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Published: Apr 01, 2024 19 min read

No-exam life insurance policies have traditionally offered much lower coverage amounts than their traditional counterparts. However, many companies have upgraded their offerings in recent years and now feature higher levels of coverage along with competitive rates.

Qualification requirements vary, though, and many of these high limit policies are only available to the healthiest applicants. Nevertheless, the best no medical exam life insurance policies of 2024 offer high 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
HIGHLIGHTS
Policy types -
Term
Terms available -
10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 year terms
Coverage amounts -
$100K – $8M

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 questions. Policies start at $5 per month. Of course, your premium will be different based on factors such as your age, health conditions, amount of coverage 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
HIGHLIGHTS
Policy types -
Term, whole and universal
Terms available -
10, 20 or 30 years
Coverage amounts -
Starts at $100,000

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 insurance 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
HIGHLIGHTS
Policy types -
Term, universal, whole, variable, long-term care
Terms available -
10, 15, 20 or 30 years
Coverage amounts -
$10K to $5 million

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
HIGHLIGHTS
Policy types -
Term and whole
Terms available -
10, 15, 20 and 30 years
Coverage amounts -
$20K to $2 million

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 quote and 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
HIGHLIGHTS
Policy types -
Term and permanent
Terms available -
10 – 30 years
Coverage amounts -
$100,000 to $10 million

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 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.

AIG Direct

Pros
  • Coverage up to $10 million
  • Flexible term lengths
  • Wide variety of life insurance types and possibilities for customization
Cons
  • No-exam only available with guaranteed issue whole life
  • Higher than average customer complaints

Why AIG Direct didn’t make the cut: Though AIG offers a wider than average array of life insurance products, the only no-exam policy the company has is guaranteed issue whole life.

Guaranteed issue whole life is usually a policy that helps family members and loved ones dealing with final expenses. As a result, coverage is limited to $5,000 - $20,000. As long as you are aged 50-80, you cannot be turned down for any health reason.

See rates on AIG Direct´s Secure Website

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

In this section we will explain everything you need to know about no-exam life insurance. We’ll explore what the product is, how it works, how to get it, and the benefits of this type of policy. We’ll also take a look at the different types of no-exam life insurance, as the product is available in term, permanent and other options depending on the issuer.

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, blood pressure check, urinalysis and other health tests.

Life insurance issuers require these exams to protect themselves from insuring someone who may have a serious pre-existing medical condition. A no-exam policy incurs more risk on the insurers part, so no-exam coverage options vary widely by issuer. Some companies only offer final expenses coverage with no medical exam, while others employ third-party medical data to offer much higher coverage limits to the healthiest individuals.

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 medical exams to qualify. Instead, you’ll have to answer a series of questions about your health. Insurers will also make use of third-party data regarding your medical and prescription histories when making their decision whether or not to insure you.

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.

Oftentimes, the policies can be purchased completely online and without speaking to an agent. No-exam life insurance can go into effect immediately, unlike traditional life insurance which can take three to six weeks while the insurance company reviews your information before underwriting.

Types of no medical exam life insurance

No-exam approval can technically be offered for any type of life insurance policy. It all depends on the company. Below you’ll find descriptions for different kinds of life insurance and how no-exam functions within these life insurance policies.

Term no-exam life insurance

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.

No-exam whole life insurance

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.

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.

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.

Pros
  • No health exam or blood tests required
  • Quick application and approval compared to traditional underwriting
  • Application likely to be online
Cons
  • Low coverage limits
  • Only the healthiest individuals may qualify for substantial coverage
  • Higher premiums than traditional coverage
  • Age restrictions

How to compare no-exam life insurance policies

Comparing no-exam life insurance options is much the same as comparing traditional life insurance options. Customers should evaluate monthly premium costs, term lengths, available riders and the issuers reputation and financial strength, among other things.

However, no-exam policies also present their own specific features that are different from traditional life insurance, which we will consider here.

Coverage limits - Depending on the insurer, no-exam policies can have significantly lower coverage limits than policies that require a medical check. Many companies only have the no-exam option to cover final expenses. Additionally, companies that do offer significant coverage may only do so for the healthiest applicants.

In these situations, approval will not only be contingent on answering medical questions, but also on an analysis of the applicant’s medical and prescription histories. In comparing companies, make sure you understand how much coverage they are prepared to extend to you without a medical exam. Also, be aware they will likely be diving into your medical history to determine whether or not they will cover you.

Costs - No-exam life insurance policies can have higher premiums than traditional life insurance. In all reality, you could get a better deal going the traditional route if you are fairly healthy.

Although the lowest rates will be reserved for those in optimal health, be sure to get life insurance quotes from multiple issuers as they all have different standards in terms of who they will accept and what they will charge without a medical exam.

Term lengths - No-exam term lengths could be limited by your age. For example, if you are over 40, the maximum term you could expect could be 20 years. Compare the term lengths different issuers are prepared to offer you. Additionally, find out if you will be given the option to extend the term or convert to a permanent policy at the term's end.

Financial strength - Research the financial stability and reputation of the insurance company offering the policy. Look for ratings from independent agencies like AM Best, Standard & Poor's, or Moody's to assess the insurer's ability to pay claims.

Alternatives to no medical exam life insurance

Although companies are beginning to offer no-exam policies with high coverage limits, as mentioned before, these are usually reserved for those applicants who pre qualify because of their age and optimal physical condition. Those who may not fall into this category and require higher coverage limits may choose to go the traditional route and opt for a fully underwritten policy.

The prospect of taking a medical exam may provoke anxiety, but there’s a possibility you may be offered a better premium and higher coverage limits with one, not to mention more policy flexibility when it comes to riders and designating beneficiaries.

Best No Exam Life Insurance FAQ

How much life insurance can you get without a medical exam?

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You can get policies in the millions of dollars without a medical exam, however, these offers are usually reserved for the healthiest of applicants with unblemished medical records. For most people, no-exam policies are going to have lower coverage limits than traditional life insurance policies because they are riskier for the insurer. They also cost more.

How long is the waiting period for no-exam life insurance?

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Since you don’t have to submit to any health tests or medical exams to qualify, no-exam policies can be approved and go into effect relatively quickly. Some policies can be active immediately or within 24 hours, but it depends on the insurer.

Can you get a whole life insurance policy without a medical exam?

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Yes, it's possible to get a whole life insurance policy without a medical exam. One example is guaranteed issue whole life insurance, which typically provides enough to cover final expenses.

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 policyholder 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