author-profile
ByTaylor Moore Finance & Insurance Writer

Taylor Moore is a finance writer for Reviews.com. Her work has been published in Chicago magazine, the Chicago Reader, and elsewhere.

The Best No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance Companies

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

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 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 Accelerated Underwriting
Principal Financial

Principal Financial

Pros
Clear process for accelerated underwriting
More coverage at a cheaper price
Exemplary customer satisfaction
Cons
No whole life insurance

Why we chose it

Clear process for accelerated underwriting

Unlike guaranteed issue and simplified issue life insurance, accelerated underwriting 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

Why do life insurance companies require medical exams?

Most life insurance companies require medical exams because it allows them to assess how risky you are to insure. “Insurance companies want to make sure they have the most relevant data available to them to gauge their risk in underwriting,” Schimri Yoyo, a life insurance specialist at EffortlessInsurance.com, explains. “Relatively speaking, for the pennies of premium that an insured pays for a policy, life insurance companies are on the hook for large amounts of dollars. Therefore, insurers want to get the greatest return on their investment.”

The factors taken into consideration are height, weight, medical history, lifestyle habits such as smoking and drug use, and conditions such as high blood pressure. Medical exams allow providers to confirm the information that was provided to them in the medical questionnaire and determine your life insurance classification, which will affect your premiums.

What does a medical exam consist of?

A medical exam, oftentimes known as a paramedical exam, is usually conducted at home rather than at a medical center or hospital. At the cost of the provider, a nurse or other medical professional will visit you for about 30 minutes and ask questions about your medical history, including medications you take, if you’ve ever been hospitalized, any conditions you may have, and the medical history of your family. They will also measure your height and weight, take your blood pressure and pulse, and request samples of your blood and urine (you will be notified in advance if these two tests are required).

Afterward, it may take up to a few months to process your samples and provided info. Some life insurance policies will cover you from the day you sign the application of insurance — meaning you’re covered during the wait time — while others start when you receive a clean bill of health. You should ask your provider which is the case so that you know when you’ll be covered.

What types of life insurance don't require medical exams?

In general, there are three types of life insurance policies that don’t require a medical exam:

  • Employer-sponsored: Workplaces often provide a baseline level of guaranteed life insurance coverage as part of your benefits package at little or no cost to you. The death benefits are generally low (between one to two years’ salary), so we recommend looking at your work-provided policy as a supplement and not your primary policy.
  • Simplified issue: Instead of requiring a medical exam, the insurance company just needs you to answer a medical questionnaire within the application. You’ll be asked about your height, weight, medical history, lifestyle habits (e.g., smoking) – information that it’ll need to estimate your lifespan and risk level. Your quote will likely be higher than if you’d gone the traditional underwriting route and taken the medical exam, but you’ll receive coverage much more quickly, since blood and urine samples from a medical exam often take several weeks to process.
  • Guaranteed issue: Typically considered a last resort for seniors or people who have serious and/or terminal preexisting conditions. This permanent insurance policy is sometimes known as burial insurance or final expense life insurance because it provides just enough of a death benefit to cover end-of-life expenses (typically between $2,000 and $10,000). It’s expensive, but you’ll receive coverage quickly and won’t have to answer any health-related questions, let alone undergo a medical exam.
  • Accelerated underwriting: While this is technically not a type of insurance, it is a new, technologically advanced form of underwriting that providers are adopting to speed along the underwriting process. In lieu of a medical exam, you’ll have to answer questions about your health and medical history, typically over the phone or online. From there, the insurance company will pull third-party information about you that will inform its understanding of your lifestyle and risk level. This can include medical records, motor vehicle reports, credit and criminal histories, and more. You can expect the rates to be like those you’d receive if you’d gotten a traditionally underwritten plan with a full medical exam. But not everyone will qualify for accelerated underwriting, as companies generally prefer young, healthy people who do not smoke or engage in high-risk hobbies or occupations.

Who should consider no-medical-exam life insurance?

No-medical exam life insurance is a good choice for:

  • Seniors or people with terminal illnesses who need end-of-life coverage or burial insurance
  • People who need insurance ASAP and can’t wait for coverage
  • People with high-risk occupations or hobbies
  • People who have a recent history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • People who don’t want blood or urine samples taken during the medical exam
  • People who find the medical exam inconvenient and can afford higher rates
  • Young tobacco users who do not intend on quitting

However, it’s likely not the best option for:

  • People who are price-sensitive or on a budget
  • People who are young and/or generally healthy
  • People who want a plan with a large death benefit
  • People who can tolerate a medical exam if it means lower premiums
  • People who don’t need life insurance coverage immediately

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:

You might also like