No Medical Life Insurance: Pros and Cons, Cost, Types (2022 Guide)

Peer reviewed Tobin Tuff, Certified Life Insurance Advisor
In This Article

If you’re exploring your options when it comes to life insurance, you may have found no medical life insurance appealing. And it does have benefits, like not having to complete a medical exam. But it has some downfalls, too. No medical life insurance comes with a higher price tag than traditional life insurance and, often, less coverage. 

Learn who should — and shouldn’t — opt for no medical life insurance in this guide so you can make an informed and educated decision for yourself and your loved ones.

What is no medical life insurance?

No medical life insurance is a type of insurance that can be purchased without having to do a medical exam. Different types of no medical life insurance include simplified life insurance and guaranteed issue life insurance.

No medical life insurance might be a good alternative for people who:

  • Experience extreme distress or anxiety related to undergoing a physical exam
  • Are in poor health 
  • Are diagnosed with cancer and not yet in remission
  • Have lifestyle factors that put them at higher risk (like smokers)
  • Have a pre-existing condition or chronic illness
  • Have a dangerous job

But because insurance companies are taking on extra “risk” in providing coverage without a physical exam, they need to charge higher premiums and may not offer the same coverage as traditional policies. 

Instead of immediately opting for a no medical policy, apply for an underwritten policy first, like PolicyMe's term life insurance product. 

Underwritten policies provide more coverage and lower premiums, so you don’t compromise on how much life insurance you need. And you might not have to do a physical at all. 

You’ll start by filling out a health questionnaire, and may be asked to provide medical records. And if you are asked to do a medical exam, it’s no big deal.

PolicyMe has the lowest term life insurance rates in Canada. And you can see for yourself today; get a life insurance quote in seconds below to learn how affordable coverage can be.

Pros and cons of no medical life insurance

To give you a better idea of whether no medical life insurance is right for you, here’s a rundown of the pros and cons of life insurance policies with no medical requirements.

Pros of no medical life insurance

  • You don’t have to do a physical exam. At most, you’ll be asked to fill out a health questionnaire. 
  • It’s a great option if you have anxiety related to medical exams or who may not qualify for life insurance based on your health or profession. 
  • Because no medical exam is required, it offers quick approval times. 
  • Most people are approved regardless of their risk level.

Cons of no medical life insurance

  • No medical life insurance premiums are much higher because insurance companies base your policy on an overview of your health without confirmation from a doctor or health professional. 
  • Coverage amounts for no medical policies are lower for life insurance without medical exams. For example, coverage limits range between $50,000 for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy and $500,000 for simplified insurance, compared to up to $5 million for a term life insurance policy.
  • You may still have to answer health questions, which can increase your monthly premium if you aren’t in excellent health. 
  • They aren’t the best option for those who are healthy, don’t work in a dangerous profession, have no pre-existing conditions and otherwise enjoy a conventional lifestyle. 

Applying for an underwritten term policy first makes the most sense for the average Canadian family. And you can see how affordable term life insurance can be with PolicyMe below.

Who should get no medical life insurance?

No medical life insurance is a good option for those who don’t qualify for life insurance through a traditional life insurance provider. 

A no medical insurance policy may be right for you if you:

  • Have a pre-existing medical condition like HIV or diabetes
  • Have debilitating anxiety related to doctors or medical appointments (latrophobia)
  • Are buying life insurance later in life and experiencing normal health declines
  • Are employed in a dangerous profession, like the military, logging or mining
  • Have high-risk hobbies, such as skydiving or base jumping
  • Have struggled, or are struggling with, addition problems

No Medical Life Insurance: image displaying two street signs reading "No Medical Life Insurance" and "Traditional Life Insurance"

Instead, look into term life insurance plans to save money and explore better coverage options. Read more about term life insurance in Canada

No medical life insurance in practice: Five real-life examples

If you’re not sure whether you should get no medical life insurance or not, take a look at these real-life scenarios for expert advice from our advisor, Tobin Tuff. 

Example 1: Marcus, afraid of needles

  • 35 years old
  • An overall healthy person
  • Afraid of needles
  • Works in an office

Should Marcus get no medical life insurance?

Tobin says, “Probably not, depending on the severity of the phobia. You get much more affordable life insurance, for possibly more coverage with the quick prick of a needle.”

Example 2: Joan, a smoker

  • 50 years old
  • Smoker
  • Works as a secretary

Should Joan get no medical life insurance?

Not necessarily,” says Tobin. “As a smoker, you may not even need to get a medical exam with a traditional life insurance provider — you’ll just get rated one or two times higher. 

Smoker rates exist for no medical policies too — so you’d still get dinged for being a smoker while spending more.”

Read more: The Best Life Insurance for Smokers

Example 3: Felice, has been denied life insurance before

  • 45 years old
  • Has high blood pressure
  • Homemaker

Should Felice get no medical life insurance?

Tobin says it’s not a straight “yes” or “no” answer. 

“It depends on the terms of the rejection. Some declines come with a timeline stating that you could be accepted 'once X happens' — meaning your application will be reconsidered if you get an additional test, like an ECG or an MRI. 

No medical typically means that you’ll pay more, but you’ll be approved right away. Term life insurance is cheaper, but you have to wait.

Most traditional life insurance companies use similar criteria, so if your application is denied by one company, chances are you’ll be denied by another. If you need to, you can use a no medical policy as your plan B.”

Example 4: Priyanka, recovering from breast cancer

  • 40 years old
  • Breast cancer survivor

Should Priyanka get no medical life insurance?

Maybe,” says Tobin. “Most traditional life insurance companies will approve you within 3 years after completing your treatment. 

Even no medical policy providers will still ask you medical questions so that will be something they take into consideration for your application.”

Example 5: Mohamed, skydiving instructor

  • 37 years old
  • Skydiving instructor
  • Skydives on a weekly basis
  • No health issues or medical conditions

Should Mohamed get no medical life insurance?

Probably,” advises Tobin. “You would get rated on a traditional life insurance policy for being a skydiving instructor. More so than if you were a smoker!

There’s a chance that a no medical life insurance provider wouldn’t even ask if you partook in skydiving and you’d get their standard rate. This is one of those cases where you could slip through and get all the benefits.”

The different types of no medical life insurance

If you’re still considering no medical life insurance, there are two main types of life insurance for you to choose from: simplified issue life insurance and guaranteed issue life insurance. 

Both types allow you to skip a physical medical exam, but one requires some health-related background information from you before you qualify. 

What is simplified issue life insurance?

Simplified issue life insurance is a type of no medical life insurance that requires you to complete a questionnaire related to your personal medical history. 

Potential questions you will need to answer include: 

  • Do you have any severe medical conditions?
  • Have you ever been hospitalized?
  • Have you ever been denied life insurance coverage before?

What is guaranteed issue life insurance?

Guaranteed issue life insurance is no medical life insurance that:

  • Doesn’t require a physical exam
  • Doesn’t require you to fill out a health questionnaire or provide any personal health information 

And while it may seem like a good option on the surface, the coverage is typically low. For example, for non-accidental deaths due to illness or old age, you can expect as little as $25,000. 

In many cases, if you pass away within the first two years of paying premiums, insurance providers will only pay out an amount equal to the payments you made so far. That won’t go very far when it comes to paying a mortgage, covering daycare costs, or saving up for tuition. 

Take a look at this comparison between simplified issue, guaranteed issue and term life insurance. Which coverage looks like the best fit for your family?

No Medical Life Insurance: Chart detailing the differences between no medical and term life insurance

How much does no medical life insurance cost?

The cost of no medical life insurance varies. As with any form of life insurance, the cost of no medical life insurance premiums will change based on your “risk” level. 

For example, if you’re at a higher risk of becoming ill, getting injured or passing away. 

Read more: Can I buy life insurance if I'm overweight?

Here are some average numbers from PolicyMe to give you an idea of how much more affordable term life insurance is compared to guaranteed or no medical life insurance. 

Age No medical life insurance Term life insurance
25 $32.85/month $20.54/month
30 $32.85/month $20.54/month
35 $32.85/month $21.74/month
40 $39.15/month $29.31/month
45 $52.65/month $44.94/month
50 $78.30/month $72.78/month
Cost of no medical versus term life insurance. Premiums for a man, $500,000 in coverage, 10-year policy.

With other bills piling up, like daycare, college funds, and retirement, these premiums aren’t affordable for many parents with young families. Even as the rates increase with age, term life insurance still comes out on top.

If you’re in good health, avoid smoking and are otherwise low-risk, you stand a good chance of qualifying for a more affordable life insurance policy that may or may not ask for a medical exam. 

While getting a medical exam may seem like an inconvenience, you’ll benefit from lower premiums and more extensive coverage. This keeps more money in your pocket and provides your family with added financial security. 

PolicyMe offers Canadians an affordable solution that helps them to save on premiums and benefit from excellent coverage: term life insurance. 

Not sure how much coverage you need? Try our life insurance cost calculator. Input your details and we'll tell you how much life insurance you need, at at what price.

‍Can I get life insurance if I have a pre-existing health condition?

The short answer is yes, you can get life insurance if you have pre-existing conditions. Our expert advisor, Tobin Tuff offers his take:

“Most people can get life insurance even if they have a pre-existing condition! During the application, you’ll be asked medical questions to help the life insurance company to get a better idea of your general health. This helps them determine whether they want to take the “risk” of insuring you.

If you’re denied coverage because of your health, the denial might come with a timeline as to when you can reapply.”

Whether or not you qualify for life insurance if you have a pre-existing condition depends on a few of factors, like which condition you suffer from, what your overall health looks like and the requirements of the life insurance company itself. 

60+? Read our post on the best life insurance companies in Canada for seniors.

Do you have to have a medical exam to get life insurance? 

No. Not every life insurance applicant is required to get a medical exam to get their policy.

For example, if you apply for term life insurance through PolicyMe, you might have to undergo a medical exam. In your application, you’ll be asked a series of questions related to your medical history and lifestyle. 

Most healthy applicants will be approved without having to visit a doctor if they’re: 

  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Of average health for their age and gender
  • Between 30 to 50 years old and looking for a policy under $1 million 
  • Between 50 to 60 years old and looking for a policy under $500,000

No medical life insurance: not for the average Canadian

Although no medical life insurance is a great option for some, it’s not well-suited to the average Canadian family. If you live a healthy lifestyle, stick to low-risk hobbies and avoid smoking, chances are, term life insurance is a better option for you. 

Here’s a breakdown of what term life insurance can offer you:

  • It has lower premiums than no medical life insurance
  • It offers better coverage than no medical life insurance
  • Not all term life insurance policies will require a physical exam 
  • Applying for term life insurance can be quick and easy

FAQs: no medical life insurance

Still have questions about no medical life insurance? Take a look at these FAQs to ensure you have all the information you need to move forward. 

How much life insurance can I get without a medical exam? 

Depending on whether you opt for simplified issue or guaranteed issue life insurance, your coverage will range anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000. 

However, it’s important to note that term life insurance doesn’t always require you to complete a medical exam, either. 

In order to maximize your coverage and minimize your premiums, it’s best to start with a term life insurance policy.

If your application is denied, or if you’re asked to complete a physical health exam, you can always opt out and move forward with no medical insurance instead. 

Recommended reading: Guide to How Life Insurance Works

When should I buy a no medical life insurance policy? 

The best time to get any type of life insurance is as soon as possible. As you age, your premiums will increase. The longer you wait to apply, the more expensive your policy will be. And if you have people in your life who rely on your income, it's worth it to get life insurance as soon as possible.

Should I get no medical life insurance if I’m healthy with no pre-existing conditions? 

While this is ultimately a personal decision, it’s important to know exactly what no medical insurance means for your premiums and coverage. 

In general, Tobin advises against no medical insurance for healthy people who don’t have any pre-existing health conditions: 

“I don’t think you should get no medical insurance. But, you can if you really don’t want to get a medical and you’re willing to pay much more to avoid it. If you’re willing to pay almost double to avoid the nurse visit, then go ahead. But in most cases, shoot for the best with regular life insurance and, if it doesn't work out, you always have other options.” 

Can I be denied a no medical life insurance policy? 

Guaranteed acceptance no medical policies will approve anyone regardless of their medical status or history.

While you can’t technically be denied, sometimes no medical policies some with such heavily restricted coverage and expensive premiums that they don’t make financial sense for you to take on. 

If you choose a no medical policy, evaluate the coverage, premiums, and terms carefully to ensure it provides you with the benefits you need.

Laura McKay

COO & Co-Founder

About the Author

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