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  • Writer's picturejimmy ting

Life Insurance Without a Medical Exam?

I remember my life insurance medical exam. It was relatively painless, but if it would have taken longer than 30 minutes or required me to sit in a waiting room, I might not have gotten the coverage I needed. What can I say? I know myself.

The need to take a medical exam can understandably encourage people to push “buy a life insurance policy” further down their to-do list. The health exam itself is not a big deal, but it’s a hurdle that takes time out of your day. It gets personal. And frankly, no one likes needles.

These days, there are several options available for buying term life insurance online. Some online life insurance providers have made progress in using sophisticated underwriting algorithms to remove the need for a medical exam among certain qualified applicants. Other digital options ask minimal health questions online and adjust premiums as a result of the ambiguity in your health. And still others don’t require you to answer any health questions at all.

If you’re in the market for life insurance and want to know whether you should consider buying a no-exam policy, you need to do a bit of research to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money while also being honest with yourself about whether you’re willing to take time out of your day for a medical exam. To help you pick the right type of policy for your needs, and understand what your options are, here are a few key questions to consider.

What are the tradeoffs with no-exam life insurance?

It’s always the right question to ask: What’s the catch? Well, it’s how much you are willing to pay for life insurance. Medically underwritten or individually underwritten coverage is usually less expensive than an entirely no-exam life insurance policy, especially if you’re already fairly healthy, but that means getting a life insurance health exam in many cases. These exams are relatively short, only taking about 20 minutes. The upside is that, because you’re providing the most accurate portrait of your overall health, the life insurance company can offer you the best possible rate. The other upside is that in some cases you won’t actually need a medical exam for medically underwritten coverage (more on that later).

If you’re in the market for life insurance and know you don’t want to take a medical exam, do a bit of research to ensure you’re getting the best value for your money—and for your health. Or, that you are comfortable with the tradeoffs.

How much life insurance can you get without an exam?

Ultimately, life insurance companies and agencies are in the risk-management business. Because of that, they will limit how much coverage you can get without an exam, just as a way of protecting themselves. We’re not implying you would lie on a medical questionnaire; it’s just that you might have a condition you’re not even aware of (like high blood pressure) that would affect your rates if discovered in a medical exam. Your insurer will factor in the unknowns when assigning you a rate for no-exam coverage.

The coverage limits will vary depending on the type of policy you buy.

What kind of life insurance does not require an exam?

There are a few types of life insurance policies that don’t always require a medical exam. Medically underwritten life insurance allows you to skip the exam in some situations. Simplified issue life insurance and guaranteed issue life insurance never require a medical exam.

Learn more about these types of policies:

Simplified issue life insurance

True to its name, a simplified issue policy is fairly, well, simple. You fill out a short questionnaire about your health. The insurer makes a coverage decision. You skip the medical exam.  And boom, you either have or don’t have life insurance. [Keep in mind that issuance of the policy or payment of the benefits may depend on the truthfulness of answers provided in the application.]

What’s not simple is the cost. Here’s something to keep in mind when shopping for coverage: The less an insurer knows about you, the less affordable coverage can be. Case in point: Simplified issue life insurance. Because an insurer will know less about you — and won’t have detailed information about your health history and other relevant lifestyle decisions — you are generally going to pay more for a simplified issue policy than you would with a medically underwritten one.

One other thing: You might not get as much coverage as you would like or need. Maximum coverage amounts are often limited to $500,000 or less, and you might even be limited to  term lengths of 20 years or less.

For more information about Life Insurance call JCT Insurance Agency at (626)354-2000 or email

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