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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.
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, Principal, and Prudential
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.
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.
You can get an accelerated underwriting life insurance policy through five of Policygenius’ partner insurers: Banner/William Penn, Brighthouse, Lincoln, Principal, and Prudential. Here’s a quick comparison:
|LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY||TERM LENGTHS AVAILABLE||AGES||COVERAGE AMOUNT LIMITS||RIDERS AVAILABLE|
|Banner/William Penn: Horizons AU||10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, & 40 years||20 - 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
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 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
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
Compare the market, right here.
Policygenius saves you up to 40% by comparing the top-rated insurers in one place.
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 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.
Lincoln Financial, Brighthouse, Banner Life, Principal, and Prudential offer accelerated underwriting through Policygenius.
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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