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 the part of the application process known as underwriting, when your potential insurer evaluates the risk you pose of dying while your policy is active.
If you want to obtain 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 many people with good health — usually dealing with one or two minor conditions at most — age 18 to 60 to forgo the medical exam that’s a standard part of the life insurance underwriting process.
Instead, insurers use readily available data and previous medical records to set your premiums for term life insurance coverage.
Here’s how accelerated underwriting programs work, 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 attending physician statement (APS) request request 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 will 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
Who qualifies for accelerated underwriting?
You’re not guaranteed to qualify for accelerated underwriting just because you’re in good health, but you’re 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 have a complex health profile, a serious condition, or have a risky hobby, like skydiving, you may not be eligible for accelerated underwriting.
Heritable health conditions in your family health history, like breast cancer, may 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 these five Policygenius partner insurers: Banner/William Penn, Brighthouse Financial, Prudential, Transamerica, and Pacific Life.
Here’s a quick comparison between all these AU life insurance options.
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
$100,000 to $2 million
10, 20, & 30 years
25 to 50
$100,000 to $3 million †
Accelerated death benefit only
10, 15, 20, & 30 years
18 to 60
$100,000 to $3 million
10, 15, 20, 25, & 30 years
18 to 60
$250,000 to $2 million
Pacific Life: PAL+
10, 15, 20, 25, & 30 years
18 to 60
$50,000 to $3 million
†For Brighthouse Simply Select, coverage limits vary by risk class.
Methodology: Information is based on policies offered by Policygenius in April 2023 and 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 Banner Life Horizon AU, for their affordability and flexibility.
2023 Policygenius award winner
Why we chose it
Brighthouse Financial offers competitive rates, comprehensive coverage, and application decisions in as little as 24 hours, making it a great choice for people who want to get life insurance coverage without having to take the medical exam.
Pros and cons
Best-in-class no-med option
Traditional term life not available in CA, IL, LA, ME, or NY
Term life applicants limited to ages 25-50
Brighthouse SimplySelect offers the lowest life insurance rates for eligible AU applicants and some of the highest coverage amounts — up to $3 million. Most people receive an application decision immediately after their phone interview.
Banner Life Horizon AU
Banner Life has some of the most competitive life insurance rates available, even for people with some medical conditions. It offers the longest term available — 40 years — and has one of the shortest median underwriting periods at eight days.
Most people go from applying to having a policy in about a week — all without having to take a medical exam.
How much does accelerated underwriting life insurance cost?
A 35-year-old female who doesn’t smoke and has just one or two mild health conditions would pay around $25 per month for a 20-year AU term life insurance policy with a $500,000 death benefit payout. A 35-year-old male with the same health profile would pay around $30 per month for the same policy.
Below you'll find more sample rates for AU policies. Your final rate will be determined by your age, gender, health profile, and lifestyle habits.
If you want to get a life insurance quote for your personal situation, connect with a Policygenius agent. At Policygenius, our experts are licensed in all 50 states and can walk you through the entire life insurance buying process while offering transparent, unbiased advice.
$250,000 coverage amount
$500,000 coverage amount
$1,000,000 coverage amount
The bottom line
Accelerated underwriting isn’t the best fit for everyone, but if you meet the insurer’s requirements, AU can save you time on your life insurance application and money on premiums.
If you’re on the market for an even faster option to get life insurance, consider shopping for an instant life insurance policy. Instant life insurance can get you quotes and coverage almost immediately without having to take the medical exam.
A Policygenius advisor will let you know if you qualify for a no-med, accelerated policy, or even instant life insurance 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 Financial, Prudential, Transamerica, and Pacific Life all 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.