Getting life insurance used to take six or more weeks and require a medical exam, but a growing number of insurers are now letting people get coverage to protect their loved ones the same day they apply.
This option, called instant life insurance, allows you to skip the medical examination portion of the application process and get approved faster.
To identify the best instant term life insurance companies on the market, we looked at insurers that offer robust protection at an affordable price — and a quick application turnaround. Our top picks for instant life insurance are Brighthouse Financial, Foresters Financial, and Legal & General America.
Comparing the best instant life insurance companies of 2023
Best for people age 25 to 50: Brighthouse Financial
Brighthouse Financial is our top pick for individuals age 25 to 50 who have minimal health conditions and want to be insured within a day or two. If you’re a regular marijuana smoker you can get covered, but you may not qualify if you smoke tobacco.
Best for people with mild health conditions: Legal & General America
Our analysis found that Legal & General America (which also does business as Banner Life and William Penn) offers the best instant term life insurance for people age 20 to 60 with mild health conditions. You’ll complete a health interview over the phone first, but if you have a more complicated medical history, the company may request a medical exam.
Best for people age 50 to 55: Foresters Financial
Our analysis found that Foresters Financial offers an especially competitive instant option for people age 50 to 55 who are seeking immediate coverage. While other insurers may charge an extra fee for unique add-ons like the accidental death rider, Foresters Financial builds them into the cost of the policy.
Foresters Financial’s instant issue option is available for applicants age 18 to 55. It offers a variety of term lengths, including a 15-year, a 25-year term, and even a 30-year term.
What are the pros & cons of instant life insurance?
Instant life insurance can save you time and get you approved more quickly.
It provides an easier application process without having to schedule an in-person medical exam.
It offers the same coverage as life insurance with a medical exam.
Not everyone can qualify for instant life insurance because insurers have stricter health guidelines for these types of policies.
If you’re over 60, you’ll likely not qualify for instant term life either because insurers typically require people in that age bracket to take a medical exam.
How do you get instant life insurance quotes?
You’ll work with a life insurance agent or broker and fill out some initial health questions.
You’ll provide some basic personal information like your age, gender, and any health conditions or medications you’ve been managing. This will help determine your quotes, and whether you’ll qualify for an instant decision policy.
Quotes aren’t final — you’ll know your final life insurance rate once you apply and get approved.
Working with an independent broker like Policygenius can help you compare top-rated insurers in one spot — and we can let you know which instant term life insurance policy will be the cheapest for your situation.
How can you prepare to apply for instant life insurance?
Insurance companies need enough evidence to support offering you a policy, so the more information you can offer them right away, the better.
You can be ready by having your full medical and prescription history written down before you hop on your call.
The agent working on your application will ask a series of questions about your health history and lifestyle, so you’ll want to be prepared to answer them as accurately and thoroughly as possible.
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, and your application may be rejected if the insurer thinks you were dishonest on your application.
What outcome can you expect from an instant life insurance application?
There are three possible outcomes you can expect when you apply for an instant decision life insurance policy:
Your application is accepted! You can either be approved as applied, meaning that your final premium is the same as your initial quote, or you can be approved other than applied, meaning your final premium differs from your original quote based on your records — which usually means the cost of your policy will be higher than your original quote. Either way, you’re covered as soon as you pay your first premium and sign your policy contract.
If you’re declined for immediate coverage, it doesn’t mean you’re ineligible for any life insurance policy. Depending on the reason your application is denied, you could still get life insurance coverage by applying with another company.
Working with an independent broker is especially helpful because they can help determine if there is a different insurance company that will be a better fit for you. 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.
3. Referred to underwriter
In this case, the insurance company wants more information before approving your policy. You might answer additional questions about your health and lifestyle, or in some cases, have to take a medical exam. Then, the insurance company will come back with an approval or a decline.
What are your options if you’re not eligible for instant life insurance?
You can apply for a fully underwritten policy, which means you’ll have to take a medical exam and wait up to six weeks to get an answer from the insurance company.
Alternatively, some companies offer no-exam life insurance, which allow you to apply without having to take the medical exam and save some time on your application — but you won’t get a response the same day.
If you’re interested in exploring this option, we recommend applying with Transamerica or Mutual of Omaha.
Transamerica may approve you without a medical exam, provided you only have one or two minor health conditions, although the process can still technically take up to four weeks. Instead of the in-person exam, you’ll complete a health questionnaire online or over the phone. Transamerica will review the application and let you know whether or not you need an exam or if it can offer you a policy with the information you provided.
Mutual of Omaha offers a simplified issue term life policy option that guarantees you won’t need to take a medical exam for approval. Instead, you’ll answer health questions over the phone. You can apply for up to $150,000 to $300,000 in coverage, depending on your age, and you can expect to be approved in about two weeks.
Simplified issue term life is great if you want to get some coverage in place without taking a medical exam, but it offers relatively low death benefit amounts and your premiums will be more expensive than traditional term life policies because the insurer is taking on more risk.