Are you putting off purchasing life insurance because of a potential medical exam? Fortunately, getting life insurance without a medical exam may be possible, either through an employer or independently. However, it usually comes with a higher cost. Understanding your options for no-medical-exam life insurance may help you decide if it could be the best coverage choice for you.

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What is no-medical-exam life insurance?

No-medical-exam life insurance is exactly what it sounds like: a life insurance policy that does not require a physical for underwriting approval. Life insurance with no medical exam is generally more expensive and may be limited in its coverage options since the insurance company is taking on a greater risk by insuring someone without evaluating their medical history.

It’s also worth noting that if you get life insurance without a medical exam, your policy may include a waiting period. For example, with some types of permanent policies, your death benefit may not pay out in full until you have held your policy for two full years. However, many life insurers offer to reimburse at least 110 percent of the value of your accrued monthly premiums if you pass away before your waiting period expires.

Types of no-exam life insurance

Consumers may have several options for obtaining life insurance without a medical exam. These options include simplified issue, guaranteed acceptance, group life insurance and term insurance, to name a few. However, keep in mind it is up to the individual carrier, and not necessarily the type of insurance policy. You will need to confirm with each individual provider that a no-exam option is offered.

Simplified issue life insurance

Simplified issue life insurance policies ask applicants to complete a health questionnaire that is typically short and focuses on getting a general sense of your overall health. The industry’s standard upper limit on coverage is generally $500,000, but the amount varies by insurance company.

Guaranteed acceptance life insurance

Guaranteed acceptance life insurance policies are typically more expensive but may be appealing because health status is not used to determine eligibility. Also known as guaranteed issue or final expense insurance, guaranteed acceptance life insurance policies are often used to cover burial and other end-of-life costs. Guaranteed issue whole life is generally available up to $50,000, but some companies restrict it to lower amounts.

Group life insurance

Group life insurance coverage is typically offered in the form of an employer-sponsored plan as part of a company’s benefits package. The employer holds the master policy and controls decisions, whereas employees are certificate holders if they opt in to coverage. Because of this, group life insurance often does not require a physical, and the premium is usually discounted. Typically, the coverage limits for this type of insurance will be capped fairly low, though you often have the option to purchase additional insurance if you complete a medical questionnaire.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance is a type of policy that is only in effect for a certain amount of time. If you pass away during the term, the death benefit will be paid out to your beneficiaries. After the term ends, your policy will expire unless you have purchased a policy that has the option to convert or renew. You can not borrow against these types of policies, which usually makes them much less expensive than other types of life insurance products. Numerous providers offer no-exam options for term life insurance, but you will need to fill out an application that may include medical questions.

How to get life insurance without a medical exam

There may be many ways to find life insurance policies that do not require a medical exam. First, if you work for someone else, you could inquire whether group life insurance is offered. If not, you may have to do some research to find a carrier with a no-exam option for the policy type you’re interested in. Once you’ve found a company that fits your needs, you can request a quote for a no-exam policy.

Keep in mind that life insurance quotes do not vary as much between providers as home or auto quotes. However, the type of policy you choose and the coverage amount will influence what you pay.

Best companies with no-exam life insurance options

Not all companies offer life insurance without a medical exam. Those that do have their own limitations and restrictions. Some may require an initial exam but allow you to switch to another type of policy without a follow-up exam. Others may require a health questionnaire but no physical exam. Speaking with a licensed insurance agent may help you determine what type of no-exam policy could be best for you and if you could potentially qualify for a policy with a medical exam at a lower rate. To start your research, you might consider these carriers with advertised no-exam policy options.

  • Prudential: This carrier advertises no-medical-exam policy options, but availability may vary by individual and policy type.
  • Mutual of Omaha: This carrier’s whole life policies may not require a medical exam.
  • AIG/Corebridge Financial: AIG life insurance, now Corebridge Financial, offers a no-exam simplified issue life insurance option underwritten primarily by the American General Life Insurance Company.
  • MassMutual: While you may need an initial medical exam to get coverage, Mass Mutual advertises a guaranteed insurability rider which may allow you to increase your death benefit coverage without another health exam.
  • State Farm: Shoppers looking for term life insurance coverage without a medical exam may find what they’re looking for with the carrier’s Instant Answer Term Insurance.

How much does no-exam life insurance cost?

It is important to note that you will typically pay more for no-exam coverage compared to someone who buys the same level of life insurance with a medical exam. In fact, guaranteed issue life insurance policies can cost up to twice as much as a policy that requires a medical exam. That is because your insurer takes on a risk when they issue you a policy without knowing much about your health history and current level of wellness.

Insurers pass the increased risk on to you in the form of higher premiums. Generally, trying to secure cheap life insurance without a medical exam makes the most sense if you know you have a pre-existing health condition that will be identified during a physical. It’s important to note, however, that even policies that do not require an exam will usually require that you respond to a health questionnaire. You should answer all questions honestly, as your application may be denied if the insurance company determines that you lied in your application. If you are generally healthy, you can usually purchase cheaper coverage by getting a physical as part of the life insurance underwriting process.

Frequently asked questions

    • Yes, you can purchase more than one life insurance policy. This may include carrying a separate life insurance policy in addition to your employer-sponsored plan. Some individuals choose to strategically purchase more than one life insurance policy as part of their financial planning. Speaking with a licensed insurance agent or financial professional may help you decide if carrying multiple life insurance policies could be right for you.
    • Term life insurance policies last for a specified period of time, and the death benefit is only in effect during this time period. If you die during the term and the conditions of the policy have been met, your beneficiaries will receive a payout. If you outlive the term without renewing or converting the policy, the policy will expire. A whole life policy remains in effect for your entire life as long as you pay your premiums and meet the terms of the policy. Whole policies also offer some kind of cash value account.Learn more: Term vs. whole life insurance 
    • The requirements for obtaining life insurance coverage without a physical depend on the type of life insurance you want to purchase. Simplified issue life insurance is generally available once you reach age 18, although parents may also be able to purchase it for their minor children. However, you may need to wait until you are 45, 50 or older to get guaranteed issue life insurance. You might want to review age limits from specific insurers to find the best life insurance coverage without a medical exam.
    • In some cases, you can, but it is up to the company as to whether they offer online quotes or not. A few insurers work almost entirely online and offer quotes and online applications through their website. Other insurers require you to talk to an agent to get a quote. You will usually know if you can get an online quote by checking your chosen company’s website for online quoting tools.