Life insurance without a medical check

Not all life insurance providers require a medical check in all cases

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Many people assume that when you attempt to take out a life insurance policy you will automatically be required to undergo a medical. However this is not always the case, it depends upon your own personal situation and upon your insurer. There are varying circumstances under which you may well be subject to a medical examination before you take out a life insurance policy.

In This Guide:

Does life insurance require a medical check?

Applying for life insurance is a process that will require quite a lot of information. Your insurer will want to know about your lifestyle and your general health before they agree to insure you and before they give you a comprehensive life insurance quote. That being said, not all insurers will ask everyone to undergo a full medical before they agree to cover them. There are a few questions that every insurer will ask you such as whether you are a smoker or how much alcohol you drink. Only some people will be required to go for a full medical examination when applying for life insurance.

Most insurers will ask you for permission to speak with your doctor so that they can get a broad overview of your medical history. This is normally the most information that your insurance company will require from you but if you have a more complicated medical background, then you may be required to undergo a more detailed medical examination. This medical examination will be carried out by a qualified doctor and insurance companies will normally try and arrange it at a location near to you.

Who needs a medical check to get life insurance?

There are a few reasons why a prospective insurer might require a medical check before offering you a policy:

  • If you've had a policy refused in the past, your new insurer may request a medical check just to make sure they understand why
  • If you've disclosed any pre-existing medical conditions, or any hereditary conditions in your family, a medical check will be required
  • If you've lived abroad for a long period, there's a chance your insurer will request a check, depending on the country in question

How to get life insurance without a medical

Most insurers will at least ask some questions about your health when you apply for life insurance, but you won’t always be asked to take a medical exam. In fact, you are under no obligation to undergo a medical exam, although refusing to do so may result in you being denied cover.

If you don't like the idea of taking a medical exam, and you're a UK resident aged 50 to 85, one of your best options could be applying for a guaranteed over 50s life insurance policy. These types of policy offer "guaranteed acceptance", which means you can be sure to find cover (as long as you meet the eligibility criteria) no matter what your medical status or history is.  

Over 50s life insurance plans are also ‘whole of life’ policies, which means you will be covered until the day you die, no matter when that is. Because these types of policy are much more secure for the policyholder, and the chance of the insurer paying out is high, premiums tend to be a bit more expensive than other types of life cover. With Over 50s life insurance, there is a waiting period of 1 to 2 years. Generally this means that, if you die within 1 to 2 years of having taken out the policy, the sum assured will not pay out but instead your payments will be refunded. 

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Last reviewed: 1 May 2024

Next review: 1 June 2024