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Published: Feb 12, 2024 19 min read

While no-exam life insurance policies simplify the application process, historically they have offered lower coverage amounts. However, in recent years, many companies have upgraded their offerings. The best no medical exam life insurance policies now offer higher coverage limits, multiple rider options, efficient online application processes and instant approvals.

Check out our list of the best no-exam life insurance companies, which includes innovative companies offering no-exam policies with attractive features. We’ve also included a guide to no-exam life insurance to help you as you evaluate your life insurance options — read on to learn more.

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Our Top Picks for Best No-Exam Life Insurance

  • Ladder — Best for High Coverage Amounts
  • State Farm — Best for Bundling Discounts
  • Nationwide — Best Overall
  • Ethos — Best for Low Minimum Coverage Amounts
  • USAA — Best for Members of the Military
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Best No-Exam Life Insurance Coverage Reviews

Pros
  • Up to $8 million in term life coverage
  • No medical exam and 100% online application for coverage of $3 million or less
  • Rates start at $5/month
Cons
  • Minimum coverage is high at $100K
  • Not available in New York
  • No policies for adults younger than 20

Why we chose it: Ladder’s term life insurance policy is substantial, with up to $3 million in coverage without a medical exam. The company offers coverage up to $8 million, but an exam is required.

Ladder’s no-exam term life insurance application process is completely digital, and only requires answering a few health-related questions. Policies start at $5 per month. Of course, your premium will be different based on factors such as your age, health, coverage amount and term length.

Read our full review of Ladder Life Insurance.

See rates on Ladder's Secure Website

Pros
  • Same-day decisions
  • Offers several rider options
  • Convertible policy
  • Discount if you bundle with auto insurance
Cons
  • Must meet with an insurance agent to complete application
  • Some medical conditions are uninsurable
  • Coverage limit for no-exam is $50K

Why we chose it: State Farm offers a simplified policy called Instant Answer that doesn't require a medical exam. It’s a term policy with up to $50,000 in coverage available for 10 years or until age 50, whichever is longer. You can apply if you’re between ages 16 and 45, and have the option of converting to a permanent life insurance policy before Instant Answer’s term is up.

State Farm has high customer satisfaction ratings and is financially sound, with the highest possible rating of A++ superior from AM Best.

Read our full review of State Farm Life Insurance.

See rates on State Farm's Secure Website

Pros
  • For the healthiest qualified applicants, no medical exam is required for up to $5 million in coverage
  • Multiple policy options, including Term, Universal, Whole, Variable, Long-Term Care (standalone policy)
  • Both indexed and variable universal life policies available
  • Across policies, coverage from $100K to $5 million
Cons
  • Not available in New York
  • Only the Life Essentials term policy may be purchased online; otherwise, an agent is required for purchase

Why we chose it: We chose Nationwide as best overall because of the variety of affordable policies with coverage limits from $100K to $5 million.

Nationwide offers several life insurance policies: term, whole life, whole life guaranteed issue, and universal. Not all applicants will require a medical exam as the company employs an intelligent underwriting process that pre screens individuals. This process pulls digital health records and allows the healthiest applicants to bypass the exam.

However, like with all insurers, the company’s best rates are reserved for nonsmokers in excellent health.

AM Best rates Nationwide as A+ superior financial standing. The company also ranked 2nd in JD Power's 2023 Individual Life Insurance Study.

Read our full review of Nationwide Life Insurance.

See rates on Nationwide's Secure Website

Pros
  • Coverage from $20K to $2 million
  • Policy includes a free will and estate planning tools
  • Ethos claims 95% of applicants are approved
  • People aged 66-85 automatically qualify for guaranteed issue life insurance
Cons
  • Sells only term and guaranteed issue policies
  • Doesn't offer riders
  • Not available in New York

Why we chose it: At $20,000, Ethos has one of the lowest minimum coverage amounts as compared to other companies we evaluated.

No-exam term life insurance coverage from Ethos for people aged 20 to 65 starts at $20,000 and goes up to $2 million. Term lengths are 10, 15, 20 and 30 years, and applications can be completed entirely online in about 10 minutes.

Except in cases of serious medical conditions, Ethos doesn’t require medical exams. For most, coverage begins as soon as you make your first premium payment.

Ethos is an insurance agency, not a life insurance company, and so it offers policies through various insurance providers. The carriers Ethos works with include Legal & General America, TruStage, Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. and Mutual of Omaha. All of these insurance carriers have high ratings with AM Best, Moody’s and S&P.

Read our full review of Ethos Life Insurance.

See rates on Ethos' Secure Website

Pros
  • Online application
  • Available to military and non-military applicants
  • Same-day decision
  • Affordable premiums
Cons
  • No riders
  • Not available in New York or Arizona
  • Rates increase each year
  • Limited age eligibility and coverage

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.

USAA’s Essential Term life insurance policy offers $100,000 in coverage and is available for adults aged 21 to 35 who are 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.

While USAA primarily offers plans for military members, this policy isn’t limited to active-duty personnel. Anyone within the age range, including civilians, can apply for this coverage. If you need a policy with military protection features, you may want to consider USAA’s level term life insurance policy, which has a severe injury benefit of up to $25,000.

AM Best rates USAA as A++, or superior financial strength.

Read our full review of USAA Life Insurance.

See rates on USAA's Secure Website

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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.

Fabric by Gerber Life

Pros
  • Coverage from $100,000 to $5 million
  • Term lengths in 5-year increments from 10 to 30 years
Cons
  • Minimum coverage amount is high compared to many companies we evaluated
  • No-exam only available for up to $1.5 million in coverage, depending on eligibility
  • Finances and health status could trigger a medical exam

Why Fabric by Gerber Life didn’t make the cut: In addition to your health, the company considers your finances to dece whether a medical exam is necessary. This factor isn’t considered by companies in our top picks.

Fabric by Gerber Life sells several types of life insurance policies, including term life insurance with no medical exam required for coverage up to $1.5 million. The company also offers a fully digital application process via its website or mobile app. However, your financial situation (in addition to health factors) could trigger a medical exam.

See rates on Fabric by Gerber Life's Secure Website

Transamerica

Pros
  • Living benefits
  • Multiple riders
  • Coverage to age 100
Cons
  • Limited coverage, only to $100,000
  • Not available in New York
  • Must be purchased through an agent

Why Transamerica didn’t make the cut: Transamerica doesn’t offer a fully digital application process, and its coverage maximum is lower than some other companies we evaluated.

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.

See rates on Transamerica's Secure Website

Life insurance guide

Life insurance is an important part of financial planning. It provides a safety net that can help your loved ones cover final expenses, debts and loss of income in the event of your death. There are multiple types of life insurance, including life insurance policies that don't require a medical exam.

All life insurance policy applications go through a process called underwriting, during which the insurance company evaluates your information and considers the level of risk it assumes in insuring you. With no-exam, you don’t have to undergo a medical exam to purchase your policy.

Read on to learn the difference between no-exam life insurance and traditional life insurance.

What is no-exam life insurance?

No-exam life insurance is a life insurance policy that does not require you to undergo a medical exam. Traditional life insurance policies are subject to medical underwriting, which typically entails a medical exam, blood work, urinalysis and other health tests.

With no-exam life insurance, the underwriting process doesn’t include a medical exam and typically only requires that you answer a questionnaire about your current health, medical history and the medical history of your blood relatives.

This means the underwriting process is faster for no-exam policies than for traditional policies. These policies can also be purchased completely online and without speaking to an agent. You may be approved for no-exam coverage within minutes, as opposed to the weeks traditional underwriting can sometimes take.

However, only certain types of no-exam policies, such as Guaranteed Issue, guarantee approval without a medical exam. Depending on your responses and the insurance company’s terms, you could be asked to submit more information about your health (e.g. medical records) or ultimately undergo a medical exam.

How does no-exam life insurance work?

No-exam life insurance approval and coverage is usually quicker, as you don’t have to submit to any health tests or checkups to qualify. Instead, you answer questions online about your health.

However, you must be completely honest in your responses to your health questionnaire. if your insurer finds any discrepancies — for example, you falsely claim that you don’t use tobacco products when you actually do — your policy could be voided.

Types of no medical exam life insurance

Think of no-exam life insurance as a facet of a life insurance policy, as opposed to a life insurance product in and of itself. You can find any kind of life insurance — term life insurance as well as permanent life insurance types, such as whole life insurance and universal life insurance — available without the requirement of a medical exam.

However, it’s important to look at policy changes when a medical exam isn’t required. For example, a no-exam whole life insurance policy may have a lower death benefit maximum than that of a whole life insurance policy with traditional underwriting.

Below you’ll find descriptions for different kinds of life insurance and how no-exam functions within these life insurance policies.

Term life

Term life insurance is a policy type 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 death benefit payout if you die before the term ends.

Once your term ends, your policy and benefit coverage expires. You may also have the option to convert your term policy to a higher-cost permanent policy at this time.

Term policies don’t have any cash value you can borrow against, and you won’t receive any cash back if you cancel the policy. However, they are the most common type of insurance policy that does not require a medical exam.

Whole life

Whole life insurance coverage lasts for life. This type of permanent life insurance usually includes the option to add riders or supplemental coverage such as an accelerated death benefit (access to the death benefit if you’re diagnosed with a terminal illness) or children’s term insurance.

Additionally, depending on the type of policy, your policy may accrue cash value. As you pay your premiums, this money earns interest and may pay dividends. Depending on the insurance company, you can borrow against this amount in the form of a loan. You can also use that cash value to pay your premiums.

No-exam options within whole life insurance policies are available, but often the death benefit is lower than if you do undergo a medical exam.

Accelerated underwriting

Accelerated underwriting life insurance is similar to a no-exam policy: it offers a faster and more efficient application and approval process. Unless there’s an underlying medical issue, you won’t need to take a medical exam. Instead, you answer a health questionnaire online, and the insurer examines your medical records.

Approvals via traditional underwriting can take weeks, but with accelerated underwriting, you may be approved within days — or even sooner. However, accelerated underwriting life insurance tends to be costlier. Additionally, the age limit for eligibility is usually capped around 60 or 65 years old.

Simplified issue

Simplified issue life insurance, like accelerated underwriting, does not require a medical exam. You provide information about your health via a questionnaire, typically through the insurance company or agency’s website or mobile app. However, approval is not guaranteed with simplified issue policies. As with any other no-exam option, certain medical conditions or even high-risk hobbies (e.g. skydiving) could lead to your application being denied.

Guaranteed issue

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of whole life insurance wherein your approval is guaranteed — with no medical exam required. This option is ideal for seniors, people with serious medical conditions and anyone who’s been denied life insurance coverage in the past.

Guaranteed issue policies are more expensive, and usually feature a graded death benefit. This means that if you die before the waiting period (often two or three years), your beneficiaries will not receive the full death benefit. Coverage maximums may also be lower for this type of policy.

The benefits of a no-exam life insurance policy

The benefits of a no-exam life insurance policy include faster processing times and, of course, avoiding a medical exam. While traditionally underwritten policies are generally more affordable than no-exam policies, they have some drawbacks. The application process is lengthy, and the insurance company may still reject your application. Read on to find out if no-exam life insurance could be a better choice for you.

Quick application and approval process

In a traditional life insurance application process, you fill out a questionnaire, undergo a medical exam and submit information from third parties, such as your primary care physician. Underwriting may take weeks or months to process.

A no-exam application, however, is simple and much quicker than traditional life insurance. You may be able to secure a policy within minutes. Unless there is an underlying health issue, you don’t need a medical exam. However, nearly every no-exam option will require that you fill out a health questionnaire.

Death benefit coverage

Death benefit coverage with no-exam policies may be as low as $10,000 and as high as $3 million. In the past, no-exam life insurance offered lower coverage amounts, but today there are many companies with greater death benefit amounts. Still, the minimums and maximums vary across insurers.

The downsides of a no-medical-exam policy

The downsides to no-medical-exam life insurance policies include age restrictions, coverage limits and a slightly higher cost than traditional life insurance. However, all of these factors vary across insurers.

Eligibility by state

Insurance companies sometimes have restrictions based on location. You may find the policy you want is not available in your state. Be sure to check to be sure your location is eligible for coverage.

Age restrictions

Simplified issue life insurance and no-exam term policies are typically available for people ages 18 and up. The cut-off is usually around 65 or 70 years old. 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.

Coverage limits and denials

Companies that offer no-exam policies can decline an application or limit a policyholder’s coverage amounts based on medical history. While there is no medical exam required, you do have to respond to a health questionnaire, and the insurer uses that information to determine your coverage options. For example, you might not be eligible for certain products or coverage amounts if you have a history of high blood pressure.

Cost

By offering life insurance without an exam, insurance companies take on more risk. 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 issue policies because you qualify with very little risk analysis during the underwriting process.

However, it’s also important to note that even though guaranteed issue policies may be more expensive, they may actually be cheaper than traditional life insurance in some cases. For example, if you have health issues or medical conditions that the insurance company deems 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 may be cheaper.

Best No Exam Life Insurance FAQ

What is no medical exam life insurance?

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No medical exam life insurance policies issue life insurance policies without a medical exam. Instead of undergoing an exam, you answer medical questions, which the insurer uses to determine your eligibility and rate. Most no-exam life insurance policies are term life insurance policies, although some companies offer permanent policies with no medical exam required.

How much does no medical exam life insurance cost?

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No medical exam life insurance can be purchased for as little as $5 per month if you're young, healthy and your coverage amount is low. However, based on the life insurance companies we evaluated, policy rates are between $20 and $40 for a $250,000 policy. To get a better estimate of your possible premium, look for an online quote generator on the website of the life insurance company of your choosing.

How many life insurance policies can you have?

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You can have multiple life insurance policies at one time. However, you may be limited in how much total coverage you can purchase. Life insurance companies will evaluate existing coverage when considering your application.

Is a no-exam life insurance policy worth it?

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A no-exam life insurance policy may be worth it — despite the possibility of paying a higher premium than a fully underwritten policy — if you want to avoid the hassle of a medical exam. A Guaranteed Issue policy with no medical exam, which is typically costlier than other kinds of life insurance policies, may also be worth it if you've been denied coverage in the past.

How we chose the best no-exam life insurance

We followed comprehensive guidelines in our search for the best life insurance with no exam. We prioritized companies with the highest financial strength ratings and the best coverage options and rates. Read on to learn more about the methodology behind our choices for the best life insurance companies with no exam required.

Rates and cost

Life insurance rates are based on the applicant's health, age, policy type and coverage amount. We prioritized companies that have rate generators on their websites and used those tools to compare quotes. We gave additional points to companies that were transparent about policy details and premium increases.

Customer service and reputation

We looked at public feedback from third-party review sites and information available via the Better Business Bureau. If customer review ratings were poor, we also considered the number of reviews in relation to the ratings. Finally, we considered each company’s AM Best financial strength rating and eliminated companies rated B and below.

Coverage limits and amounts

No-exam policies often offer lower coverage amounts because of the higher risk for the insurance company. We focused on companies offering over $100,000 in coverage as well as riders or any other add-on options.

Discounts

Obtaining good coverage at an affordable price is important for customers. With that in mind, we included companies offering preferred rates based on age and good health as well as discounts for bundling life insurance with other insurance products.

Summary of Money’s 5 Best No-Exam Life Insurance of 2024

  • Ladder — Best for High Coverage Amounts
  • State Farm — Best for Bundling Discounts
  • Nationwide — Best Overall
  • Ethos — Best for Low Minimum Coverage Amounts
  • USAA — Best for Members of the Military