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Do you need to take a medical exam in order to buy life insurance? We answer this question in today’s Quotacy Q&A Friday video by explaining what types of life insurance you can buy without a physical exam.

Video Transcript

Welcome to Quotacy’s Q&A Friday where we answer your life insurance questions. Quotacy is an online life insurance agency where you can get life insurance on your terms.

I’m Jeanna and I’m Natasha.

It’s almost Halloween so we’re going to discuss the scary topic of the life insurance medical exam. And specifically today we’re answering the question:

Do I need to get a medical exam to buy life insurance?


Yes… and no. It depends on the type of life insurance you’re applying for, but life insurance companies are working to make the buying process less complicated and that does include eliminating a medical exam when it makes sense.

The main purpose of requiring a medical exam is to actually keep costs low for the population as a whole. The insurance company evaluates your medical exam results to determine if you pose a health risk. If you do, you will pay higher premium amounts to make up for that risk.

Imagine if everyone in America was allowed to pay the same price for life insurance. So someone who smokes a pack of cigarettes a day pays the same price as that nonsmoker who runs a marathon twice a year. Statistically, the pack a day smoker has a much higher mortality risk than that active runner. The insurance companies would not be able to pay out all of the death benefit claims because they would be losing money allowing those with higher mortality risks to pay such low premiums.

Or the opposite would happen. The active runner who works hard to stay healthy would be forced to pay higher premiums to make up for the smoker’s risk.

Even though a life insurance medical exam is pretty uninvasive, there are individuals who want to avoid the exam as much as possible. Perhaps they faint at the sight of a needle.

There are essentially three ways in which you can potentially avoid getting a medical exam when buying life insurance.

  1. Go through accelerated underwriting,
  2. Buy through a company that doesn’t require an exam, or
  3. Purchase guaranteed issue life insurance.


Let’s talk about what each of these options mean.

If you don’t have a problem with these things, we recommend you to go the traditional route. Most applicants save money this way.

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Qualified applicants can go through accelerated underwriting which allows you to be approved for life insurance quite quickly and bypass the exam. The key words here are qualified applicants.

Different life insurance companies have different parameters to determine eligibility. In general though, being low risk is how you become eligible. Your age and the coverage amount you’re applying for can affect your eligibility. If you have have any major medical conditions, such as cancer or diabetes, this will likely disqualify you. If you don’t have good credit history or have a criminal record, this also may disqualify you.

Keep in mind that even if you don’t necessarily qualify for accelerated underwriting, this doesn’t mean you can’t get affordable life insurance. You’ll likely just need to take a medical exam.


There are some life insurance companies that don’t have an accelerated underwriting process but you can still skip the exam if you’re within a certain age range and applying for life insurance under a specified amount. Quotacy works with an insurance company called SBLI and they offer this option.

As long as you’re aged 49 or younger and are seeking a term life insurance policy of $500,000 or less you can skip the exam.

Your premiums can still be affected by your health once your medical records are checked, but you still won’t be required to take an exam. The insurance company also has the option to decline you based on your records.

It is important to note that the approval process for SBLI’s term policy can take a much longer time than other term policies because they backtrack and review years and years of your records when evaluating your application.


The third no exam option is applying for a guaranteed issue life insurance product. These are the products you usually see on TV ads touting that you can get life insurance for less than fifty cents a day and you can’t be turned down. These things are true, but typically we only recommend applying for guaranteed issue life insurance if you cannot get life insurance the traditional route.

With guaranteed issue life insurance, not only do you get to skip a medical exam, but your medical history isn’t even taken into consideration. Because of these two aspects, life insurance companies have no idea how big of a risk you are to insure, so they make up for this unknown risk by restricting how much coverage you can buy and the premiums are much higher compared to similar traditionally underwritten life insurance policies.

Guaranteed issue life insurance is more commonly referred to as final expense life insurance. Its main purpose is to leave your loved ones just enough money to take care of the funeral costs and any other bills you may leave behind. It’s not term life insurance, it’s permanent. As long as you pay the premiums, the coverage will be active when you die.

If you’re between the ages of 50 and 80 and only need a few thousand dollars of coverage and don’t believe you could qualify for life insurance if your medical history is taken into consideration then check out guaranteed issue life insurance a.k.a. final expense life insurance.

A life insurance medical exam usually includes a height and weight measurement, a urine sample, and a blood draw. If you don’t have a problem with these things, we recommend you to go the traditional route. Most applicants save money this way.

However, if a needle is just something you don’t think you can handle, as you’ve heard today, you have some options. Quotacy can help you with all your life insurance needs. Whether you need term or whole life insurance, and whether or not you’re comfortable getting a medical exam done.

If you have any questions about life insurance, make sure to leave us a comment. If you have any questions regarding today’s topic, check out this blog: Do I Need a Medical Exam to Get Life Insurance?. Tune in next week can we talk about what types of debt life insurance can pay off. Bye!

 

About the writer

Headshot of Natasha Cornelius, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc.

Natasha Cornelius

Writer, Editor, and Co-host of Quotacy's Q&A Fridays

Natasha is the content manager and editor for Quotacy. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been making life insurance easier to understand with her writing since 2014. When not at work, she's probably studying and working toward her Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation while throwing a tennis ball for her pitbull mix, Emmett, or curled up on her couch watching Netflix. If it’s football season, the Packers game will be on. Connect with her on LinkedIn.