Can You Buy Life Insurance With No Medical Exam?

Review multiple no-medical-exam life insurance options available

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A medical exam is often used to give life insurers insight into how long you’ll pay premiums before the provider needs to pay out. But a medical exam can be a barrier to some applicants. As a result, most insurers also offer life insurance with no medical exam.

If you’re in good health, you can usually find cheaper coverage with policies that require a medical exam, but no-medical-exam insurance is an option if you want a small policy or can’t otherwise qualify for life insurance. Here’s what you should know.

Key Takeaways

  • No-medical-exam life insurance enables you to get life insurance without undergoing a medical exam.
  • There are multiple types of no-exam life insurance, including guaranteed issue, simplified issue, and accelerated issue policies.
  • No-medical-exam policies enable faster coverage and provide an alternative for those who can’t get coverage due to their age or preexisting health conditions.
  • The removal of the medical exam presents more risk for insurers, which often means lower coverage amounts and higher premiums.

What Is No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance?

No-medical-exam life insurance refers to a life insurance policy that doesn’t require you to undergo a medical exam to get coverage. Traditional life insurance policies, on the other hand, do require a medical exam as part of their underwriting process.

Typically, insurance companies want to know about your height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol level, and more to understand the current state of your health. That information is used to determine the risk level you present and set your policy rates. Higher risk means higher rates and vice versa.

So why do insurers allow you to skip the medical exam? A medical exam can be a hassle that deters people from getting coverage. Further, some people have health conditions they’d rather not disclose. By offering no-medical-exam coverage, insurers can attract and cover more policyholders.


On the downside, no-medical-exam life insurance coverage has lower coverage limits than traditional policies. Also, the cost of premiums is often significantly higher than what you can get by undergoing a medical exam (although that will depend on your health situation).

Types of Life Insurance With No Medical Exam

If you’re interested in the no-medical-exam life insurance options, here are several different types commonly offered. However, note that policy options vary from one insurer to the next, so these may not all be offered by every life insurer.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of final-expense insurance that doesn’t require you to answer questions or undergo a medical exam to qualify. However, you do typically need to be within a certain age range (often 50 to 85 years old).

If you meet the age restrictions, these policies come with lower death benefits than most other policies, often ranging from $2,000 to $25,000. They also have relatively high premiums for the coverage you get. Further, there are usually grading periods, during which your benefits go into full effect gradually over two to three years.

While this no-medical-exam type has some drawbacks, it does cover you for the rest of your life, as it’s a permanent type of policy.


Guaranteed issue policies are often the last-resort option for those who can’t qualify for more affordable, comprehensive coverage due to their age or health issues. The funds are typically used to cover final expenses such as funeral costs and medical bills. It’s sometimes called burial insurance, funeral insurance, or final expense insurance.

Simplified Issue Life Insurance

Simplified issue life insurance is another type of no-exam policy. It requires you to fill out a short health questionnaire but does not require a medical exam. The insurer may also do a bit of research on you by checking your driving record, medical records, and pharmaceutical report. The process is typically fast, and you may be able to get coverage as soon as the same day.

Simplified issue is a type of underwriting that can apply to either term or permanent policies. Coverage is typically limited in comparison with a fully underwritten policy, but is not as limited as guaranteed issue coverage. For example, Haven Life offers a simplified issue term policy with coverage amounts ranging from $25,000 up to $500,000. That said, the company’s regular term policies offer up to $3 million in coverage. 

Premiums can also be more expensive when compared with coverage with a medical exam, as the insurer is taking more risk. But simplified issue tends to be cheaper than guaranteed issue insurance.

Accelerated Underwriting Life Insurance

Accelerated underwriting life insurance is another policy type that doesn’t require you to complete a medical exam—but it does require you to answer questions that may be more in-depth than those on a simplified-issue questionnaire. Insurers offering this option implement advanced algorithms that figure out if you qualify for coverage.

While premium costs are often competitive with the rates offered for fully underwritten policies, coverage is more limited—often being capped at $1 million. A big benefit of this policy type is that it’s still a relatively quick way to get coverage and provides higher coverage amounts than other no-medical-exam options.

Pros and Cons of No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance

Here’s a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of no-exam insurance compared with fully underwritten life insurance.

  • Faster coverage

  • Online applications

  • Flexible eligibility

  • Limited coverage amounts

  • Expensive premiums

  • Health questionnaires

  • Graded benefits on some policies

  • Age limits

Pros Explained

  • Faster coverage: Without needing to undergo a medical exam, you can usually get coverage within days instead of weeks.
  • Online applications: The removal of the medical exam also often makes it possible to apply and get coverage online.
  • Flexible eligibility: Life insurance coverage becomes available to those who may have trouble getting covered due to their age or health conditions.

Cons Explained

  • Limited coverage amounts: The amount of coverage you can get is more limited than policies that require a medical exam.
  • Expensive premiums: Premiums are often much more costly for the coverage amount you get.
  • Health questionnaires: You may still need to answer questions about your health, which will be considered when determining your premium amount.
  • Graded benefits on some policies: Your policy may not go into full effect for a few years.
  • Age limits: Guaranteed issue policies may only be available to applicants in their 50s or older.

Who Should Choose No-Exam Insurance?

No-medical-exam life insurance can be a good option for you in a few scenarios. If you do not want to undergo a medical exam for personal reasons, these policies give you an alternative. They can also be helpful if you want coverage quickly, as coverage can go into effect as soon as the same day—cutting out the month or more waiting period common for plans that require a medical exam.

Additionally, if a medical exam would result in you being denied life insurance coverage, going the no-medical-exam route can help you get covered. However, if you are in good health overall, don’t mind undergoing a medical exam, and can wait for coverage, you can potentially get more coverage at a lower price by going with a traditional term or whole life policy.

How To Find a No-Exam Policy

Does a no-exam policy sound right for you? You can start your search for the best provider with this list of companies that offer no-exam life insurance. Each insurer’s policies will be different, so comparing them side-by-side can help you find the right policy. Key factors to consider are the types of policies offered, their age limits, and the coverage limits. Once you find an insurer you like, head to its website to learn about the application process. In some cases, you can apply online, while in others, you may need to speak with an agent.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who pays for life insurance medical exams?

The insurance company typically will pay for the medical exam that’s required for you to get coverage, so it won’t come out of your pocket.

What types of no-medical-exam insurance exist?

There are several types of no-exam life insurance, including guaranteed issue, simplified issue, and accelerated issue policies. These policies may be term or permanent insurance. Guaranteed issue policies are usually whole life.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Nationwide. “What Is No-Exam Life Insurance and How Does It Work?

  2. Fidelity Life. “What Is Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance?

  3. Haven Life. “What Is Simplified Issue Life Insurance?

  4. Mutual of Omaha. “Life Insurance With No Medical Exam.”

  5. Haven Life. “Life Insurance Medical Exam: What To Expect.”

  6. Better Life. “Guaranteed Issue Whole Life.”

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