Life Insurance with No Medical Exam: How to Get a No-Exam Life Policy

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Though traditional life insurance policies require you to undergo a medical exam, there are options for those who’d prefer to opt out of one.

If you are one of these people, you’re in luck! Whether it’s due to preexisting health conditions or simply because a medical exam would be inconvenient, there are alternative options available to you. (If you are relatively young and in good health, though, you are going to be better off purchasing a traditional life insurance policy.)

It is important to note that life insurance policies that do not require medical examinations are not necessarily “no questions asked.” Even with no-medical-exam life insurance policies, you will still have to answer health questions over the phone with the life insurance company during the application process. If you don’t want to go through any of this, you will want to look for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, also known as guaranteed acceptance life insurance. Guaranteed issue involves no medical underwriting; you don’t have to answer any health questions. However, this does make it significantly more expensive.

In any case, though, purchasing a life insurance policy is a great way to gain some valuable peace of mind in knowing that you’re protecting your loved ones in the case of your passing. If you’re ready to explore your options, life insurance quote comparison websites such as Insurify allow you to do so in an instant. Find the best plan for you and your family, and even unlock discounts in the process!

What is a No-Exam Life Insurance Policy?

No-exam life insurance policies do not require applicants to undergo a medical exam (also known as full medical underwriting). If you are just beginning your research into life insurance, it’s important to know that when you apply for most traditional term life insurance or whole life insurance policies, you will have to be medically examined. This allows the insurance company to get an accurate, current assessment of your physical health, which in turn lets it determine your financial risk to the insurance provider.

How likely are you to suffer a heart attack? What is your family’s health history? Are you or were you ever a smoker? The lower your risk, the cheaper the policy and the larger the death benefit for which you’ll qualify. The death benefit is the amount of money paid out to your loved ones (beneficiaries) in the case of your passing.

If you wish to avoid a medical examination, you will have to shop exclusively for no-exam life insurance policies. These tend to be a bit more expensive, but they are less invasive and faster to acquire.

However, it’s important to note that even with this type of policy, you will still have to apply and go through a thorough phone interview. In this interview, the insurance agent will ask you many health-related questions. That being said, you will still have to provide quite a bit of information regarding your current health and health history. Additionally, insurance companies have access to your records from the Medical Information Bureau and the DMV, and they often check both. This allows them to assess your risk with respect to your health and your driving habits.

What is the Difference Between Exam and No-Exam Policies?

Exam policies, as the name would imply, are policies that require full medical underwriting. The underwriting process includes your application and a physical health exam.

No-exam life insurance is also referred to as “no physical,” “no health exam,” and “no medical” policies. As aforementioned, these policies have no full physical health exam required.

Types of No-Exam Life Insurance

1. Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance

Because this is a term insurance policy, there is a set term length to your life insurance coverage and there is no cash value component. Simplified issue term policies tend to be shorter in length—10, 15, and 20 years. Anyone between the ages of 21 and 75 can apply. However, individuals aged 66 and above will only be able to qualify for 10-year terms up to $99,999 in coverage. Those between the ages of 21 and 65 can purchase policies with death benefits in the $50,000 to $500,000 range.

2. Simplified Issue Universal Life Insurance

This type of insurance policy offers cost and death benefits that are fixed for life, meaning you can’t modify them at any point without reapplying for a new policy. Those between the ages of 21 and 65 can apply and pay for death benefit coverage amounts between $25,000 and $500,000.

3. Level Death Benefit Whole Life Insurance

This is a permanent form of life insurance with fixed costs and death benefits. Again, this means that you can’t change any part of that after you purchase the policy. Additionally, the cash value component of whole life policies means you can save some money this way, should you so choose. Individuals up to the age of 80 years old can apply for this type of life insurance policy. However, the death benefits are lesser in face value—only between $5,000-$50,000. This means that these types of policies are easier to qualify for, though. Many people, even those with pre-existing medical conditions, can still qualify for this type of coverage.

4. Graded Benefit Whole Life Insurance

This type of life insurance is specially meant for those with more serious health issues. It provides lifetime coverage at a fixed rate, but the cost is higher and the death benefit is reduced for the first two years. This means that if you die during your first year of coverage, the insurance company only pays out a percentage of the death benefit, e.g. 40 percent. Subsequently, if you die in the second year of coverage, the insurance company pays out a higher percentage, such as 75 percent. If you live past this two-year waiting period of sorts, then the company pay out the full death benefit to your beneficiaries in the case of your passing.

5. Rapid Decision Senior Whole Life Insurance

These policies are usually issued in less than a week, which is why they’re often referred to as “rapid issue.” This brief waiting period is attractive for those who want life insurance coverage fast. They are typically purchased by seniors over the age of 65 and the death benefits are small, often between $10,000 and $25,000. This size of death benefit is usually enough to cover final expenses, such as a funeral, but not much else.

6. Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

If you want a “no questions asked” policy, guaranteed issue is the way to go. You cannot be turned down for coverage because of your health. That being said, these policies are usually purchased by people with medical problems or advanced age. Death benefits tend to be available in the $5,000 to $25,000 range. Because of these factors, coverage is usually quite expensive because the life insurance company has little to no idea what your health is like or what kind of risk you pose.

Do Pre-Existing Conditions Affect Coverage?

In short, yes. Pre-existing conditions do affect coverage. Unless you opt for a guaranteed issue policy, you will still have to answer a variety of questions related to your health history and that of your relatives. If you have a family history of a certain disease or a pre-existing condition such as a chronic illness, you will pose a larger financial threat to the insurance company, so your premium will likely be more expensive.

If you have a chronic illness, you may want to avoid disclosing this in the insurance application or phone interview. Do not do this. In addition to your application and interview, the insurance company will review your Medical Information Bureau records. These records will show the results from any medical tests you have taken in the past. In doing so, the insurance provider will most likely be able to discover any pre-existing conditions. If the insurer discovers dishonesty on your part, you will almost surely not qualify for a policy with that insurance company.

If you find that your pre-existing condition disqualifies you from most insurance options, it might be time to explore guaranteed life insurance policies.

The Bottom Line

Shopping for life insurance isn’t fun for anyone, but it’s often significantly more fraught for those with chronic illnesses or advanced age. Many of these individuals might not qualify for traditional term or whole life insurance policies. This is where no-medical-exam life insurance policies come in. These policies provide options for those who might not otherwise have them. If you are one of these people, or if you simply want to avoid the doctor’s office and expedite the process of procuring life insurance, a no-exam policy might be for you.

Whether you are ready to buy or not, websites like Insurify provide a quick and easy way to answer a few questions and then compare life insurance quotes from a variety of insurance companies all in the same place. As always, though, it’s best to consult an independent financial advisor before making any drastic financial decisions.

Updated May 6, 2019

Sabrina Perry is a writer with experience in data journalism and a passion for translating complex topics into insightful and engaging stories. She has a degree in neuroscience from University of California, Santa Barbara and can often be found reading books about behavioral economics, decision-making, and personal finance.