Many Canadian insurance companies require a medical exam because it helps them understand the amount of risk they're taking on. It also helps them provide a better price to healthy applicants.
But, what if you don't want to do a medical exam? That's where no medical life insurance comes in. It's a convenient alternative, but it also comes at a price (literally).
In this article, we review the best no medical life insurance companies in Canada so you can decide what's the best option for you and your family.
Not sure what no medical is? Learn more about what it is and the pros and cons of no medical life insurance in our blog post.
For Canadians, Canada Protection Plan (not to be confused with the Canada Pension Plan), is the leading insurer for no medical life insurance. They have a variety of no medical and simplified issue life insurance products with both term and whole life policy options
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:
Canada Protection Plan is a leading provider of no medical and 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.
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 no medical life insurance 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.
You can read our full review of Canada Protection Plan life insurance.
Pros and cons of Canada Protection Plan:
If you want minimal health questions, PolicyMe's Term Life Insurance is a good option. Our data-driven underwriting (risk assessment) approach assesses your risk with a 26 question online application process that most eligible applicants complete in 20 minutes or less.
We'll only ask additional health questions (online) if one of the 26 base questions requires more detail.
In comparison, most fully underwritten (risk assessed) life insurance policies in Canada require an extensive application process, including a 45 minute medical interview with a nurse.
When you're done, all applicants get an instant decision. You'll know instantly if you're approved, declined or we require further information. This may include a note from your doctor and it may require a health exam (we pay for and set this up for you).
PollicyMe's term life insurance is also more affordable because it's fully underwritten, with backing from insurance giant Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company.
No medical or simplified life insurance is more expensive because the insurance company takes on more risk by not asking all medical questions. So they pass on this risk by increasing the price of their monthly premiums.
Pros and cons of PolicyMe Term Life Insurance:
Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance is a no medical life insurance product much like Canada Protection Plan's Express Elite Term Insurance, but it's much more expensive.
It would be a decent product for someone looking for non-medical coverage. However it's much more expensive compared to fully underwritten coverage like with PolicyMe.
Their website promises no medical questions, however if you go through the application process they do ask for a health history.
Pros and cons of Sun Life Go Guaranteed Life Insurance:
Cover Direct Life Insurance is a whole life plan that renews every year. They ask about 12 health and lifestyle questions over the phone but there are no medical exams or blood tests.
Because Cover Direct's policies renew yearly, this means that you can't lock in your premiums. The premiums start off cheap and get more expensive every year.
This is because Cover Direct is not fully underwritten (not fully risk assessed) as they don't do any additional requirements. They take on more risk not knowing your full health profile, so they charge you more.
Whereas with a fully underwritten product like PolicyMe term life insurance, the monthly price you start with is locked in for the entire duration of your term, even if it's for 30 years.
Everything you do is over the phone. A licensed advisor calls you, completes the medical questionnaire (about 12 medical questions) and then gets your banking info and puts your coverage in force.
It's also got an automatic inflation benefit (+three per cent) each year.
Pros and cons of Cover Direct Life Insurance:
The application process for no medical life insurance still includes a medical review component, it’s just 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 charge 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:
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.
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 (also sometimes called the paramedical exam) where a nurse or technician comes to your home or office.
The life insurance medical exam is usually fairly short, often taking about 30 minutes or less, and involves measuring vitals (e.g., height, weight, and blood pressure) and collecting samples (of blood and maybe urine too).
Completing the medical exam is much easier than going to your average doctor’s appointment. 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.
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.
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.
“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!