No exam life insurance is a type of life insurance policy that lets you bypass one of the more annoying parts of the application process: the medical exam. Depending on the type of no exam policy you apply for, you may still need to answer several health questions, and insurers may seek out more information from third-party sources.

Most insurers require applicants to undergo a medical exam as part of the application process. This involves scheduling an appointment with a technician, who comes to your home or office, and the exam lasts about 30 minutes. You will need to give blood and urine samples. All of the information from the exam will then be sent to the insurance company’s underwriters, who assess each detail to determine which category of risk you fall into. The less health problems you have, the less of a risk you pose.

Risk categories usually include Preferred Plus, Preferred, Standard Plus, and Standard. Preferred Plus is the best, and for each subsequent category, premiums increase.

Many people don’t like the idea of undergoing a medical exam. Even though the technician can come to you, you still need to take time from your busy schedule, answer invasive questions about your health, and be poked for a blood exam. No exam life insurance is appealing to people who don’t like doctors, don’t want to have in-depth conversations about their health, or who are afraid of needles.

Bear in mind, just because no exam policies allow you to skip the medical exam, you will still need to provide some level of information so insurers can assess their risk. In addition to asking several health questions, underwriters for no exam policies will perform driving and criminal background checks and review your digital medical record and prescription record.

Benefits and Drawbacks

One of the benefits of skipping the medical exam means that the approval process is much faster than that of traditional policies. Traditional policies can take between 4-6 weeks to grant approval (or rejection), whereas no exam policies can offer approval immediately, or in 1-3 weeks.

The drawback of no exam policies is that they can sometimes come with a higher price tag than traditional policies. However, if you’re young and healthy, you can get similar rates to those of traditional policies. To get a free quote, click here.

Some no exam policies come with a waiting period of 2-3 years, which means that if the policyholder dies within that waiting period, the full death benefit will not be paid out. Only a percentage will be paid, and in some cases, only the premiums are refunded.

Types of No Medical Exam Life Insurance

The 3 main types of no medical exam policies are simplified issue, guaranteed issue, and group life insurance.

Simplified issue is the most similar to standard term life insurance. You have to answer several health questions and agree to have underwriters review your medical, driving, and credit records. Approval can take several weeks because there is underwriting involved, but remember, that’s not a bad thing. The more an insurer knows about you, they will be able to more accurately assess your risk and give you better rates. Simplified issue coverage usually goes until $500,000 but some carriers offer up to $1 million.

Guaranteed issue life insurance does not ask any health questions. Acceptance is guaranteed as long as you are within the age limit and don’t have any fatal health issues. Since insurers don’t have a way to cover their risk with guaranteed issue policies, premiums are very expensive and coverage only goes until $50,000.

Guaranteed issue is usually considered a last resort by people who have been turned down for other policies. Many people use it as final expense insurance, just to make sure their loved ones don’t get saddled with funeral and burial costs.

Group life insurance can be obtained through your employer, and the approval process is similar to guaranteed issue. Coverage usually ends when you leave your job, and coverage is the same amount as your annual salary. This type of no exam life insurance is generally not considered sufficient on its own and is usually complemented by another policy.

Available Riders

No exam policies usually come with limited riders, and simplified issue has more than guaranteed issue. The exact options differ by carrier, so it’s worth looking into a few policies to see which is best.

Common riders include: 

  • Accidental death, which offers an additional death benefit for death that occurs from an accident
  • Child rider, which includes an additional small death benefit for a child
  • Disability waiver, which allows you not to pay monthly premiums but still get coverage if you become permanently disabled

The Choice of No Exam Life Insurance

Like any insurance policy, no exam life insurance has its advantages and disadvantages. Because of the nature of the policies, the people who usually choose to overlook the disadvantages are:

  • People who need life insurance quickly (for a divorce, SBA loan, etc.)
  • People who are afraid of doctors or needles
  • People who don’t have time to undergo a medical exam
  • People who have been rejected for traditional policies

If no exam life insurance sounds like it can be suitable for your situation, make sure to do your due diligence and choose the policy and insurer that are right for you.