March 12, 2019

No Medical Exam Life Insurance

Read more about Life Insurance

Need life insurance quickly? Worried about being denied? No medical exam life insurance may be the best bet. Learn more about your choices and how to apply below.

© CreditDonkey

Shopping for life insurance can be a complicated process, especially when you need a medical exam to qualify. Not everyone qualifies for traditional life insurance policies. But you still have options with no exams and quick underwriting.

Keep reading to see if no medical exam life insurance is the right choice to protect you and your family.

What is no medical exam life insurance?

Most insurance companies require a medical exam. This involves meeting with a medical professional who will:

  • Ask In-Depth Health Questions
  • Measure Your Height and Weight
  • Get a Blood Pressure Reading and Pulse/Resting Heart Rate
  • Take Blood and Urine Samples

If the results indicate a health condition or chronic illness, you could be denied a policy or have to pay a higher premium.

Depending on the company, you may have the option to skip the medical exam, particularly if you know you have a chronic condition or special circumstance. (Being a smoker or having a dangerous job or hobby are two examples.)

Skipping the exam typically means underwriting decisions are quicker. But these policies typically cost more AND provide less coverage than a medically underwritten policy.

Why? Because the insurance company has less knowledge about the risk they're taking to insure you.

TIP: Opt for the exam if you are young and healthy. It may be worth the extra time and effort to get a cheaper policy that leaves more dollars in your pocket.

What are the different types of no medical exam insurance?

There are generally two types of no medical exam insurance:

Guaranteed Issue
With this policy, you avoid the medical exam and underwriters do not even get to see your medical records. This generally is considered a last resort for coverage.

When you apply, the insurance company will ask you a variety of generic, yes/no questions like:

  • Do you smoke or use tobacco?
  • Are you currently residing in a hospital?
  • Do you have HIV or AIDS?
  • Have you been declared terminally ill?

The company will then decide whether to insure you or not. This will usually take place within 24-48 hours. If you are approved, your policy will likely come with a graded death benefit.

This means if you were to pass away within 2-3 years of buying the policy, your beneficiary would only get a refund on the premiums you paid (and interest), NOT the full payout.

If you live beyond three years and continue to pay the premium on the policy, your beneficiary would then qualify for the full death benefit amount.

You Should Know: The graded death benefit is meant to ensure you don't lie on your application. It protects the insurance company from significant financial loss on your policy.

Simplified Issue
Also called "final expense insurance," this type of policy also doesn't involve a medical exam. But underwriters will ask more thorough questions and have access to your medical records.

These questions are meant to be more in-depth and telling of your health and medical conditions. They include:

  • Are you currently employed and have you actively and continuously participated in the duties of your regular occupation on a full-time basis for the past 6 months?

  • Within the past 24 months, have you used or are you using narcotics, amphetamines or any controlled substance, other than on the advice of a physician?

  • Are you now receiving, or in the past 12 months have you received, chemo or radiation therapy for cancer?

  • Do you require any assistance with bathing, dressing, toileting, indoor or outdoor mobility, or eating, or do you use oxygen?

Depending on your answers and your medical records, you may not be approved for coverage. This policy is typically less expensive but still costs more than medically underwritten policies.

Keep reading to learn the pros and cons of no medical exam policies.

Pros of No Exam Life Insurance

Avoid Getting Denied Unnecessarily
With a policy requiring a medical exam, you could be denied due to an undiagnosed health condition. Or your approved rate may be significantly higher each month than your original quote.

It's Faster
You don't need to schedule an exam, go to a facility, get the exam, and wait for the results to reach the insurer. As such, a no medical exam policy approval process goes much faster.

It's also less likely you will procrastinate scheduling and getting the exam. So you'll get the coverage you need when you need it.

Shorter and Simple Application
With a medical exam policy, the applications are much longer, thorough and detailed. In some cases, you may also have to talk on the phone to an insurer.

Shorter Approval Times
The speed does depends on if you are applying for a Guaranteed Issue or Simplified Issue policy.

Because the underwriter will likely ask for your medical records with a Simplified Issue policy, approval could take a little longer.

Easier to Qualify
By only having to answer questions online (or over the phone, in some cases), you are much more likely to qualify than you are if you took a medical exam.

Direct Online Sign-Up (in some cases)
Some insurance companies now allow you to complete your application by yourself online. This gives you the opportunity to fill out and submit the application, and receive an answer—all without talking to a real person.

While there are clear benefits, no medical exam insurance does have some drawbacks. We cover those below.

Cons of No Exam Life Insurance

More Expensive
The underwriter doesn't have in-depth - or in some cases, any - knowledge of your health history. This means they are taking a much greater risk by insuring you.

Key Fact: The higher monthly premium covers them in case you die before paying off the policy.

Fewer Coverage Options
Coverage amounts tend to be lower for no exam insurance (more on that below).

Underwriting May Be Unavoidable
Even without a medical exam, an underwriter may do research on you.

Underwriters may look at several reports, including:

  • Medical Information Bureau (MIB) Report: Your MIB Report can show previous or existing medical records, prescription medication history, adverse driving records, and other information that could raise a red flag with your insurance company.

  • Prescription Drug Report: This report reviews claims data. It shares the kind of prescriptions you've taken in the past (or are taking), how often you refill, and if you take them as directed by your physician.

  • Medical Records: You may be asked to provide permission to the underwriter to contact your current physician for access to your medical records. This will give additional support to the MIB Report they pulled on you.

  • Motor Vehicle Report: This provides information in addition to the MIB report. It will give the insurer information as to whether you have speeding tickets or a DUI in the past.

Why opt for a no medical exam policy?

A no medical exam life insurance policy may work better for your situation than one with a medical exam requirement. Consider:

Is a Life Insurance Policy Being Mandated in a Divorce?

In many settlements, alimony payments are owed to the other spouse, which would cease upon his or her death. You should have a life insurance policy to protect those payments if the ex-spouse passes away. If it's a legal obligation, you may need coverage quickly.

Were You Declined for Life Insurance in the Past?

If you've previously applied for an exam policy and were denied, you may have a better chance of being accepted with a no exam policy.

Even though you still have to answer questions about your health, these underwriters are often more lenient with requirements. You may also be able to get covered under higher premiums for a condition you were denied for with another carrier.

Do You Need to Secure a Business Loan?

Many bank lenders require a life insurance policy on the person applying for the loan. This covers the bank if the person passes away before paying off the full cost of the loan.

If you are in the loan process and didn't realize you needed a life insurance policy, you may have to get one quickly to avoid stalling the loan process.

Do You Have a Dangerous Job or Hobby?

Often, you'll be denied coverage with a traditional company. They simply don't want to take on the risk of you dying before paying off the full policy.

However, without the medical exam and more lenient questions, this may not be an issue for a no exam policy.

Have You Seen a Doctor Recently?

If you haven't been to your doctor in several years, you don't know what your blood work or other medical tests may show.

If something does come up, you could easily be denied coverage. You may want to play it safe by applying for a policy with no medical exam.

How Do You Plan to Use the Policy?

Do you want life insurance coverage as protection for your family to pay off final costs? Or to help raise your family if you die prematurely?

Then a policy with an exam may be a better option for you. The coverage amounts are typically higher and you likely will pay significantly less money in premiums.

How Fast Do You Need It?

Most traditional underwriting takes 4-8 weeks or longer. But with a no exam policy, you could get coverage in as little as 24 hours (or less if they offer online policy purchase).

If you have a lapse in coverage, your policy is expired, or you need immediate coverage for another reason, this might be a good choice for you.

Do You Have a Fear of Needles?

Most people don't enjoy getting stuck with a needle. But for some, this can be a deal breaker.

During a medical exam for a policy, you'll be required to get blood drawn. If you can't even fathom the thought, a no exam policy might be the route for you.

What Should I Look for When Deciding on a Type of Policy?

You have several options when it comes to no medical exam insurance. Understanding your needs can help you make the right decision.

Here are some common application mistakes to avoid:

  • Not Comparing Companies
  • Paying Too Much
  • Settling for the First Company You Find
  • Assuming You Only Have 1 or 2 Options

When comparing policies, pay particular attention to these features:

Death Benefits
Understand what percentage of the death benefit will be paid to your beneficiary. And make sure you know when it will be paid out. For example, some companies take two or three years to reach 100% payout.

Premium Amount
Think about the affordability of the premium, especially if something were to happen and you didn't have a steady income for a few months.

Typically these no exam policies cost more. If you can't afford the premium, you may want to take the time to complete a medical exam for a lower premium policy.

TIP: If an exam policy is not an option, compare quotes from several companies to find the most affordable premium.

Insurance Carrier
After getting quotes, you'll want to research the companies before making a final decision. Remember: price isn't everything.

Look at star ratings and reviews on the company, both professional (like Standard & Poor's, A.M. Best, Fitch, and/or Moody's) and peer (current or past customers).
And pay attention to their financial strength and reputation, as well as customer service.

Type of Policy
Many insurers offer two types of life insurance policies: term and whole.

Learn about the differences between term and whole insurance in our in-depth comparison.

Convenience
No exam policy is meant to be easier and quicker to purchase compared to a traditional exam policy. When you are applying for one of these policies, make sure that's actually true.

How do you get life insurance without a medical exam?

Once you've done your research, you can get a no exam life insurance policy with these simple steps.

  1. Get Several Quotes: Quotes can be requested in person, over the phone, or online. Select the policy quote that's best for you.

  2. Submit an Application: The application will consist of a variety of simple questions about your general health. When you apply, underwriters (who work for the insurance company) will determine the risk your policy would create for the insurance company.

    Key Fact: Healthier people carry less risk than those with a chronic or unmanaged condition), The greater your risk, the less likely you are to be approved.

  3. Wait for Approval: The underwriter may also seek more information, like requesting medical records from your doctor. This may take longer.

    Otherwise, you are typically approved and the policy goes into effect.

Insurance Fraud: Two-Year Contestability Period

It's much easier for people to commit insurance fraud with Guaranteed or Simple Issue policies. Since there's no exam, it's easier to lie about their health to convince the company into approving them.

Most insurance companies have a two-year contestability period. This means they can deny a claim for life insurance within the first two years after it is issued.

If you die within those first two years (perhaps because you weren't honest about a terminal illness), the company will attempt to uncover documentation of any false answers in your case.

They can then try to withhold payment from the beneficiaries. In other words, your loved ones won't get the death benefit payout. Companies can even deny your claim, meaning you aren't covered by the insurance policy at all.

TIP: ALWAYS be truthful on your life insurance application and when answering questions related to your eligibility and health.

Lying to underwriters during your application or in the survey is considered insurance fraud. Plus, it can hurt you in the long term when your beneficiaries don't get the payout they were expecting.

Comparing Companies

We've gathered information from a number of insurance providers, so that you can compare companies and make the best decision for your situation.

In no particular rank or order

American National

The company offers a variety of life insurance products such as whole life, term life, universal life, indexed universal life, and credit life.

American National provides a Quote Calculator right on their website, where you can answer a few questions and estimate what your life insurance needs are.

To get a quote from American National, you can locate an agent through their local directory found on their website, or by calling their Life and Annuity Contact Center.

American National offers an accelerated underwriting option called Xpress Plus, which provides automatic underwriting for individual life policies.

AMERICAN NATIONAL
Coverage Age 0-50**Up to $1,000,000
Coverage Age 51-60**Up to $500,000
Coverage Term Length10, 20, and 30 years
Average Approval TimeBetween 48-72 Hours. Up to a few weeks.
A.M. Best Rating*A

Fidelity Life

Since 1896, Fidelity Life Association has been committed to "helping middle-American families achieve greater financial security by making life insurance more affordable and accessible."

In 2017, Fidelity Life reported $31 billion life insurance policies in force and $61 million net life insurance premiums. With $406 million in total assets, their financial results tout "strength, stability, and sound financial management."

Fidelity offers a variety of life policy options, including their RAPIDecision, which allows you to qualify for a high face amount of coverage within 24-48 hours. There are no exams, tests, waiting periods or processing delays.

FIDELITY LIFE
Coverage Amount**$20,000 - $1,000,000
Coverage Age Range18 - 85
Coverage Term Length10, 15, and 20 years
Average Approval TimeAs little as 24-48 hours
A.M. Best Rating*A-

Foresters Financial

Foresters Financial was founded in 1874, providing 140 years of investment, life insurance, retirement and savings solutions. More than 3 million customers later, Foresters proudly invests millions into local communities and worldwide causes to give back to those they serve.

With $45.1 billion in total funds under management and financial reserves and $17.5 million in total assets reported in 2017, they have earned solid "A" ratings—and have for the past 17 years.

Life insurance options include term life, whole life, universal life, variable universal life, and variable life.

FORESTERS FINANCIAL
Coverage Amount**$10,000 - $400,000
Coverage Age Range18 - 80
Coverage Term Length10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years
Average Approval TimeAs quickly as 10 minutes. Up to a few weeks
A.M. Best Rating*A

Haven Life

Though Haven Life is only four years old, they are backed and wholly owned by 160-year-old MassMutual Life Insurance Company. MassMutual is rated the highest possible A.M. Best rating at A++, and in 2016 reported combined insurance and annuity benefits paid at $5 billion.

Haven offers fully medically underwritten term life insurance, as well as non-medically underwritten (no exam).

Haven Life is different because you can apply online for a term policy and find out immediately if you are approved for coverage. They are digital-first with this option, as well as their paperless processing.

They also offer a Quick Estimate Tool where you can get a range of rates for policies and see other real rates for current policyholders.

HAVEN LIFE
Coverage Age 18-60**Up to $3,000,000
Coverage Age 61-64**Up to $1,000,000
Coverage Term Length10, 20, and 30 years
Average Approval TimeImmediately. Up to 10 business days
A.M. Best Rating*A++

North American Company

The company is independently and privately owned and is part of the Sammons Financial Group, Inc. (SFG), which offers products like life insurance, annuities, and retirement solutions.

In 2017, they reported more than 609,000 life insurance and annuity policies held with more than $25.6 billion in assets and $120 billion life insurance in force.

North American offers Term Life, Universal Life, and Indexed Universal Life insurance options.

You can also get an Instant Term Quote on their website by completing a few short questions. They offer WriteAway for their ADDvantage Term series, allowing applicants under age 50 to get approval within 48-72 hours.

NORTH AMERICAN COMPANY
Coverage Amount**$25,000 - $500,000
Coverage Age Range18 - 85
Coverage Term Length10, 15, 20, and 30 years
Average Approval TimeAs little as 30 minutes. Typically 48-72 hours
A.M. Best Rating*A+

Principal

Principal offers retirement services, insurance solutions, and asset management services. They have $666.6 billion in total assets and $2.5 billion net income. Their common purpose is "to give you the financial tools, resources, and information you need to live your best life."

A member of the FORTUNE 500, Principal is ranked for insurance solutions, workplace excellence, technology innovation and more.

Principal offers both term (10-30 years) and permanent life insurance solutions. Their four major types of permanent solutions include universal life, indexed universal life, variable universal life, and survivorship insurance (covers two lives with a death benefit payable upon the death of the second life).

Principal also offers group benefits for businesses.

PRINCIPAL
Coverage Amount**Up to $1,000,000
Coverage Age Range18 - 60
Coverage Term Length10, 15, 20, and 30 years
Average Approval TimeAs little as 24 hours. Typically less than 48 hours
A.M. Best Rating*A+

Sagicor

Sagicor Life Insurance Company is licensed in 45 states and Washington, D.C. It's a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sagicor Financial Corporation Limited (SFC), one of the oldest insurance groups in America operating in 22 countries.

Sagicor offers both permanent and term life insurance options.

One thing that makes Sagicor different is they offer Accelewriting, an automated underwriting system that utilizes an eApplication, giving you a decision within minutes with no medical exam. Policy eDelivery is also available.

Sage Term, their Term option, is available for 10-20 years. It offers guaranteed level premium during the initial term and the payout can help provide income due to a terminal condition. The death benefit is available until age 95 and offers the ability to convert to a permanent life policy.

SAGICOR
Coverage Age 18-45**Up to $1,000,001
Coverage Age 46-55**Up to $750,001
Coverage Age 56-65**Up to $500,001
Coverage Age 66-75**$50,000 or more
Coverage Term Length10, 15, 20 years
Average Approval TimeAccelewriting - minutes. Average 24-72 hours
A.M. Best Rating*A-

Owned and operated by Legal & General America, Banner Life insures 1.3 million+ customers in the US and has been providing coverage for over 70 years.

Legal & General is a top five provider of term life insurance in the US, issuing more than $53 billion in new coverage in 2017 to bring their total to $703 billion, and it's the 9th largest insurance company in the world.

Policy offerings include Term, Universal Life, Final Expense Insurance.

Banner life offers several additional policy features, including:

  • Waiver of Premiums
  • Flexible Payment Schedules
  • Term Riders
  • Accelerated Death Benefit Rider
  • Children's Life Insurance Rider

Access to these features must meet specified criteria outlined by your policy.

BANNER LIFE
Coverage Age 20-70**Up to $10,000,000
Coverage Age 71-74**Up to $500,000
Coverage Term Length10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years
Average Approval TimeAs little as 2 business days
A.M. Best Rating*A+

TransAmerica

Transamerica is owned by Aegon Group, one of the leading providers of life insurance, serves more than 13 million customers in the US with more than $1.42 billion in underlying earnings and $1.18 billion of insurance policies in force as of 2017.

The focus of this company is not only to provide coverage, but also to increase the health and wellness of their policyholders through education, an exclusive health community, and other wellness services. They also focus on innovation and longevity, and the importance of trust between them and their policyholders.

Transamerica offers several life insurance policy options including Whole, Term (10-30 years), Universal Life, Index Universal Life, and Final Expense Life.

TRANSAMERICA
Coverage Whole-Life**$2,000 - $3,000,000
Coverage Term-Life**$25,000 - $10,000,000
Coverage Age Range18 - 64
Coverage Term Length10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years
Average Approval Time7-10 days
A.M. Best Rating*A+

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha is different in that it is a mutual company, and is therefore owned by policyholders. For more than 100 years, they have been providing a variety of life insurance, financial and banking products.

Mutual of Omaha provides two types of life insurance: term and permanent (Whole and Universal).

MUTUAL OF OMAHA
Coverage Amount**$2,000 - $100,000+
Coverage Age Range18 - 85
Coverage Term Length10, 15, 20, and 30 years
Average Approval TimeUp to 30 days
A.M. Best Rating*A+

Gerber Life

Gerber Life is a newer company, founded only in 1967, and was founded specifically to provide life insurance for young families on a limited budget.

Today, Gerber Life has more than $45 billion of life insurance in force and provides more than 3.3 million policies. They specialize in child life insurance plans, in addition to other adult life insurance policies.

As for adult policies, Gerber Life offers Term Life, Whole Life, Guaranteed Life, and Accident Protection.

GERBER LIFE
Coverage Term-Life**$100,000 - $300,000
Coverage Whole-Life**$50,000 - $300,000
Coverage Guaranteed-Life**$5,000 - $25,000
Coverage Age Range18 - 70
Coverage Term Length10, 20, and 30 years
Average Approval TimeTypically 24-48 hours. Term policies can take just minutes
A.M. Best Rating*A

Assurity

They are also certified as a B Corporation by the nonprofit B Lab for meeting standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

In 2017, Assurity Life Insurance Company paid $124.7 million in living benefits to policyholders and $69.3 million in death benefits.

Assurity Life offers Term Life, Whole Life, and Universal Life. They are one of the premier life insurance carriers for no exam life insurance policies. They also offer a "NonMed Term 350" policy that allows anyone ages 18-65 to get a policy up to $350,000 without taking a medical exam.

One drawback to policies through this company is the underwriting takes much longer, but they are more lenient. So while they aren't the quickest, you are probably more likely to be approved.

ASSURITY
Coverage Amount**Up to $350,000
Coverage Age Range18 - 65
Coverage Term Length10, 15, 20, and 30 years
Average Approval TimeAround 30 days
A.M. Best Rating*A-

Americo

This company was built on the acquisition of several insurance companies, including Great Southern Life, Annuity Insurance Company, and Ohio State Life.

With $32.7 billion of life insurance in force and $6 billion in total assets, they are one of the larger life insurance companies in existence.

Americo offers Term Life, Whole Life, Universal Life, and Indexed Universal Life products. The underwriting process includes a short questionnaire and most require no medical exam.

One interesting offering is an additional accidental death benefit, so if you were to pass away from an accident, your family would get an extra 25% of your policy's face value.

AMERICO
Coverage Term-Life**$25,000 - $400,000
Coverage Final Expense**$2,000 - $30,000
Coverage Mortgage Protection**$25,000 - $400,000
Coverage Age Range18 - 80
Coverage Term Length20, and 30 years
Average Approval TimeSome policies offer instant approval. Others take up to 4 days
A.M. Best Rating*A

*A.M. Best Company consists of independent analysts of the insurance industry operating since 1899. These ratings are assigned after an extensive analysis using a series of profitability, leverage and liquidity tests that measure performance in areas like competency of underwriting, control of expenses, adequacy of reserves, soundness of investments and capital sufficiency. Ratings range from A++ to F.

**Coverage amount is not guaranteed for Simplified or Guaranteed Issue policies (non-medical exam). In order to get the full coverage listed above, you may be required to take the medical exam or go through a more involved or lengthy underwriting process. You should talk to an insurance agent or get a quote to learn what coverage amount you would be approved for under your particular circumstances.

Bottom Line

You may have many reasons for wanting to skip a medical exam when applying for life insurance. The important thing is to get coverage that will financially protect your family and loved ones when you pass away.

A no exam policy may be faster and easier to obtain, but it may not offer the coverage or coverage amount that you need. Finding the right policy and coverage for you can take time, whether you take an exam or not.

Keep in mind that there are both pros and cons to no exam insurance policies. You may find it helpful to talk to a life insurance agent before making a final decision.

More from CreditDonkey:


Haven Life Review


1 Million Life Insurance


Best Term Life Insurance

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