It is possible to buy life insurance without answering medical questions if that is your preference. In this article, we explain which types of life insurance you can buy without answering any medical questions as well as how those products compare to other types of life insurance that ask for medical information up front.
You can jump ahead to 'Where to buy life insurance without medical questions' and also find out how to get £100 cashback when you buy your life insurance.
Life insurance without medical questions
There are a number of reasons why someone may not wish to answer medical questions. Some people feel it is intrusive while others are in poor health and fear being declined by the insurance company. Whilst these are understandable reasons, it is important to explore all options before choosing a life insurance policy solely because the application will not ask you about your health.
The most common type of life insurance that avoids medical questions is an Over 50s life insurance policy. Sometimes, this type of cover is called a funeral plan because the normal payout value is similar to the cost of a funeral.
On the other hand, term life insurance and whole of life insurance policies do ask about your health and lifestyle as part of the application process. You may also find life insurance providers that ask fewer questions, asking just enough to expose any serious risks that the insurance company will want to know about.
If you wish to avoid answering questions about your health altogether, you will limit the options of life insurance that are available to you. Furthermore, the options available will provide less value.
Over 50s & Funeral life insurance vs Term & Whole of life insurance
In the table below, we compare the different types of life insurance cover you can buy and explain the pros and cons of buying each type of insurance. We also confirm whether you will be required to answer any medical questions when you apply.
|Type of life insurance||Medical questions asked?||Pros||Cons|
|Over 50s life insurance
|Term life insurance
Whole of life insurance
What is over 50s life insurance?
Over 50s life insurance - sometimes referred to as 'Funeral cover' - is a type of life insurance policy that is available to UK residents aged over 50 and doesn't ask about your health when you apply. They provide guaranteed acceptance to anyone who meets the criteria set out in the plan.
This type of life insurance is designed to provide a few thousand pounds as a lump sum benefit to those who may otherwise struggle to be accepted for a life insurance policy due to their health. It is rare for people in good health to buy this type of cover as they can usually buy better value life insurance products, however, some people over the age of 50 may choose to do so for ease of application.
You can read more about this type of life insurance in our article, 'Which is the best over 50s life insurance?'
Over 50s life cover and funeral plans usually cover people regardless of poor health. The monthly premium for these types of policy are high for the amount of cover you get and you can end up paying more than what will pay out when you die.
What questions do life insurance companies ask?
Your age and whether you smoke are usually all that is needed in order to obtain a life insurance quote. To apply for a term life insurance or a whole of life insurance policy, you'll be asked about:
- Your medical history
- Your occupation
- Whether you smoke
- Any dangerous pursuits
- Any drug use
- Your alcohol consumption levels
- Serious illnesses diagnosed in your immediate family
Adverse risks related to the above could result in an increase in the cost of your life insurance and in very severe circumstances, you could be declined for life insurance.
You will find that some applications are shorter than others. Over the years, insurance companies have realised that lengthy applications can be a deterrent for some people. Short applications focus on revealing any concerns and only ask further questions if required. This option can help speed up the application process for those that have nothing to disclose.
Speak to a life insurance expert* to decipher what the application entails whilst finding the best value life insurance.
Do life insurance companies check your medical records
Not always, but life insurance companies can ask your permission to request further medical information from your doctor if necessary.
This is usually the case if you are unable to provide full details about your health or if the life insurance company wants to see a more detailed summary of your health history.
Often, a doctor's report can help the underwriter who assesses your application to make a fairer decision for you based on your specific health history instead of using a blanket approach. For example, if you are a diabetic but have a long and sustained history of good control of your diabetes, you are likely to receive better terms for life insurance than those offered to someone who has a history of poor control.
You can request to see a copy of the medical report requested by the insurance company before it is sent by your GP.
What happens if you lie on a life insurance application?
If you lie on your life insurance application, any claim will likely be declined.
Once a claim is submitted, the life insurance company will request a death certificate to understand the cause of death. Once this is assessed, they may write to your doctor to review your full health history. If this reveals something that you would have known but did not disclose at the time that you applied, your claim could be declined due to non-disclosure.
Sometimes, non-disclosure of facts can happen unintentionally and life insurance companies do differentiate between malicious non-disclosure and innocent non-disclosure to help decipher such situations. However, it is always best to answer all questions fully and to the best of your knowledge.
If you are unsure about how to answer a question within the life insurance application, just say that you don't know. This puts the onus on the life insurance company to establish facts through your doctor or otherwise.
Do I need a medical for life insurance?
A medical examination is not always needed but can be requested when you apply for life insurance. Sometimes, the life insurance company will request a medical exam if you:
- Are significantly overweight
- Exceed a certain age
- Apply for a high amount of insurance
The age, insured amount, and build limits at which a medical examination is requested can vary between insurers so where one insurer may require you to attend a medical exam if you want to cover £500,000, another may only require it at £1,000,000 cover. Similarly, your age and/or your build may fall within parameters for some insurance companies not to require a medical examination.
If you would prefer not to have a medical examination, you can speak to a specialist life insurance adviser* who may be able to source cover that provides life insurance with no medical.
Who pays for a medical examination and what do they check for?
If a medical examination is requested, the life insurance company will pay for this and it will usually be arranged at a place and time that is convenient for you.
The medical examination itself can be anything from a very basic health screening to a full medical exam. The examination can include gathering some or all of the following information about you:
- Activity levels
- General health
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar/glucose levels
- Cholesterol levels
- Smoking habits (cotinine tests detect nicotine)
Where to buy life insurance without medical questions
If you wish to buy the best value life insurance without answering any medical questions you should speak with a specialist life insurance adviser*.
There are plenty of over 50s or similar life insurance products advertised with the promise of no questions, medicals or lengthy applications. However, these usually don't provide the best value and it is wise to check whether you really need to avoid answering medical questions.
If you have a medical condition, discussing it with an adviser can help you to decipher how to navigate the application process that is best and easiest for you. You may be worried about discussing your health unnecessarily and this could lead to you opting for a poor value life insurance product that doesn't meet your needs.
The life insurance specialists vetted by Money to the Masses provide bespoke advice and do not charge you for this. They'll even ensure that the policy is written into trust, allowing you to nominate your chosen beneficiaries without attracting any potential inheritance tax on the proceeds. An adviser will discuss your requirements and present you with options accordingly and you don't have to go ahead with any of the options if you do not feel that they suit you.
If you do buy your life insurance by speaking to the life insurance specialist, you will receive up to £100 cashback as a Money to the Masses reader.
If a link has an * beside it this means that it is an affiliated link. If you go via the link, Money to the Masses may receive a small fee which helps keep Money to the Masses free to use. This link can be used if you do not wish to help Money to the Masses and do not wish to qualify for the cashback referred to in the article.