People often ask Do I need a medical exam to buy life insurance? The short answer is yes and no. (That’s Quotacy’s do the right thing policy in action. We’re here to give you straight talk about life insurance.) Most life insurance plans will require a medical exam, but the insurance companies are working to make the buying process less complicated and that includes eliminating a medical exam when it makes sense.

If you’re between the ages of 18 and 49 and applying for life insurance coverage of $500,000 or less, SBLI is currently the only insurance company we work with that ensures you won’t need a medical exam. We’ll dig a bit deeper into SBLI later in this post.

» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator

There are other life insurance companies that eliminate medical exams for qualified applicants as well, but you won’t necessarily know if you’re qualified until after you apply. This process of allowing applicants to buy life insurance without requiring a medical exam is called Accelerated Underwriting.

Not only does the accelerated underwriting process not require a medical exam, you can often be approved for life insurance in a much faster time frame than the traditional process.

Life insurance approval from start to finish with traditional life insurance underwriting takes an average of four to six weeks while approval with accelerated underwriting can be completed within a week. This is because there is no need to schedule physical exams and fewer medical records need to be ordered (this isn’t the case with all accelerated underwriting programs).

How Do I Qualify for Accelerated Underwriting?

There are three main determinants for qualification:

1. Your age
2. Your health
3. Your coverage amount

The table below shows the life insurance companies Quotacy works with that currently offer an accelerated underwriting process, along with their age and coverage amount criteria.

Insurance Company:Age Range:Coverage Amount:

Legal & General America (Banner Life)

20-50
46-50
41-45
20-40
Up to $500,000 (for 10-year term length)
Up to $500,000 (for all other term lengths)
Up to $750,000
Up to $1,000,000

John Hancock

18-60Up to $1,000,000

Lincoln Financial Group

18-60Up to $1,000,000

Principal

18-60Up to $1,000,000

Protective

46-60
18-45
Up to $500,000
Up to $1,000,000

SBLI

18-49Up to $500,000

United of Omaha

18-55Up to $1,000,000

William Penn

20-50
46-50
41-45
20-40
Up to $500,000 (for 10-year term length)
Up to $500,000 (for all other term lengths)
Up to $750,000
Up to $1,000,000

In addition to age and coverage amounts, in order to be eligible for accelerated underwriting, your height and weight need to be in a healthy range. The table below gives a sample of a typical build chart that life insurance companies use.

HeightWeight (lbs)
4’8”82-138
4’9”85-143
4’10”88-148
4’11”91-153
5’0”94-158
5’1”98-164
5’2”101-169
5’3”104-175
5’4”108-180
5’5”111-186
5’6”114-192
5’7”118-198
5’8”122-203
5’9”125-209
5’10”129-216
5’11”133-222
6’0”136-228
6’1”140-235
6’2”144-241
6’3”148-248
6’4”152-254
6’5”155-261
6’6”159-267
6’7”163-274
6’8”168-281
6’9”172-288

If you fall within these age, coverage amount, and build parameters, you may be eligible for accelerated underwriting.

Ready to get your life insurance quote?

You're a few minutes away from great life insurance

Get your quote

» How much will I pay for life insurance? Help me get my quote

» How much life insurance do I need? Help me calculate my needs

How much life insurance do you need?

Figure out your action plan with our needs calculator

Calculate needs

If you fall within these age, coverage amount, and build parameters, you may be eligible for accelerated underwriting; however, your overall health and lifestyle factors do still come into play—just as they would if you applied for life insurance that requires a medical exam.

The following are typical health issues that may likely disqualify you from an accelerated underwriting process:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse/treatment
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cancer (except basal or squamous cell)
  • COPD
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Hepatitis
  • Kidney disease
  • Lupus
  • Melanoma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Stroke

The following are non-medical factors that may disqualify you from an accelerated underwriting process:

  • Bankruptcy within the last five years
  • DWI/DUI within the last five years
  • Felony conviction
  • Tobacco or marijuana use within the last 12 months
  • Hazardous job or hobbies

Don’t be discouraged if you think you may not qualify for accelerated underwriting. You can still apply and if certain factors don’t align, it doesn’t mean you can’t get life insurance. You’d just end up being required to go through traditional underwriting—which means a medical exam.

» Learn more: What Does a Life Insurance Medical Exam Test For?

What Is the Accelerated Underwriting Process?

After you run a quote and complete an online application, your Quotacy agent will email and let you know if it looks like you could be approved for the accelerated underwriting process.

The first step in determining if you’ll be approved is a verification phone call.

During this phone call, a representative of the insurance company will ask you questions about your life and health. During this time, reports such as your Motor Vehicle Report, a prescription history check, and Medical Information Bureau reports are run.

We often find out if you are approved for accelerated underwriting within 48 hours of this phone interview. If you do not qualify, you will be contacted to schedule a medical exam. Don’t feel disheartened if this occurs, some applicants will need to go through the traditional underwriting process.

You can back out of the life insurance process at any time with no penalty, but we encourage you to continue the process. The younger you are, the less your life insurance costs. If you are not eligible for accelerated underwriting now, it’s not likely that you will in the future. But it is likely that your life insurance premiums will increase if you wait to get coverage.

How Do I Apply for the Accelerated Underwriting Process?

Now we can revisit talking about the life insurance company SBLI. As of right now, they are the only company to guarantee that you will not need a medical exam if you fall within the age and coverage amount parameters.

However, it’s important to note that oftentimes the accelerated underwriting process with SBLI actually takes longer than the traditional process with another company because SBLI tends to order many medical records to make up for the fact that they won’t require an exam.

With the other life insurance companies Quotacy works with, you won’t know until after they run a few reports and complete your phone interview whether or not you’re qualified for accelerated underwriting.

When you apply for life insurance through Quotacy, we recommend that you choose SBLI if you’re adamant about skipping the medical exam.

screenshot image of Quotacy's life insurance providers

Note: SBLI is not available in New York or Montana, so if you’re applying through Quotacy with a zip code from one of those two states, SBLI will not show up as an option.

If you have any questions regarding the accelerated underwriting process, contact Team Quotacy at any time. If you’re ready to apply for life insurance, start by getting a free (and always anonymous) term life insurance quote today.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes

About the writer

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

Natasha Cornelius

Marketing Content and Social Media Manager

Natasha is a content manager and editor for Quotacy. She has worked in the life insurance industry since 2010, and making life insurance easier to understand with her writing since 2014. When not at work, you can find her throwing a tennis ball for her pit bull 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.

Explore more from QuotacyLife

Curated articles that make life easier and worth living