Typically, getting a life insurance policy takes between five and six weeks from the time you apply to receiving an official offer of coverage. Most of that time is dedicated to underwriting, when your potential insurer evaluates the risk you pose of dying while your policy is active.
If you want to get life insurance faster, accelerated underwriting (AU) life insurance could get you approved for a policy in under two weeks or, with certain insurance companies, even one day. Accelerated underwriting allows 18- to 60-year-olds to forgo the medical exam, using readily available data and previous medical records to set your premiums for term life insurance coverage.
Here’s how accelerated underwriting works, who qualifies for coverage, and the best companies for an AU policy.
What is accelerated underwriting?
Accelerated underwriting is a type of no-medical-exam life insurance that speeds up the typical underwriting process by dropping the medical exam and APS request requirements normally needed to supplement term life insurance applications.
To verify your health status and lifestyle, you'll have an initial medical interview over the phone and the insurance company still checks various reports, including medical records, Medical Information Bureau information, your motor vehicle report, and your prescription history. If there are no concerns about the riskiness of your health or finances, you’ll likely be approved without needing to submit any additional information.
Accelerated underwriting is different from simplified underwriting, which doesn’t include a medical exam but is used for more costly burial insurance policies.
Who should get accelerated underwriting life insurance?
Accelerated underwriting policies are a good option if you:
Need coverage as soon as possible
Prefer to avoid blood tests
Prefer to avoid medical exams in general
Want to continue social distancing due to COVID-19
Who qualifies for accelerated underwriting?
You are not guaranteed to qualify for accelerated underwriting just because you’re in good health, but you are more likely to be approved if you are:
Age 18 to 60 years old
Generally healthy with no family history of serious medical conditions
In good financial shape with no recent history of bankruptcy and good credit
Clear of serious criminal charges, including felonies and moving violations
A U.S. citizen or permanent resident
Someone who has not been declined insurance coverage in the past
If you ’re in poor health or have a risky hobby, like skydiving, you may not be eligible. Heritable health conditions in your family health history, like breast cancer, will automatically disqualify you.
Being disqualified from accelerated underwriting doesn’t mean you can’t get life insurance. You’ll just go through traditional underwriting with a full medical exam. Approval percentages vary among accelerated underwriting insurers.
→ Learn more about getting life insurance
Where can you get accelerated underwriting life insurance?
You can get an accelerated underwriting life insurance policy through five of Policygenius’ partner insurers: Banner/William Penn, Brighthouse, Prudential, and Transamerica. Here’s a quick comparison:
Life insurance company
Term lengths available
Coverage amount limits
Banner/William Penn: Horizon AU
10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, & 40 years
20 to 60
$100k to $2 million
10, 20, & 30 years
25 to 50
$100k to $2 million †
Accelerated death benefit only
10, 15, 20, & 30 years
18 to 60
$100k to $3 million
10, 15, 20, 25, & 30 years
18 to 60
$25k to $2 million
†For Brighthouse Simply Select, coverage limits vary by risk class.
Methodology: Information based on policies offered by Policygenius in January 2022 and is subject to change.
For a comprehensive overview of each insurer’s customer service record and financial standing, take a look at our life insurance company reviews.
The best accelerated underwriting policies in 2023
The right policy for you will vary depending on your individual circumstances. We recommend two options offered by our insurance partners, Brighthouse SimplySelect and Lincoln TermAccel, for their affordability and flexibility.
According to Policygenius data, Brighthouse SimplySelect offers the lowest premiums for eligible AU applicants and some of the highest coverage amounts — up to $2 million. Most people receive an application decision immediately after their phone interview.
Check out the chart below to see how much you might pay for a Brighthouse SimplySelect policy each month.
Sample rates: Brighthouse SimplySelect
$250,000 coverage amount
$500,000 coverage amount
$1,000,000 coverage amount
Methodology: Sample monthly rates based on a 20-year term life insurance policy for male and female non-smokers with a Preferred health rating. Not all policies are available in all states. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 01/01/2023.
Accelerated underwriting isn’t the best fit for everyone. A Policygenius advisor will let you know if you qualify for an accelerated policy during your initial phone interview. If your accelerated application is not approved by the insurer for any reason, your agent will find the best alternative for your needs.
Frequently asked questions
How does accelerated underwriting work?
Accelerated underwriting forgoes a medical exam or attending physician statement (APS) and instead uses existing records to evaluate you for term life insurance. This shortens the application timeline to around two weeks or less.
Which life insurance companies offer accelerated underwriting?
Banner Life, Brighthouse, Lincoln Financial, Prudential, SBLI, and Transamerica offer accelerated underwriting life insurance through Policygenius.
Who is eligible for an accelerated underwriting life insurance policy?
Eligibility varies by insurance company. If you are a healthy individual between the ages of 18 and 60, don’t have a pre-existing medical condition, have no criminal record, and in good financial shape, you’re more likely to qualify.