Can You Get No Exam Life Insurance if You’re Not in Great Health?

No exam life insurance is an increasingly popular alternative to traditional life insurance because it’s so convenient and easy to get. Unlike traditional policies that require a medical exam and take 4-6 weeks to let you know if you’ve been approved, no exam policies allow you to skip the exam and get approved quickly.

However, just because no exam policies allow you to skip the medical exam doesn’t mean that your health is ignored. 

The two main types of no exam policies are simplified issue and guaranteed issue. The latter doesn’t require any health information, but the former does require you to disclose information about your health. Simplified issue underwriters also collect information about you from third-party sources, so they’re not in the dark about your prescription history, health, and driving records. 

Smoking, extreme BMI, and pre-existing conditions are three health-related issues that can affect your approval for no exam life insurance and the cost of your monthly premiums. You can find out about your particular situation by getting a free quote here.


One of the most basic things insurers want to know about applicants is whether they smoke or not. Smokers will always get higher rates than non-smokers, whether it’s for no exam life insurance or traditional life insurance. The reason is simple. Smoking greatly increases the mortality risk, so insurers cover their risk through higher premiums. Additionally, smoking can come with associated health complications/risks like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and lung cancer.  

The good news is that if you quit smoking for a significant amount of time, you can report that to the insurance company and your rates can be adjusted. 

Some no exam policies will ask what type of tobacco product you use, such as cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, Nicotine patch or gum, marijuana, etc. You will probably also be asked how frequently you smoke.

Extreme BMI

BMI, body mass index, is another basic that underwriters consider when you apply for no exam life insurance. A healthy BMI ranges between 18.5 and 24.9, so anything above or below is considered a red flag. If your BMI is below 18.5 or above 30, it can be cause for alarm. A low BMI can be a symptom of anorexia or malnourishment, and a high BMI is a symptom of obesity, which has many health complications.

In some cases, BMI can be so extreme that underwriters will deny the application. In most cases, you can be approved for life insurance, but with higher rates. 

Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-existing conditions don’t affect approval for guaranteed issue life insurance, but they do affect approval for simplified issue. A pre-existing condition is defined as a health condition that you were aware of prior to applying for life insurance. 

When you apply for simplified issue, life insurance underwriters will assess your specific pre-existing issue and determine whether it disqualifies you from getting coverage. If you are not disqualified, underwriters then further assess how much extra your pre-existing condition will cost in terms of monthly premiums. Most insurers use their own in-house rating systems to determine how much to charge. 

Common pre-existing conditions are:

  • High blood pressure – If your high blood pressure is under control, you should still be able to get relatively low rates for life insurance.
  • Heart disease – This category includes several conditions, and the severity of yours will determine how high your rates will be.
  • Diabetes – Underwriters care about the type of diabetes, as well as age of diagnosis, complications, and management plan.
  • High cholesterol – This is not usually a make-or-break factor when it comes to life insurance, though rates can be higher than for people who don’t have high cholesterol.
  • Cancer – Being a cancer survivor no longer means you can’t get life insurance. Type, treatment, and prognosis will make a difference regarding rates. 
  • Multiple sclerosis – Life insurance approval for someone with MS will depend on the type, frequency of attacks, and treatment/management plan.
  • Depression/anxiety – Underwriters care about mental health conditions just as much as physical conditions. While you can get life insurance if you have depression or anxiety, it’s important to be up front with the insurance company, especially if there has been a suicide attempt.
  • Drug/alcohol addiction – If you are currently addicted to drugs or alcohol, it will be hard to get life insurance. If you have been sober for a significant amount of time, you have a better chance at securing coverage. 

Provide Accurate Information

When applying for no exam life insurance, it can be tempting to fudge some of the facts on your application in the hopes of getting better rates. While the temptation is real, it’s just not worth it. First of all, for simplified issue no exam life insurance, insurers check your information against facts from third-party sources. If they see discrepancies, you can be denied coverage. 

Second, and most important, if the insurance company finds out that the information you provided was not accurate, it has grounds to deny the death benefit claim. That defeats the purpose of life insurance altogether. 

At the same time that you need to provide accurate information to insurers when applying, the benefit of choosing no exam life insurance means that you can skip the hassle of the medical exam and get approved quickly.

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