Instant issue life insurance quotes

Our top picks for instant issue life insurance allow you to get robust coverage and near-immediate approval at a competitive cost.

Headshot of Policygenius editor Nupur GambhirKatherine Murbach Policygenius

By

Nupur Gambhir

Nupur Gambhir

Senior Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir is a licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert and a former senior editor at Policygenius. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service Cake.

&Katherine Murbach

Katherine Murbach

Associate Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Katherine Murbach is an associate editor and a licensed life insurance expert at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.

Updated|7 min read

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You can get instant life insurance quotes from most insurers, but the actual approval process for a traditional life insurance policy application can often take up to six weeks to complete.

If you want to avoid a coverage gap or get approved as soon as you apply, instant issue life insurance can get you quotes and coverage almost immediately without having to take the paramedical exam — a step in the application process usually required by many insurers.

The best instant coverage life insurance policies offer robust protection at an affordable price and a quick turnaround — usually between one day and less than a week. Brighthouse, Foresters Financial, and Banner Life are three Policygenius partners that offer this kind of coverage.

Read on to see if you qualify for instant life insurance and how to get covered by an instant issue policy.

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What is instant issue life insurance?

Instant issue life insurance policies differ from the traditional application process and offer expedited approval. They usually refer to a type of term life insurance — the most popular type of life insurance on the market because it's straightforward, affordable, and lasts only for the time you need it.

When you apply for instant term life insurance, you skip the medical exam insurers usually require as part of the application process, and instead complete a health interview over the phone. The insurance company then reviews existing medical, driving, and financial records to determine your eligibility and premiums.

Instant term life insurance policies allow you to get an application decision after an initial phone call. The decision can be shared during your call or may come within a few days, as opposed to several weeks. 

An instant issue life insurance policy can offer the same protection as a policy with a medical exam, but is quicker to get, offering you near immediate coverage.

Pros & cons to immediate issue life insurance

Instant issue life insurance offers the same kind of coverage as a traditional life insurance policy with a medical exam. However, it can be harder to qualify for. Insurance companies have stricter guidelines when it comes to things like health and driving history for instant issue policies as a way to protect themselves against risk. 

Pros

  • It can save you time and provide a faster approval.

  • It provides an easier application process without having to take time to schedule an in-person medical exam.

  • It offers the same coverage as life insurance with a medical exam.

Cons

  • Even if your health is above average, you may not qualify for instant issue life insurance because insurers have stricter guidelines for these types of policies.

  • If you are over 60, you will likely not qualify for instant issue term life because insurers typically require people in that age bracket to take an exam.

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How much does instant life insurance coverage cost?

Age

Sex

Monthly rate

25

Female

$19.89

Male

$25.66

35

Female

$23.97

Male

$28.28

45

Female

$46.88

Male

$59.99

Methodology: Average monthly rates are calculated for male and female non-smokers at a Preferred health classification, obtaining a 20-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy. Life insurance averages are based on a composite of accelerated underwriting policies offered by Policygenius from Banner Life, Brighthouse Financial, and Foresters Financial and may vary by insurer, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Issuance of a term life insurance policy without a medical exam is subject to product availability and your eligibility, and may depend upon your truthful answers to a health questionnaire. Rate illustration valid as of 7/01/2022.

The best companies for instant life insurance

Below are our picks for instant life insurance options offered by Policygenius partners. These policies offer robust coverage, affordable rates, and the quickest path to approval.

Methodology: How we chose the best instant life insurance policies

We don't get paid for our company reviews and use an extensive rubric of criteria covering policy details, price, financial confidence, third-party ratings, and customer experience to assign unbiased ratings out of five stars. Any recommendations we make are based on internal and external expert opinions and data from our Policygenius Price Index, which uses real-time rate data from leading life insurance companies to determine pricing trends. Our ratings and reviews can help point you to an insurer you can rely on for your family’s financial protection, but the best life insurance company for you is dependent on multiple factors. A licensed agent at Policygenius can work with you through the application process so you’re getting coverage from the best insurer for your circumstances at the most competitive price.

→ Read more about our reviews methodology here

Brighthouse SimplySelect

Brighthouse SimplySelect from Brighthouse Financial is best for individuals age 25 to 50 who are in good health and want to be insured within a day or two. Regular marijuana smokers can get covered, but tobacco use may disqualify you from this type of instant policy. 

Other important policy details:

  • Max coverage limit: Up to 30 times your income for people age 40 and under; 25 times your income for people age 41 to 45; 20 times your income for people age 46 to 50

  • Included riders: Accelerated death benefit (a policy add-on that allows you to withdraw money from the death benefit if you become terminally ill)

  • Payment: EFT bank draft only

  • Coverage limit: Up to $2 million

While you’re on the phone with the life insurance agent you'll be asked to share your payment information — before you receive an application decision. This helps the insurer draft up your policy details immediately if your application is approved, ensuring expedient coverage. The bank account used to make payments must be in the name of the insured on the policy.

Your policy is only activated after you’ve provided your electronic signature on policy documents. If you're approved but decide to opt out of coverage, the initial payment will be refunded to your account.

Foresters Your Term

Foresters Your Term from Foresters Financial offers an instant issue option for applicants age 18 to 55. They offer a variety of term lengths, including a 15- and 25-year term and up to a 30-year term. They are an especially competitive option for people age 50 to 55 who are seeking immediate coverage. They also include unique riders that are built into the cost of the policy, while with other companies you’d have to pay extra for those add-ons. 

Other important policy details:

  • Max coverage limit: Up to 30 times your income for people age 18 to 30; 35 times your income for people age 31 to 40; 20 times your income for people age 41 to 50; 15 times your income for people age 51 to 55

  • Included riders: Accelerated death benefit rider, chronic and critical illness riders, accidental death rider, family health benefit rider, and charity benefit provision (an add-on that provides that 1% of the death benefit will be paid out to a charity of your choosing)

  • Payment: EFT bank draft only (checks allowed for recurring payments)

  • Coverage limit: Up to $1 million

Banner Horizon is an accelerated product offered by Banner Life. It is available for people age 20 to 60. Banner Life is typically competitively priced for a range of health classifications — based on the assessment insurers make about your health during the application process, which they then use to set your premiums. You will complete a health interview over the phone first, but if you have a more complicated medical history, they may request a medical exam.

Other important policy details:

  • Max coverage limit: Up to 40 times your income for people ages 20 to 29: 30 times your income for people ages 30 to 39; 20 times your income for people ages 40 to 49; 15 times your income for people ages 50 to 59

  • Included riders: Accelerated death benefit rider, term conversion, optional child life insurance rider, and waiver of premium rider (an add-on that allows you to keep your policy if you become disabled and can no longer pay your premiums)

  • Payment: EFT bank draft only (checks allowed for recurring payments)

  • Coverage limit: Up to $2 million

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How the instant life insurance application works

An instant issue policy doesn’t mean that the application process is less thorough. The underwriting process involves a detailed evaluation of your family history, medical history, and background, including:

  • Previous physicals and labs

  • Pharmacy records

  • Prior diagnoses and procedures

  • Medical billing records

  • Credit history

  • Driving history

  • Relevant public information such as criminal history or bankruptcy

They’ll also evaluate the financial justification for the amount of coverage you’re asking for. You can only apply for a certain amount of coverage depending on two factors: your age and your income.

How to prepare when applying for an instant decision life insurance policy

Insurance companies need enough evidence to support offering you a policy, so the more information you can offer them, the better. You can prepare by having your full medical history written down before you hop on your call.

Be completely honest during your phone interview. Even though you won't take a medical exam, your insurer still reviews your medical and prescription history.

If you’re caught intentionally lying, you’ll receive an automatic policy rejection, which other life insurance companies can see when you apply elsewhere. And if you are caught after your policy is active, the insurer can refuse to pay out the death benefit to your loved ones.

Possible outcomes to instant issue life insurance

There are three possible outcomes when you apply for an instant decision life insurance policy:

Approved

Your application is accepted. You can either be approved as applied, meaning that your final premium is the same as your quote, or you can be approved other than applied, meaning your final premium differs from your original quote based on your medical records. Either way, you're covered as soon as you pay your first premium and sign your policy contract.

Denied

If you're declined for immediate coverage, it doesn't mean you're ineligible for any life insurance policy. You likely qualify for a competitively priced term policy, but just need to go through a more thorough medical evaluation. In some cases, you can apply with the same company and they will request the medical exam for you after your health interview. In other cases, you might need to apply with a different company.

Working with an independent broker is especially helpful because they can help determine if you need to pivot to another insurance company that will be a better fit. At Policygenius, our brokers are licensed in all 50 states and can walk you through the entire life insurance buying process while offering transparent, unbiased advice tailored to your personal situation.  

Referred to underwriter

In this case, the insurance company wants more information before approving your policy. You might answer additional questions about your health, or in some cases, have to take a medical exam. Then, the insurance company will come back with an approval or a decline.

→ Learn more about how life insurance works

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Finalizing your instant issue policy

There are two (contactless) steps to finalize your instant coverage life insurance policy. First, you’ll need to either sign off on your application documents electronically, or give a verbal signature over the phone after completing your health interview. Then, the insurance company can review your application. If you’re approved, you’ll need to electronically submit your signature again and provide payment information, if you haven't yet, in order to accept the policy offer and get life insurance coverage.

Instant issue life insurance is a great way to secure a policy in a matter of days if you can qualify. Remember that if you don't qualify for immediate coverage, you can still find an affordable policy. An insurer just needs some extra time to review your history before approving you for coverage.

Alternatives to instant life insurance

There are some companies that offer no-medical-exam life insurance without providing immediate coverage.

Transamerica

Transamerica may approve you without a medical exam, provided you are in roughly average health, although the process can still technically take a couple of weeks. Instead of the in-person exam, you will complete a health questionnaire online or over the phone first. Then, Transamerica will review the application and let you know whether or not you need an exam.

SBLI

SBLI offers a no-med application process if you are applying for less than $750,000 in coverage. This option would also allow you to skip the medical exam, but getting approved can take five to six weeks. Like with Transamerica, you will have to complete a health questionnaire over the phone.

Frequently asked questions

What life insurance kicks in immediately?

Some carriers allow you to opt in to temporary coverage, which can go into effect as soon as you sign your application. This way, you are covered while you wait for your policy to be formally approved. Instant issue life insurance policies and some final expense policies also have much shorter waiting periods.

Can I get life insurance immediately?

If you qualify for instant issue life insurance, you can get life insurance in as little as one to three business days.

What is the easiest life insurance to get?

Instant life insurance is one of the easiest policies to get because if you qualify, you don’t have to go through a medical exam and wait several weeks for approval. The traditional life insurance application process isn’t complicated, but it can take five to six weeks. Instant life insurance policies, by contrast, require fewer steps and less time to apply.

Can you apply for instant life insurance if you’re a smoker?

No, instant life insurance is generally not available if you are a smoker because insurance companies view tobacco use a risk factor. With some companies, the application process is similar in that you may answer health questions over the phone, but they will request a medical exam afterward, and you’ll have to wait a bit longer for approval. Marijuana smokers, on the other hand, may have instant issue options.

Authors

Senior Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Nupur Gambhir

Senior Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

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Nupur Gambhir is a licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert and a former senior editor at Policygenius. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service Cake.

Associate Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Katherine Murbach

Associate Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

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Katherine Murbach is an associate editor and a licensed life insurance expert at Policygenius. Previously, she wrote about life and disability insurance for 1752 Financial, and advised over 1,500 clients on their life insurance policies as a sales associate.

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