Life insurance can be an important component of your family’s financial portfolio. The money from a life insurance policy can pay for a wide range of end-of-life costs and offer financial support for the loved ones you leave behind.
Life insurance can play a role in estate planning and passing on wealth to the next generation for older adults without dependent children.
While many life insurance policies require a medical exam to evaluate your health, not all policies do. A whole category of policies, known as no medical exam life insurance policies, can be purchased instantly without a medical exam.
We’ll explain what no-medical-exam life insurance policies are and help you decide if no-exam life insurance is right for you.
No-medical-exam life insurance refers to any life insurance that does not require a medical exam. All you have to do is answer a few questions about your current health and medical history. The insurance company will either issue you a policy immediately or decline to issue a policy.
You can purchase life insurance with no exam online, over the phone, or through an insurance broker or agent. Importantly, you must answer the health questionnaire truthfully when applying for life insurance with no medical exam. Knowingly including incorrect medical information will void your policy.
No-medical-exam life insurance policies may have more expensive policy premiums or reduced death benefits than similar policies requiring a physical exam.
However, skipping the medical exam speeds up applying for life insurance. Many no-medical-exam life insurance policies take effect within 24-48 hours, whereas it can take weeks or months to be approved for a traditional insurance policy.
There are 4 types of life insurance policies that do not require a medical exam:
Guaranteed-issue life insurance is, as the name suggests, guaranteed. There is no health evaluation or even a questionnaire about your health to fill out. Anyone who qualifies and applies will be instantly approved, and their policy will take effect as soon as they pay for it.
Guaranteed-issue life insurance without a medical exam is usually used to cover end-of-life expenses, such as funeral costs. These policies typically have a maximum death benefit of $25,000 or less and are only available to older adults.
Importantly, guaranteed-issue life insurance policies have graded death benefits. This means that your policy may not pay out in full if you die within the first few years it’s in effect. Instead, in that case, your beneficiaries will receive an amount equivalent to, for example, 125% of the premiums you paid before your death. However, most policies pay out in full if your death is accidental rather than medical, regardless of how long your policy has been in effect.
Simplified-issue life insurance includes both term life and whole life insurance policies that don’t require a medical exam. These policies typically require you to complete a short health questionnaire with questions about your smoking history, medical history, and recent hospitalizations.
These policies vary, but most offer a maximum death benefit of $500,000 or less. Approval is not guaranteed, and these policies tend to be more expensive than comparable term and whole life policies that do require a medical exam.
Instant-approval term life insurance is another term life insurance that does not require a medical exam. These policies differ from simplified-issue life insurance in that the medical questionnaire goes into much greater depth. You’ll typically need to answer questions about your lifestyle, employment, driving history, and more in addition to medical questions.
Life insurance companies then use algorithms to assess your risk, decide whether to approve you for a policy, and set your monthly premium. Approval isn’t guaranteed, and, depending on your history, you may be asked to take a medical exam in order to be approved.
The advantage of instant-approval term life insurance policies is that they typically offer death benefits and premiums that are competitive with traditional term life policies. In addition, instant-approval term life providers typically offer online applications.
Group life insurance is purchased by your employer on behalf of all employees. The insurer calculates a rate for the group as a whole, rather than for each employee being covered. Employers typically pay most or all of the premium, and there is no medical exam required to enroll in these employer-based policies.
Group life insurance policies provided by employers typically offer a death benefit equivalent to 1-2 times your annual salary. You may be able to purchase additional coverage, known as supplemental life insurance, but these policies may require a medical exam.
Term Life Insurance
Whole Life Insurance
Typically 5-40 years
Never expires as long as you pay your premiums
Low, increasing with age and term length
Guaranteed death benefit
Benefit can be impacted by borrowing against your policy
Those who want to ensure their financial obligations are covered in the event of their passing
Investment and estate planning
No-medical-exam life insurance has both benefits and drawbacks.
For most people, especially healthy adults under 50, opting for a life insurance policy that does require a medical exam can save you a significant amount of money. The best life insurance with no medical exam is generally suited for individuals who need a policy right away or who have pre-existing conditions that traditional policies won’t cover.
many different life insurance providers offer life insurance quotes with no medical exam. Here are some key things to consider to ensure you’re getting the best life insurance policy for your needs.
One of the first things to think about is what type of life insurance policy you need. Some providers offer both term and whole life insurance policies with no medical exam, while others only offer term life insurance. Instant-approval life insurance can save you money compared to a simplified-issue policy, but will require a longer application process.
Another thing to consider is how much coverage you want. Many of the best life insurance companies limit no-medical-exam policies to $500,000 or less in coverage. However, instant-approval term life insurance providers may offer a higher maximum death benefit. A good rule of thumb for determining how large your death benefit should be is to multiply your annual income by 10. You may also want to add $100,000 per child for college expenses. Of course, make sure that your death benefit is large enough to cover any financial obligations you already have, such as a mortgage or student loan debt.
Most life insurance providers have age limitations for their policies. Make sure you are eligible for coverage by a provider before applying.
If you’re looking for the best term life insurance, then it’s important to consider what policy terms are available. Some providers allow you to choose your own term, while others offer preset terms in defined increments. Some life insurance companies also have more limited term options if you choose a no medical exam policy.
The best life insurance companies typically offer riders. These riders can ensure that you’re covered under situations that standard policies don’t cover.
Some common riders include:
Each state regulates life insurance companies individually. While state laws differ, all 50 states require life insurance agents and brokers to be licensed in states where they operate. In addition, state regulators monitor term and whole life insurance policies to ensure that premiums are commensurate with these policies' benefits.
Life insurance policies may be issued by one company but underwritten by another. Underwriting is the process of assuming the risk of a policy. So the company that underwrites your life insurance is ultimately the company responsible for paying your death benefit.
In many cases, your beneficiaries will need to contact the underwriting company, not the company that issues your policy, to file a claim.
Life insurance agents and brokers are required to be transparent about what company is underwriting your life insurance policy. The best term life insurance policies are underwritten by companies with strong financial stability ratings, which signal that the company will pay out your death benefit if and when the time comes.
You can find life insurance quotes online or by speaking with a licensed life insurance agent or broker. Check out the 10 best life insurance companies above to get a free quote today.