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How to buy life insurance without a medical exam

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If you need life insurance, but lack time to get a medical exam, dislike the idea of having your blood drawn, or have potential health issues, you may want to explore life insurance that does not require you to take a physical exam.

Getting life insurance without a medical exam is possible. For example, buying life insurance through an employer’s group plan does not typically require any exams. If your employer does not 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.

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.

When you take a physical, you may run the risk of paying higher premiums, or even being denied eligibility, if your exam identifies pre-existing health conditions. When opting for life insurance that does not require a medical exam, many insurance carrier’s websites allow you to fill out an application on your tablet or laptop and receive a quote for a policy. However, no-exam life insurance is generally more expensive and limited in its coverage options.

It’s worth noting that if you get life insurance without a medical exam, your policy will most likely include a waiting period. For example, 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% of the value of your accrued monthly premiums if you pass away before your waiting period expires.

Types of no-exam life insurance

Consumers have three primary options for obtaining life insurance without a medical exam: simplified issue, guaranteed acceptance and group life insurance.

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 for your overall health.

The industry’s standard upper limit on coverage is generally $500,000, 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. Simplified whole life, or permanent, insurance policies of up to $50,000 are available for consumers up to age 75 without a medical exam or lab tests.

Guaranteed acceptance life insurance

Guaranteed acceptance life insurance policies are typically more expensive, but can be appealing because everyone is granted 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 and is part of a company’s benefits package. This is a single policy that covers a number of different people. Because of this, group life insurance often does not require a physical and premium is discounted.

How to get life insurance without a medical exam

There are many ways to find life insurance policies that do not require a medical exam. For example, some carriers like MetLife sell these services through their affiliations with different financial and alumni groups.

There are several other ways for you to identify and purchase no-exam life insurance coverage:

  • By phone – Many insurers market guaranteed issue life insurance coverage via TV advertising. These plans are designed to pay for funeral expenses and other bills. Colonial Penn is one such company that frequently advertises this type of policy. You can call the number on the screen and answer a list of questions to see whether you qualify and make payment arrangements.
  • Online – You can search for this type of policy by using Google or another search engine and typing in “guaranteed issue whole life insurance.” You will then see a list of companies that offer this type of coverage. Then you can compare quotes from each insurer to see which one offers the best coverage for the price.
  • Through an agent – Many insurance agents offer this type of life insurance product.  They should be able to provide you with multiple different quotes so that you do not have to do the research yourself.
  • By mail – Life insurers, such as Colonial Penn, often send flyers in the mail that recipients can complete and return in order to get coverage. You may only need to provide your contact information for someone at the life insurance company to follow up with you.

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 protection and gets a medical exam. In fact, most 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. For example, smokers may be able to get more affordable coverage by opting to find coverage that does not require a physical. However, if you are generally healthy, you can usually purchase cheaper coverage by getting a physical as part of the life insurance underwriting process.

To begin the process of finding the best life insurance policy without a medical exam at a price that meets your budget, the Insurance Information Institute recommends you get quotes from at least three insurers. That way, you can compare your options and make sure you get the most affordable coverage possible.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get life insurance without a medical exam?

Several highly rated life insurers offer no-medical-exam life insurance. However, you will likely pay more for your policy versus one that requires a physical exam.

How do I get cheap life insurance without a medical exam?

Generally, if you want to get life insurance without a physical, you should plan to pay higher premiums than someone who gets the same level of coverage with a medical exam. That said, you can help keep your costs as low as possible by reviewing coverage from multiple insurers and comparing quotes.

Do I have to be a certain age to get life insurance without a physical?

Obtaining life insurance coverage without a physical depends on the type of life insurance you want to purchase. Simplified issue life insurance is generally available once you reach age 18. However, you may need to be age 40, 45, 50 or older to get guaranteed issue life insurance. You can review age limits from specific insurers to find the best life insurance coverage without a medical exam.

Written by
Mark Cussen
Contributing writer
Mark Cussen is a former contributing writer for Bankrate. Mark writes about a range of topics related to insurance.
Edited by
Insurance Editor
Reviewed by
Director of corporate communications, Insurance Information Institute