Life insurance policies that don’t require a medical exam

It’s possible to get life insurance without taking a medical exam — but you’ll pay more for coverage.

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Traditional life insurance policies are “fully underwritten,” which means they require a medical exam. However, if you don’t want to take a medical exam for whatever reason, you have options. Depending on your provider, you may just have to answer a health questionnaire, or you could get coverage with no questions asked. But no-exam policies are expensive, and coverage is limited.

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  • Application takes less than 10 minutes.
  • Available to people ages 25 to 54-years-old.
  • Currently offered in 40 states.

How does no medical exam life insurance work?

No medical exam life insurance works the same way as a regular policy, but it lets you skip the process of getting a medical examination and instead assesses your health via a simple questionnaire.

What’s on the questionnaire?

With no medical life insurance, there’s usually minimal medical underwriting when you apply. Generally, you’re required to answer questions relevant to your health — details like if you’re a smoker or heavy drinker, your height and weight, and your recent medical history.
For the most accurate rate, it’s important to answer all questions as best as you can. And be honest – if your insurer discovers you lied on an application, they may deny your beneficiaries’ claim later on.

Questions you might be asked

  • Who’s your primary care doctor?
  • When was the last time you saw your doctor?
  • Are you currently taking any medication?
  • Have you ever been hospitalized, had surgery, or had a prolonged illness?
  • Do any health conditions run in your family?
  • Do you ever have chest pain or trouble breathing?
  • Has your doctor ever said your blood pressure or cholesterol levels were too high?
  • Are you prone to anxiety or depression?
  • Are you allergic to any medications?
  • Have you recently noticed any skin rashes or moles?
  • Do you drink alcohol? If so, how frequently?
  • Do you smoke? If so, how much?

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, most insurers will exclude it automatically. However, some policies may allow you to undertake additional medical tests in order to further examine your current health condition and determine whether or not they can cover you.

Can I add riders to my policy?

It depends on your provider. Some carriers won’t allow you to customize your no-exam policy with riders, while others may offer common riders such as:

  • Accelerated death benefit rider. If you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness, this pays a portion of the death benefit to help you cover your end-of-life expenses.
  • Conversion rider. Allows you to upgrade to a permanent policy before a dead line.
  • Disability income rider. Replaces a percentage of your income if you become disabled and can no longer work.
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Types of no medical exam life insurance?

Simplified issue life insurance

With a simplified life insurance policy, you can choose between a term or permanent policy. You won’t have to undergo a physical, but you’ll need to answer some questions about your medical history. Approval isn’t guaranteed, but if you do pass the test, your policy could be issued within hours or days.

Guaranteed issue life insurance

Also known as guaranteed acceptance life insurance, this type of policy is open to anyone. It forgoes both the medical exam and health questionnaire, and insurers can’t refuse coverage. Typically, guaranteed issue policies are whole life policies that are capped at small amounts, like $50,000. They’re often marketed to seniors as a way to cover funeral costs and end-of-life expenses.

Instant-approval term life insurance

Fintech startups like Ethos and Fabric offer term life policies online with accelerated underwriting. They use algorithms to scan your personal data such as your driving record and prescription drug history. Depending on the provider, you’ll also need to answer a few questions about your health and family medical history. If the insurer needs more information or wants to investigate your health further, they may ask for a phone interview or request a medical exam.

Group life insurance

Group life insurance is offered through the workplace as part of your employee benefits. If your employer participates and you want to enroll, you won’t need to fill out a health questionnaire or take a medical exam. The employer typically pays all or most of the premium – making this a cheap and easy way to get life insurance.
While it’s convenient, group life coverage usually tops out at one to two times your annual salary, which may not be enough coverage.

More on instant-approval term life insurance

The goal of instant-approval term life insurance is to make the buying process as quick and easy as possible. After you answer a few questions about your health and lifestyle, providers pull your data from public records (with your permission). They might look at prescription databases and DMV records. They then use complex algorithms to calculate your risk. The technology is sophisticated, so in most cases, this gives the provider the information they need to make an informed decision.

Once you submit the application, you’ll immediately find out if you’re approved.

The features of no-medical exam policies

Simplified issue
Guaranteed issue
Instant-approval term life
Group life insurance
Guaranteed approval
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Can qualify even if you have a health condition
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Requires health questionnaire
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Assesses your personal data, like medical records
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Capped at small coverage amounts
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Potential to buy larger policies
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Issued immediately (if approved)
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Pros and cons of no-medical exam life insurance

Pros

  • Short approval. No-medical exam policies are typically issued within hours or days. To compare, traditionally underwritten policies can take between three and eight weeks.
  • Convenient application. Depending on the policy, you may not need even need to fill out a health questionnaire, which cuts down on the application time.
  • Option to forgo medical exam. If you don’t want to undergo a medical exam for whatever reason, you can go with a guaranteed acceptance policy.

Cons

  • Expensive. Without a complete picture of your health, insurers are taking a risk – so they charge higher rates to compensate for that.
  • Limited to small amounts. No-medical exam policies are usually capped at low amounts, like $50,000 – which may leave you underinsured.

Who should consider a no-medical exam policy?

If these situations apply to you, a no-medical exam policy might make sense:

  • You need life insurance right away – for example, to satisfy a court order.
  • You have a serious health condition that may otherwise disqualify you for coverage, like cancer.
  • You have a chronic health condition that you’re not managing well, like diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • You simply want your policy to pay for your funeral and end-of-life expenses.
  • You’re uncomfortable around doctors or needles.

Who should avoid no-medical exam policies?

In these cases, you might be better off applying for a traditionally underwritten policy:

  • You’re in excellent health. With bife insurance, your health is your biggest asset. You’d pay a significantly higher premium if you opt out of the medical exam.
  • You need a large policy. No-exam policies are limited to small amounts, like $50,000 — but you could buy a traditional policy worth millions.

Compare life insurance providers

Name Product Issue Ages Coverage Range Medical Exam Required State Availability
18 - 85 years old
$10,000 to $10,000,000+
Depends on provider and policy
All 50 states
Compare affordable quotes from 12+ A-rated life insurance companies side-by-side.
AIG
20 - 85 years old
$100,000 to $2,000,000
Depends on policy.
Products and product features may not be available in all states.
This well-established life insurance provider could offer you $250,000 worth of coverage for as low as $14 per month.
21 - 54 years old
$50,000 to $1,000,000
No
Not available in Alaska or New York
Affordable 2-, 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies. Instant quotes and no medical exams.
20 - 60 years old
$100,000 to $8,000,000
No
Not available in New York
Term life insurance with no policy fees and the freedom to cancel anytime. Simple application process that can get you approved for coverage instantly.
18 - 64 years old
$100,000 to $3,000,000
No
All 50 states
Customized term life insurance policies up to $3 million, no medical exam for certain applicants.

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

No-medical exam policies are ideal for people who have a serious health condition working against them, as well as those who need coverage quickly or don’t want to see a doctor. While these policies can be issued within hours or days, the coverage is capped and you can expect to pay a much higher premium.

Before buying coverage, compare life insurance providers and policy features.

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