No Exam Life Insurance

Most life insurance policies use a medical exam to establish your level of health and place you into a rate class that determines how much you pay for premiums.

This process means that the average time between application for the policy and full underwriting is 6-8 weeks, plus you have to take time to schedule and attend a medical workup.

Some individuals, however, prefer to avoid a medical exam. For them, a no-exam life insurance policy works best.

What is no-exam life insurance?

As its name suggests, a no-exam policy does not require you to undergo a medical exam in order to purchase life insurance. At most, your carrier simply asks you a few health questions and/or looks at your medical records.

There are several types of no-exam policies from which you can choose.

Accelerated Underwriting

The underwriting process occurs more quickly because it uses medical records and other data in place of a medical exam.

Costs for these policies are usually about the same as the costs for a policy that requires a medical exam, but coverage may be capped at $1 million.

Simplified Issue

Approval is granted within minutes based on answering just a few medical questions.

Costs for these policies can be double that of a policy that requires a medical exam. Coverage is usually limited to $500,000 or less.

Guaranteed Issue

Coverage is guaranteed without a medical exam or health questions.

Costs for these policies are extremely high and coverage is usually capped at $25,000.

What are the downsides to no-exam life insurance?

These policies do have some features you should be aware of before purchasing.

Higher Premiums

Often (though not always), no-exam life insurance charges higher premiums in order to compensate for the risk of insuring someone without a medical exam. In the case of guaranteed issue life insurance, these higher rates can be very high.

Lower Coverage Amounts

In addition, no-exam life insurance typically provides lower coverage amounts. If you need life insurance over $1 million, you may prefer a policy that requires a medical exam.

Why consider no-exam life insurance?

There are several reasons people choose no-exam life insurance.


The most common reason is that the process is faster and easier than life insurance that requires a medical evaluation. If you require life insurance immediately, you may be willing to pay higher premiums to obtain your policy faster.

Medical Anxiety

If you suffer from a crippling fear of needles or doctors, you may prefer a life insurance policy that allows you to avoid both.

Pre-existing Conditions

Sometimes, pre-existing conditions or age make it impossible for individuals to qualify for any other type of insurance. These people often benefit from guaranteed issue life insurance.