In general, some people just don’t like going to the doctor, maybe they’re afraid of needles, or perhaps they wish to avoid the time involved in scheduling an appointment. Then comes the pain of disrupting your day and heading to the doctor’s office (especially during the pandemic).
If you’ve put off getting life insurance because of the medical exam, you’re not alone. But, in most cases, you will be required to take a medical exam. This can include things like a blood test, a urine test, a physical exam, and maybe even an EKG.
Thankfully, there is another option – no-exam life insurance. In this article, I will outline what it is, some of the things to be aware of, and (most importantly) the advantages and disadvantages of a no-exam life insurance policy.
What is no exam life insurance?
Simply put, no-exam life insurance is exactly what it sounds like: a life insurance policy that doesn’t require a medical exam. Although you’ll avoid one of the most common steps in getting life insurance (the physical exam), you will likely still have to answer health-related questions (and be honest!). The insurance provider may also take additional steps, like requesting medical records.
It’s because of this more rapid process (and avoidance of having to get a physical) that many people gravitate toward no-exam life insurance policies.
What types of policies don’t require a medical exam?
No-exam life insurance policies come in three different variations – simplified issue, guaranteed issue, and group.
One thing to note, while many companies are starting to offer no-exam life insurance (I will outline some of the best ones below), it’s still not commonplace in the industry – yet. That being said, the no-exam life insurance providers will likely do more research on you – your medical history, your health, etc. – to ensure you’re at the health level you say you are. This is one of the only ways they can mitigate their risk.
Where can you get a no exam life insurance policy?
While there are several places you can find no-exam life insurance coverage, there are three companies that I highly recommend.
Sproutt is an insurance aggregator, meaning it works with various life insurance companies to connect you to a policy that fits you best. Sproutt works to develop a profile for each applicant and blends human agents with an algorithm to serve up the best no-exam life insurance policies for your particular situation.
As such, the entire process – from application to approval – is done online. If you need, you can talk directly with a Sproutt advisor for more assistance in selecting the right policy.
What I like best about Sproutt is not only the ease of the application process and the ability to talk to a live person, but also that they work with some top-rated insurance providers, like AIG.
Bestow is a highly-regarded player in the insurance space and one that lands on the top of many “best no-exam life insurance” lists. I’ve gone through getting a quote from Bestow, and I can tell you it’s fast and easy. Their goal is to get you a policy that fits your needs as quickly as possible.
One thing to note about Bestow is that it only offers term life insurance. You can, however, choose from a few different options regarding your term. This makes it a good solution for those who need a short-term solution, but still want the security of long-term coverage. Plus, once you’re approved for a policy, your coverage begins right away!
Another feature of Bestow that I really like is their very competitive rates – some of the lowest I have seen when comparing options personally – and they offer the ability to cancel your policy if it’s not working for you, as well.
Ladder is another fast solution for getting no-exam life insurance. Their website makes the application process easy, and everything is done online. Ladder is also transparent about their policy coverage and fees – so you don’t have to worry about getting hit with any hidden charges once you’re approved. Unlike many other no-exam life insurance companies, Ladder’s coverage goes all the way up to $8 million. You’re even able to adjust the amount of coverage you need, up or down, in the future. This means that as your life changes – such as having a family or growing older, your policy can change with you.
Ladder also has a price-lock guarantee, which protects you against rate increases as you get older and your health situation changes. Lastly, Ladder offers you the ability to get a refund within the first month of having a policy if you’re unhappy for any reason.
What are the advantages of no-exam policies?
There are several advantages to a no-exam life insurance policy. Here is what you should consider:
It’s a lot faster
With no-exam life insurance policies, you can be approved for a policy without going for a medical exam. Even if it takes a couple of days to reach a final decision, you aren’t wasting time driving to the doctor’s office, getting an exam, then waiting for results. And because of that, things will move a heck of a lot quicker for you (and provide a far lower time commitment). Some companies can even approve you for a policy in a matter of minutes!
The applications are short and easy to fill out
This might not seem like a big deal, but let me give you a scenario. A few years ago, I tried getting supplemental life insurance through my employer. Not only did they require a medical exam, but the application was horrifying. It was seven pages (front and back) and asked for every piece of information I could imagine.
Traditional life insurance applications are far more detailed than those found for no-exam policies. So with no-exam life insurance, the application process is a lot shorter and far easier to fill out.
Reduced approval time
Building off the points above, no-exam life insurance will be approved a lot faster than a traditional life insurance policy. In some cases, I’ve heard of conventional policies taking up to a few months to be approved – based on specific conditions, of course.
That’s not an ideal situation for you if you’re looking to quickly get life insurance – whether for your peace of mind, to secure coverage for a divorce decree, to get a loan for a business, or some other reason. In many cases, with the providers I’ve shown below, you can get approval within a day.
Higher likelihood of approval
A no-exam life insurance policy is approved based on your (truthful and provable) health information and sometimes your health records. It’s not based on something undiagnosed. With a traditional policy, if you were to get a medical exam and something came up unexpectedly and undiagnosed previously, you could be denied coverage.
Also, if you’re like me, you put off scheduling and going to appointments (especially during the pandemic). No-exam life insurance is all done online, so you avoid procrastination and increase your chances of approval sooner.
It’s way more private (and convenient)
In addition to the scheduling and logistics hassle of a traditional life insurance exam, it’s just not as private. Many people don’t like putting on the hospital gown and getting a full, head-to-toe body exam for a physical exam. Not to mention possible blood and urine tests! So, privacy is yet another advantage to no-exam life insurance.
Avoid fear of needles
I hate getting my blood drawn. I pass out almost every time. Some people (like me) legitimately fear needles, making it incredibly difficult to go through with a physical exam that requires a blood test. No-exam life insurance allows you to skip this part and get a policy based on your health and health records, not a blood test.
A poor testing history
Some people have a history of poor lab results with medical exams. For example, if you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, the medical exam would need to show that. If your lab results are higher than they should be, it could lead to either a decline (as I mentioned above) or a higher-risk level, thereby increasing your rates.
What are the disadvantages?
Despite a lot of benefits, there are some downsides to consider when thinking about a no-exam life insurance policy.
Your coverage options are more limited
Because of the more limited amount of information that you are required to provide on your application and because there’s no medical exam, your coverage options can be more limited than they would be with a traditional plan. Indeed, this will depend on your particular health and life insurance needs, but in general, options will be more limited for most people.
In most cases, no-exam life insurance will be more expensive than a policy requiring a full medical exam – especially if you’re very healthy. The insurance provider is taking a calculated risk by giving you a life insurance policy without a complete medical exam or labs to analyze – so they mitigate some of that risk with higher premiums.
There are also several risk classes for life insurance underwriting. Most providers that offer no-risk life insurance will give out a Standard risk class, from what I’ve seen. Standard risk class is fine, but it’s not the best. If you were to get a medical exam, and it showed that you are incredibly healthy, you may be able to get a Preferred or Preferred Plus risk class, which could drop your rates quite a bit.
Limited death benefit
No-exam life insurance will come with limited death benefit amounts – which is a big deal to some. As a reminder, the death benefit is the amount your beneficiaries would receive if you die. What I have seen is that most no-exam life insurance companies have a maximum death benefit of $500,000.
When you think about how much life insurance you need, often this isn’t enough coverage for younger families. So, if you need more than the maximum, you’ll have to get additional life insurance through your employer or a traditional policy.
While this may not be a big deal for a younger person, no-exam life insurance policies tend to have shorter term lengths than a traditional policy.
So, for instance, if you’re 65 and you want a 30-year term life policy, you’ll likely need to go the traditional route and prove you’re healthy enough to be insured until you’re 95 years old. Otherwise, a no-exam insurer might give you a 10- or 15-year policy.
Who qualifies for a no-exam life insurance policy?
Like any insurance, the best answer is that it depends. Theoretically, anyone could qualify for no-exam life insurance, but there are variables – such as how long of a term you can get, what it will cost, and what type of coverage you can receive.
That being said, there are specific circumstances when I would recommend you look into a no-exam life insurance policy.
You’re generally healthy
If you’re healthy, a no-exam life insurance policy can make a lot of sense. For instance, you know you don’t have any significant underlying health conditions that could render your policy null and void, but you may not be at peak health to qualify for the best rates possible.
You don’t want to do an in-person exam
Regardless of why – whether it’s social distancing, time commitment, privacy, or something else – if you don’t want to deal with an in-person exam, and are willing to potentially pay more for that convenience, then a no-exam policy is a great option.
You don’t qualify for traditional life insurance
Be it your age or something else, if you don’t qualify for traditional life insurance, there’s a possibility you can still be eligible for a no-exam life insurance policy.
If you don’t have any known medical conditions but are a smoker, you may get a better rate with a no-exam policy than if you were to get a physical.
You only need a small death benefit
If you’re single or don’t have any dependents, a no-exam policy might be acceptable since you may not need as high of a death benefit. If, say, $500,000 will be enough to cover your dependents in the event you die, a no-exam policy might be a good fit.
You need coverage fast
If you need life insurance coverage for a business loan, a divorce decree, or something else, a no-exam policy is the way to go. You’ll get coverage far quicker than you would by going with the traditional route.
Hopefully, this gave you a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of no-exam life insurance. It may have even helped make your decision a bit easier. Overall, if you want to avoid the long hassle of getting a traditional policy, a no-exam life insurance policy can make your life a whole lot easier.