For most people, the worst part of buying life insurance isn’t wading through the sea of initial quotes or filling out the lengthy application. It’s having to undergo the medical exam (also sometimes called the paramedical exam).

To be fair, completing the medical exam is much easier than going to your average doctor’s appointment. That’s because a nurse or technician will come right to your home or office. And within 30 minutes, they’ll conduct the exam and leave you to get on with your day. There’s no sitting forever in a waiting room only to get a requisition form for bloodwork that needs to be done at a separate clinic.

But even though insurance companies have made the medical exam as convenient as possible without getting rid of it entirely, most people still hate the idea of doing it. So like many other Canadians, you might wonder if there’s a way around it.

Well, the sort of good news is that there is. But just like the NEXUS line at airport security or the fast pass lane at a theme park, it comes at a price–literally.  

In this article, we explain what no medical life insurance is, who it’s right for, and where to find the best coverage in Canada.

What is the life insurance medical exam?

When you apply for life insurance, your insurance company completes an underwriting process to understand how likely you are to die while holding your policy. In other words, your insurer wants to know what the chances are that they’ll have to make a payout to your beneficiary.

As part of the underwriting process, most insurance companies have you undergo some form of medical review so they can learn the nitty-gritty details about your health. Typically, this medical review takes the form of a medical exam at your home or workplace. It’s fairly short and just involves measuring vitals (e.g., height, weight, and blood pressure) and collecting samples (of blood and maybe urine too). However, some insurers just have you do a 20-minute phone interview with a health care professional about your personal and family medical history.

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that you don’t have to pay to complete the medical review process. Just imagine how many potential customers insurers would lose if applicants had to pay to be poked and prodded.

How does no medical life insurance work?

Even the less invasive medical interview is still 20 minutes of your day that you’d probably rather spend doing just about anything else. So you may be tempted to consider buying no medical life insurance instead. But how does this type of insurance actually work?

No medical life insurance is also known as simplified issue life insurance. When you apply for it, you get to skip the medical exam. Instead, you fill out a health questionnaire and allow your insurer to take a peek at your medical records.

Although no medical life insurance might appeal to lots of people, it’s best for those who don’t qualify for a standard life insurance policy. You might fall into this category if you have a chronic illness (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, or cancer), a family history of serious medical issues, substance use problems, or a dangerous hobby (e.g., scuba diving) or job (e.g., logging). Yup, swimming with sharks regularly can be enough to exclude you from traditional coverage even if you’re perfectly healthy.

What can disqualify me from no medical life insurance?

“No medical life insurance” is a bit of a sneaky term. Because as we’ve mentioned, it still has a medical review component. It’s just a questionnaire instead of an exam or interview. So you won’t automatically qualify for no medical life insurance if you apply for it. You still need to fill out the questionnaire. And based on your responses, you can still get denied coverage.

How does the health questionnaire work? Usually, it’s organized into sections. And the farther you make it through these sections without answering “yes” to a question, the better your chances are of getting more coverage for a lower cost.

Answering “yes” to certain questions will just reduce the amount of coverage you’ll be eligible for or increase the amount you’ll have to pay in premiums. But with other questions, answering “yes” could mean that you’ll be out of luck for coverage. For example, you could get disqualified for no medical coverage if you’ve had a recent health scare (e.g., heart attack or stroke), have an upcoming surgery, or been recently charged with impaired driving. In case you need it, here’s yet another reason not to drink and drive!

How much does no medical life insurance cost?

Even though the application process for no medical life insurance still includes a medical review component, it’s not as thorough as a medical exam or interview. For this reason, your insurer won’t learn as much about your health and how risky it makes you as a policyholder.

So what do insurance companies do? They cover their butt by charging you more (sometimes much more) for coverage. If you were waiting to hear about the catch or trade-off of no medical life insurance, this is it.

Here’s how rates for no medical life insurance compare to rates for standard (i.e., fully underwritten) life insurance:

Age $500,000 of Canada Protection Plan Simplified Elite, 10 year policy for males $500,000 of Manulife, 10 year policy for males
20 years old $68 / month $26 / month
30 years old $72 / month $26 / month
40 years old $79 / month $32 / month
50 years old $157 / month $73 / month

Best no medical life insurance in Canada

Let’s say that you’ve looked into your options and decided that no medical life insurance is the right fit for you. What’s the best insurer to get your policy from?

For Canadians, Canada Protection Plan (not to be confused with the Canada Pension Plan), is the leading insurer for no medical life insurance. It’s a privately owned company that’s based in Toronto and has been around for about 25 years. This makes it younger than most Canadian life insurance companies on the block. But it’s a solid option for older adults and people who haven’t been able to get coverage before.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for no medical life insurance from Canada Protection Plan:

Coverage Amount Canada Protection Plan Simplified Elite No Medical Life Insurance 20 year policy for a male, aged 35
$100,000 $22/month
$200,000 $38/month
$300,000 $54/month
$400,000 $70/month
$500,000 $86/month

Canada Protection Plan

Canada Protection Plan is a leading provider of No Medical & Simplified Issue Life Insurance in Canada.  That means that they do not require the extensive medical telephone exams needed with the other insurers in Canada. Compare Canada Protection Plan life insurance quotes today.

Shopping for a life insurance policy can be especially intimidating for anyone recently diagnosed with a severe health condition such as a heart attack, cancer, or a stroke. Simplified issue or guaranteed issue products are life insurance products that do not require medical exams (or sometimes even medical questions) to qualify. The trade-off is that the policies are much more expensive than traditional term life insurance and usually cap you on the total amount of coverage you can buy. But if you are unable to purchase regular term insurance, a simplified issue or guaranteed issue life insurance policy could be an excellent way to get some life insurance coverage and a small death benefit for your family.

Top things to consider when choosing Canada Protection Plan

  • Not for everyone: Canada Protection Plan offers many options for elderly customers and those that have not been able to get insurance in the past. However, if you are young and healthy, this is probably not the right insurance provider for you.
  • No medicals required: A Canada Protection Plan application requires no fluids, no doctor’s notes, and no medical exams. 
  • Fast time to approval: Given there are no fluids or medical tests, Canada Protection Plan has some of the fastest approval times in the industry. Often, customers will be approved within as little as 48 hours!

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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