, even for people who are undocumented and living here illegally.
The availability, type, and death benefit amount really depends on your situation.
One carrier we work with allows $1 million or more depending on your income. You can select term life insurance or any of their permanent products. Nearly all of their life insurance products have living benefits available. This carrier definitely offers more value with their life insurance products. Additionally, there are other carriers we work with that allow ITINs; however, their acceptance is on a case-by-case basis.
3rd Step: Go Through The Underwriting Process
What is underwriting? It is the process of the life insurance carrier reviewing your application. The carrier assigns an underwriter who reviews your application and determines if you qualify for life insurance. There are a number of factors which influence their decision including, but not limited to:
(1) your health and any health conditions
(2) smoking use and drug use
(3) lifestyle history, including any misdemeanors, and dangerous hobbies
(4) occupation and income
(5) citizenship status – already discussed
The length of time for review varies. We have had some people without social security numbers get approved within a few days. Others have taken a few months. The timeframe really depends on you and your situation. The carriers may require a paramedical exam. Other carriers may want a phone interview. In any case, we can help you regardless of the underwriter requirements.
Final Step: Contact Us For Assistance
This is the final step. If you have an interest, fill out the information below or contact us. We have helped many non-US citizens, undocumented immigrants included, obtain the life insurance they need to ensure peace-of-mind. As you can see, there are many options available. The types of life insurance depend on your situation. Here are some case studies to illustrate how we helped people without social security numbers obtain life insurance. While these cases may not fit perfectly with you, they show how we can help.
A B-Visa Holder Wanting Life Insurance
Marvin contacted us. He is considered a foreign national / non-US citizen, but has significant business interests in the US. His children live in the US. He does have some healthcare established here in the US and regularly visits on his B-Visa between 3 and 6 months each year.
Marvin needed over $1 million in coverage. Because he is a citizen of a “B” country, many carriers limited him to permanent insurance. We were able to secure both term life insurance and permanent insurance. He completed the application process while here in the US.
An Undocumented Immigrant Wants To Protect His Family
Enrique has a growing family. Two children with a 3rd on the way. He is the primary income earner in his family. There was roadblock after roadblock on obtaining life insurance. He knows the value of life insurance, but was only able to secure $100,000 due to his immigration status. He does have an ITIN. Based on a needs analysis, we determined he needed $1,500,000. He thought there was no way we could help him out. However, we did. We were able to secure that $1,500,000 on a 30 year-term with living benefits.
We have many more success stories of helping people without social security numbers obtain life insurance.
I hope you understand a little better that you can obtain life insurance, even without a social security number. Would you like to learn more or need our assistance? Contact us or use the form below. We would be happy to help you any way we can. As with everything we do, we hold your best interests first. That means, we only recommend solutions that work best for YOU and not for anyone else. If we can’t help you, then we tell you that. And, we help you as much as we can so you obtain the solution you desire. It’s that simple.