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No medical life insurance

Yes, you can get life insurance without having to take a medical exam or blood test

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If you’re looking to get life insurance in place quickly and are in good shape with no pre-existing medical conditions, you may be eligible for cover that requires very little if any medical underwriting. Many direct online insurers now have a short questionnaire for applicants and if the entry-level requirements are met, cover can typically be put in place without the need for further documentation.

It is worth noting that most direct insurers carry out medical underwriting at the time of claim, which means there’s usually no opportunity for you to declare any pre-existing medical conditions in detail. It’s crucial that you answer all questions accurately to avoid a claim being rejected.

How does it work?

Is the application really without any medical questions?

With no medical life insurance, there is usually a basic questionnaire when you apply. Generally, you are required to disclose the basic details relevant to your health, such as whether or not you smoke and how much you drink per week.

Make sure you disclose carefully

It’s essential that the information you provide is accurate so that the insurer can determine the most appropriate level of cover for you. In most cases, direct insurance companies approve a direct life insurance application without the need for a medical check-up, assuming you are in good health.

What if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

Opt for a policy with a detailed medical questionnaire, as this will give you greater certainty if you need to make a claim in the future.


Why consider a non-medical life insurance policy?

No-medical life insurance issues to be aware of:

  • A short approvals process: By the time a standard life insurance policy is assessed, your medical tests are taken and examined, plus the underwriting process is completed, an application can take four to six weeks. However, if you want cover right away, a no medical life insurance policy can be approved in just days.
  • No medical: A no medical assessment can be good news for a number of people and not just those with medical conditions which would impact on their eligibility. For example, you may be uncomfortable around doctors or needles, you may not have a family doctor you trust, or you may simply not have the time to undergo a medical.

The convenience of a no-medical policy

Underwriting of life insurance has changed significantly over the years, in that many retail insurance providers offer cover without the need for medical underwriting if no noteworthy risk is present in an application. A no medical life insurance policy can be convenient if:

  • You don’t smoke
  • You aren’t a heavy drinker
  • You have no pre-existing medical conditions.
  • You understand what life insurance needs are

Note: Buy a policyholder with an adviser may be a more suitable option depending on how much assistance you need with making your decision.

If an applicant satisfies these conditions, an underwriter is usually happy to continue with the cover process without medical underwriting.

What other cover types require no medical?

There are other types of insurance where no medical underwriting is necessary, regardless of the person’s condition.

  • Accidental death insurance: As the benefit is paid for accident only and not medical complications, medical underwriting is not required.
  • Personal accident insurance: Similar to accidental death, the benefit is only payable for injury caused by accident and is not related to a medical condition, hence, no medical underwriting is required.
  • Funeral insurance: While some funeral insurance policies require medical underwriting for some conditions, typically, no medical underwriting is required.

Medical tests

What’s considered a pre-existing medical condition?

A pre-existing medical condition is normally defined as:

  • A medical condition that you are currently – or have ever been – treated by a specialist for.
  • It’s a medical condition you had before taking out life insurance or income protection, which could affect your health, life expectancy or ability to work.

Insurance companies deal with pre-existing conditions on an individual basis, so what is defined as a pre-existing condition for one broker may not be for another. For example, if you have received successful treatment for a condition, and it is resolved, one insurer may not count this as a pre-existing condition, while another may.

As previously mentioned, a medical examination is often required by insurance providers to enable them to uncover any underlying health issues that you may not be aware of and determine the level of risk you carry. For these reasons, they want to know in more detail whether or not the following conditions are relevant to you:

  • Family history: The insurer takes your family history into consideration and if there are certain hereditary traits or medical conditions that they should be aware of. For example, the insurer may decide to include an additional loading on your premiums if there are two or more deaths in your family under the age of 65 as a result of heart disease and you are showing symptoms of high blood pressure.
  • Smoking habits: If you are a heavy smoker, the insurer wants to know if you are showing signs of respiratory disease or any other related condition. Even if you have stopped smoking, the insurer may inquire into the reason for quitting, which might be due to medical reasons, such as a recent heart attack or chronic bronchitis.
  • Alcohol consumption: In your application, you will be asked the amount of alcohol that you consume on a weekly basis. Often moderate to heavy drinkers may not provide an accurate or true indication on their level of consumption. Therefore, insurers generally require a physical medical examination to uncover symptoms that may indicate alcohol abuse, such as:
    • Obesity
    • High blood pressure
    • Finger clubbing
    • Tremor
    • Enlarged liver
    • Pitted nose
    • Digestive disorders
    • Anxiety
  • Specific medical conditions, such as:
    • Heart trouble and high blood pressure: Your insurer wants to know if you are experiencing hypertension and if the condition is being treated at the time of application.
    • Chest pains: If you have chest pains, they could be symptoms indicating other more serious health issues such as ischaemic heart disease, pericarditis or other conditions.
    • Lung disorders: If you are an asthma sufferer, your life insurance underwriter requires a medical attendant’s report to understand the severity of your condition.
    • Bronchitis: If you have chronic bronchitis, you are required to go through a medical examination and provide a medical attendant’s report.
    • Chronic indigestion: The underwriter usually requires a medical attendant’s report and sometimes a full medical depending on the severity of your indigestion. This is to ensure that your condition is not caused by an ulcer, which you might have, and how serious it is.
    • Diabetes type 1 or 2: A urine sample is usually taken to be tested for any evidence of glucose (sugar). If glucose is present in the sample, it is then used to determine whether or not you have diabetes. There are two types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2. Both types require the applicant to provide a medical attendant’s report and undertake a medical exam. You are also required to complete a diabetes questionnaire.
    • Malignant tumours or cancer: The underwriter will ask for any relevant and reliable information on the type of tumour you have, its stage, the treatment you undertake, and the result of follow-up checks. A medical exam, medical attendant’s report and a questionnaire need to be provided.
    • Kidney, bladder, liver disorders or stones: If you declare any loss of kidney functions, inflammation of gall bladder (including stones), colon and liver issues, you are required to undertake a medical examination and any other tests if necessary.
    • Hepatitis: Any declaration of hepatitis prompts the underwriter to request more information. So, a medical attendant’s report, full medical exam, and any other test may be required.
    • Mental illness: Mental health issues are often quite difficult to assess by life insurance underwriters. Therefore, they require additional information on treatment, the response to treatment and if there are any attempts of suicide.
    • Epilepsy: Underwriters require information on the type of epilepsy that you have, your lifestyle and any treatments that you are taking. Epilepsy generally attracts a higher extra loading.

Why is a medical examination required if I have a pre-existing medical condition?

A medical examination is often required when you apply for life insurance, especially if you are looking to obtain a high level of cover or you have a pre-existing health condition. Medical exams are often necessary to enable the insurance provider to obtain the most accurate information on your health. Once they have this information at hand, they can decide whether or not to provide cover and if a premium loading is necessary.


What type of details do I need to provide if I have to take a medical test?

Life insurance providers typically require a blood and urine test. These samples are then used to discover any traces of illnesses that you may be unaware of, which might influence their decision on whether or not to provide you with cover. You may also need to go through a medical test, which can be done at your own GP’s practice or by a medical nurse. The check-up usually records your height, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol reading.

Additional tests may be required, depending on your age and the amount of cover you are applying for. If you are 50 years old and over, you may be required to complete a treadmill test.

A medical exam for life insurance is usually quite straightforward. Your insurer is only looking for signs that may indicate underlying health conditions that could reduce your life expectancy, and increase the likelihood of a payout before enough premiums have been collected from you.

Your samples are used to test for:

  • The presence of antigens which can indicate HIV.
  • Cholesterol and related lipids.
  • A liver or kidney disorder.
  • Diabetes.
  • Antibodies which indicate hepatitis.
  • Prostate-specific antigens, which can indicate prostate cancer.
  • Immune disorders.

Your urine sample may also be used for routine analysis, as well as being screened for medications, cocaine and other drugs to indicate your lifestyle. Providing blood for the tests can be as simple as a finger prick, or can be done with a needle.

Tips to follow before you go for a medical examination

The better the results of your medical exam, the lower your premiums and the higher the coverage you can apply for when looking for life insurance. Therefore, look after yourself before the exam to ensure a good result by:

  • Getting a solid full night’s sleep the night before.
  • Not drinking any alcohol at least eight hours before the exam.
  • Avoiding caffeine, including coffee, soda and chocolate at least one hour before the exam.
  • Limiting your salt intake and reducing high cholesterol foods for 24 hours before your exam.
  • Not doing any strenuous activity for 24 hours before the exam.

How can premiums be affected?

Life expectancy and mortality rate information is used to determine the premiums you pay, which helps the insurance company weigh up the level of risk that you may carry.

In New Zealand, insurance companies have their own set of assessment criteria, which they may use together with the amount you want to be insured for and any policy components to work out your premiums.


No Medical Life Insurance: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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