No medical exam life insurance

Get the term or whole life insurance you need without the hassle of the medical exam.

For many people, the medical exam is one of the most headache-inducing parts of the life insurance application process. The exam isn’t difficult — it’s little more than a standard half-hour physical, and a technician will accommodate you at your home or office — but it’s still an extra step that many applicants would like to avoid.

It’s possible to do so with a no medical exam life insurance policy. Whether you’re buying term life or whole life insurance, there are options available that allow you to skip the medical exam and quickly buy life insurance with almost no waiting period.

How to buy life insurance with no medical exam

When you apply for life insurance, you go through the underwriting process. This includes a medical exam, an Attending Physician Statement, a background check with the Medical Information Bureau, and a prescription and motor vehicle report check. This is known as fully underwritten life insurance because it goes through the entire underwriting process.

While the insurance company handles most of the process, the medical exam (also called the paramedical exam) requires your involvement. It’s like a basic health physical; you’ll have to provide a blood and urine sample, the technician will take your blood pressure, and they’ll determine your height and weight.

Why do companies do this? Because the cost of life insurance is largely dependent on your health; the more unhealthy you are the riskier you are to insure, and the more you’ll pay for your policy. By combining all of the above steps, life insurance companies can get a complete picture of your medical history and risk.

But there are ways to get a life insurance policy without taking the medical exam. Sometimes it’s because the insurance company is using new techniques and data sources to replace the medical exam, or it might be because you’re paying higher premiums to offset the greater risk the insurance company takes on by not getting a full look at your health. Either way, there are a few questions you should ask before you choose a policy that doesn’t require a medical exam:

  • Do I need term or whole life insurance? This is a question every shopper has to ask. Term life policies expire after a certain number of years, while whole life insurance stays active as long as you pay premiums. Both come with no exam options. See our full guide on term vs whole life insurance.
  • How much more expensive is no medical exam life insurance? This depends on the type of policy you get. It may be virtually the same price as a fully underwritten policy, or it may be considerably more expensive because it’s targeted to unhealthy individuals. Always compare life insurance quotes to see if a no medical policy is more expensive than a fully underwritten policy.
  • How much life insurance can you get with no medical exam policies? Because there may be increased risk for the life insurance company, there may be limits on how much coverage you can get. That means no medical exam policies can work well for low coverage amounts, but applicants looking for a large financial safety net may have to take the paramedical exam.
  • Which life insurance companies sell no medical exam policies? Not every carrier will sell no exam policies. Get free quotes to compare policies yourself, talk to an expert to find out which one is right for you, or take a look at our life insurance company reviews to see which policies are offered by which carriers. (We can help you with all of the above. You can get started by comparing life insurance quotes across companies and talking to a licensed expert.)

Below, we’ll go into the various types of life insurance coverage that don’t require a medical exam.

Fully underwritten term lifeSimplified term lifeSimplified whole lifeGuaranteed issue
Cost$$$$$$$$$$
SpeedAverageFastFastVery fast
Medical exam?YesNoNoNo
Coverage$25,000 - $10 million$50,000 - $300,000Less than $50,000Less than $25,000
TermUp to 30 yearsUp to 30 yearsWhole lifeWhole life
AgesUp to age 85Up to age 65Ages 45-85Ages 50-85

No medical exam term life insurance

Simplified term life insurance

Simplified issue life insurance is a faster process than applying for a fully underwritten policy. Why? Because you can skip the medical exam in favor of some health questions instead. The carrier will also use your medical records for a history check.

But there’s a caveat: If an issue comes up in the health questions or medical check that raises a red flag for the insurance company, they can then require you to take the medical exam to clear up any issues or get a more accurate assessment of your health. Simplified issue life insurance is only for relatively low-risk individuals, and even then only for those who have moderate coverage needs.

Simplified term life insurance can also be more expensive than a traditional term policy depending on your health.

Healthy individuals will pay a penalty for not going through the full underwriting process and proving they’re low-risk; for a healthy applicant, a simplified policy can be up to 80% more expensive than a fully underwritten policy.

Here’s a look at what an average 30-year-old male (non-smoker) would pay for a 20-year simplified term policy vs. a fully underwritten (traditional) term policy:

Coverage AmountNo Med Exam Monthly CostTraditional Term Monthly CostNo Med Exam Price Increase
$50,000$15$1412.98%
$75,000$20$1715.37%
$100,000$22$1542.62%
$150,000$30$2047.66%
$200,000$38$2550.75%
$250,000$42$2380.88%

But for someone who wants a small coverage amount and isn’t in tip-top health, you’ll actually save a few dollars by avoiding the medical exam and going with simplified term. For instance, if the hypothetical 30-year-old mentioned above was a smoker, here’s what the price comparison for a 20-year policy would look like:

Coverage AmountNo Med Exam Monthly CostTraditional Term Monthly CostNo Med Exam Price Increase
$50,000$23$25-9.8%
$75,000$31$35-10.48%
$100,000$37$3411.60%
$150,000$53$4811.98%
$200,000$69$6212.19%
$250,000$85$5845.53%

Accelerated underwriting term life insurance

In recent years, accelerated underwriting has become more popular among life insurance companies. Unlike simplified insurance, where the medical exam is replaced with a questionnaire, accelerated underwriting uses various data sources to create a full picture of your health. It’s basically a regular term life insurance policy that has a different underwriting process.

After a short telephone interview, the insurance company will use traditional underwriting data sources like the Medical Information Bureau, motor vehicle reports, prescription history, and health records and electronic lab data to build your medical history. They then use non-traditional information to more fully build out a risk profile and set premiums prices. According to the Society of Actuaries, these new data sources include:

  • Clinical lab data
  • Credit profiles
  • Predictive models
  • Facial analytics
  • Behavioral economics

Any irregularities or issues can cause some more digging, but for the most part the process is fast-tracked.

There are still some limitations to accelerated underwriting. You have to be in good health; you can’t be a smoker; and certain conditions like cancer and untreated diabetes can automatically disqualify you.

Accelerated underwriting isn’t standard for all life insurance products yet, but it’s a huge benefit if you’re able to get it. That’s because, unlike simplified policies, there’s no cost increase with accelerated underwriting. You can get essentially the same prices as with a fully underwritten policy.

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No medical exam whole life insurance

Whole life insurance, as the name implies, covers you for your whole life as long as you pay the premiums. It’s a type of permanent life insurance. Permanent life insurance is, in general, more expensive than term life insurance, and skipping the medical exam can make a whole life policy that much more pricey.

Simplified whole life insurance

A simplified issue whole life policy is useful for applicants who need a low level of coverage, as the death benefit usually maxes out at around $50,000. Applicants need to be in sufficiently good health to qualify; there’s a medical questionnaire and history check involved, just like with simplified term policies. That also means that not everyone who applies will be eligible to skip the medical exam. Pre-existing conditions may require a more thorough look at your health.

Unlike standard whole life insurance, simplified whole life doesn’t come with a cash-value component that acts like an investment. However, because it’s a permanent policy that doesn’t expire, and because applicants may skip the medical exam, it’s still more expensive than a fully underwritten or simplified term policy.

For more information, see our full guide on simplified issue whole life insurance.

Guaranteed issue life insurance

For someone who wants to skip the medical exam but is too high risk to qualify for another type of no-exam insurance, guaranteed issue life insurance may be the best option.

Coverage for guaranteed life insurance is capped at around $25,000, and you have to be an older applicant (50 to 85 years old) to qualify. It’s enough to simply cover funeral expenses, but little else.

On the bright side, as long as your age and coverage needs fall within these parameters, acceptance is virtually guaranteed. There is no medical exam and no questionnaire — if you can pay the premiums, you can get coverage. However, these premiums are much higher than with other policies.

For these reasons, guaranteed issue life insurance is considered a “last resort” for seniors. There’s almost always a better choice in terms of cost and coverage, but for applicants too old or unhealthy to qualify for another type of insurance, it can provide much-needed coverage.

For more information, see our full guide on guaranteed issue life insurance.

No medical exam policy riders

Riders are additions or modifications to a life insurance policy that give the policyholder either flexibility or extra coverage options. No medical exam policies typically have the same riders available to them as standard policies; this availability varies by carrier, but you may want to consider these common riders along with a no medical exam insurance policy:

Acceleration of death benefit rider

In the event you become terminally ill, this rider will allow you to access part or all of the death benefit cash and use it to pay for certain expenses like medical care. A terminal prognosis usually means being diagnosed with 12 months to live, but can be 24 months in some states.

Disability income rider

Provides monthly payments to replace your income if you become disabled or unable to work. This acts similar to disability insurance, so some shoppers choose to add it as a rider to their life insurance instead of buying a second policy to protect against disability.

Term conversion rider

Allows you to convert a term life insurance policy to a permanent or whole life insurance policy at the end of the term. This is a common rider in term life insurance policies

There are many options out there when you’re deciding between life insurance policies. While you may want to skip the medical exam, be sure to take cost and coverage needs into account. A no medical exam may be convenient, but if you can’t afford the policy, or it doesn’t provide a high enough death benefit for your loved ones, it’s likely worth taking the exam.

Disclaimer: Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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