No Medical Exam Life Insurance

One of the first things you need to understand about life insurance is that the entire premise is based on probability and statistics. There is a reason why insurance companies charge less premiums to younger people than do for older people and it is that they are less likely to have to pay out a death benefit for someone in their thirties than they are for someone in their seventies.

Insurance companies, through the compilation of years of research and statistics, have learned how to put a percentage on the likelihood of a truly accidental death, such as a car accident. They also have figured out that certain lifestyle choices can increase that someone’s demise is not accidental at all. They compensate for having to pay out death benefits unexpectedly by spreading out the risk of that to the thousands of other customers.

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Factors Affecting Life Insurance Costs

When you fill out an application for life insurance you will be asked questions about your activities that might affect your premiums (e.g. cliff-jumping, sky-diving). But, the number one criteria that will affect your premium besides your age is the state of your health.

Even the most basic of life insurance applications will ask questions about your health. And the questions are heavily weighted towards matters relating to your heart, lungs, and vascular conditions. There are not many questions, if any, about your teeth or about skin condition because people very rarely die from problems related to these areas—unless it is skin cancer.As you get closer to purchasing life insurance you should expect to have to do a little more than vouch for your physical condition on a piece of paper. The amount of coverage you are looking for will determine how detailed the medical examination will be. As you might expect, the higher the amount of coverage the more information the insurance company will want about your health.

When Are Medical Exams Required?

A 40 year-old male seeking a $100,000 policy will probably not need a full-blown medical exam, but rather have one administered by a paramedic or a nurse. This typically means taking an oral fluid sample, drawing some blood, taking a urine sample, measuring blood pressure, taking a pulse and the usual thing such as measuring height and weight. It might include an electrocardiogram.

Once a policy exceeds $100,000 or the applicant is over 40 years of age, the insurance company will require a more complete medical exam than the one described. This type of exam will be administered by a medical doctor. Some insurance companies request that the doctor be certified as an internist or heart specialist rather than just a general practitioner. The medical exam from a doctor will probably involve the same things as mentioned above but could also involve a stress test, and a thorough review of the body’s systems. The life insurance company wants to know what the potential is, if any, for kidney failure, heart failure, or liver impairments that may put the insured at risk of not reaching the average age of death. This may sound callous, but the insurance company is trying to minimize risk. It simply could not be in existence if it continually paid out death benefits to people who clearly were in poor health or engaged in high-risk behavior.

Avoiding the Medical

So you may be wondering if you can get life insurance and somehow avoiding having to undergo a medical exam. You can. And more and more companies are making this option available to their current and potential customers.

The no medical exam option is only available for term insurance. To date, there are no whole or universal life policies available with the no medical exam option, it is only available for term life insurance.

While you may be spared the inconvenience of medical exam that doesn’t mean you will avoid answering questions about your physical health.

You will still have to answer questions about your dietary habits, exercise habits, and how much you smoke (if at all) and how much you drink (if at all). You will not gain anything by failing to mention any serious or pre-existing conditions. If it is discovered that you died from a condition that you did not mention on your application it is quite possible that the death benefit could be denied. This would put your family in an unnecessarily precarious position.

Is It Worth the Convenience?

The main advantage to no medical exam life Insurance is convenience. If you opt to go this route you need to know that some of the riders that are present in regular term will not be present in No Medical Exam. For example, there will probably not be an accelerated death benefit, which is a rider that would allow for a payout in the event of a diagnosis of a terminal disease.

There will also be a ceiling on the amount of term insurance you can get without a physical, which is currently at about $500,000.

As you might expect, the premiums for no medical exam term life will be more expensive than regular term life insurance. You are paying for the convenience. It is the same principle that makes a bottle of water at the grocery store cheaper than a bottle of water at the local gas station.


As with any insurance policy or financial document you should read a no medical exam life insurance policy very closely. You should have all your “What happens if?” questions answered before you sign it. It may be helpful to compare a no medical exam life insurance policy to a typical term policy. This may prompt you to just go ahead and get the medical exam for regular term. Then again, it might not. That will be something for you to decide.

The no medical exam life insurance policy may seem like a product that has been created recently to accommodate the lives of very busy people who simply do not have time to go through a laborious medical exam. That is not necessarily true, but the product has evolved in recent years to meet not only the scheduling needs of its policyholders but its financial ones as well.

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