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.

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By

Nupur GambhirNupur GambhirSenior Editor & Licensed Life Insurance ExpertNupur 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 MurbachKatherine MurbachEditor & Licensed Life Insurance ExpertKatherine Murbach is an 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.

Edited by

Antonio Ruiz-CamachoAntonio Ruiz-CamachoAssociate Content DirectorAntonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.

Updated|8 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.

Instant issue life insurance can get you quotes and coverage almost immediately without having to take the medical exam — a step in the application process usually required by many insurers. This can help you avoid gaps in your coverage and get you approved as soon as you apply.

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 Financial, 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 affordable, comes with few tax implications or limitations, 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. 

This type of life insurance policy can offer the same protection as a policy with a medical exam, but offers you an instant answer and 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

  • Not everyone can qualify for instant issue 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 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

$20.89

Male

$26.69

35

Female

$25.43

Male

$30.15

45

Female

$47.62

Male

$60.54

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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 02/01/2023.

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, cheap 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

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2023 Policygenius award winner

Brighthouse Financial

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange star

5.0

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

Why we chose it

Brighthouse Financial offers competitive rates, comprehensive coverage, and application decisions in as little as 24 hours, making it a great choice for people who want to get life insurance coverage without having to take the medical exam.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Extremely affordable

  • Instant-decision applications

  • Best-in-class no-med option

Cons

  • Traditional term life not available in CA, IL, LA, ME, or NY

  • Term life applicants limited to ages 25-50

Brighthouse SimplySelect from Brighthouse Financial is best for individuals ages 25 to 50 who have minimal health conditions 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 ages 40 and under; 25 times your income for people ages 41 to 45; 20 times your income for people ages 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 $3 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 Financial

Policygenius rating 

Our proprietary rating methodology takes multiple factors into account, including customer satisfaction, cost, financial strength, and policy offerings. See the "methodology" section for more details.

Full orange starFull orange starFull orange starFull orange starHalf orange star

4.4

AM Best rating 

A.M. Best is a global credit rating agency that scores the financial strength of insurance companies on a scale from A++ (Superior) to D (Poor).

A

Cost 

Using a mix of internal and external rate data, we grade the cost of each insurance company's premiums on a scale from least expensive ($) to most expensive ($$$$$).

$

$

$

$

$

No-med-exam option

Why we chose it

For people under age 55 and in relatively decent health, Foresters Financial's Your Term policy is a solid choice for a term life policy. You can get it without a medical exam and coverage can be offered within 24 hours.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Accelerated death benefit rider includes coverage for critical, chronic, and terminal illnesses

  • Includes several no-cost riders that aren’t available through other insurers, including Family Health Benefit Rider and Charity Benefit Provision

  • No-medical-exam option available for people up to age 55

Cons

  • Not available in New York or Maine

  • People with complicated health histories will likely find their best rates elsewhere

Foresters Your Term from Foresters Financial offers an instant issue option for applicants ages 18 to 55. It offers a variety of term lengths, including a 15- and 25-year term, and up to a 30-year term.

It's also an especially competitive option for people ages 50 to 55 who are seeking immediate coverage. It includes 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 ages 18 to 30; 35 times your income for people ages 31 to 40; 20 times your income for people ages 41 to 50; 15 times your income for people ages 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's available for people ages 20 to 60. Banner Life is 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'll 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 an optional 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 to get instant term life insurance quotes

In order to get instant term 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 if you’ll qualify for an instant decision policy. It’s important to keep in mind that quotes aren’t final — you’ll know your final rate once you apply and get approved.

Working with an independent broker like Policygenius can help you compare top-rated insurers in one spot — we can let you know which instant term life insurance policy will be the cheapest for your situation.

How the instant life insurance application works

Instant issue life insurance is a type of accelerated underwriting, since you don’t take a medical exam, but that 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're 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

If you aren't interested in instant issue term life insurance, you can apply for a fully underwritten policy with a medical exam. Alternatively, 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 only have one or two minor health conditions, 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.

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha offers a simplified issue term 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.

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’re a smoker because insurance companies view tobacco use a risk factor. With some companies, you may be able to answer some initial health questions over the phone, but the insurance company 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

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 is an 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.

Editor

Antonio helps lead our life insurance and disability insurance editorial team at Policygenius. Previously, he was a senior director of content at Bankrate and CreditCards.com, as well as a principal writer covering personal finance at CNET.

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