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Can I get life insurance without a medical?

Last updated: 24. 03. 2020

Can I get life insurance without a medical?
Life insurance without a medical literally means being able to get life insurance without having to undergo a medical examination, which is a common pre-requisite for many providers of life insurance. 

This guide takes you through the circumstances that can affect whether you will or will not be asked to complete a medical. It will also give advice on how to cut costs when applying for and securing a life insurance policy. 

Is a medical always necessary for life insurance?

It’s common for insurers to request a medical check when you apply for life insurance. However, it’s not always a necessity. There are a number of factors that life insurance providers will consider when you make an application, and if you fulfil certain criteria, you may not need a medical at all. Here are some examples of things insurers will consider:

  • Current health: Any current medical conditions, particularly those that are serious or life-threatening, will influence your insurer’s decision. 
  • Physical Characteristics: Insurers will often ask for your height, weight, age and sex to determine if you are overweight or underweight.
  • Lifestyle: Certain lifestyle choices will count against you, for example smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. However, if you eat well and exercise regularly, this may work in your favour. 
  • Medical history: This includes health issues that are likely to recur, or any family medical conditions that are hereditary. 

As well as determining whether you need a medical, insurers use factors like these to decide how high-risk you are as an individual. This will influence their calculations relating to how much to charge you for premiums. 

When might I need a medical?

There are a number of factors that make it far more likely that you will be asked to take a medical by your life insurance provider. These are:

  • having a pre-existing medical condition, or a history of medical conditions that may recur
  • having a family medical history that contains hereditary conditions or illnesses
  • having previously been turned down for life insurance on one or more occasions
  • having spent an extended period of time living in a different country

Remember that every insurance provider will have a different set of criteria, and differing levels of importance will be placed on each factor. It’s worth remembering that providers will often ask your permission to contact your doctor to verify any information you have provided (more information below). 

How do I keep the cost of life insurance down?

As mentioned, insurers use a wide variety of factors to calculate your premiums. These include physical characteristics, such as age, height, weight and sex, lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking, family medical history, and your occupation. Whilst you can’t do anything about some of these, there are a number of things you can do to improve your health, which will in turn bring down your premiums. 

Quitting smoking and reducing your alcohol consumption is guaranteed to decrease what your insurance provider will ask you to pay for life insurance. Increasing the amount you exercise and eating well can also improve your application and help bring costs down. 

As always with insurance policies, one of the best things you can do to keep costs down is shop around. By comparing as many different providers as you can, you are far more likely to find the one that’s best suited to you. That is the one that gives you cover for everything you want or need, at the most reasonable price possible. Here at usave, we compare life insurance quotes from numerous providers so you can find the best deal. 

Important Things to Note on Life Insurance

Even if the insurance provider does not ask for a medical, it’s still crucial that you provide accurate and honest information. It may be tempting to leave out some details or just exaggerate how healthy your lifestyle is to cut costs. However, if your provider finds out, your policy could be void and your family will get no pay-out in the event of your death. Despite the fact that your provider may not ask for a medical, they may still contact your doctor to verify any information you provide. This means that you take a big risk when not being completely honest, and you could end up leaving your loved ones in a very difficult financial situation. 

Another thing to note is that you can save a lot of money by writing your policy ‘in trust’. This means that any pay-out your family receive upon your death will be outside your estate for the purposes of inheritance tax. Inheritance tax is charged at 40% on anything you leave in your estate beyond a value of £325,000, so writing your policy in this way can save your family a lot of money. You should bear in mind that trusts are complex to set up properly, so you should always ensure you get proper legal advice. This will allow you to set up a trust in a way that will work exactly as you desire to benefit your loved ones. 
Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.