By now, most people know that life insurance is essential in protecting their family from financial burden and stress in the event of their passing. Many times, the fear of medical offices and doctor appointments can keep people away from providing that security to their loved ones.
The good news is that there are several no medical exam insurance policy options, so you can still purchase coverage and protect your family without seeing a doctor. Because we want our clients to have the most useful information when it comes to making the best decision for them and their family, here are the 10 things everyone should know about non-med life insurance.
Quick Article Guide:
No-exam life insurance is typically purchased by a wide variety of clients. Those people who are afraid of needles, blood, and other medical office activity can avoid the stress of visiting the doctor. We also have a handful of clients who do not have a fear of the doctor, but simply don’t have the time to make an appointment—with no-exam insurance, they can skip the time consuming process of meeting with an examiner. Non-med policies are also viable alternatives for people who need life insurance quickly (for reasons like collateralizing a loan), or those who only require a small amount of insurance coverage.
Although no-exam policies typically offer smaller coverage amounts, you can still provide your family with a substantial amount of protection. The handful of life insurance companies that offer no exam insurance have policy limits that vary based on your current age, health history, and income. The following are general guidelines for non-medical exam insurance coverage:
Infant to age 21: $5,000 to $50,000 (whole life insurance)
*Age 21-65: $25,000 to $500,000 (term insurance)
or $5,000 to $500,000 (whole life insurance)
Age 66-75: $5,000 to $99,999 (term insurance)
or $5,000 to $50,000 (whole life insurance)
The price you pay for the convenience of getting approved for life insurance with no medical exam can vary. In some cases, it could be just a couple dollars more per month. In a worst-case scenario, you’re looking at a 30-40% increase.
See below for an example comparison of $100,000 20-year term policies.
*20-year term rates above are for a healthy non-smoking male. Rates are accurate as of 1/01/2018 and are provided for illustrative purposes only.
There is a wide variety of no-exam life insurance policies, so even in skipping the medical tests and appointments, you still have several options to choose from.
- Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance—Death benefits in the 50k-500k range; can apply between ages 21-65. 10, 15, and 20-year term lengths (rate guarantee period). Applicants aged 66 to 75 can qualify for a 10-year term, up to $99,999 in coverage.
- Simplified Issue Universal Life (UL)—Death benefits in the 25k-500k range; can apply between ages 21-65. Cost and death benefit fixed for life.
- Level Death Benefit Whole Life —Similar to Simplified Issue Whole Life in that death benefit and cost is fixed for life. Differences are you can apply up through age 80, smaller death benefits in the 5k-50k range, and easier to qualify. For instance, we’ve had clients qualify with type II diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol medications.
- Graded Benefit Whole Life—These policies also provide lifetime coverage at a fixed rate, taking clients with more serious health history. As a result, the cost is higher, and the death benefit is reduced during the first two years, commonly paying 40% in year one, 75% in year two. Health issues which may be approved include history of heart disease, type I diabetes, stroke, or substance abuse. Policies generally purchased in the 5k-25k range.
- Rapid Decision Senior Whole Life—Death benefits in the 10k-25k range; usually purchased by seniors between ages 65-85. Underwriting guidelines/requirements similar to Level Benefit Whole Life.
- Guaranteed Issue or “GI” Policies—No health questions asked. This is the type of life insurance advertised on TV where they say, “You can’t be turned down for health reasons.” Usually purchased by people in poor health or advanced age, where they can’t qualify for other lower cost coverage. Death benefits typically available in the $5k-$25k range.
Whenever you’re talking to an agent about non-exam insurance, make sure you’re not being sold “accidental death” coverage. This type of policy only pays the death benefit if you die as the result of an accident.
The biggest perk of no-exam life insurance is that certain policies can guarantee your coverage. On the other hand, with a fully underwritten exam, you are never actually guaranteed approval.
Any time you have an exam, you run the risk of being declined. It could be for a medical issue you have that you weren’t even aware of, or it could be because your doctor accidentally made a note in your file about a health issue that leads to a decline. These are rare instances, but they have happened.
Insurance Companies Look at Your Medical History & Conduct a Phone Interview Before Approving Your No-Exam Policy
Since you will not be taking a medical exam, the insurance company needs another way to assess their risk of insuring you. With the exception of Guaranteed Issue (GI) life insurance, you’ll likely have a phone interview with your insurance agent and an insurance company underwriter/screener following completion of a written medical questionnaire. The company will also typically receive information from, and check your history with, the Medical Information Bureau (MIB), MVR (Motor Vehicle Records), and Pharmacy Database.
When completing your questionnaire, you’ll want to answer questions truthfully, to the best of your knowledge, with all parties, including whether you’ve previously been turned down (“declined”) when applying for life insurance. (This will normally show up in the MIB check anyway.) If you have been previously declined, there is a high likelihood that you will be declined with your “no exam” application as well, unless you’re applying for a “GI” policy. There are exceptions, so be truthful with your agent so they can advise you accordingly to reduce the chance of disappointment.
It might seem like a gimmicky sales point, but no-exam life insurance does have a quick approval period. Some of our top-rated no exam companies give approval almost instantly (in some instances, even immediately after submitting the application). They pull a motor vehicle report and prescription check in the background, and if all is clear, you’ll be approved immediately.
In other situations, it could take anywhere from 24 hours to 15 business days for approval, depending on the policy type and size of the death benefit you’ve applied for. But for the most part, any waiting period is dependent on your health. Some no-exam policies offer immediate coverage once your application is approved and first payment posted. Your life insurance agent will review your options once they have your health profile.
You may be surprised to learn that even if you have previous medical issues or conditions you can still qualify for life insurance. For most no-exam policies, there is usually a waiting period for underwriters to feel comfortable the condition is under control or hasn’t reoccurred. For example:
- Type II diabetes generally has a one-year waiting period from the time of diagnosis
- Internal cancer has a five-year waiting period from the time of diagnosis
- External cancer has anywhere from a zero to three-year waiting period depending upon the type and severity
- Heart disease, requiring bypass surgery, angioplasty, or placement of stents or cardiac defibrillator will generally have a five-year waiting period from end of treatment
With “Guaranteed Issue” life insurance, there are no health questions, so just about anyone can qualify, though cost is high for relatively smaller death benefits. However, even with any of the following health issues, you can still qualify and be approved:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Blood or bleeding disorder
- Chronic brain, heart, respiratory or other serious internal organ conditions
- Chronic hepatitis B, C, or D
- Connective tissue disorder
- Hodgkin’s disease
- Inability to perform activities of daily living (toileting, transferring, continence, eating, bathing, dressing walking, managing medications)
- Kidney disease with dialysis
- Liver disease
- Lymph node enlargement or malignant melanoma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Received or been advised to receive an organ or tissue transplant
- Systemic lupus
Anyone over the age of 18 must complete their own life insurance application, including any verbal interviews. Your life insurance agent can provide you quotes for the cost, however. But state and federal life insurance require insurance companies to speak with the person who will be insured.
The advantages of no-exam life insurance include skipping having your blood draw, faster approval, convenience, and less scrutiny. The disadvantages may be limits on coverage amount, possible waiting period for full coverage, higher cost, riskier payout in first two years, an increase in cost every 5 years for some policies (including some AARP life insurance), and an end-coverage age of 80. Whether or not no-exam life insurance will benefit you is solely up to your situation, however, so one of our life insurance agents will gladly discuss your options and help you decide what will work best for you.
If you have questions about life insurance without a medical exam, or any other type of life insurance coverage, JRC Insurance Group is here to help! We represent nearly 50 of the best-rated life insurance companies in the industry. We’re experienced in matching our clients to the right company for their needs, at the best price possible. Our licensed agents will help you free of charge with care and professionalism.
Give us a call toll-free at: 855-247-9555, or request a free instant online quote to compare rates from dozens of highly rated insurers in less than a minute.
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