Annuity Buying Guide

A Free Guide in Plain English

The annuity application, transfer, and contract process

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In this guide, we’ll tell you what you need to know about the annuity buying process – how it works, how it varies by annuity type and fund type, and what to expect once you decide you’re ready to purchase an annuity.

The Annuity Buying Process

We’ve found that buyers have questions about what happens once you decide to purchase an annuity. Buying an annuity basically has these major phases:

  1. Deciding to buy
  2. Application and processing
  3. Contract issuance and ongoing policy management

This short guide is about how to complete Phase 2

The 7 Major Steps in the Process

1. You submit the information for your Application using our simple online form, or we can collect the information over the phone if you prefer. If the insurer allows electronic signature, we’ll collect that from you. Otherwise, we’ll send you a hard copy of the paperwork to sign via FedEx overnight. Once you’ve signed the application, you’ll use the prepaid return label we provide to send one copy back to us and one copy to the insurer (or to Financial Independence Group, our insurance processing partner in North Carolina).

2. Your completed application (which may include an illustration and transfer request paperwork, but more on this later) must be accepted by the insurer In Good Order.

3. The insurer conducts a review of the information provided by you in order to ensure the annuity product’s Suitability for your particular situation.

4. Next, the Transfer Request is submitted to the transferring entity. Depending on your source of funds, this could be your bank, your brokerage account, your 401(k), or the insurer that holds your existing annuity. If you decide to fund your policy with a check, there won’t be any Transfer Request.

5. Once funds are received, the Policy is Issued.

6. As the agent, we usually receive the policy first, confirm its accuracy, then send it to you, at which time Policy Receipt has occurred.

7. By law, you have at least 10 days as part of the Free Look Period from the time of Policy Receipt to reject the policy. Free Look Periods can vary by state and insurer, but are never shorter than 10 days.

Blueprint Income’s Role

Blueprint Income has a team of licensed agents appointed with over 30 insurers, but the contract you enter into is directly between you and the insurer. No matter your particular situation, we will work with you to guide you through the process.

How the Process Varies by Annuity Type

The process varies based on two main variables: the type of annuity you’re buying and the source of funds.

There are various types of annuities available, but we choose to offer a select range to keep things simple. Our focus is on fixed annuities, which provide a guaranteed rate of return for a predetermined period of time; income annuities, which deliver a predetermined amount of monthly income for life, starting either immediately or at a future date; and fixed indexed annuities, which offer a return based on the performance of a specific market index while also providing a guaranteed minimum return.

  • Income annuity applications are submitted with an illustration that locks in your income payout rate while your application is being processed. This is known as Rate Lock. In most cases, the insurer will automatically grant you a higher rate if the rate goes up during the period between the application being accepted In Good Order and the policy issuing. We also regularly run updated quotes during this period to ensure you get the highest possible pricing.
  • Fixed annuities do not typically receive Rate Lock — you simply get the prevailing rate at the time the policy is issued.

How the Process Varies by Source of Funds

In terms of the source of funds, it’s possible to fund your policy with:

  • a check
  • a 1035 exchange from an existing annuity
  • a transfer from
    • a non-qualified account
    • a Roth IRA
    • a traditional IRA
  • a rollover from
    • a 403(b)
    • a 401(k)
    • a SEP IRA
    • a SIMPLE IRA

Detailed Timeline

The process varies by insurer, by policy type, by fund type, and for idiosyncratic reasons. This timeline is illustrative in nature and your actual buying process may vary slightly.

Guide - Detailed Timeline

How to Start the Buying Process

It’s now possible to make your annuity purchase online. Instead of in-person meetings and paper applications, we’ve built the technology to provide you real-time annuity quotes and rates online and we generate your application for the insurer digitally. We are licensed to provide these products to you, and we’re available via chat, email, or phone to provide personalized assistance.

Buying an annuity is easier when you’re equipped with the right information. In addition to being available to help walk you through the process, Blueprint Income has compiled a list of things to keep in mind:

Where to Buy a Fixed Annuity

Fixed annuities are sold via insurance agents, brokers, and financial advisors. It’s also possible to shop online for a fixed annuity via our website. Our Fixed Annuity Marketplace allows you to easily compare fixed annuities side-by-side and filter them for the specifications that meet your needs.

Where to Buy an Income Annuity

Income annuities are sold via insurance agents, brokers, and financial advisors. It’s also possible to shop for an income annuity online via our website. We limit our product offerings to only those sold by top-rated insurers (A.M. Best rating of at least A), and our Income Annuity Quote Tool allows you to run custom immediate annuity, longevity annuity, and QLAC quotes online in seconds.