Best No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance

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No-medical-exam life insurance simply refers to any life insurance policy for which you can apply without taking a medical exam. It’s an option for anyone who wants a life insurance policy but would prefer to skip the exam. It used to be that you had to undergo a medical screening for most types of life insurance. But more and more companies are adopting “accelerated” underwriting processes instead of the traditional underwriting process that requires an exam. 

With accelerated underwriting, you answer thorough health questions, the insurance company checks your medical and other records, and you may have a phone interview in some cases. But unless red flags are raised, there is no health exam. According to the American Society of Actuaries, pricing for policies issued with accelerated underwriting is similar to those that require an exam. However, it’s worth noting that there are other no-exam processes that tend to be more expensive (but even less invasive) than accelerated underwriting. These include simplified issue, which asks only a handful of health questions, and guaranteed issue, which asks none.

Below we look at the best life insurance companies for no-medical-exam life insurance for 2022. 

Best No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance

No-medical-exam life insurance refers to coverage issued without a medical exam and without the need for an attending physician’s statement, a recent medical exam, or recent lab work.

Why Trust Us We collected over 5,000 data points from 91 life insurance companies to measure financial stability, customer satisfaction, product and feature variety, and the overall buying experience. We then scored each company based on 55 metrics to develop unbiased, comprehensive reviews to help our readers make the right insurance decisions for their needs. Read our Full Methodology
91 Companies reviewed
55 Features considered
5,005 Data points analyzed

Best Overall : Nationwide

Investopedia's Rating
4.7

Nationwide
  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Pros
  • No-medical-exam life insurance with up to $5 million in coverage

  • Excellent customer satisfaction

  • A wide range of policy types

  • Three living benefits included in most policies

  • Allows credit card payments

Cons
  • No-med-exam coverage limit less impressive if you’re 50+

  • Burial insurance only available to existing policyholders

Nationwide is a well-rounded, financially stable life insurer that delivers across categories. That’s why it’s also our top pick for best life insurance companies of 2022. The company offers up to $5 million of coverage without requiring eligible applicants to undergo a medical exam. This is the second-highest amount among our top picks, and no-exam underwriting is available for most policy types. 

Nationwide offers a wide range of policy types, and most include three free living benefit riders. They may let you access part of your death benefit while you’re still alive if you’re diagnosed with a chronic, critical, or terminal illness. Of the 91 life insurance companies we reviewed, Nationwide is one of only a handful to offer such a benefit. 

Nationwide is also one of the few life insurance companies to accept credit card payments. And customers take notice—the company ranked second in a J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey and has received very few customer complaints over the past three years, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). 

However, if you’re over 50, Nationwide’s no-med-exam options are less generous, only allowing you up to $1 million if you’re 51 to 60 years old. While that may be sufficient for many applicants, it’s far less than what some competitors offer for this age group. The company also offers burial insurance with up to $50,000 in coverage that doesn’t require a medical exam. But it’s only available to existing Nationwide policyholders.

Best for High Coverage : Penn Mutual

Investopedia's Rating
4.2

Penn Mutual
  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: Yes
Pros
  • No-med-exam life insurance with up to $7.5 million in coverage

  • No-med-exam life insurance available to 64-year-olds

  • Strong dividend-paying history

  • Well-priced term policies

  • Very few customer complaints relative to its size

Cons
  • Limited website information

  • Online applications not available

  • Quotes not available on website

Penn Mutual takes the cake when it comes to high-coverage and high-issue-age no-medical-exam life insurance. The company offers up to $7.5 million in coverage to applicants as old as 64. Of the 91 life insurance carriers we reviewed, no other offered this much coverage without an exam. Nor did any other company offer no-medical-exam life insurance over $1 million to 64 year olds without receipt of recent lab work and an attending physician’s statement (APS). 

Penn Mutual pays dividends on eligible policies and has done every year so for the past 174 years, which is one reason it made our list of best whole life insurance companies. Plus, the company offers very well-priced term policies for a range of age groups and has a very low incidence of customer complaints, given its size, according to the NAIC.

But Penn Mutual’s website leaves a lot to be desired. Not only are quotes unavailable, but there’s little information on what the company actually offers. To better understand your options and policy-specific features, you’ll need to reach out to an agent.

Best for Financial Stability : Guardian

Investopedia's Rating
4.4

Guardian Life Insurance
  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A++
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Pros
  • No-med-exam life insurance with up to $3 million in coverage

  • Highest financial stability rating

  • Very few customer complaints relative to its size

  • Policies are eligible for dividends

Cons
  • Limited website information

  • No online application

Guardian offers up to $3 million in coverage without a medical exam to applicants up to 50 years old. Though not as substantial a sum as either Penn Mutual or Nationwide, it’s sufficient for many applicants. But aside from its no-medical-exam coverage, Guardian is a standout company. For starters, it’s the only one on this list to have secured an A++ rating from AM Best for financial strength. An A++ is the ratings agency’s highest grade and indicates that Guardian has a “superior” ability to pay its claims. In fact, only nine of the 91 insurers we reviewed were rated so highly. 

On top of this, Guardian has received very few customer complaints over the past few years and pays dividends to eligible policyholders. However, the company did not do so well in the J.D. Power customer customer survey—out of 21 of the largest life insurers, it came in 11th, with a score that was just below average. There is also very little policy-specific information on Guardian’s website, which could be problematic if you prefer to research a company’s offerings without contacting an agent.

Best for Instant Decision : John Hancock Life Insurance

Investopedia's Rating
3.4

John Hancock
  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Pros
  • No-med-exam life insurance with up to $3 million in coverage

  • High issue ages for no-med-exam coverage

  • Wellness program included

  • Critical illness rider that does not reduce coverage

Cons
  • Most accelerated death benefit riders are not free

  • Can’t get a quote or apply on the website

John Hancock offers life insurance without a medical exam for up to $3 million in coverage to applicants up to 60 years old. That’s pretty good. It’s not Penn-Mutual good, but it stands out because many companies that offer accelerated underwriting for death benefits that high have an age limit of 50. In fact, John Hancock’s high age limits landed it on our list of best life insurance companies for seniors. Plus, some applicants are eligible for an instant decision after submitting their application online through an agent, according to the company. 

John Hancock also has a wellness program for policyholders, which is uncommon. It gives members perks like discounts on fitness trackers and even on life insurance premiums. The program has two iterations, Vitality GO (free) and Vitality PLUS ($2/month).

But while the wellness program is a nice touch, we’d like to see the company include more living benefits, (also called accelerated benefit riders (ABRs), free of charge. Most companies in this list include two (or more) living benefits, such as terminal, chronic, and critical illness riders. But John Hancock charges extra for most of the living benefits riders it offers. 

Important to note, however, is that its critical illness rider (available for a fee) is not an ABR, meaning it won’t reduce the death benefit if you decide to use it. Virtually all of the companies we reviewed that offer critical illness riders reduce the death benefit if you use the rider.

Fewest Complaints : Pacific Life Insurance

Investopedia's Rating
4.1

Pacific Life
  • AM Best Rating: AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations. A+
  • Accepts Credit Cards: No
Pros
  • No-med-exam life insurance with up to $5 million in coverage

  • High issue ages for no-med-exam coverage

  • Outstanding customer satisfaction

  • Affordable term coverage

  • Policy details are online

Cons
  • Quotes unavailable on the website

  • Can’t apply without an agent

Pacific Life leads the pack when it comes to the fewest complaints received relative to company size over a three year period. In fact, of the 91 insurers we reviewed, only two other companies received fewer (they each got zero complaints). Pacific Life also comes in fourth out of 21 companies in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey. 

The company offers coverage up to $5 million without a medical exam to applicants up to 50 years old, and $3 million to applicants up to 60. Many companies that offer no-med-exam coverage to 60 year olds do not offer as much as $3 million. And aside from Penn Mutual’s $7.5 million coverage cap, $5 million is the highest amount we’ve seen for any age group. 

We also like that you can find a wealth of policy-specific information on Pacific Life’s website. You’ll see policy names, coverage details, and whether they’re available in your state. This level of transparency is uncommon in the life insurance industry. Pacific Life also has affordable term insurance, especially for applicants in their 40s and younger. 

However, you won’t find quotes on the company’s website and you will need to apply for any type of coverage with an agent.

Compare the Best No-Medical-Exam Life Insurance

Overall Rating Best For
AM Best Rating
AM Best is a credit rating agency that assigns insurance companies a letter grade from “A++” to “F.” A company’s grade indicates its ability to pay its claims and honor its financial obligations.
Years In Business
Policy Types
Accepts Credit Cards
Reset All
Nationwide
4.7
Best Overall A+ 97 Years Final Expense, Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Yes Get a Quote
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Penn Mutual
4.2
Best for High Coverage A+ 175 Years Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole Yes Get a Quote
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Guardian
4.4
Best for Financial Stability A++ 162 Years Term, Universal (UL), Whole No Get a Quote
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John Hancock Life Insurance
3.4
Best for Instant Decision A+ 160 Years Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Variable Universal (VUL) No Get a Quote
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Pacific Life Insurance
4.1
Fewest Complaints A+ 154 Years Indexed Universal (IUL), Term, Universal (UL), Variable Universal (VUL), Whole No Get a Quote
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Final Verdict

All of the companies on this list represent good options for getting life insurance without a medical exam. All are A+ rated or better for financial strength and have received fewer complaints than expected when averaged over a three-year period. If you don’t need more than $3 million in coverage and are 50 or younger, any company on this list could be a good fit. But if you’re over 50 and looking for a death benefit of more than $1 million, you can rule out Nationwide. If you’re over 60, your only option for high-coverage no-medical-exam life insurance is Penn Mutual. And regardless of your age, Penn Mutual is your only option if you need a death benefit greater than $5 million and don’t want to take an exam.

If you’re looking for term coverage, try Penn Mutual or Pacific Life; for dividends, Penn Mutual or Guardian. If you want free living benefits, look to Nationwide. And if you’d like a wellness plan with your life insurance, John Hancock delivers.

A number of companies offer life insurance policies without requiring a medical exam, but you’ll generally be eligible for the lowest premiums with those that ask thorough health questions on the application. 

What type of life insurance does not require a medical exam?

Most any type of policy is eligible for no-exam underwriting. It used to be that if you wanted to skip the exam, only low-coverage insurance policies were available to you. These are still available and sold as burial or funeral insurance, or guaranteed-issue policies. But now, insurers have a number of sophisticated means by which to collect health and other information, so they don’t need to rely on your exam. Plus, it costs them money to administer it and time to receive and review the results. No-exam underwriting allows insurance carriers to issue life policies faster, which is often good for both the customer and the insurer.

So whether you’re looking for term or permanent coverage, a whole life policy or an indexed universal life policy, it’s available somewhere without a medical exam. But not all companies offer no-exam life insurance on all or even any of their policies, so you’ll need to do some research to find one that does. (The companies in the list above are an excellent start.) The one caveat is that not everyone is eligible for no-exam underwriting. If you have health issues that raise red flags for the insurance company, you may be required to undergo a medical screening to complete your application.

Can you borrow money from a no-exam life insurance policy?

Yes, if it's a policy with a cash value. No-exam life insurance policies are just like regular life insurance policies. The only difference is that a medical screening is not required during the application process. Once approved, the policy functions just as it would had you taken an exam. So if you’ve purchased a permanent life insurance policy that builds a cash value, that cash value will be available to you, subject to any surrender period or other standard policy conditions.

How do I choose the best life insurance policy?

Choosing the best life insurance policy for you depends on your life insurance needs. How much coverage do you need? (Ideally, you’ll get enough to pay off your debts and replace your income, at the very least.) How long do you need it for? Your needs may change once your kids are grown and your home is paid off, for instance. The next question to ask is, how much premium can you afford?

The answers to these questions will help you narrow down whether you need term or permanent life insurance coverage. Term life insurance is designed to last for a specific number of years, such as 30, and then expire. Permanent life insurance is designed to last your entire lifetime, and is therefore more expensive than term. You may also want to combine term and permanent policies to have a higher-coverage term policy during your working years or while you’re raising a family, and then a lower-coverage permanent policy that will kick in once the term coverage expires.

Term policies let you choose the length of the term (a 40-year term is the longest we’ve seen), and often provide the option to convert your term coverage to permanent. Permanent policies have a cash value, which may be accessed via withdrawals and loans.

Once you’ve figured out your budget and the general type of coverage you need, you should begin to get quotes from financially stable companies with track records of good customer satisfaction. 

If you want a no-exam life insurance policy, it may be helpful to know that most of the 91 companies we reviewed offer some sort of policy that doesn’t require an exam. You’re best off first finding a good company (or a few you like), and then seeing what kind of policy you can get without an exam. This review and our review of the best life insurance companies of 2022 are both good places to start. And be sure to compare multiple quotes for no-exam life insurance because some policies are cheaper than others (depending on the type of no-exam underwriting used).

How We Chose the Best Life Insurance Companies

In order to compile our list of the best no-medical-exam life insurance companies, we developed a comprehensive life insurance methodology. We started off by researching what consumers want from life insurance companies, and for that, we looked to third-party consumer studies, including J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Life Insurance New Business Study and the 2021 Insurance Barometer Study, by Life Happens and LIMRA.

With those findings in mind, we gathered more than 50 data points on 91 life insurance companies, including ratings for financial strength, customer satisfaction, and customer complaints, as well as information about years in business, online tools, no-exam options, dividends, maximum issue ages, and available riders. 

Our review process gave preference to companies with solid financials, few customer complaints, high no-exam coverage amounts available, high-issue ages for no-exam coverage, and a broad product portfolio. Companies received ratings boosts for online resources, including online quotes and live chat, and included living benefit riders. We ranked each company according to the following categories and weights.

  • 28%: No-med-exam availability and features
  • 20% Policy types and features
  • 15%: Financial stability 
  • 15%: Customer satisfaction
  • 13%: Ease of application
  • 9%: Online resources

To finalize our list, we compared individual offerings between top companies by considering ratings from third parties such as AM Best and J.D. Power, and delving deeper into product specifics—including cost and the availability of dividends. We used this research to determine the best no-medical-exam life insurance companies.

Article Sources
Investopedia requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy.
  1. American Society of Actuaries. “Simplified Issue and Accelerated Underwriting.” Page 5.

  2. J.D. Power. “Pandemic and Tax Code Change Spur Interest in Life Insurance, J.D. Power Finds.”

  3. AM Best. “Guide to Best’s Financial Strength Ratings - (FSRs).”

  4. J.D. Power. "2021 US Life Insurance New Business Study | JD Power."

  5. Life Happens. "Life Insurance Is on People's Minds."