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Last updated on Nov 14, 2019

The Best No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance Companies

Afraid of needles? We found the four best life insurance policies that bypass the dreaded medical exam. ​
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How We Found the Best No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance Companies

40 hours of research

43 companies considered

4 top providers

Most life insurance companies require a medical exam in order to assess your health and assign you a risk level that determines your monthly premiums. These exams are typically conducted in your home by a paramedical professional, at the cost of the insurance company, and involve taking your height, weight, and blood pressure. Some require blood and urine samples to be evaluated. While these exams are made to be as quick and painless as possible, most people would agree that they’re inconvenient nonetheless. There are myriad reasons why one would want to skip a medical exam: A person could be afraid of needles, have preexisting medical conditions that would make life insurance expensive, or simply not have enough time to fit a medical exam into a busy schedule.

We looked at the three types of no-medical-exam life insurance (simplified issue, guaranteed issue, and accelerated underwriting) and combed through the policies, ratings, and coverage options of 43 life insurance companies to find the four best providers to meet your needs.

The Best No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance Companies: Summed Up

New York Life Haven Life State Farm Principal Financial
Our review Our review
The best
For seniors For the young and healthy Customer service For accelerated underwriting
Number of states served
50 50 47 50
A.M. Best financial strength rating
A++ A++ A++ A+
Moody’s financial strength rating
Aaa N/A Aa1 N/A
30-year term?
J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Life Insurance Study score
4/5 N/A 5/5 4/5
Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote

The 4 Best No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance Companies

    How We Chose the Best No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance Companies

    Accessibility

    In our search, we only considered insurance companies that offer individual life insurance policies. This eliminated providers that only write employer-sponsored group policies and providers with special eligibility requirements (e.g., to be with USAA, you have to be in or associated with the military). We also required that each company’s policies be available in at least 40 states.

    Financial strength

    In the event of a death or debilitating accident, we wanted to make sure that your provider is able to pay out any claims. That’s why we checked financial strength ratings from all three independent rating agencies (A.M. Best, S&P Global, and Moody’s). As a barometer, we required that all companies received an A- or better from A.M. Best — bonus points if they also received an A or better from S&P Global or an A3 or better from Moody’s.

    Availability of plans with no medical exam

    Beyond employer-sponsored life insurance (which we did not review here), there are three main types of no-medical-exam insurance. We scouted the availability of each of these plans from the 13 finalists that passed the benchmarks above, then evaluated death benefit/coverage amounts, term length, age limits, riders, types of life insurance available (term, whole, universal), and the likelihood that you would be required to take a medical exam if you met certain criteria.

    Simplified issue

    Also known as simplified underwriting, this plan bypasses the medical exam and only requires a medical questionnaire within the application process. This will ask for your height and weight, if you smoke, if you’re terminally ill or have any serious illnesses, and so forth. Since you’re not required to provide a full portrait of your health, and therefore pose a larger risk, providers compensate by charging you higher premiums. The upside is that you can receive coverage more quickly — in a matter of days instead of weeks. It’s your best bet for a quick plan if you’re young. That said, if you are relatively healthy and are willing to go through the inconvenience of a medical exam, you’ll likely see lower premiums and a wider variety of riders at your disposal with traditional insurance underwriting.

    Guaranteed issue

    Also known as burial insurance or final expense life insurance, this is a policy targeted to seniors or those who don’t qualify for traditional plans. Like all whole life insurance policies, it will cover you until your death, as long as you pay your premiums, but the difference is that guaranteed issue insurance doesn’t require any medical questionnaires or medical exams. It’s typically the most expensive and has the smallest death benefit (between $2,000 and $10,000), as it’s meant to provide end-of-life coverage to seniors and people with serious preexisting conditions.

    Accelerated underwriting

    Also known as express underwriting, this is technically not a type of insurance — it’s a way of issuing policies faster. With accelerated underwriting, you don’t need a medical exam. Instead, you undergo a medical interview over the phone with the provider, and then it pulls your medical records, motor vehicle report, credit score, criminal history, and prescriptions to ensure that you’re healthy. If anything serious turns up, though, you may be required to do a medical exam in order to complete the process. Typically, the rates quoted will be similar to traditional plans with full underwriting.

    New York Life — Best for Seniors


    Best for Seniors
    New York Life
    New York Life


    Pros

    AARP partnership
    Variety of no-medical-exam policies
    Accelerated death benefit rider

    Cons

    Limited customer support

    Why we chose it

    AARP partnership

    While New York Life is one of our favorite providers in its own right — we awarded it “most flexible policies” in our review of the best life insurance companies for seniors — we think that its partnership with the AARP makes it a standout choice for no-medical-exam life insurance. New York Life offers group term and permanent life insurance through NYLAARP, and medical exams aren’t required for any of its policies as long as you’re a member and between the ages of 50 and 80.

    Variety of no-medical-exam policies

    New York Life’s life insurance policies through NYLAARP do not require a medical exam or a waiting period for your plan to kick in. The company provides both term insurance, which covers people up to age 74 with a death benefit of $10,000 to $100,000, and permanent insurance. With permanent insurance, there’s a trade-off — you can either fill out the medical questionnaire in the application (which can garner you up to $50,000 in coverage) or take the guaranteed issue route, which forgoes the health questions but caps the death benefit at $25,000.

    Accelerated death benefit rider

    One of the best riders that New York Life offers is the accelerated death benefit rider, which lets you access your policy’s death benefit during your lifetime. With this policy add-on, after the first two years of coverage, you can use half of your benefit amount to cover medical treatment and end-of-life expenses if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness and given 24 months or less to live. While we hope it never has to be used, it is a valuable feature that can help your loved ones defray costs in a trying time.

    Points to consider

    Limited customer support

    Though New York Life is ranked “better than most” in J.D. Power’s 2019 life insurance customer satisfaction study, its contact options are limited. If you have any questions or concerns about your policy, you’ll either have to call the hotline (available Monday through Saturday at certain hours) or send the company snail mail. There are no email or live chat options available, unfortunately, so you’ll have to make do with what it has.

    Haven Life — Best for the Young and Healthy


    Best for the Young and Healthy
    Haven Life
    Haven Life


    Pros

    Transparent rates
    Website tailored to insurance beginners
    Variety of coverage and term length options
    Unique riders

    Cons

    Medical exam waived only for healthy individuals
    No permanent life insurance options

    Why we chose it

    Transparent rates

    Backed by insurance giant MassMutual, Haven Life prides itself on its simplicity. To illustrate that commitment, Haven Life dedicates the left side of its quote estimation page to showcasing anonymized policies from real customers. The sidebar claims that a 48-year-old male, for example, will pay $27.55 per month if he’s a nonsmoker in excellent health and wants $300,000 in coverage over 10 years. Most insurance providers wouldn’t let you have even one peek under the hood, so we appreciate the willingness to talk in real numbers (though your own rates will vary).

    Website tailored to insurance beginners

    Haven Life is MassMutual’s millennial-targeted venture, aiming to avoid jargon and distill insurance into simpler terms. Beyond the slick branding, the website does have helpful resources for those who have never had life insurance before. Haven Life has a page dedicated to explaining the different types of life insurance, what factors go into generating a quote, and which term lengths are best for certain people.

    You can also access free, no-strings-attached calculators that tells you how much life insurance you need (the author of this review is a 20-something with no dependents and therefore was told that she “probably [didn’t] need life insurance at this time”) and what your estimated life insurance policy rate would be based on basic information about your health and coverage needs. Most insurance policy applications take about 20 minutes to fill out and may involve the company pulling third-party data on you, so we appreciate that Haven Life offers a truncated version for educational purposes.

    Variety of coverage and term length options

    Haven Life offers term lengths of 10, 15, 20, and 30 years, with a death benefit that can range from $100,000 to $3 million — allowing you the freedom to tailor the plan to your needs. This stands in contrast to State Farm’s Instant Answer term insurance, which is a form of simplified issue insurance. While both insurance companies offer instant coverage, State Farm limits the death benefit to a flat $50,000, which doesn’t give you any wiggle room if you want your life insurance policy to be more robust.

    Unique riders

    Among the more common riders offered, like the accelerated death benefit rider and waiver of premium, Haven Life also offers something called Haven Life Plus, which comes with free memberships and discounts related to your health. For example, this rider would give you free annual subscriptions to Aaptiv (audio-based fitness app), Trust & Will (online service that will create an individual or joint will for you), and LifeSite (secure online storage for sensitive documents).

    Points to consider

    Medical exam waived only for healthy individuals

    Haven Life prefaces that not everyone will be eligible for the InstantTerm process (its form of accelerated underwriting, which pulls medical records, driving history, and other data to gauge your health in lieu of a medical exam). In fact, it states that “the majority of [its] customers need to take a medical exam to finalize their coverage and rate.” In contrast, State Farm’s Instant Answer term insurance doesn’t require a medical exam at all.

    We still think it’s worth going through the application process, but just know that anything you truthfully disclose — such as smoking or a recent illness — could mean that you’ll have to take a medical exam after all.

    No permanent life insurance options

    Unlike most providers, Haven Life is solely dedicated to term life insurance. If you’re looking for a plan that will cover you permanently (in the form of whole or universal life insurance), you’ll have to look at simplified issue or guaranteed issue plans elsewhere in order to find one that doesn’t require a medical exam.

    State Farm — Best Customer Service


    Best Customer Service
    State Farm
    State Farm


    Pros

    Award-winning customer satisfaction
    Simplified issue term life insurance

    Cons

    Term insurance restrictions
    No accelerated death benefit rider

    Why we chose it

    Award-winning customer satisfaction

    In J.D. Power’s 2019 survey of over 5,000 life insurance customers, State Farm received the second-highest customer satisfaction rating of all 23 companies evaluated, narrowly losing its five-year streak for the top spot. It scored five out of five (“among the best”) on price, service, policy offerings, and billing process — no easy feat for an industry rampant with complaints.

    Simplified issue term life insurance

    State Farm’s Instant Answer term insurance is made to be as simple as possible. Rather than requiring a medical exam, which can elongate your coverage wait time by a few months, you will only need to take a health questionnaire. These typically ask for your height, weight, medical history, medications taken, hospitalizations, and other health information. For people who need coverage quick or want to forgo the inconvenience of a medical exam, this is the ideal choice. Premiums will likely skew higher than those of traditional term insurance plans, since your insurance company will receive less information about you and raise rates to compensate, but it may be worth it if you’re having trouble finding insurance elsewhere.

    Points to consider

    Term insurance restrictions

    Simplified issue life insurance plans are usually small in scale — and this one is no exception. State Farm caps the death benefit of its Instant Answer Term Insurance plan at a flat $50,000. This would likely cover burial expenses, but it wouldn’t be ideal if you want to use life insurance to build wealth, cover end-of-life medical expenses, or leave a dependable stream of income for your beneficiaries. Age is restricted, too — policyholders must be age 16 to 45 upon issuance, with coverage lasting to age 50 or 10 years after the policy is issued (whichever is later).

    No accelerated death benefit rider

    Unlike our other picks, State Farm does not offer an accelerated death benefit rider, which would let you draw from your death benefit for medical and end-of-life costs while you’re still living. There are a couple of alternate riders, though, that could be a decent substitute to the ADB. These include the critical illness rider, which provides a lump sum payment upon diagnosis, and the disability income rider, which would supplement your income if you were injured and unable to work.

    Principal Financial — Best Accelerated Underwriting


    Best Value
    Principal Financial
    Principal Financial


    Why we chose it

    Clear process for accelerated underwriting

    Unlike guaranteed issue and simplified issue life insurance, no-medical-exam life insurance isn’t actually a type of insurance policy. It’s a type of underwriting process that merges your medical questionnaire with your personal records (i.e., medical, driving, and credit histories) to get a full picture of your health as an alternative to the more invasive and time-consuming medical exam, which may require urine or blood samples. With accelerated underwriting, you can get approved in less than 24 hours, provided you meet certain criteria.

    We liked Principal Financial’s accelerated underwriting process compared to others’ because it includes both term and universal life insurance plans and outlines clear qualifications. For example, Principal would consider you qualified for the program if:

    • You are between the ages of 18 and 60
    • You are at a height and weight that falls within the build chart
    • You have no major medical conditions
    • You are considering coverage between $50,000 and $1 million
    • And more

    If you do not meet all of the criteria, you’ll still likely be eligible for life insurance through Principal. You would just have to go through the traditional underwriting process and possibly take a medical exam.

    More coverage at a cheaper price

    In our review of cheap life insurance companies, we found that Principal outperformed when it came to the costs associated with high coverage limits. Generally, when you sign up for a lot of coverage, you’ll see a price tag that follows. But Principal’s premiums were less expensive than expected, considering the plans they were attached to. We think this is worth keeping in mind as you research high-coverage policies and pull quotes.

    Exemplary customer satisfaction

    According to J.D. Power’s annual survey on life insurance customer satisfaction, Principal is “better than most,” scoring four out of five on the four factors that comprise “overall satisfaction”: annual statement and billing, price, policy offerings, and interaction. In an industry fraught with complaints and mediocre service, this is a welcome surprise.

    Points to consider

    No whole life insurance

    Principal offers term and universal life insurance but no whole life insurance options. This means that you aren’t able to invest your money and accumulate cash value for housing costs or other retirement expenses through your insurance plan, so you’ll either have to go with another Principal plan or with another provider entirely. For recommendations, check out our review of the best whole life insurance companies.

    No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance FAQ

    Our Other Life Insurance Reviews

    We’ve been digging into all kinds of life insurance policies and have published additional reviews for specific needs. Check them out below:

    About the Authors

    Taylor Moore

    Taylor Moore Finance & Insurance Writer

    Taylor Moore covers banking, investing, auto insurance, life insurance, homeowners insurance, and more as the Finance and Insurance Writer for Reviews.com. Her work has been published in Chicago magazine, Chicago Reader, and The Financial Diet, among other publications. After graduating from the University of Central Florida, she moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she currently lives with her cat.