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Simplified issue life insurance has a very simple premise: no medical exam and an application with fewer questions. Although there’s no exam, you can still expect to answer medical and health history questions as part of the simplified life insurance application.

Simplified issue policies are available for either term or whole life insurance. In either case, you can expect premiums to be higher than if you go through a full application process. Without a medical exam, insurance companies are taking on more risk, and as a result, they’ll charge more for the policy.

Read on to get the details on simplified issue life insurance cost, coverage, and how to decide if it’s right for you.

  • Simplified issue insurance can be either term or whole life insurance coverage
  • There is no medical exam, but you will have to answer some health questions.
  • Insurance companies sell simplified issue term life insurance and whole life policies online or over the phone.

What is simplified issue life insurance?

A simplified issue life insurance policy is a product aimed at those who want a faster, easier application process. Traditional life insurance requires a lengthy application. Besides completing a detailed questionnaire, most carriers require a medical technician to come to your home and conduct something similar to your annual physical, including a blood draw.

Simplified issue life insurance requires fewer questions and skips the medical exam.

"One of the biggest advantages of simplified issue life insurance is that the insurer decides faster —sometimes in minutes, compared to several weeks for traditional underwriting. Also, the application is much shorter: A simplified issue life insurance policy will only ask you a handful of health-related questions and there is no medical exam," Seth Buckley, president at Buckley Financial, a life insurance brokerage, says.

Insurers rely on algorithms and databases to assess your health, rather than an exam. You simply fill out an application online.

What is the average cost of simplified life insurance?

Life insurance rates depend on a wide variety of factors. Even without a medical exam, your health history will play a role. So does your age, lifestyle, and even your hobbies.

Below we’ve provided some sample annual rates for a simplified 10-year term life policy with a $100,000 death benefit. Rates are provided for a 30-year-old male and female, regular health category.

American-AmicableEasy Term 10$233$189
MassMutualHaven Simple$142$108
Fidelity LifeInsta Term$175$158
National WesternRapid Issue Life Term$205$180
Columbian LifeSafe Shield$285$232
ForestersStrong Foundation$251$207
United of OmahaTerm Life Express$214$182

As you increase the death benefit and the length of the term, rates will go up. Whole life will be even more costly.

How to buy simplified-issue term life insurance

Major insurers sell simplified-issue term life insurance policies online or by phone. In recent years, the options for online life insurance have grown, and it’s easier than ever to buy a policy. You simply fill out the application and submit it.

Simplified issue life insurance policies range from whole life options designed to pay final expenses to term life policies that can provide up to $1 million.

As easy as it is to get life insurance this way, it’s still important to do your research before you buy. The quickest option isn’t always the best choice.

Simplified-issue term life insurance policies cost more than traditional term life insurance for the amount of coverage you get. That's because the insurer doesn't know as much about your health as it would if you had a medical exam and had filled out a more detailed questionnaire.

"As a rule, simplified issue is always more expensive than fully underwritten policies. The insurance companies are taking more risk by not having all of the medical records, and charge a higher premium per thousand of protection to hopefully offset the increased risk," Kim Wilhelm, owner, Final Expense Direct, a life insurance agency in Houston, Texas.

If you’re young and healthy, you will likely get more coverage for your money by going through the full underwriting process, including an exam. It’s important to balance the convenience of simplified issue against the value you get for your dollar.

Advantages of simplified issue life

There are several advantages to choosing a simplified issue life insurance policy.

  • Convenience. The application is easy to fill out and you don’t have to worry about a medical exam.
  • Availability. These policies are available from a wide variety of insurance companies, including those that sell policies online, and to a wide age range.
  • Contactless. No one comes to your home or office and you can get a policy issued without contact.

Disadvantages of simplified issue life

  • Limited offerings. These policies may not have as many options for riders as a fully underwritten policy.
  • Price. The cost of simplified issue life insurance is likely to be higher, especially for young, healthy people. Without the information provided by a medical exam, insurance companies take on more risk insuring you and charge you more.

Is simplified issue life worth it?

For young, healthy people, a simplified issue policy is not the most cost-effective way to get coverage. "Healthy applicants will benefit from fully underwritten policies because they can qualify for the best rates," Buckley says.

So when does simplified issue life insurance make sense?

If you have health problems that might make it difficult to qualify for a fully underwritten policy, it might be an option. "Individuals who qualify for simplified issue policies would be declined for fully underwritten policies in most cases," Wilhelm says.

Bear in mind that there will still be some health questions, so you might have to look into guaranteed issue life insurance instead.

"One disadvantage of simplified issue life insurance is that some simplified issue policies will only pay the full death benefit to your beneficiaries if you had the policy at least two years before death. If an insured person dies less than two years after getting the policy, the beneficiaries will typically get a refund of the premiums paid, with some interest," Buckley says.

If you’re willing to pay more for the convenience of a quick turnaround time and skipping the medical exam, simplified issue is an option.

If you decide to go ahead with simplified issue life insurance, make sure you shop around. Get quotes from multiple insurers and choose the option that works for you.

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