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Associate Director, Carrier Relationship Management
Updated January 5, 20223 min read
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Typically, getting a life insurance policy takes between five and six weeks. 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.
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 for term life insurance policies.
You'll still 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.
Accelerated underwriting is different from simplified underwriting, which doesn’t include a medical exam but is used for more costly burial insurance policies.
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
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. Sixty-nine percent of Lincoln Financial TermAccel applicants are approved without submitting additional lab tests or an APS, according to 2021 Policygenius data.
You can get an accelerated underwriting life insurance policy through six of Policygenius’ partner insurers: Banner/William Penn, Brighthouse, Lincoln, Prudential, SBLI, and Transamerica. Here’s a quick comparison:
|Life insurance company||Term lengths available||Ages||Coverage amount limits||Riders available|
|Banner/William Penn: Horizon AU||10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, & 40 years||20 to 60||$100k to $2 million||All riders|
|Brighthouse: SimplySelect||10, 20, & 30 years||25 to 50||$100k to $2 million †||Accelerated death benefit only|
|Lincoln: TermAccel||10, 15, 20, & 30 years||18 to 60 ††||$100k to $1 million||All riders|
|Prudential: FastTrack||10, 15, 20, & 30 years||18 to 60||$100k to $3 million||All riders|
|Transamerica: AU||10, 15, 20, 25, & 30 years||18 to 60||$25k to $2 million||All riders|
|SBLI: No-Med||10, 15, 20, 25, & 30 years||18 to 60||$100k to $750k||All riders|
†For Brighthouse Simply Select, coverage limits vary by risk class.
††For the Lincoln TermAccel 30-year term, the maximum issue age is 55 for non-smokers and 50 for smokers.
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.
Ready to shop for life insurance?
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
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 2/01/2022.
Lincoln TermAccel offers up to $1 million in coverage and comes with a wider variety of riders than Brighthouse SimplySelect. It’s a great choice if you may not qualify for accelerated underwriting life insurance elsewhere:
Applicants age 50 to 60
Marijuana smokers who don’t work in the industry
Smokers who don’t qualify for other AU policies
Lincoln TermAccel premiums are some of the lowest in the industry. Here are sample monthly premiums:
Sample rates: Lincoln TermAccel
Methodology: Sample monthly rates based on 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 2/01/2022.
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 policy is later rejected by the insurer, your agent will find the best alternative for your needs.
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.
Banner Life, Brighthouse, Lincoln Financial, Prudential, SBLI, and Transamerica offer accelerated underwriting life insurance through Policygenius.
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.