Can I get life insurance faster with accelerated underwriting?


Accelerated underwriting dramatically shortens the life insurance application process for healthy people aged 18-60 by not requiring a medical exam.

Nupur GambhirAmanda Shih author photo


Nupur Gambhir

Nupur Gambhir

Life Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir is an insurance editor at Policygenius and licensed Life, Health, and Disability agent in New York.


Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is an insurance editor and licensed Life, Health, and Disability agent at Policygenius in New York City. Her work has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Little Spoon, and J.D. Power.

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Eloise Spinello

Eloise Spinello

Associate Director, Carrier Relationship Management

Eloise Spinello is a life insurance expert and the Associate Director of the Carrier Relationship Management team at Policygenius. She has worked in life insurance case management for ten years and has strong expertise in understanding underwriting requirements, trends, and processes. Eloise currently manages carrier partnerships at Policygenius, as well as focuses on maintaining a positive experience for Policygenius customers. Previously, she worked at Lenox Advisors.

Updated May 10, 2021|3 min read

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Typically, getting a life insurance policy takes between five and six weeks. Most of that time is taken up by underwriting, a process in which your potential insurer evaluates the risk you pose of dying while your policy is active.

If you want to get life insurance coverage sooner, accelerated underwriting (AU) life insurance could get you approved for a policy in a few days or less. Accelerated underwriting allows 18-60 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.

Key Takeaways

  • Instead of a medical exam, accelerated underwriting uses your medical records to calculate your life insurance rates

  • Application approvals can happen in a day or two, compared to five to six weeks with traditional underwriting

  • Eligibility is based on health, age, medical history, finances, and criminal record, among other factors

  • Policygenius offers accelerated underwriting through Lincoln Financial, Brighthouse, Banner Life, and Prudential

What is accelerated underwriting?

Accelerated underwriting speeds up the typical underwriting process by dropping the medical exam and APS request requirements for term life insurance policies up to $3 million.

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 death benefits, which advance some of your death benefit for terminal illness expenses, are also a separate policy feature.

Who qualifies for accelerated underwriting?

No one is guaranteed to qualify for accelerated underwriting just because they’re in good health,  but you are more likely to be approved if you are:

  • Aged 18 to 60 years old

  • Generally in good health with no family history of serious medical conditions

  • In good financial shape with no recent history of bankruptcy and a solid credit score

  • Clear of serious criminal charges, including felonies and moving violations

  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident

  • Not someone who has 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. Your family health history will be taken into account and some heritable health conditions, like breast cancer, will automatically disqualify you.

Being disqualified doesn’t mean you can’t get affordable life insurance coverage. 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. 

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, Lincoln, and Prudential. Here’s a quick comparison:

Banner/William Penn: Horizons AU10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, & 40 years20 - 50   $100k - $1 million    Accelerated Death Benefit only                          
Brighthouse: SimplySelect      10, 20, & 30 years                25 - 50   $100k - $2 million †  Accelerated Death Benefit only 
Lincoln: TermAccel             10, 15, 20, & 30 years            18 - 60 ††$100k - $1 million    Yes, all riders                            
Prudential: FastTrack       10, 15, 20, & 30 years            18 - 50   $100k - $3 million    Yes, 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 May 2021 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.

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The best accelerated underwriting life insurance in 2021

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.

Brighthouse SimplySelect

According to 2021 Policygenius data, Brighthouse SimplySelect offers the lowest premiums for eligible AU applicants and some of the highest coverage amounts—up to $2 million. Most applicants receive an application decision (accepted, declined, or referred to an underwriter) immediately at the conclusion of 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 premium rates based on a 20-year term life insurance policy for male and female non-smokers in Ohio 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 5/10/2021.

Lincoln TermAccel

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 for people who may not get an affordable no-medical exam policy elsewhere: 

  • Applicants aged 50-60

  • 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 premium rates based on 20-year term life insurance policy for male and female non-smokers in Ohio 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 5/10/2021.

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Who should get accelerated underwriting life insurance?

Accelerated underwriting policies are ideal for people who: 

  • Have a fear of needles and want to avoid blood testing

  • Need coverage as soon as possible 

  • Prefer to avoid medical exams in general

  • Want to continue social distancing due to COVID-19

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 FAQs

How does accelerated underwriting work?

Accelerated underwriting doesn’t require a medical exam or attending physician statement (APS). This cuts down the life insurance application timeline from several weeks to a few days.

Which life insurance companies offer accelerated underwriting?

Lincoln Financial, Brighthouse, Banner Life, and Prudential offer accelerated underwriting through Policygenius.

Who is eligible for an accelerated underwriting life insurance policy?

Eligibility requirements vary by insurance company. If you’re between the ages of 18-60, are healthy, don’t have a pre-existing medical condition, have no criminal record, and are in good financial shape, you’re more likely to qualify.

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