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What Is the Process of Getting a Life Insurance Policy Without a Medical Exam?

By Jessica Sillers Jun 19, 2023

In this article

No-Exam Life Insurance Policy Options

No-Exam Life Insurance Application Process 

Traditionally, applying for life insurance always involved a health exam that included things like a blood draw—this was a key way that underwriters could figure out how much risk you represent and how much it’d cost to insure you.

Good news: With innovations in technology, health exams are no longer always necessary, even for term life insurance with competitive rates. Getting life insurance with no medical exam can make the process faster and (literally) less painful. If you opt for no-exam life insurance, you may be able to get approved in a few days rather than several weeks or longer. 

All the same, life insurance companies may still want to gather some information on your health, so the application process can involve questions and records to help insurers give you the best rates they can.

No-Exam Life Insurance Policy Options

When you’re shopping for a life insurance policy, no-medical-exam options come in a few forms. The application process can look a little different depending on which type you choose.

  • Term life: Some term life policies offer an accelerated underwriting process that may skip the medical exam for qualifying applicants, while still offering similar premium rates and coverage options as if you went through full medical underwriting.

  • Simplified issue: This is a type of life insurance that relies on a health questionnaire in lieu of a health exam. Because it doesn’t require an exam and tends to have less stringent health requirements than standard term life, it often has higher premium rates and lower coverage limits than many term or whole life options.

  • Guaranteed issue: This type of policy often doesn’t require you to answer health questions at all. Coverage is limited, often $25,000, and premiums may be higher than term policies with similar coverage. The main value is that almost no one is denied coverage.

  • Group life: Life insurance options through an employer may not require a medical exam. Coverage limits are often lower than with policies you could buy independently, so many financial experts recommend a separate life insurance policy with a high enough coverage value to fit your needs.

No-Exam Life Insurance Application Process 

The first step in getting life insurance is deciding which type of policy is the right fit. The insurance option you choose can play a role in what the life insurance application process will look like for you.

If you’re taking advantage of employee benefits

A group life insurance policy through an employer can be an easy way to get some coverage. Many employers limit your coverage, either by setting a flat rate or calculating an amount based on your salary (often offering one or two times your salary). 

You generally forfeit your coverage if you lose or change your job. Many families’ debts and future goals (i.e., what they’d hope to cover with a life insurance death benefit) add up to more than their group life insurance policy offers, so it’s often smart to have a separate policy you own—and won’t lose even if you leave your job—to provide the coverage you need.

That said, group life insurance is usually part of an employee benefits package. It’s typically paid either in part or fully by your employer, so it can be an affordable option and it generally doesn’t require a medical exam. Some families decide it’s a worthwhile addition to their insurance toolkit.

Applying can be a straightforward process:

  1. Check with your HR or payroll department about enrolling in a group life plan.

  2. Read the options to see what, if anything, you will need to pay in premiums.

  3. Fill out any paperwork to enroll. Group life doesn’t do individual underwriting, so your application typically won’t ask questions about your medical history.

If your health isn’t in perfect shape

The traditional medical exam helps life insurance underwriters get a detailed look at your health so they can assess your overall risk. If you have certain health conditions, some insurance companies may see you as too risky and you can get denied coverage.

Policies like simplified issue or guaranteed issue can be good options for people in less-than-amazing health to get at least some coverage to help out their loved ones. Simplified issue typically requires a short health questionnaire with fewer questions than most term or whole life policies, and no medical exam. Guaranteed issue typically doesn’t ask health questions at all. You’ll always provide some basic info like your age and gender, but these applications don’t go into the same level of detail as other life insurance policies.

If you’re healthy and want a more convenient option

If you’re hoping to combine the convenience of skipping an exam with an affordable life policy, no-medical-exam term life can be a good option. No-exam term policies use a feature called accelerated underwriting to assess healthy candidates faster and keep rates down

In contrast to simplified or guaranteed life insurance, no-exam term life still takes a close look at your health. The policies can offer rates and terms similar to policies with full medical underwriting because they’re still collecting detailed information about your health. The perk is that if you meet certain health standards, you can get approved more quickly and skip the medical exam.

The life insurance application process is a little more detailed:

  1. Fill out a health questionnaire. You can expect more questions and more detail than the questionnaire on a simplified issue application.

  2. In some cases, you might be approved on the spot—within minutes of submitting your application. That’s because the company may use specialized software with algorithms that analyze your data and assess your risk. 

  3. In other cases, you might not be approved on the spot but the company will still try to exhaust its options before requiring an exam. This could look like any number of things, such as asking you follow-up questions or asking for your medical or prescription records. Sometimes they will be able to pull these records directly, while other times you may need to call your doctor’s office to help facilitate it.

Because no-exam term life insurance is aiming to provide a level of attention similar to full medical underwriting, it’s possible that your application might need more review. If it turns out your health isn’t quite as straightforward as the insurance company expected, they may require you to complete a medical exam after all. In that case, the insurance company will send a medical professional to your home or office to complete an exam. This could include things like:

  • Detailed health questions about your medical history and your family’s medical history

  • Blood sample to check general health factors (e.g., cholesterol) and screen for certain conditions (e.g., HIV)

  • Height and weight measurements

  • Physical exam

  • Urine sample

  • Some medical exams include an electrocardiogram or EKG, which involves placing painless electrodes on your skin to record your heart’s electrical signals and screen for certain heart conditions

A good way to get started is to see if your health can qualify you for accelerated underwriting. When you’re informed about your own health and your financial priorities, you’re in a better position to decide which insurance options are the best fit.

Fabric exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.

Fabric by Gerber Life exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.

Information provided is general and educational in nature and is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, financial, legal, or tax advice. Laws of a specific state or laws relevant to a particular situation may affect the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of this information. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. We make no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use, and disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information.

Fabric by Gerber Life offers a mobile experience for people on-the-go who want an easy and fast way to purchase life insurance.

Written by

Jessica Sillers

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Term Life Insurance Policy Series ICC22 2205-4004 WSA and Accelerated Death Benefit Rider policy series ICC22 2205-2623 WSA (and state variations where applicable) issued by Western-Southern Life Assurance Company, Cincinnati, OH which operates in DC and all states except NY, and distributed by Gerber Life Agency, LLC using Fabric Technologies. Gerber Life Agency, LLC is an affiliate of Gerber Life Insurance Company (est. 1967). All are members of Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern). Issuance of coverage for Term Life Insurance is subject to underwriting review and approval. Please see a copy of the policy for the full terms, conditions and exclusions. Product provisions, availability, definitions and benefits may vary by state. Payment of benefits under the life insurance policy is the obligation of, and is guaranteed by, the issuing company. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer. Products are backed by the full financial strength of the issuing company.

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