What is the average waiting period for no-medical-exam life insurance?

The waiting period for no-medical-exam life insurance can be as little as one day or as long as two weeks.

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Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius, where she covered life insurance and disability insurance. Her expertise has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Little Spoon, and J.D. Power.

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Maria Filindras

Maria Filindras

Financial Advisor

Maria Filindras is a financial advisor, a licensed Life & Health insurance agent in California, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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The sooner you get a policy offer after you apply for life insurance, the sooner you have financial protection for your family. No-medical-exam options is a popular coverage option that shortens how long you have to wait to get approved for a policy.

You won’t completely cut out the waiting period by skipping the life insurance medical exam, but you’ll get an answer much sooner: two weeks on average, but some policies offer coverage within a day of applying.

Key Takeaways

  • The waiting period is the time between submitting your life insurance application and being offered a policy by your provider.

  • No-medical exam term life insurance waiting periods are 16 days on average.

  • Waiting periods for no-exam whole life policies average just over three days.

  • Your own waiting period will depend on your application and your insurer.

The average waiting period for no-exam life insurance?

Technically you can’t buy life insurance with no waiting period at all, even when you get no-exam life insurance. But, a no-medical-exam policy can shave weeks off of the traditional five-to-six week waiting period. Data from Policygenius in 2022 shows that on average, no-medical-exam term policies take 18 days to provide an application decision.

This reflects the time between application submission and the insurer’s offer of coverage:

Waiting periods are case-by-case, and yours will be longer if your insurance company needs more information to evaluate your application. But, it can also be less. Some insurers will make an application decision in a matter of days.

Why does the life insurance waiting period matter?

How long you have to wait for your life insurance policy to become active after you apply is important because if you die without an active policy, your family won’t get any insurance funds.

However, to protect their financial health, you can get temporary life insurance to cover the gap until your policy is in place. Temporary insurance pays out if you die during the waiting period, and any amount you pay for the temporary policy is applied to your first premium once your policy is approved.

The best no-medical-exam insurer with a short waiting period

The 18 day average waiting period for a no-exam policy accounts for multiple insurance companies. But, some individual companies have faster turnarounds.

Brighthouse Financial offers the fastest response time among Policygenius partners offering no-exam term life insurance. Brighthouse SimplySelect applicants receive a response within two days on average, but you could even hear back in under 24 hours. 

The typical life insurance policy takes about four to five weeks to get an application decision. But with no-medical-exam life insurance, you can get a policy decision in a lot less time — ensuring that your family's financial health is not at risk.

Frequently asked questions

Is a life insurance policy active immediately?

Your policy is only active once you’ve signed your policy contract and paid your first premium.

Are waiting periods shorter for no-medical-exam life insurance?

Yes, traditional waiting periods are four to five weeks longer than waiting periods for many no-medical-exam policies.

How long is the waiting period for most no-exam life insurance policies?

No-exam term life insurance has an average waiting period of 18 days.