Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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No-Exam Life Insurance: How Does It Work?

Life insurance: everyone has to get it eventually. And getting life insurance inevitably means submitting to a detailed medical exam so the company can determine exactly how much time they have to charge premiums before you cash in the ultimate policy, so to speak. So when most people hear about no-exam life insurance, they wonder … is it a scam?

Short answer? No, it isn’t a scam, but there are definite trade-offs, and it’s not for everyone. To understand how it works, we have to understand how the life insurance industry works.

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How to Get No-Exam Life Insurance

Life insurance products are profitable for a simple reason: over the life of the policy, they collect more in money from you than they pay out in benefits. This is why a 21-year-old in good health can pay very little in premiums, while a sixty-year-old is going to pay a lot more; they’ve got less time to make money off the latter. But, of course, if the 21-year-old has terminal cancer, they’re going to lose their shirt, which is why they have the medical exam. This research is called “underwriting.”

No-exam insurance is, at root, just higher-risk insurance (risk for the insurance company; not for you).

The insurance company is going to mitigate that risk in two ways: first, you’re going to pay more in premiums, no matter what your age or health. And, secondly, they’re going to pay out less — sometimes quite a bit less.

How much of a contrast is it, though? We chose three “no-exam life insurance” companies, anonymously, and called them up as a 30-year-old non-smoking man in good health, looking for $100,000 in coverage. And the results? They speak for themselves.

No-Exam Life Insurance: How Does It Work?

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Insurance Company #1

Saleswoman: Hi, this is Joanne at [Company #1]. I understand you’d like some life insurance! How can I help you with that? Hi, yes, I’d like to talk about my options. Here’s my first question: do I have to get an exam? I’m very busy and scheduling that is going to be tricky.

Saleswoman: Well, sorry to hear that you’re so busy. It’s really a question of how much you want to pay, sir. You don’t smoke, right? Nope, never have.

Saleswoman: Good for you, that already lowers your premium. Here’s how it works with the exam, sir: we need the information from the exam to decide your premium, so, it’s along those lines. If you’ve had a full physical recently… Afraid not.

Saleswoman: Well, if you’ve got one coming up, that would be acceptable. But considering your health status, I’d say you might pay $30 a month. What about no-exam life insurance? I’ve heard you can get that. That might fit my schedule a lot better.

Saleswoman: Well … to be honest, sir, the cost is probably not going to be ideal. How much are we talking about here?

Saleswoman: At a guess? Probably $60 a month, at minimum. Twice as much?

Saleswoman: I’m afraid so. It’s all about the underwriting with this, unfortunately. Without the exam, we really can’t narrow down your premium, so, well, it’s going to cost you. Wow. I’ve got to think about this. Can I call you back?

Saleswoman: Of course! Thanks for calling!

No-Exam Life Insurance: How Does It Work?

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Insurance Company #2

Salesman: Hi, this is Bob at [Company #2]. You wanted to discuss life insurance with us today? Hi, yes, I was looking for about $100,000 in coverage.

Salesman: OK, we can definitely do that. Looking at the information you’ve provided us, I’d say you’d pay $25 to $35 per month. Do you have a primary care provider for your exam? I was hoping to talk to you about that, actually. I’m really busy and I don’t really have time for an exam. I had heard there was no-exam life insurance from your company, what would be our options for that?

Salesman: Oooooh. I’m going to be honest, it’s really a much better idea to make room for the exam. I mean, I know it’s difficult when you’re busy, but it’s a good idea in terms of premium. So we’re talking a lot, here.

Salesman: Yeah, almost double, $40 to $50 a month. Possibly more, although that’s unlikely since you’re healthy and you don’t need a lot of coverage. But you are going to be paying more. I can try and negotiate it lower, but it’s going to be tricky. Is there a reason for that?

Salesman: Well, for us, it’s about risk. You’re basically an unknown quantity. What if you’ve got some sort of chronic condition that’s about to flare up that not even you know about? So we have to protect ourselves. I can see your point. Can I call you back after I think about this?

Salesman: Of course. Have a great day!

No-Exam Life Insurance: How Does It Work?

Insurance Company #3

Salesman: Hi, I’m Anthony from [Company #3]. You were looking for some life insurance today? Hi, yes, I was wondering if you offered no-exam life insurance.

Salesman: Sorry, no. Really? I thought I saw…

Salesman: We did, but honestly, our clients didn’t like it and it just wasn’t a good value. The way our underwriting worked, we had to charge two to three times more for a typical premium. Nobody wanted it, really. Wow. Well, how much would you charge me for one with an exam, do you think?

Salesman: Probably between $20 and $40, depending on what you wanted. Can I call you back?

Salesman: Of course, sir. Have a great day!

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Selecting the Right Insurance For You

So, there you have it. No-exam life insurance means double premiums, and, as we later found out, you still have a lot of hoops to jump through. We didn’t even bother seeking higher benefits, but we’ve found that once you get past $250,000, it’s a real struggle to even get no-exam insurance, let alone pay a reasonable price for it.

Who would no-exam life insurance work for, then? Well, people who don’t want an exam, obviously, but the product is really for those who can’t get easy access to a doctor for an exam, and aimed more at younger people who may be engaging in something risky as a job.

So, it’s not for everybody, but if you need insurance and don’t want an exam, and you’re willing to pay the price, then it may be worth it to you.

But if you want  the best life insurance at a better price, check out what we have to offer here on We’ll make sure you get the best quotes from the best companies. You may need an exam, but we’ll make sure you save the most money, and save time as well. Click here to enter your ZIP code below to get your FREE quote!