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Options for Buying Life Insurance With No Medical Exam

It's possible to get life insurance without a visit to the doctor, but the extra convenience will come at a price.
May 11, 2017
Insurance, Life Insurance
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Nobody likes taking life insurance medical exams. If you’re in good health, it seems like an inconvenience. If not, you’re worried about how the results will impact the rate you’re offered.

That’s why no-medical-exam life insurance has such appeal.

An exam usually involves answering health questions, getting weight and height measured, supplying blood and urine samples, getting blood pressure checked and perhaps taking other tests, such as an electrocardiogram. Insurers use the results to help decide whether to issue a policy and how much you should pay.

Prices for life insurance without medical exams vary widely. Some are geared toward people in poor health, while others are available only to younger, healthy people.

Prices for life insurance without medical exams vary widely. Some are geared toward people in poor health, while others are available only to younger, healthy people.

Here’s a look at the types of life insurance with no medical exam.

Life insurance without medical exams

 Guaranteed issueSimplified issueInstant-approval term life using accelerated underwritingEmployer-paid group life insurance
Can qualify regardless of health
$1 million of coverage available
Considers individual’s medical information
Expensive for healthy people compared to life insurance with a medical exam✓ (Employer pays most or all of the premium.)

Here’s more on each type of no-medical-exam life insurance.

Guaranteed issue life insurance

Summary: Guaranteed issue or guaranteed acceptance policies are generally small, whole life insurance policies marketed to older people to cover funeral costs and other final expenses. Typically there are no health questions and approval is guaranteed.

Who it's for: Primarily middle-aged adults and seniors whose health would disqualify them for other life insurance.
  • Easy application
  • Quick, guaranteed approval
  • Small coverage amounts, sometimes under $25,000
  • Graded death benefits. The full death benefit typically isn’t paid out within the first couple of years of the policy.
  • More expensive for healthy people than life insurance priced using medical information

Simplified issue life insurance

Summary: Simplified issue policies don’t require a medical exam, but they ask several health questions on the application. The most common questions are about your medical history, recent hospitalizations and height and weight, according to LIMRA, a life insurance research group. Most companies also ask about drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

Companies might pull other data about you, such as your prescription drug history, motor vehicle record and information from previous life insurance applications. Approval for a policy isn’t guaranteed. Most types of life insurance, including term and whole life, are available as simplified issue policies. The maximum amounts of coverage available are limited, usually $500,000 or less, depending on the company.

Who it's for: Primarily people who want quick life insurance with no medical exam.
  • Easy application
  • Quick yes or no answers to health questions
  • Approval isn't guaranteed
  • Limited coverage amounts
  • Pricier for healthy people than a policy that requires a medical exam

Instant-approval term life insurance with accelerated underwriting

Summary: Some life insurance companies are using a streamlined approach called accelerated underwriting to make buying a policy easier and faster.

The application includes health questions, and the insurer gathers data such as your driving record, prescription drug history and information from previous life insurance applications. You might also have to answer questions over the phone. The insurer uses sophisticated algorithms to determine whether you qualify for coverage and to set rates.

Haven Life, Ladder and SoFi use accelerated underwriting to offer instant-approval term life online. Up to $1 million of life insurance without a medical exam is available for younger, healthy people.
  • Convenient application
  • Quick coverage if you qualify
  • Priced competitively compared to life insurance that requires a medical exam
  • Higher coverage amounts available than with guaranteed issue and most simplified issue life insurance
  • A medical exam is still required for those in less-than-perfect health
  • Approval isn’t guaranteed

Group life insurance

Summary: Life insurance available through work is called group life insurance. You don’t have to answer health questions or take a medical exam to enroll in life insurance at work. The rates are set for the group as a whole, and the employer typically pays all or most of the premium.

The employer may also offer the chance to buy additional coverage through its broker. That application will likely ask some medical questions, but it may be easier to qualify if you have health issues than if you shopped for a policy elsewhere.

  • Employer pays all or part of the premium for the basic level of coverage
  • Additional life insurance without a medical exam may be available through work
  • Basic coverage amount provided by the employer is often small, sometimes only one to two times' annual salary
  • Additional coverage may cost more for younger, healthy people than policies available outside the workplace

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