busy mom shopping for no medical life insurance

What Is No Medical Exam Life Insurance? It Isn’t What You Think

What is “no medical exam” life insurance? If you’re in the market for life insurance, you’ve likely encountered this term. What does it mean? But there’s a lot of misconception out there. To start, “no medical exam” policies aren’t a type of policy at all.

Several life insurance policies don’t require a health exam, even if it isn’t advertised as a “no medical” policy. Here’s how to get the best policy and save money on life insurance if you’re worried about the medical exam.

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What Is “No Medical Exam” Life Insurance?

“No medical exam” life insurance, also called nonmedical life insurance, refers to policies that don’t require applicants to complete a medical exam before approval. Many people shopping for coverage say, “I want a no medical exam plan” — but it isn’t a real product category.

They’re likely looking for less-selective underwriting usually found with guaranteed issue and simplified issue policies. It might be out of convenience — maybe they don’t want the hassle of scheduling a health exam. But most often, it’s because of a health condition or possibly being denied life insurance coverage in the past. 

The simple truth is the nonmedical product has evolved. The way the market is moving, underwriting approaches are all converging. Some very selective underwriters also may not require a medical exam.

What Kind of Life Insurance Doesn’t Require a Medical Exam?

If “no medical exam” life insurance isn’t an actual product type, what kind of life insurance doesn’t require a medical exam? You might be surprised.

About ten years ago, three basic types of life insurance underwriting existed:

  • Underwritten
  • Guaranteed issue
  • Simplified issue

At the same time, applicants saw a direct connection between how selective the underwriting is and how much the policy cost:

  • Underwritten policies were the most selective and typically required a medical exam but were the least expensive. 
  • Guaranteed issue was the least selective. Coverage was “guaranteed” without a medical exam, but it often came with a high cost. 
  • Simplified issue was somewhere in between, with mid-ranged prices based on answering basic health questions during the application process.

But that direct correlation isn’t true anymore. 

Over the past few years, traditional life insurance underwriters believed they were out of step with consumer buyer expectations and started moving to a no medical exam underwriting process. 

The transition is still in progress, but it’s becoming more common to get an underwritten policy without completing a medical exam. That means you get all the benefits of life insurance at a low cost.

For example, 30% or more applications get approved at Everyday Life without a medical exam through Legal and General, one of our traditional underwriting partners. Your policy could be much less expensive than companies like Bestow, which guarantees you won’t need a medical exam.

Will You Need a Medical Exam for Life Insurance?

Whether or not you need a medical exam depends on the underwriter. But opting for a traditionally underwrite policy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need a medical exam — you could get life insurance without it.

Type Best For Medical Exam
Traditionally Underwritten
Healthier people with conventional lifestyles and occupations
Maybe
Guaranteed Issue
Everyone who can't qualify for a traditional or simplified issue policy
No
Simplified Issue
Designed to accommodate people with somewhat more complex health and lifestyle factors
No

How to Decide Which Is Right for You 

With so many life insurance companies, policy types and underwriting options, shopping for a policy can be an overwhelming and daunting process. What’s right for you comes down to the coverage amount you need, the policy’s purpose and the cost.

Younger folks generally benefit from a term life insurance policy with higher death benefits to cover income replacement, mortgage balances, debt and additional expenses. As you get older, your liabilities become less, and your savings grows — you may only need the policy to cover final expenses and burial costs.

Many Americans cite life insurance costs as a top concern when buying coverage. But a policy is cheaper than you might think. Guaranteed issue policies that advertise coverage without a medical exam can be more expensive, but that isn’t always the case.

On the other hand, you can often qualify for a traditionally underwritten policy without needing a health exam — and save money, too.

Get the Right Life Insurance Coverage

Life insurance companies make it sound like you’re more likely to get approved if you don’t want to take a medical exam. While this may be true for some types, it is not true at all for others.

The easiest way to get the right life insurance coverage is to use The Ultimate Life Insurance Calculator. It uses financial planning best practices and a few upfront health questions to match you with the best policy.

We’ll find the right life insurance for you regardless of your medical history or if you’ve been denied before. We don’t ask for your contact information, and not all policies require a medical exam to get approved.

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