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People often ask, Do I need a medical exam to buy life insurance? The short answer is yes and no.

Most life insurance policies 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 60 and applying for life insurance coverage of $750,000 or less, SBLI (The Savings Bank Mutual Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts) 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.

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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.

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:


18-50 Up to $1,000,000

Legal & General America (Banner Life)

Up to $500,000 (for 10-year term length)
Up to $1,000,000 (for all other term lengths)
Up to $750,000 (for all other term lengths)
Up to $500,000 (for all other term lengths)

John Hancock

18-60 Up to $3,000,000

Lincoln Financial Group

18-60 Up to $1,000,000

Pacific Life

18-60 Up to $2,000,000


18-40 Up to $3,000,000


Up to $1,000,000
Up to $500,000


18-60 Up to $3,000,000


18-60 Up to $750,000


Up to $3,000,000
Up to $1,000,000

United of Omaha

18-60 Up to $2,000,000
Note: Fitting into this criteria does not automatically qualify you for accelerated underwriting.

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.

Height Weight (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

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Comparison shop prices on custom coverage amounts from the nation’s top carriers with Quotacy.

If you fall within these age, coverage amount, and build parameters, you might 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.

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.

choosing an online life insurance plan on Quotacy

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’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

The life insurance rates and underwriting guidelines in this post are up-to-date as of 2021, but subject to change.

About the writer

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

Natasha Cornelius, CLU

Senior Editor and Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Natasha Cornelius, CLU, is a writer, editor, and life insurance researcher for Quotacy.com where her goal is to make life insurance more transparent and easier to understand. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been writing about life insurance since 2014. Natasha earned her Chartered Life Underwriter designation in 2022. She is also co-host of Quotacy’s YouTube series. Connect with her on LinkedIn.