Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of permanent coverage that doesn’t expire and is best for people between age 45 and 80 who can’t qualify for a standard life insurance policy due to a serious medical condition or terminal illness.
Unlike term life or whole life insurance, the application for guaranteed issue life insurance doesn’t involve health questions or a medical exam. Guaranteed life insurance belongs to a category of policies called final expense insurance, which offer smaller payouts intended to cover end-of-life costs (like funeral expenses).
When is guaranteed issue life insurance right for you?
Guaranteed issue life insurance — also called guaranteed issue whole life — is a good option for people with health conditions that may prohibit them from getting other types of life insurance.
Some examples of these health conditions include:
Alzheimer’s or dementia
Cancer other than basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer
Kidney disease requiring a transplant or dialysis
AIDS or HIV
Any terminal illness where a doctor has given you a life expectancy of two years or less.
Guaranteed issue policies are more expensive than other types of life insurance, so it’s best to speak with an independent broker to confirm this is the best option for you before purchasing. Though you won’t complete a full health interview, the agent you’re working with will ask you some qualifying questions about your health status in order to confirm if this type of policy is a fit for you.
How does guaranteed issue life insurance work?
Guaranteed issue life insurance works differently from other types of life insurance.
Application: Only a basic application is required — no medical exam, health questions, or waiting period. which means your policy will become active right away.
Approval: Nearly all applicants are approved.
Cash value: Guaranteed issue life insurance technically comes with a cash value, but it typically has less time to accumulate than with other whole life policies.
Coverage limits: The maximum amount payable to your beneficiary when you die is usually $25,000.
Some guaranteed issue life insurance policies also have stipulations around when the full death benefit of your policy is active.
If you die of natural causes within the first two years of your coverage, your beneficiaries will be refunded 110% of your total premiums paid, rather than the full death benefit.
If you die due to accidental causes within the first two years or beyond, your beneficiaries can claim the full death benefit.
If you die due to suicide, your beneficiaries will be refunded 100% of your total premiums, rather than the full death benefit. Some policies have this clause in place for the first two years your policy is active, and others have it for the lifetime of the policy. It depends on the insurance company.
If you’re in the process of purchasing a policy and you’re not sure if you have a graded death benefit, the agent you’re working with will be able to help. You’ll also find this information in your policy documents.
Pros and cons of guaranteed issue life insurance
Guaranteed life insurance is ideal if you don’t qualify for a traditional life insurance policy. With few exceptions, you’re guaranteed acceptance and some financial support for your loved ones if you die. However, if you can qualify, other types of life insurance can offer more coverage at a cheaper price than guaranteed issue life insurance.
Pros of guaranteed issue whole life insurance
Fast, near-guaranteed approval
Provides financial support to your beneficiaries
No medical exam required
Cons of guaranteed issue whole life insurance
Can be denied if you don’t meet product requirements, such as age, state of residency, or citizenship status
Much more expensive than traditional life insurance
Payouts are lower than traditional policies
Graded death benefits if you die in the first two years of your policy
How much does guaranteed issue life insurance cost?
A 50-year-old female can pay about $75 per month for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy with a $25,000 death benefit payout. A 50-year-old male can pay $98 per month for the same coverage.
Unlike other types of life insurance, where the price of your policy will change depending on variables like age, hobbies, and medical conditions, guaranteed issue life insurance policies offer fixed prices based on your age when you apply.
Take a look at the sample rates below for monthly premiums for guaranteed issue life insurance policies with $5,000, $15,000, and $25,000 payouts.
$5,000 coverage amount
$15,000 coverage amount
$25,000 coverage amount
Because guaranteed issue life insurance covers people with certain health considerations or other insurance risks, it’s the most expensive type of final expense insurance — between $105 and $140 per month for a 60-year-old applying for $25,000 of coverage.
In comparison, a 10-year term life insurance policy with 10 times that coverage — a $250,000 death benefit payout — could cost between $62 and $82 per month for a 60-year-old who doesn’t smoke and is generally in good health.
How to buy guaranteed issue life insurance insurance
Buying guaranteed issue insurance usually requires a phone call and an application.
After submitting your application, an agent may contact you to confirm you have no disqualifying conditions and that you’re buying the right amount of coverage.
Once your application is submitted, you’ll receive a decision quickly, since there isn’t a medical exam or other reports for the insurer to consider.
Once you sign and return your policy, and pay your first premium, your policy goes into effect. A Policygenius agent can help you with the process, which usually takes one to three days.
Which companies sell guaranteed issue life insurance?
Guaranteed issue life insurance is one of the many products offered by well-known and trusted insurance companies. Both Corebridge Financial (formerly AIG Life & Retirement) and Mutual of Omaha offer guaranteed issue policies through the Policygenius marketplace.
Is guaranteed issue life insurance worth it?
Guaranteed life insurance is worth it if you’re ineligible for other types of life insurance due to your age or a health condition, and you’d like to have a small amount of coverage in place to help your family cover expenses when you die.
In most cases, if you can qualify for another type of final expense policy or a term life insurance policy, it’ll be more cost-efficient to pursue that option. Working with a licensed and independent broker can help you determine which life insurance policy is best for you and your circumstances.
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.