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


Waiting periods are just over two weeks for term life insurance with no exam and three days for whole life policies with no exam.

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The sooner you get a policy offer after you apply for life insurance, the sooner you can have financial protection for your loved ones. Many insurance companies now offer no-medical exam options that can shorten that waiting time. 

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 for term life insurance with no exam (though some insurers respond in just a few days) and around three days for no-exam whole life, also known as final expense insurance.

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

The averages below are based on data from no-exam applications with Policygenius partners in 2021. They reflect the time between application submission and the insurer’s offer of coverage:

  • No-medical-exam term life insurance: 16.4 days

  • No-medical-exam whole life insurance: 3.3 days

Waiting periods are case-by-case, and yours will be longer if your insurance company needs more information to evaluate your application. If your health background is more complex, an insurer can still require you to take the medical exam, even if you applied for a no-exam policy.

Why does the life insurance waiting period matter?

The length of the waiting period is important because if you die during that period and don’t have an active life insurance policy, your loved ones won’t get any insurance funds.

You can get temporary life insurance to cover the gap until your policy is in place. Temporary insurance is designed to offer protection during the waiting period, and any amount you pay for the temporary policy is applied to your first premium once your policy is approved.

No-medical-exam life insurance with the shortest waiting periods

The averages above reflect waiting periods for a no-exam policy across multiple insurance companies. But, some individual companies have faster turnarounds.

No-medical-exam term life insurance

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, and you could hear back in under 24 hours. 

Unlike many other no-medical exam policies, applicants aren’t able to go through a traditional exam with Brighthouse if they’re declined for no-exam coverage—a decline means you’ll have to apply elsewhere (but won’t keep you from finding an affordable policy). 

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No-medical-exam whole life insurance

AIG offers the shortest response time for guaranteed issue life insurance, a type of no-exam whole life insurance, among Policygenius’ partners. Applicants receive a response within one to three days. 

No-exam whole life isn’t an alternative to no-exam term life insurance. These policies are designed to provide small amounts of coverage to people with complex health conditions (vs. no-exam term, which offers healthier people high coverage amounts at competitive prices).

Skipping the medical exam can help you minimize the amount of time it takes for you to get life insurance coverage, but you’ll still have to do a little waiting. And, waiting periods aren’t the only factor you should consider when shopping for a policy. Choose a provider and policy that fits your financial needs and medical history, even if it means approval might take a few more weeks.

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?

An average of 16.4 days for no-exam term life insurance and an average of 3.3 days for no-exam whole life insurance.

Should you get a no-medical exam term or a no-medical exam whole life policy?

No-exam term life is better for people who have few health concerns because they’re more likely to qualify. No-exam whole life is best for those with serious health conditions.