If you’re starting to shop for a life insurance policy, no medical life insurance can be an appealing option right from the get-go. With some steps from the traditional application shortened or removed, it’s less effort on your end and a shorter application process. Win-win, right?

No medical life insurance has its place,  but there’s a lot to understand before deciding if it's the right product for you.

We’ll go over what no medical life insurance is, how the application process differs from your traditional life insurance coverage, who needs it, and what a no medical life insurance policy means for your coverage.

What You Need to Know

  • As the name suggests, no medical life insurance does not require medical exams for life insurance applicants.
  • While it’s a good idea to apply for standard term life insurance no matter what and see what happens, no medical life insurance is an excellent option for people applying with pre-existing health conditions or people who fear medicals.
  • There are some limitations with no medical life insurance versus traditional. There are typically caps on your coverage amount, and you will pay a higher monthly premium.

What is No Medical Life Insurance?

Traditional life insurance policies are also known as fully underwritten life insurance policies as they require a full underwriting process. The insurance company learns about your complete medical history to determine your estimated life expectancy. This process is typically done through a detailed medical interview or with a nurse visit but can include pulling your medical records from your physician. 

With no medical life insurance,  you skip the medical interview, nurse visit, and medical tests. There are still a few questions about your general health to be answered, but not to the same degree as a fully underwritten policy. This significantly reduces your risk of being declined due to pre-existing health issues.

Because you are not going through a complete underwriting process, the application process for no medical life insurance tends to be faster and requires less effort on your part. However, you will be paying a significantly higher price.

This is because the insurer takes on a higher level of risk – no medical life insurance providers have to group everybody based on their age instead of health status, so everyone tends to get grouped into a higher risk. They have to assume you have specific health risks, even if they don’t exist. This causes your monthly premiums to go up.

Types of No Medical Life Insurance

Within no medical life insurance, there are two main types. You’ll either be getting simplified issue life insurance or guaranteed issue life insurance. 

Simplified issue life insurance requires no nurse visits or doctor's checkups, but you can still expect to answer a simple questionnaire about your health. Some of these questions would include:

  • Having been diagnosed with any severe medical conditions in the past 
  • If you were hospitalized and for what reason
  • Having been turned down for another life insurance policy in the past

Similarly to a traditional policy, you can get this as a permanent or term life insurance policy,

On the other hand, a guaranteed issue life insurance policy requires no medical examinations or questionnaires, but your coverage amount is limited at a much lower amount. You can typically expect somewhere around $25,000 in coverage for non-accidental deaths. For many of these plans, your beneficiary would only receive a payout equivalent to the payments you’ve made if you pass away in the first two years. After that, your coverage stays entirely in place for as long as you make your payments. 

Who is No Medical Life Insurance Good For?

Even with a higher price tag, there’s a reason no medical life insurance remains a staple in the industry – there is a need for it.

Here are some groups who will benefit from this type of coverage.

People With Existing Health Issues

Your life insurance premium cost can vary depending on existing health issues. Things like diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, or being a transplant recipient can put you in a higher premium price range or cause your application to be denied entirely by a traditional provider. In this case, no medical life insurance is a great way to get coverage.

It’s recommended to go through the traditional application process and see what happens, even with pre-existing health conditions! You may surprise yourself and end up approved at a better price, or you now have a price to compare to. There’s never any harm in trying!

People With Fear of Medical Exams

For many, the fear of needles or other medical treatments is enough to make them go the no medical life insurance route. The price of the peace of mind of avoiding these treatments is worth it to some. If you can’t see yourself getting through the medicals and just want the convenience, you might find no medical life insurance is the right product for you.

What You Need to Know About No Medical Life Insurance

Before you answer any questionnaires and sign on the dotted line, there are a few things you should know about no medical life insurance. 

1. You Should Apply for Fully Underwritten Coverage Either Way

Before you sign for a no medical life insurance policy, it’s worth applying for traditional coverage. Even if you have health issues, your worry will cause your premiums to be higher or result in a decline. You never know for sure until you try!

When you apply for traditional coverage, one of three things can happen. 

  • You’ll get approved at a rate you’re comfortable with.
  • You’ll receive a rate and be told how to reduce your monthly premiums. If your health issues are tied to being overweight, for example, your insurance broker could share how reducing your weight may result in a lower premium.
  • You’ll be declined and choose to go the no-medical life insurance route.

You’ll either be pleasantly surprised or be where you expected to be! Either way, there’s no harm to be done by trying. 

2. You’ll Likely Pay More for Coverage

You’re going to pay more for your life insurance policy with no-medical life insurance. Since your life insurance provider knows less about you with no medical life insurance, they have to assume you’re a higher risk. The high price is to account for their increased risk.

How much extra does this type of coverage cost?

Demographic PolicyMe Life Insurance Standard No Medical
Life Insurance Provider
Male, 25 Years Old $20.46/month $69.75/month
Female, 25 Years Old $14.47/month $43.20/month
Male, 35 Years Old $20.46/month $72.45/month
Female, 35 Years Old $15.75/month $49.50/month
Male, 45 Years Old $40.15/month $104.85/month
Female, 45 Years Old $28.15/month $83.70/month

Based on $500,000 in coverage over 10 years

If you’re healthy and want to miss the medical, you’re going to be considered a higher risk solely because the insurer doesn't know enough about you to determine you aren’t high risk – they have to assume the worst about your health.

Because of this, you end up grouped with the people who benefit from this product and are at higher risk. You’re paying more to cover the risks that the life insurance company has when they take on people who are unhealthy.

3. You Can’t Get as Much Coverage as Traditional Life Insurance

Would you be more comfortable lending $50 to somebody you don’t know or somebody you know everything about?

The same applies to life insurance providers – they’re more comfortable giving our larger policies to people they know more about. Coverage tends to be capped at a certain amount with no medical life insurance. 

With a simplified issue policy, you’re looking at around $500,000 as your cap. Guaranteed life insurance is approximately $25,000, as mentioned previously.

4. The Risk of Application Error is On You

When you fill out the medical questionnaire for no medical life insurance policies, the application error risk falls more on you.

With these types of policies, the company looks more into your medical background after something happens to you, so if you accidentally misrepresent yourself, you might be in trouble regarding your death benefit. For example, say your doctor casually recommends you talk to a particular specialist at an appointment. If you don’t and your insurance company finds out later, you can have your claim denied since you had a health risk you didn’t disclose.

This doesn’t happen as commonly with fully underwritten as the company knows all these things before they agree to cover you, versus agreeing to cover you with no-medical before they know these things

When you apply for a fully underwritten policy beforehand, it may even give you a better understanding of what these companies are looking for and better prepare you to fill out the questionnaires on your own! 

So, What Do You Do If You Want Coverage Quickly?

For many, a massive appeal of no medical life insurance is the speed and ease of the application process – after all, removing the medical visits cuts down on application time! But if the wait time is what is deterring you from a fully underwritten policy, here’s what you can do.

Check Life Insurance Provider Application Times

If the application speed is a huge factor for you, look into the typical policy turnaround time for life insurance providers. You can ask your agent what the standard turnaround time tends to be or check for review online. From there, start your application with companies that tend to turn around their policies faster. This can save you weeks!

Look Into Fully Underwritten Policies with No Medicals

Yes, fully underwritten policies without the hassle of a medical do exist. 

Some companies will offer you fully underwritten policies without a medical exam, depending on factors like age and current health standing. By just completing a medical questionnaire, you could qualify! A lower cost from being fully underwritten and time saved with no medical exam is the best of both worlds.

Final Thoughts on No Medical Life Insurance

No medical life insurance exists for a reason – it meets a huge need for people going through the life insurance application process. 

And just like any life insurance product, it’s essential to have a full understanding of the product before you decide it’s right for you! Going through the traditional life insurance application first can either pleasantly surprise you with results, or provide you with more understanding before filling out your application for no medical life insurance later on.

With either plan, you can rest easy once it’s in place, knowing that you’re covered with whatever life throws your way. 

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder

Laura brings 7 years of experience working in insurance & strategic operations as a management consultant at Oliver Wyman, after experiences at Manulife and Munich Re. In 2017, she launched a successful initiative for the World Economic Forum focused on innovation in insurance, working closely with insurers, tech pioneers, and policy-makers.

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