The length of time it will take to get a life insurance policy underwritten depends on a number of things. Since different types of policies have different underwriting processes, there is not a definite way to determine how long it will take. Additionally, more time may be required for different companies, and it may be extended even farther if you are dealing with a brokerage instead of purchasing directly.
If you are applying for a no medical exam life insurance policy, the process may be shorter. This is because you will not have to make an appointment for a medical exam and wait for the results. The drawback of this type of policy is that it is generally issued for a much lower value than other types of policies, owing to the increased risk faced by the insurance company in not having more information about your health and medical history. This type of policy generally take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks to complete the process.
With a standard form of life insurance, either a term or whole life insurance policy, the process can take quite a bit longer. It may be as much as 2 weeks or more before you even get your medical exam, plus time to process that data and then have the application processed by your chosen insurer. At a best guess, the time elapsed may range anywhere from 3 weeks to 3 months. And this is without any other developments holding things up, such as a simple error on your application that needs to be corrected, resulting in the application process being delayed.
You can speed the application process up a little by applying online. This will allow you to get the basic application information in front of the underwriting company faster, which can cut weeks off the length of time involved. Whether you choose to apply online or not, be sure to research the insurance company you choose before you apply, including checking their financial rating with a company such as the A.M. Best Company.