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Can I get life insurance without a medical exam?

Jul 24, 2018 4 Minute Read

When it comes to applying for life insurance, the idea of taking a medical exam makes some people squirm. So is it possible to get coverage without sticking out your tongue and saying “Ahhh”?

The short answer: Yes. Whether you’re dealing with health issues or just can’t stand needles, you can still purchase life insurance with no medical exam – and the coverage may be better than you think.

What is the best type of no exam life insurance?

There are plenty of reasons to want to avoid a medical exam: added convenience, the ability to get covered right away, or concerns about qualifying because of chronic health issues. According to a recent study, half of people are more likely to buy life insurance with simplified underwriting – simply put, no medical exam required.

In response, a growing number of life insurance companies are offering these options. No medical exam life insurance includes any type of policy that doesn’t require an exam or medical underwriting. During the application process, your life insurance company may ask health-related questions, or they may simply approve you without medical questions.

It’s important to note that no medical exam life insurance products can be more expensive or come with other limitations, like lower coverage amounts. If you’re in good health, applying for a policy that includes an exam may mean you can get more coverage at a lower cost. Here, we break down your options.

The product: Guaranteed issue life insurance

The health requirements: None

Guaranteed issue life insurance is just what it sounds like: a guaranteed way to get covered. As long as you meet the age requirements for the policy, you can get this type of life insurance with no medical exam and without answering any medical questions. For people with serious health concerns, like a recent heart attack, guaranteed issue allows them to buy life insurance without having to wait.

One caveat: These policies have a “graded period,” typically two to three years, during which your beneficiaries won’t receive a payout if you die of a health-related issue. (If your death is accidental, you’ll still receive payment.) Most insurance companies will refund your premiums if you die during that time, and some will pay a small percentage on top of that. After the graded period is over, you’re eligible for the full amount.

The product: Simplified issue life insurance

The health requirements: Some health questions, but no medical exam

Are you in relatively good health, but you don’t want to wait to get the results of a medical exam? Then simplified issue life insurance may be the way to go. When applying for a policy, you can skip blood and urine tests and find out whether you’re approved within minutes (traditional policies can take six to eight weeks). You’ll still need to answer some background questions about your health, and the insurer will review medical and pharmacy records to confirm you don’t have any undisclosed medical issues.

Along with being convenient, simplified issue policies are relatively affordable – it may only cost a little more to purchase a $250,000 simplified issue policy for life insurance with no medical exam, compared with a policy that requires one. There’s also no graded period, so you’re eligible for the full amount from day one.

The product: Traditional life insurance

The health requirements: Medical exam (although you may be able to defer or even waive the exam)

Willing to have your finger pricked? For people in good health, these policies offer the most affordable rates and highest coverage amounts. You’ll typically need to take a physical exam, including blood and urine tests, and answer questions about your medical history. If you want to get in better shape before the exam, you may be able to defer it and still potentially receive a portion of the coverage if you were to die during the deferral period. Check with your insurance agent about your options, as the requirements are different from policy to policy.

In certain cases, you may even be eligible for this type of life insurance with no medical exam. Using predictive modeling, insurers look at each applicant’s background to determine whether they can skip their checkup and still get covered.

What about getting covered if I have a medical condition?

Think you can’t get affordable life insurance because you have a condition like diabetes or lupus? You may be surprised. If you’re doing a good job of taking your medication and managing the condition, you can often qualify for some level of coverage. If you’ve had a more serious health issue, like cancer or a stroke, you’ll typically need to wait two years to receive coverage.

Of course, the best way to get a deal on life insurance is to buy it before you face a serious health problem. If you’re healthy, lock in a term life or permanent life insurance policy sooner rather than later – as rates will likely only continue to go up as you get older. By making sure your family is protected now, you’ll worry less about whatever the future may bring.

Applying for a life insurance policy that requires a medical exam?

Take a deep breath – it’s less scary than you think. Find out what the exam involves and how to get the best results in our tip sheet below.

In the spirit of transparency, this blog post is for informational purposes only. We know how quickly things change, so we can’t guarantee the content and links to unaffiliated parties are up to date.