COVID-19 Accelerates No-Exam Trend in Life Insurance

Are you applying for life insurance? Usually, taking a medical exam is a crucial step on your journey towards buying an affordable life insurance policy. After all, it’s common for medically underwritten policies to demand it and can save you a substantial amount of money on premiums.

But as you might guess, getting an in-person assessment during the COVID-19 pandemic is a bit… different. First, the demand for life insurance is high. Generally, a global epidemic gets everybody thinking about their health and their financial situation.

Interestingly, according to recent research, life insurance applications have risen sharply during the coronavirus pandemic. The MIB Life Index claimed that during the first half of 2024, application activity for life insurance rose 1.5% from the previous year. Moreover, the number of life insurance applications for Americans under the age of 44 rose about 3.4% year-to-date, while activity for those in the age bracket of 45 to 59 was up less but still by 0.5%. Clearly those Americans who had always known life insurance was important had suddenly had a reason to secure the best coverage for themselves and their families.

Increase in Insurance Companies Offering No-Exam Policies

One of the major challenges that insurance companies had to overcome early on in the COVID-19 pandemic was the inability to carry out in-person life insurance medical examinations as part of the underwriting process. This was due to lockdowns and the fact that a lot of Americans – even once lockdowns were reduced – were more anxious about leaving their homes due to the fear of contracting the virus.

A growing number of insurers have already abandoned medical examinations in favor of a process known as accelerated underwriting. This entails using data modeling to estimate a person’s life expectancy and generate a life insurance quote. Since the outbreak, more insurers have implemented accelerated underwriting, and those that already did have enhanced their procedures.

Currently, purchasing life insurance has become easier and faster as applicants don’t have to undergo a medical test. You can click here to get up to $500,000 in coverage for as little as $13.12/month without taking an exam.

With the cost of an accelerated underwriting cover almost the same as for a traditionally underwritten policy that usually entails a medical exam, many experts believe the trend towards accelerated underwriting and no-exam will continue to grow in 2024.
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How Accelerated Underwriting Works

Accelerated underwriting shortens the traditional underwriting process by passing up the medical examination or other requirements set for term life insurance.

You will still have a brief phone interview with a doctor, and the insurance provider will run several reports, including Medical Information Bureau, medical records, your prescription history, and your driving record. When satisfied with the soundness of your finances and the riskiness of your health, you will likely get approved.

Note: Accelerated underwriting shouldn’t be confused with simplified underwriting. Simplified underwriting makes use of instantly available information along with a concise application to ascertain whether an underwriting offer can be made.

On the other hand, accelerated underwriting is a fully underwritten procedure that uses data and modeling to triage applicants and ascertain whether an underwriting offer can be made.

Accelerated Underwriting Timeframe

You can be accepted instantaneously or within 24 hours after completing your brief interview or questionnaire. Other insurance carriers may take several business days to inform you of your next steps.

But if you are approved for accelerated underwriting, you can acquire coverage far faster than a traditional life insurance application, which generally takes 4-10 weeks.

Who Is Eligible for Accelerated Underwriting?

No one is assured of qualifying for accelerated underwriting simply because they are in good health; however, you have a higher probability of getting approved if you are:

  • Generally in tip-top shape with no history of severe medical conditions
  • Aged 18-60 yrs old
  • Financially sound and no recent history of bankruptcy
  • An American citizen or permanent resident
  • Clear of serious criminal charges
  • Not someone who has previously been denied insurance coverage

If you have a risky hobby, like skydiving, or are in some way unhealthy, you may not qualify for accelerated underwriting. Your family health history will also be considered, and some heritable health issues, like breast cancer, might disqualify you.

But it is worth noting that being disqualified doesn’t rule out the possibility of getting an affordable life insurance policy. You will simply go through the standard underwriting process, which includes a comprehensive medical exam. Different accelerated underwriting insurers have different approval percentages.

Accelerated Underwriting Is Ideal for People Who:

  • Need life insurance coverage as soon as possible
  • Wish to continue social distancing because of COVID-19
  • Have a phobia for needles and want to keep away from blood testing
  • Prefer to avoid medical examinations in general

Basically, accelerated underwriting is ideal for people who wish to apply and get approved for life insurance within hours – without taking a medical exam.

Where Can You Get a No-Exam or Accelerated Underwriting Life Insurance Policy?

As we have already mentioned, there has been a lot of progress in accelerated underwriting in the last few years. And this is expected to continue.

Not all life insurance companies, though, have adopted the trend. This is why it is so important to shop around, do your research, and speak to your current insurer to find out what their policy and terms are when it comes to no-exam trends. However, you don’t have to shy away from purchasing life insurance coverage just because of the delays involved with the traditional underwriting process.

Several carriers have already embraced the No-exam and the accelerated underwriting approach, making the life insurance-buying process easier and less time-consuming. As aforementioned, it pays to just do a bit of research and get life insurance quotes from various companies. Check their processes, policy types (cash value or any other kind of permanent policy), claim settlement history, affordability, etc. From that, you can determine one that suits your needs and budget.