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Everything you need to know about no-medical-exam life insurance

No-medical-exam life insurance is a life insurance policy that doesn’t require a medical exam during the application process. These policies can be beneficial for people with pre-existing health conditions, but the premiums tend to be much more expensive.

When you apply for a life insurance policy, you’re often required to complete a medical exam. During the exam, a physician from the insurance company takes your vitals, reviews your medical history, and asks questions about your job, lifestyle, and hobbies.

Based on the findings from your medical exam, the life insurance company determines if you’re eligible for coverage and uses the results to calculate your premium. In general, young and healthy people pay the lowest life insurance premiums, while older people and individuals with pre-existing conditions pay higher rates.

However, some life insurance companies offer no-medical-exam policies, which do not require a medical exam to get approved. In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about no-medical-exam life insurance, including how it works, what companies offer it, and who should consider it.

What is no-medical-exam life insurance?

No-medical-exam life insurance is any life insurance policy that does not require a comprehensive medical exam to get approved. Rather than completing an in-person physical exam, your approval is based on a health questionnaire. You might also be required to complete a phone interview with a representative from the insurance company.

You can think of no-medical-exam life insurance as one category of policies. There are several types of no-medical-exam coverage you can buy, which differ in terms of the underwriting process, cost, and amount of coverage available.

Simplified Issue Life Insurance

Simplified issue life insurance is one form of no-medical-exam life insurance. In lieu of a medical exam, you’re required to answer a series of health questions on the application. In addition to the basics, like your age, height, and weight, you might also be asked to disclose your tobacco use, recent hospitalizations, prescription medication use, and driving record.

Although simplified issue policies are easier to qualify for, not everyone gets approved. Depending on your health questionnaire responses, the insurance company will decide whether you are eligible for coverage. You can typically get a high amount of coverage with a simplified issue policy (think $1 million or less) but the premiums are more expensive than a fully underwritten policy that requires a medical exam.

Guaranteed issue life insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of policy that does not require a medical exam and has automatic approvals for almost anyone who applies. The application only requires one or two health questions and you can often get coverage on the same day you apply.

Guaranteed issue life insurance is also called burial insurance or final expense insurance, as it’s commonly purchased by older people who have pre-existing conditions and can’t get approved for life insurance with a medical exam. These policies have some of the highest premiums and only offer a small amount of coverage, usually capped at $25,000, depending on the insurer.

Group Life Insurance

Group life insurance is coverage that you get through your employer as an employee benefit. Group life insurance policies are underwritten as guaranteed issue, which means you can automatically get approved without an exam or in-depth health questionnaire.

One of the biggest benefits of group life insurance is that the premiums are subsidized by your employer, so you pay less out-of-pocket compared to an individual policy. However, keep in mind that you typically lose your group life insurance coverage if you change jobs.

Consider that if you become ill with something life-threatening and have to stop working you will lose your life insurance just when you need it most.

Pros and cons of no-medical-exam life insurance

Choosing no-medical-exam life insurance might sound like a more convenient way of getting coverage. But the truth is, there are advantages and drawbacks to this type of life insurance. Before you apply for no-medical-exam coverage, consider the pros and cons to see if it’s the best option for your needs.

Pros

  • Easier approvals for people with pre-existing health conditions.
  • The application is much shorter and takes less time to complete.
  • Can often get coverage on the same-day, without a lengthy waiting period.

Cons

  • Premiums are more expensive than policies that require a medical exam.
  • Certain no-medical-exam policies only provide a small amount of coverage.
  • You may be limited in the types of life insurance you can get without an exam.

Who should get no-medical-exam life insurance?

When it comes to getting life insurance, no-medical-exam coverage is a good option for some people. This type of life insurance can be beneficial for those with pre-existing conditions, people who want coverage quickly, or individuals who have “failed” a life insurance medical exam in the past.

However, no-medical-exam coverage is not ideal for everyone, and it has a number of drawbacks. Most notably, the premiums are more expensive and you might be limited in the amount of coverage you can buy. It’s generally recommended to only consider no-medical-exam life insurance if you can’t get approved for coverage with a medical exam.

Where to buy no-medical-exam life insurance

Not every of the best life insurance companies sells no-medical-exam policies, but there are an increasing number of providers that sell this type of coverage. Ladder is one option that’s 100% digital when you apply for coverage that’s $3M or less.

Ladder Life Insurance

Ladder offers addorbable term lengths between 10 and 30 years with a coverage minimum of $100,000 and a maximum of $8 million. The company is unique in that it gives you the option to “ladder” your coverage, which allows you to adjust your death benefit as your family’s financial needs evolve.

Pros:
  • Affordable term life coverage
  • Easy application
  • Option to “ladder” your coverage
Cons:
  • Only sells term life policies
  • No riders available
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Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (CA license # 0K22568; AR license # 3000140372) offers term life insurance policies: (i) in California, on behalf of its affiliate, Ladder Life Insurance Company, Menlo Park, CA (policy form # P-LL100CA); (ii) in New York, on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, New York, NY (policy form # MN-26); and (iii) Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company®, Kansas City, MO (policy form # ICC17-M-1069, M-1069 and policy # TL-146) in the District of Columbia and all states except New York and California. Only Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York is authorized to issue life insurance in the state of New York. Insurance policy prices, coverages, features, terms, benefits, exclusions, limitations and available discounts vary among these insurers and are subject to qualifications. Each insurer is solely responsible for any claims and has financial responsibility for its own products.

Here are a few other no-medical-exam life insurance companies that we recommend checking out:

Bestow

Bestow is an online life insurance carrier that exclusively sells no-medical-exam term life insurance. You can choose term lengths of 10 to 30 years (in 5-year increments) with $50,000 to $1.5 million in coverage. You can get a quote online, submit the application in just a few minutes, and if you’re approved, your coverage begins on the same day.

Another thing we like about Bestow is that it advertises affordable no-medical-exam coverage. Rates for term life insurance start at just $10 per month, so it’s easy to fit into your budget.

Bestow also has excellent ratings, like an A+ grade from AM Best for financial strength, which proves its reputability.

Lemonade Life

Lemonade is best known as the digital renters insurance platform, but more recently, the company entered the life insurance market. Through Lemonade Life, you can purchase no-medical-exam term life insurance entirely online, without completing a long health questionnaire. The application process only takes about five minutes, according to the company, and rates start at $9 per month.

Lemonade Life sells term life insurance policies with term lengths of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years, and you can get up to $1.5 million in coverage.

Lemonade Life’s no-medical-exam policies are underwritten by the North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, which is the same provider that underwrites Bestow’s no-medical-exam policies.

Lemonade Life Insurance Agency is a sub-producer of Bestow Agency, LLC. Life insurance quotes provided by Bestow Agency, LLC dba Bestow Insurance Services in CA, who is the licensed agent. Term Life Insurance Policies offered by Bestow are issued on policy form LS181 and LS182, or state version including all applicable endorsements and riders, by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance®, Administrative Office, One Sammons Plaza, Sioux Falls, SD 57193. Products or issue ages may not be available in all jurisdictions. Limitations or restrictions may apply. Not available in New York. The application asks about your lifestyle and health to avoid requiring a medical exam.

Ethos

Ethos is another digital life insurance company that sells term life insurance without a medical exam. You can choose term lengths of 10 to 30 years, with up to $2 million in coverage (higher than the coverage limits Lemonade Life and Bestow offer). However, you must be at least 20 years old to get a policy from Ethos (the minimum age for Lemonade Life and Bestow is 18).

Ethos partners with a handful of highly rated life insurance companies to underwrite its no-medical-exam policies, including Legal & General America, AAA Life, and Ameritas Life Insurance.

Every policy has a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you have the option to cancel your coverage within the first month if you decide it’s not right for you.

Summary

As the name implies, no-medical-exam life insurance eliminates the need for you to have a medical exam to be approved for a life insurance policy. While it’s a good option for those who have pre-existing conditions or have had difficulty getting approved for life insurance in the past, be aware of its higher premiums and possibly limited coverage.

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