While no-exam life insurance policies simplify the application process, they so have some risk for the insurance company and typically have lower amounts of coverage. In recent years, companies have upgraded these plans and now offer higher coverage limits, multiple rider options and instant approvals.
Our Top Picks for Best No-Exam Life Insurance
Best No-Exam Life Insurance Coverage Reviews
Why we chose it: Bestow’s term life insurance policy is substantial, with up to $1.5 million in coverage.
- High coverage, up to $1.5 million
- Instant coverage for most people
- Affordable, low premiums
- Guaranteed premiums
- Online applications
- Some conditions are uninsurable
- Not available in New York
- No insurance riders
Bestow sells no-medical-exam term life insurance issued by the North American Company for Life and Health Insurance. This company has a solid financial standing with an A+ Fitch rating and a strong history. Bestow also has an overall good customer service history, with a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot.
The way Bestow determines your eligibility and rates without having you visit a doctor or get bloodwork is through questions about your medical history, lifestyle and hobbies. About 90% of applicants can apply online and get coverage in minutes, though you may be denied coverage due to some health conditions, or if yuo have a history of medical issues.
Plans are affordable, starting at $11 a month, and the company guarantees premiums will stay the same for the life of the policy. However, Bestow only offers one type of policy, without the option to add riders, and it’s not available in New York.
Why we chose it: You can add several riders to State Farm’s Instant Answer policy, including a child rider, long-term care rider and waiver of premiums. The company also offers discounts for bundling life and auto insurance.
- Available for young adults
- Same-day decisions
- Offers several rider options
- Convertible policy
- Discount if you bundle with auto insurance
- Must meet with an agent
- Some conditions are uninsurable
- Limited coverage
State Farm offers a simplified policy called Instant Answer. It’s a term policy with up to $50,000 available for 10 years or until age 50, whichever is longer. You can apply for it if you’re between ages 16 and 45, and have the option of converting to a permanent life insurance policy once Instant Answer’s term is up.
State Farm offers several rider options and better rates if you bundle together your life and auto policies. You can get online life insurance quotes for no-medical-exam policies, but you have to speak to a State Farm agent to finish the application, which can be inconvenient.
State Farm has high customer satisfaction and is financially sound, with the highest possible rating of A++ superior from AM Best.
Why we chose it: Nationwide offers substantial coverage, up to $5 million, and you’re eligible to apply up to age 80, with some conditions. It’s a good no-exam life insurance option for seniors, a rarity in the industry.
- Eligible up to age 80 (75 in MN, MS, NC and PA)
- Offers multiple riders
- Builds cash value
- Offers living benefits
- Graded death benefit
- Only available as a bundle
- Low maximum amount of $50,000
Nationwide’s whole life simplified insurance policy builds cash value over the life of the policy (which, as a type of permanent life insurance, means over the course of your life, up to age 120).
While there’s no medical exam to contend with, there is a questionnaire to fill out, and some health conditions may disqualify applicants. The company offers preferred rates for healthy nonsmokers.
You can add multiple riders, such as accidental death benefit, child rider, critical or chronic illness and long-term care. The latter two fall under living benefits, meaning you have early access to some of your payouts. The policy also builds cash over time, so you can borrow against it.
However, Nationwide includes a graded death benefit, which means your beneficiaries won’t receive your full death benefit if you pass away within the first two years of your policy. Instead, they’ll get the premiums back plus 7% interest. Nationwide no-exam life insurance is also only available if you also have a new or existing Nationwide auto or homeowner’s insurance policy.
A.M. Best rates Nationwide as A+ superior financial standing, meaning it has a strong ability to pay claims. The company has a poor customer rating on Better Business Bureau (BBB), but there are only 200 customer reviews, which don’t reflect all of its customers. BBB gives the company an A+ rating.
Why we chose it: Brighthouse has a quick digital application and approval process for its SimplySelect® policy, with high coverage and living benefits.
- High coverage, up to $2 million
- Convertible policy
- Living benefits
- Guaranteed premiums
- Renewable up to age 95
- Limited customization
- Doesn’t build cash value
Brighthouse Financial’s SimplySelect® policy doesn’t require a medical exam and has no waiting period. With answering a few questions about your health, you can quickly have a policy in place, typically within 24 hours.
SimplySelect® is a term insurance policy with substantial coverage ranging from $100,000 to $2 million, but limited customization. Brighthouse offers an accelerated death benefit so you can access some living benefits if you have a terminal illness, but there are no other rider options beyond that.
The company guarantees premium rates for the length of your term, but they increase after your term expires and if you extend or renew it. You can renew the policy up to age 95, and you also have the option of converting it to a whole life policy with guaranteed level premiums, a guaranteed level death benefit, and guaranteed cash value growth.
AM Best rates Brighthouse Financial as A, or excellent, and states it has strong operating performance, appropriate risk management, and a favorable risk profile. The company’s customer rating is 3.6 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot.
Why we chose it: Ethos offers policies from small amounts up to $30,000 on its guaranteed issue policy or up to $2 million on its simplified plan.
- High coverage range, up to $2 million
- Offers simplified and guaranteed policies
- Online quotes
- 30-day trial period
- Referral program
- High renewal rate
- No cash value
- Higher premiums than other plans
Ethos offers simplified issue and guaranteed issue life insurance policies with limited to high coverage. In both cases, you’ll be asked to fill out a health questionnaire. While guaranteed issue policies mean you can’t be denied based on your medical history, simplified issue policies make no such claims.
Ethos also offers life insurance for seniors over 75 with no medical exam. If you’re between 66 to 85, you can automatically qualify for guaranteed life insurance with no questions asked. Between 20 to 65, you’re eligible for simplified no-exam insurance.
One highlight of Ethos’ plans is its referral program. If you love the plan and the company, you can share it with friends, and Ethos will give you an Amazon gift card for every friend who applies, up to an annual maximum reward of $100.
Ethos has some drawbacks, however. Its premiums are more expensive than other no-exam policies and jump once the term expires. Ethos also only offers whole guaranteed issue policies to people between ages 66 and 85, with limits of $30,000.
The company’s policies are underwritten by Legal & General America, Ameritas Life Insurance and others, which have been around since the early 1900s. Legal & General America has a strong financial standing with an AM Best rating of A+ superior.
Why we chose it: USAA’s no-exam life insurance policy is designed for young, working adults and military members but isn’t limited to active duty members.
- Online application
- Available to military and non-military applicants
- Same-day decision
- Affordable, low premiums
- No riders
- Not available in New York or Arizona
- Rates increase each year
- Limited age eligibility and coverage
USAA’s Essential Term life insurance policy offers $100,000 in coverage and is available for adults aged 21 to 35 in good health. The term lasts from your purchase date until age 39. At $15 a month, it’s an affordable plan, but your premiums aren’t locked in, which means they’ll increase by $1-$2 every year.
USAA specifically offers plans for military members, but this policy isn’t limited to active duty. Anyone within the age range, including civilians, can apply and access this coverage. If you need those types of military protection, you may want a different policy, such as USAA’s level term life insurance policy, which has a severe injury benefit of up tp $25,000.
AM Best rates USAA as A++, or superior financial strength. Customer ratings on Better Business Bureau aren’t great at 1.19 out of 5 stars and 1.3 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot. However, there are fewer than 1,000 reviews, which doesn’t represent a large number of customers.
Other no-exam life insurance companies we considered
The life insurance market is competitive, and there are many options available. We found a few other companies that stood out as top contenders.
- Coverage up to $500,000
- Online application
- Living benefits
- Not available in California, South Dakota, North Dakota, Delaware or New York
- No permanent policies
- Limited to people age 64 or under
Haven Life offers term insurance with coverage from $25,000 to $500,000. C.M. Life Insurance Company, which has an A++ superior financial strength rating from AM Best, underwrites the policy.
- No-exam coverage for up to $3 million
- Fully online application and approval
- Flexible coverage
- Only offers term coverage
- Plans only available for ages 20-60
- No added riders
Ladder Life offers a fully digital application process and up to $3 million in life insurance with no medical exam. A medical exam is necessary for any higher coverage.
- Living benefits
- Multiple riders
- Coverage to age 100
- Limited coverage, only to $100,000
- Not available in New York
- Must be purchased through an agent
Transamerica’s policy is a whole life insurance plan with coverage until age 100. The death benefit caps at $100,000 in coverage, but you can access multiple riders and three different preferred rates for healthy adults.
Life insurance guide
Life insurance is an important part of financial planning. It provides a safety net for unexpected events and helps protect your family from financial stress. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable about planning for your death, and it’s easy to put it off. Learning how the best life insurance works and getting those details ironed out early on can help your family during a stressful time. So, what is life insurance? Read on to learn more.
What is life insurance?
Life insurance is a service agreement between you and an insurance company where you pay premiums in exchange for a lump sum payment after your death, known as a death benefit. Most families depend on cash for daily living and survival. If you die, your family may lose a source of income, so life insurance acts as a form of financial security.
Your family can use your life insurance benefits to pay for living expenses or health costs after your death, which include:
- Rent or mortgage payments
- Estate taxes
- Tuition for your children
- Income replacement
- Funeral expenses
There are limits to your life insurance, though. If you want a higher insurance payout, you often pay higher premiums. Some companies don’t offer insurance coverage or have limited coverage for certain conditions or habits, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or smoking.
No-exam life insurance can be helpful and quicker, as you don’t have to do blood tests, lab tests or checkups to qualify for insurance, just answer some questions. Be aware that if the company finds out you lied on that questionnaire, say, by claiming that you’re not a smoker, your insurance will likely be voided. Further, these policies are generally more expensive than traditional life insurance.
How does life insurance work?
The general principle of insurance is simple: You pay your insurance company a monthly or annual fee throughout your lifetime. When you die, your insurance issuer pays back the policy’s face value to whoever you name as beneficiary. The payment is tax-free and lump-sum, and your beneficiary can do whatever they want with it.
While it all sounds simple, it can be complex because there are many types of insurance. Some policies expire, some last your lifetime, some have a savings plan, and their eventually being paid out ultimately depends on the financial strength of each insurer.
Term life insurance
Term life insurance is a policy that lasts for a fixed number of years, usually 10, 15 or 20 years — or until you reach a certain age. Your beneficiaries receive the benefit payout if you die before the term ends.
Once the term ends, your policy and benefit coverage expires. In some cases, the policy may stay in effect, but this usually involves very high premiums.
These term policies don’t have any cash value, so you can’t borrow against that, and you won’t receive any cash back if you cancel the policy. There are several types of term policies:
- Convertible term: Your term policy changes to a permanent life policy.
- Renewable term: You receive a quote for your annual premiums, which are usually the cheapest in your first year.
- Decreasing term: A renewable policy with coverage that decreases over time.
- Return on premium: A policy that refunds most, if not all, of your premiums at the end of your term if the death benefit isn’t paid out.
- Single term: A policy that insures one person.
- Joint first-to-die term: You and your partner are both insured under one policy, and the insurer pays the benefit for the first death.
Permanent life insurance
Permanent life insurance policies last your lifetime. Your survivors will get the life insurance payout if your death happens while you have insurance. A permanent policy can also act as a savings plan as it builds up cash value, allowing you to take out a loan against it.
You can choose different types of permanent life insurance, including:
- Whole life insurance: Also called ordinary life insurance, this lasts your lifetime with premiums that don’t change. Gains cash value. You can borrow the cash value or use it as collateral for another loan.
- Universal life insurance: Alternatively know as adjustable life insurance, this acts as an investment and earns interest. These policies usually have adjustable premiums, and the payout can increase.
- Variable life insurance: A policy that combined death protection with a savings account whose funds can be used to invest. While this may grow your policy’s value, there’s also the risk of the opposite, depending on your investments’ performance. Some policies have a minimum guaranteed level.
- Variable universal life insurance: This combines features from both universal and variable policies. You get the investment possibilities of variable life, combined with the ability to adjust premiums and the death benefit of a universal policy.
The benefits of a no-exam life insurance policy
A traditional policy usually comes with affordable premiums, especially term life insurance, but it has some drawbacks. The application process is lengthy, and they may still reject you in the end. The benefits of no-exam life insurance directly offset these complaints.
Quick application and approval process
In a traditional life insurance application process, you fill out a questionnaire, get a medical exam and bloodwork, and submit information from third parties. The underwriting takes about 45 to 60 days before your policy is in place.
A no-exam application, however, is simple and much faster than traditional life insurance, and you can have a policy within minutes. While you don’t need a medical exam, you’ll likely need to fill out a health questionnaire.
There are two main options for no-exam life insurance: simplified insurance and guaranteed issue. For simplified insurance, you answer questions about your personal and medical health history, but it’s much shorter than a traditional application. These are usually available for term policies.
Guaranteed issue policies are a type of whole-life insurance with no medical exam, no questionnaire and no medical underwriting. Everyone qualifies, and the insurer simply issues coverage after application, regardless of your medical conditions.
These no-exam policies solve a problem for people who don’t qualify for other insurance, are facing a serious medical condition or poor health, or need extra last-minute coverage to cover expenses.
Death benefit coverage
Depending on whether you choose a simplified or guaranteed issue, you can still gain significant death benefit coverage. Simplified policies used to range from $25,000 to $250,000, but some companies now offer as much as $5 million.
The downsides of a no-medical-exam policy
No-medical-exam life insurance policies aren’t perfect. There are a few downsides to consider, and these can be significant, depending on your situation.
These types of policies have several limitations, starting with availability. Insurance companies might not offer some products in your state, so you’ll need to check that you can get no-exam life insurance based on your location.
Second, every company sets eligibility by age. Simplified life insurance with no exam may have an age range from 18 to 65 or 70. However, you’re generally only eligible for a guaranteed issue policy from age 50 and on. Most companies cap new applications at age 80, meaning if you apply for a new policy at age 81, your application may be denied.
Additionally, companies that offer simplified coverage can still decline or limit your policy based on your medical history. While they say they don’t require a medical exam, they do use the questionnaire to place limits. For example, you might not be eligible for certain products or coverage amounts if you have a history of high blood pressure.
Finally, you must also have the mental and legal capacity to enter an insurance contract on your own. If you’re incapacitated because of dementia, for example, the insurance company may reject your application.
Offering life insurance with no exam means insurance companies take on higher risks. By default, they will transfer some of that risk to you, which means you’ll pay much higher premiums. Guaranteed issue policies are more expensive than simplified policies because you qualify with very little risk review.
However, it’s also important to note that even though guaranteed issue policies may be more expensive, they might actually be cheaper than traditional life insurance in some cases. For example, if you have a health condition that the insurance company believes is high-risk but still insurable, they may decide to offer you a traditional policy with a significant markup.
For some health conditions, you could be looking at a 50% to 150% markup with traditional life insurance, and you may still have to go through a waiting period. In these cases, a guaranteed issue or simplified issue might be cheaper.
Best No Exam Life Insurance FAQ
How much life insurance do I need?
A common rule of thumb is buying a policy worth 10 to 15 times your income, but you may need more or less. Consider the value of your funeral expenses, your debts, living expenses for all of your dependents and any other special costs or needs. Subtract this total from your family’s other income sources and buy a policy that covers this amount.
How much does life insurance cost?
Insurance providers don’t always disclose their plan costs, but some are as low as $5 per month, while others might cost hundreds of dollars. The final amount will depend on your health, age, whether you choose a traditional, simplified or guaranteed issue policym, and any rider options.
What is life insurance used for?
Life insurance provides financial protection and security for your family after your death. Your beneficiaries can use it to replace your income, pay off debts, pay funeral expenses and provide for children. Sometimes you can also use part of your death benefit while you’re still living to pay for expenses or other needs.
How do you borrow against your life insurance?
If you want to keep your policy in place but need some money, you can borrow some of the cash value from this account. Most companies don’t force you to repay the amount you borrow. Instead, they’ll charge you interest and deduct the total amount you owe from the payout your beneficiaries will receive.
How we chose the best no-exam life insurance
We followed a comprehensive guideline in our search for the best life insurance with no exam. Overall, we gave the most weight to companies with the best financial strength ratings, along with the best benefit coverage, rider options and rates.
Rates and cost
Plan rates can vary based on personal health and age, but we set some parameters to help guide our decisions. We ranked plans with advertised monthly fees from $0 to $25 as low premiums, $26 to $65 as moderate premiums, $66 to $99 as high premiums and $100+ as very high premiums. We also prioritized plans with pricing transparency and whether premiums increased on renewal.
Customer service and reputation
We looked at public reviews from Trustpilot and Better Business Bureau and complaint ratings. If public review ratings were poor, we also considered the number of reviews in relation to the ratings. Finally, we considered each company’s financial standing from AM Best and eliminated companies rated as B and below because of potential vulnerability.
Coverage limits and amounts
No-exam policies often have lower coverage amounts because of the higher risk for the insurance company. Given the tendencies, we rated high coverage as $500,000 or more, moderate as $101,000 to $499,000 and limited coverage as $0 to $100,000. We also looked at the included riders and any other add-on options.
Good coverage at an affordable price is an important point that customers consider, so we also considered a few discounts within our ratings. These include preferred rates for age and good health and bundling discounts.
Summary of Money’s 7 Best No-Exam Life Insurance of 2023
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