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Weighing the pros and cons of no medical exam

This article discusses the advantages (no exam, lab work or lengthy application process) and disadvantages (premium cost) of a no medical exam life insurance policy.

When you apply for life insurance, you'll be asked to complete an application that includes both your personal and health information. And in many instances, you may be required to schedule a medical exam that could include blood work. Based on all this information, the insurer will assess your eligibility for coverage and determine the appropriate premium - a process referred to as full underwriting.

However, while full underwriting is often part of the typical life insurance buying process, it's not necessarily your only option. What you may not be aware of is that in addition to full underwriting, there can be a simplified underwriting, or no exam life insurance option from various providers.

What is no medical exam life insurance?

Just as then name implies, no exam life insurance doesn't require a medical exam. It also doesn't require lab work or a lengthy application. Instead, this simplified form of underwriting typically allows you to apply for coverage by answering some basic health information questions. Based on your answers, you may be offered a life insurance policy if your answers fit the underwriting guidelines of the insurance company to which you are applying for coverage.

What are the advantages?

For many people, being able to streamline the underwriting process in order to apply for life insurance coverage can be appealing. In addition to shortened time, no exam life insurance may be a good choice if you:

  • Have specific concerns about certain medical tests
  • Prefer not to be examined by a physician or a medical technician
  • Want to secure coverage quickly without the time it may take to go through the full underwriting process
  • Prefer to apply for coverage from your home computer, over the phone, or by mail (Many insurers will allow you to apply for coverage without having to schedule an appointment with an agent)
  • Want your life insurance policy coverage in a matter of days compared to weeks with other types of insurance policies

What are the disadvantages?

In a nutshell - it's the cost. No exam life insurance typically includes premiums that can be much higher compared to fully underwritten policies. So while life insurance with full underwriting may be a more in-depth process, it is typically a lot less expensive than a no medical exam policy.

Why? Because while you may prefer not to have to answer a lot of health questions, disclose family health issues, or be subject to a medical exam, the lengthier underwriting process allows the life insurance company to be more informed when offering you a policy. In other words, they can know the amount of risk that insuring you represents to them. 

Whether or not you decide that a no exam medical policy is for you, the most important factor in applying for life insurance is not to wait. 




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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective or its subsidiaries.

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