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No-medical-exam life insurance is any life insurance policy that doesn't require a medical exam to qualify. This type of insurance was originally intended to simplify the approval process for individuals with pre-existing conditions and provide only a small amount of coverage. But now, many life insurance companies offer no-medical-exam policies with million-dollar death benefits and no lengthy waiting period.
To find the best no-medical-exam life insurance companies, we looked at features like customer satisfaction ratings, maximum coverage amounts, and maximum issue ages. In addition, we considered the financial strength of each provider and how many complaints they received.
Best Overall : Nationwide
Up to $5 million available in no-med-exam coverage for eligible applicants
Wide variety of policies available
Strong customer satisfaction ratings
Multiple living benefit riders included with most policies
Accepts credit cards for premium payments
Simplified whole life only available to auto or homeowners' customers
Based on our review of 91 life insurance providers, we determined that Nationwide is the best overall provider of no-medical-exam life policies. Some healthy individuals under age 50 will qualify for up to $5 million without a medical exam via an accelerated underwriting process. If you’re 51 to 60 years old and in good health, you may be eligible for up to $1 million in no-medical-exam coverage. You can also add a variety of riders to your policy, and most policies include several living benefits at no upfront cost.
Through Nationwide, you can get a quote online, apply for coverage online, and you may get same-day approval. Nationwide has some of the best third-party ratings of the providers we reviewed, too. In J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, Nationwide ranked second in customer service satisfaction among 21 life insurance companies.
Learn more in our Nationwide Insurance review.
Best for High Coverage : Penn Mutual
No-medical-exam coverage available to 65 year-olds
Up to $7.5 million in no-med-exam coverage
Strong dividend history for whole life policies
Few customer complaints
Affordable term life policies
Limited website information
No online application without an agent
Can’t get a quote on the website
With maximum coverage limits of $7.5 million, Penn Mutual is our top-rated no-medical-exam life insurance company for high coverage. Out of the providers on our list, Penn Mutual offers the highest coverage limits for healthy individuals without requiring a medical exam.
We also like that Penn Mutual has a very high maximum issue age for no-medical-exam life insurance too. You can qualify for no-med-exam life insurance from Penn Mutual if you are 65 years old or younger, up to a maximum coverage amount of $7.5 million. For comparison, some other insurers cap no-med-exam policies at age 50 or reduce the amount you can qualify for.
Penn Mutual is also an excellent provider if you are looking for dividend-paying whole life insurance. Over the last 20 years, Penn Mutual has had one of the strongest dividend histories in the life insurance industry. The company announced that it would pay $123 million in dividends to eligible whole-life policyholders in 2022.
However, Penn Mutual has a few downsides. For example, you cannot get a quote on the website or apply online without an agent. We also found that the website is lacking specific information about its policies.
Best for Financial Stability : Guardian
Offers no-med-exam coverage up to $3 million
Superior financial stability rating
Few customer complaints for its size
Dividend-paying whole life insurance
Difficult to find information on its website
Can’t apply online without an agent
Guardian is the best no-medical-exam life insurance company for financial strength. Out of the no-medical-exam providers we reviewed, Guardian has the highest AM Best rating possible— an A++ (Superior).
You can get a no-medical-exam life insurance policy from Guardian for up to $3 million in coverage. The company also pays dividends on participating whole life insurance policies. Guardian announced that it would pay $1.13 billion in dividends to eligible policyholders in 2022, the highest payout in its history.
If you want to apply for a Guardian life insurance policy, you’ll need to work with an agent to start the process because the company does not provide online applications. However, you can get a quote through Guardian’s website.
In addition, Guardian has a very low number of complaints, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Of the 91 life insurance companies we reviewed, it has the seventh-lowest complaint score.
Best for Instant Decision : John Hancock
Up to $3 million in no-medical-exam life insurance coverage
Option to enroll in a wellness program
No-med-policies available until age 60
Critical illness rider doesn’t impact the death benefit
No online quotes or online application
If you want to get life insurance issued quickly, consider John Hancock. We named John Hancock the best no-medical-exam life insurance company for instant decisions because you can apply for coverage and possibly get approved on the same day, with no waiting period required.
You can get no-medical-exam life insurance until age 60, with up to $3 million in coverage. John Hancock doesn’t sell whole life insurance, but it does offer term life, universal life, indexed universal life, and variable universal life policies.
One of the most unique features of John Hancock is its Vitality wellness program for policyholders. The program provides various health- and travel-related discounts. You can even save up to 25% on your life insurance premium if you enroll in the paid Vitality PLUS program, which starts at $2 per month.
A downside is that John Hancock charges for most of its accelerated death benefit riders. However, if you add a critical illness rider to your policy, using the benefit won’t impact your death benefit. This is unlike most other companies’ chronic illness riders which reduce the death benefit your beneficiaries receive by the amount you use for chronic illness.
To apply for a policy, you’ll need to work with an agent—John Hancock doesn’t offer online quotes or online applications.
Fewest Complaints : Pacific Life
Fewest complaints out of the companies in this list
Maximum coverage limit of $5 million for no-med-exam policies
Strong customer satisfaction rating
Excellent pricing for term policies
No quotes on the website
No online application
Pacific Life has the fewest complaints out of the best no-medical-exam life insurance companies we reviewed. The company’s three-year average complaint index is 0.056, which means it has far fewer complaints than expected for its size. Pacific Life’s complaint index suggests that customers are generally satisfied with the company’s customer experience and claim handling.
Pacific Life also has excellent customer satisfaction scores. Pacific Life ranked fourth out of 21 companies in J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study, earning a score of 801 out of 1,000.
Applicants who are 50 years old or younger can get a maximum of $5 million in no-med-exam coverage from Pacific Life. If you’re between the ages of 51 and 60, you can get up to $3 million in coverage without taking a medical exam.
Pacific Life doesn’t offer quotes on its website or an online application without an agent’s assistance, so you must work with an agent for most of the process.
While all companies on this list are excellent choices for life insurance without a medical exam, Nationwide takes the top spot as it boasts very satisfied customers, superior financial stability, high coverage no-med-exam policies, and included living benefits. But if you are older than 60 or seek no-med-exam coverage for more than $5 million, we recommend looking into Penn Mutual. That company, along with Guardian, also pays dividends to eligible policyholders, making either an excellent choice for those seeking a dividend-paying whole life policy.
If you’re seeking a term policy, Pacific Life and Penn Mutual both offer very affordable coverage (and high maximum no-med-exam coverage amounts). And both (especially Pacific Life) have a very low incidence of complaints. If you appreciate the added benefits of wellness program membership plus quick-issue coverage, consider John Hancock.
What Is No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance?
As the name suggests, no-medical-exam life insurance is a policy that does not require a medical exam to get approved. Instead, insurance companies use different underwriting methods to determine eligibility. The types of underwriting for no-medical-exam policies include accelerated issue and simplified issue. But guaranteed issue policies are another form of no-med-exam coverage, though not recommended for healthy applicants.
Underwriting is the process an insurance company uses to determine how much to charge you for coverage.
Accelerated issue policies require an in-depth health questionnaire, where you will be asked about your health, family medical history, and lifestyle. You may be required to complete a phone interview with an insurance agent to verify this information as well. But the cost of an accelerated issue policy is very similar to the price you would pay for a fully underwritten policy.
Getting a simplified issue policy is usually faster than getting a policy via an accelerated issue process. With simplified issue life insurance, you're required to answer only a handful of medical questions, and some insurance companies provide instant approvals, which can make this a good option if you need coverage quickly. However, if you’re healthy, the cost of a simplified issue policy will be more expensive than an accelerated issue or fully underwritten one.
How Do I Choose the Best Life Insurance Policy?
To choose the best life insurance policy, you should consider your unique needs. Just because a company is rated as “the best,” doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best for you. Start by researching and comparing insurers based on features like financial strength and customer satisfaction. Then, do a deep dive into specific features, including:
- Types of policies: Life insurance carriers sell different types of coverage. Figure out what type of policy is right for you (term life, whole life, final expense, etc.) and look for reputable companies that sell them.
- Riders: Life insurance riders can help you customize your policy with additional protection. Pay attention to the riders available and what riders (if any) are included for free with the policy you want. For example, a whole life policy from one company may include a terminal illness rider at no upfront cost, whereas another company may not offer the rider at all.
- Coverage limits: Life insurance coverage limits can vary significantly, especially if you are looking at a no-medical-exam policy. Make sure to choose a policy with sufficient coverage for your family’s financial needs. Many life insurance companies offer an online coverage calculator to help you determine how much coverage is right for you.
- Cost: When choosing the best life insurance policy, it’s important to consider cost. For instance, life insurance rates are cheaper while you’re young but get more expensive with age. Some life insurance carriers offer online quotes so you can do a side-by-side price comparison of a few different companies.
How We Chose the Best Life Insurance Companies
We developed a comprehensive life insurance methodology to put together our review of the best life insurance companies for no-medical-exam policies. To start, we researched what consumers want from life insurance companies, and for that, we looked to third-party consumer studies, including J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Life Insurance New Business Study and the 2021 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA.
We recorded that information, then gathered more than 50 data points on 91 life insurance companies, including ratings for:
- No-exam options
- Financial strength
- Customer satisfaction
- Customer complaints
- Policy types and features
- Available riders
- Years in business
- Online tools
Our review process gave more weight to companies with top ratings from AM Best, a lower-than-expected customer complaint rate, and a wide range of products and resources. In particular, we valued online quoting and application tools, transparent pricing, and no-exam policy options. We gave companies a boost in their rating if customer service was accessible via features like live chat. To rank the companies we analyzed, we applied the following weighting formula:
- Customer education, application, and online service features: 32%
- Policy types, features, and riders: 29%
- Financial stability: 17%
- Customer satisfaction ratings: 15%
- Cost: 8%
To get a better sense of each company's individual offerings, we explored product specifics, such as maximum issue ages and coverage amounts, riders, and product-specific application processes. We used this research to determine the best companies for different products and consumer groups.
The companies that scored the highest in our rankings had the greatest financial stability, fewest complaints, lowest cost, and most generous no-medical-exam options, as we believe these companies are best positioned to help customers secure the life insurance coverage they need.