Q

Can I get instant life insurance?

A

Yes. You can get almost immediate coverage with some instant life insurance policies.

Headshot of Policygenius editor Nupur GambhirRebecca Shoenthal author photo

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.

 & Rebecca Shoenthal

Rebecca Shoenthal

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Rebecca Shoenthal is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius. Her insights about life insurance and finance have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, The Balance, HerMoney, SBLI, and John Hancock.

Updated  | 5 min read

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You can get instant life insurance quotes from most providers, but the actual life insurance approval process often takes five to six weeks to complete.

But if you want to avoid a coverage gap or temporary insurance options, instant decision life insurance can get you quotes and coverage almost immediately without any medical exam. Brighthouse and Lincoln Financial are two Policygenius partners that specialize in instant decision life insurance policies.

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

What is instant decision life insurance?

Instant decision life insurance policies allow you to get an application decision after an initial phone call. The decision can be truly instant and be shared during your call or may come within a few days if further consideration is needed.

An instant decision life insurance policy is comparable to a term life insurance policy and can offer the same coverage, but is quicker to get and doesn’t include the life insurance medical exam.

During the coronavirus outbreak, an instant decision life insurance policy allows you to skip the in-person medical exam if you’re uncomfortable with having a medical examiner come into your home.

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How the instant life insurance application process works

An instant decision policy doesn’t mean that the application process is less thorough. The underwriting process involves a detailed evaluation of your family history, lifestyle choices, 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 your evidence of insurability, which is 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 income. 

How to prepare for an instant decision life insurance application

Underwriters 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.

Instant decision life insurance approval

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

  • Approved: Your application is accepted as is. You're covered as soon as you pay your first premium and sign your policy contract.

  • Denied: If you're declined for an instant decision policy, 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.

  • Referred to underwriter: This sometimes comes in tandem with a decline — instead of denying you outright, the insurer wants more information before approving your policy. You'll answer additional questions and likely have a medical exam, then either be approved or declined.

Where can you get instant life decision life insurance?

You can get an instant decision life insurance policy through Policygenius from multiple insurers. We recommend Brighthouse and Lincoln Financial.

Instant decision policies: Brighthouse vs. Lincoln

PolicyAge requirementsCoverage limitsTerm lengths availableNon-medical exclusionsPolicy activation
Brighthouse SimplySelect25-50$100k - $2 million10, 20, 30 yearsFelonies, bankruptcy, DUI/DWI, moving violations1 business day
Lincoln TermAccel18-60$100k - $1 million10, 15, 20, 30 yearsFelonies, DUI, moving violations, hazardous sports, private pilots2 business days

State exclusions apply. Brighthouse SimplySelect is not available for applicants in CA, IL, LA, ME, and NY. Lincoln Term Accel is not available for applicants in NY.

Brighthouse SimplySelect

Brighthouse SimplySelect 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:

You'll also be asked to share your payment information while you’re on the phone with the life insurance agent — 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 eSignature on policy documents, and you will be refunded if you opt out of coverage or if your application is declined.

How much does a Brighthouse instant decision policy cost?

The chart below includes sample quotes for an instant decision life insurance policy through Brighthouse. You’ll notice that, as with any other life insurance policy, the younger you are when you get coverage, the less you’ll end up paying.

AgeSex$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
25Female$12.65$19.29$30.91
Male$15.36$24.31$40.93
35Female$14.55$22.69$37.73
Male$16.43$26.45$46.08
45Female$25.30$43.77$80.69
Male$31.57$56.30$104.08
55FemaleN/AN/AN/A
MaleN/AN/AN/A

Methodology: Sample monthly rates based on a 20-year term life insurance policy for male and female non-smokers with a Preferred health rating. Not all policies are available in all states. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 2/01/2022.

Lincoln TermAccel

Lincoln TermAccel is a competitive policy for individuals in good health. If you have a more complicated medical history, it may be harder to get approved for coverage. Policies are available to individuals age 18 to 60, with some age restrictions for 30-year term lengths and smokers.

The policy is especially valuable to people who may not get an affordable no-medical-exam policy elsewhere. Marijuana smokers who don’t work in the industry can get competitive rates and tobacco smokers have a better chance of getting coverage than they would with other life insurance policies.

Other important policy details:

  • Income requirements: 30x income age 35 and under, 25x income age 36 to 45, 20x income age 46 to 60

  • Included riders: Term conversion rider, accelerated death benefit rider, plus optional child life insurance rider and waiver of premium rider

  • Payment: Check or EFT bank draft only

The bank account used to make payments must be in the name of the insured on the policy.

How much does Lincoln TermAccel cost?

Lincoln TermAccel premiums are some of the lowest in the industry. According to Policygenius quoting data, here’s how much you can expect to pay with a Preferred health classification based on age, gender, and coverage amount.

AgeSex$250,000$500,000$1,000,000
25Female$13.46$18.82$30.71
Male$15.90$24.19$41.01
35Female$14.83$22.42$38.08
Male$16.76$26.30$45.58
45Female$26.01$43.35$78.94
Male$32.46$55.58$104.05
55Female$55.03$98.08$188.54
Male$75.07$136.21$265.07

Methodology: Sample monthly rates based on 20-year term life insurance policy for male and female non-smokers with a Preferred health rating. Not all policies are available in all states. Individual rates will vary as specific circumstances will affect each customer's rate. Rate illustration valid as of 2/01/2022.

→ Learn how to choose the best policy for your family

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Finalizing your instant decision policy

There are two (contactless) steps to finalize your instant decision life insurance policy. First, you’ll need to sign off on your application documents via DocuSign before they’re submitted for review. If you’re approved, you’ll need to electronically submit your signature again to accept the policy offer and get life insurance coverage.

If you purchase your instant decision life insurance policy through Brighthouse, the first step looks a little different. Instead of electronically signing off on your application documents, you will provide a voice signature while you’re on the phone with your agent. After you get your quotes and policy offer, you’ll submit the DocuSign with your electronic signature to accept the policy.

Instant decision 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 an instant decision policy, you can still find an affordable policy elsewhere. An insurer just needs some extra time to review your history before approving you for coverage.

→ Have more life insurance questions? Check out our FAQ

Frequently asked questions

What is instant issue life insurance?

Instant issue life insurance is a policy that does not require traditional underwriting. You forgo the medical exam and instead, the insurance company reviews existing medical, driving, and financial records to determine your eligibility and premiums.

How quickly can I get life insurance?

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?

The life insurance application process isn’t complicated, but it can take between five to six weeks on average. Instant life insurance policies require fewer steps and less time to apply.