Say aaah? Naw: 2 ways to buy life insurance without a medical exam

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If you need life insurance but having your blood drawn makes you faint, you don't have time to have your blood pressure taken, or you have potential health issues, you may want to explore life insurance that doesn't require you to take a physical exam.

"There are several ways to get life insurance without a health exam," says James Galli, a senior vice president with MetLife in New York. "First, life insurance products made available to employees through their employer generally do not require any exam."

If your employer doesn't offer life insurance in your benefits package or you want to supplement your coverage, you may still be able to apply for life insurance without a physical.

Instead of being poked and prodded -- and running the risk of paying sky-high premiums or even being denied life insurance if your exam turns up health problems -- you can fill out an application on your tablet or laptop and get a quick quote for a life insurance policy. However, no-exam life insurance generally isn't cheap either, and the coverage is often limited.

3 times to consider a no-physical policy

  • When you haven't seen your doctor in 2-5 years.
  • When you need life insurance coverage fast.
  • If you don't like being prodded and poked.

Source: Life Happens, nonprofit life insurance education group

The 2 main types of no-exam life insurance

Consumers have 2 primary options for obtaining life insurance without a medical exam.

  • Simplified issue life insurance. "Simplified issue products are generally available to adults over 18 until about age 75, but this varies by insurance carrier and state," says Galli. "You'll usually just have to answer a brief series of questions about your overall health, but no exam is necessary."

    The industry's standard upper limit on coverage is generally $500,000, Galli says, but the amount varies by insurance company.

    New York Life offers simplified term life insurance policies of up to $100,000 without a medical exam or lab tests for consumers up to age 75; applicants must answer 3 medical questions. Simplified whole life (permanent) insurance policies of up to $50,000 are available for consumers up to age 75 without a medical exam or lab tests, and 3 medical questions must be answered.

  • Guaranteed acceptance life. Also known as guaranteed issue or final expense life insurance because the limited proceeds are often used to cover burial costs. "Guaranteed acceptance whole life is offered to individuals ages 45 to about 75, which again varies by carrier and state and is a permanent life insurance policy," says Galli.

    Guaranteed issue whole life is generally available up to $50,000, but some companies restrict it to lower amounts. For example, New York Life offers guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance policies for up to $15,000 for consumers ages 50-80.

Where to get a no-exam policy

Galli says you can buy these life insurance products online, by snail mail or through a call center, depending on the insurer. Sometimes insurance agents and financial advisers sell the policies.

"For example, at MetLife, we sell and service these products through several of these channels, as well as through associations and affinity groups, such as financial institutions, alumni associations, hobbyist groups, and more," says Galli. "Just check your membership mailings or newsletters for offers about life insurance."

Keep in mind that you should always compare quotes from several companies before making a life insurance purchase.


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