UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
We live in a fast-paced world. One where two-day shipping is the norm and waiting five seconds for a website to load feels like forever. We’ve become accustomed to getting what we want quickly and moving on to the next item on our to-do list.
So it’s no surprise that many people scoff at the idea of waiting weeks to get a term life insurance policy. And although buying term life insurance online has become relatively easy to do, the hard truth is it still takes time.
But what if you don’t have a few weeks to wait? What if you need the policy right now?
Fortunately for those who don’t want to or just cannot wait to get coverage, there is a faster option: no medical term life insurance.
What is No Medical Exam Term Life Insurance?
No medical exam term life has been around a while and goes by a few different monikers:
- Nonmedical term life insurance
- Simplified issue term life insurance
- Rapid issue term life insurance
- Express term life insurance
Despite these name variations, all of these have one important thing in common: they do not require a medical exam.
With fully-underwritten – or regular – term life you must complete a brief paramedical exam. The paramed as it’s often called, includes these things:
- Body measurements – These include height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.
- Health questionnaire – This covers your medical history, family history, current health, and lifestyle.
- Blood and urine samples – The examiner collects these from you and sends them to a lab. The results become a part of your application.
The paramed exam is harmless, and the insurance company pays for it. But there is the whole blood sample thing. And for some, the thought of needles and blood – especially when mixed – is enough to make them risk living without life insurance.
So no medical term life is often a good fit for people in a rush and those with no desire to complete a paramed.
A Simple Comparison
This is likely what you’re after. But before we dig into the similarities and differences between normal term and no medical exam term, keep in mind they are both term life insurance policies. The coverage they offer is the same. They both offer different term periods (e.g. 10 years, 20 years) and both pay a death benefit to your beneficiary if you die during the term period.
That said, here are the highlights for each.
No medical exam term life insurance:
- Faster – The entire process takes 24-48 hours. Everything is done electronically, which saves time.
- More convenient – The process is entirely electronic, including the application, signatures, and payment. Occasionally a physical signature is required when the policy is delivered.
- No medical exam – This is the biggie. Skipping the paramed can shave 2-3 weeks off the process!
- No medical records – The life insurance company does not request medical records from your doctors. You either qualify, or you don’t.
- Often more expensive – This is the biggest disadvantage of no medical exam term life. It is usually more expensive than regular term life. This is because the life insurance company assumes more risk when it’s not able to look at paramed exam results and medical records.
- Fewer company options – Not many companies currently offer it. And of those that do, few are A-rated companies, which is what you should look for.
- Coverage amount limited – The most you can get is about $400,000. Anything more and you’ll need to look at regular term.
Regular term life insurance:
- Takes longer – Full underwriting takes time. The paramed exam alone adds 2-3 weeks. And if you have medical history that requires a review of your medical records, it could add a few more.
- Requires a paramed exam – This isn’t a big deal for most people, but it may be for you.
- Usually less expensive – You can almost always find better prices on regular term life. That’s the reward for taking the paramed and showing your good health.
- More company options – There are hundreds of life insurance companies that offer term life. And many of them are A-rated.
- Coverage available in larger amounts – You can buy a policy with a death benefit from $25,000 and up. There’s virtually no limit to the amount of term you can buy — if you qualify.
Deciding whether or not to buy no medical term usually comes down to two questions: (1) do you need it now and (2) do you mind taking a paramed exam? If you don’t need it right away and you don’t mind the exam, you’re likely to save money with regular term. But if you answered yes to either question, no medical term might be the best choice for you.
Start by getting a quote and comparing the cost between the two. That’s usually what it comes right down to anyway.