Life Insurance with 'No Medical'

Can you take out life insurance without a medical examination?

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Find out what insurers need to know about your health.

Life insurance with no medical simply refers to taking out cover and having no requirement to complete any medical checks. Whether or not you’re able to take out cover with no medical, depends on certain health and lifestyle factors.

When applying for life insurance, the insurer will ask you a range of questions regarding your health and lifestyle. It’s how you respond to these questions which will influence whether or not you require a medical examination.

When you might need a medical

When you apply for life cover, you will be asked several questions about your lifestyle and health. If you’ve never had any major medical issues, and you aren’t a smoker, then the risk of you claiming on your life insurance policy will be much lower than someone with pre-existing medical problems. As a result, you may well be offered cover without a medical, whereas if your medical history is more complicated and you do have health problems, you are likely to need one. 

It’s likely you’ll be asked for a medical if one or more of these scenarios applies to you:

  • You’ve disclosed pre-existing medical conditions on your application
  • If you’ve been refused cover in the past
  • If you’re looking for a large amount to be insured for
  • Your family has a history of hereditary diseases  
  • If you’ve lived abroad for extended periods

Each insurer has their own criteria for seeking medical exams from applicants and will give different levels of importance to each of the above.

Whatever your medical history, most insurers will ask for permission to contact your doctor so they can get a fuller picture of your medical history before they offer you cover.

How are life insurance premiums calculated?

Insurers will look at a whole range of factors to help them decide at what level to set your life insurance premiums. These include, but are not limited, to the following:

  • Your age, weight, height, sex
  • How much alcohol you drink each week
  • Whether or not you are a smoker
  • Your family’s medical history
  • Your occupation
  • Whether you have had any medical conditions in the past, or any which you are currently being treated for.

How to reduce the cost of cover

The healthier you are, the lower your premiums are likely to be, so the more steps you can take to improve your health, the better. Losing weight will also have an impact, as statistically you are likely to live longer if you aren’t overweight, so there is less risk for insurers that they will have to pay out.

Read: Tips to reduce the cost of life insurance

Life insurance costs infographic

The importance of giving the correct information

It’s vital to be honest when giving answers to insurance companies, as if you aren’t truthful and then need to make a claim, your policy could be invalidated. 

Even though it might be tempting, for example, to tell insurers that you stopped smoking years ago, if you die and it is revealed you are a smoker, any claim will be refused. The same goes for any pre-existing medical conditions – if you keep them under wraps but ultimately they are a contributing factor towards your death, your policy won’t pay out.

What else you should know

When you take out life insurance, you should consider writing your policy ‘in trust’, so that you don’t have to pay inheritance tax on any pay out. Inheritance tax is payable at 40% on anything you leave over £325,000 when you die.  So, if any life insurance pay out pushes your estate above this threshold, inheritance tax will be payable, unless the policy has been written in trust.

This simply means that any payment on death will then be outside of your estate for inheritance tax purposes. 

It’s a good idea to seek professional legal and tax advice before setting up a trust, so that you can be sure you have the right arrangement in place to suit your individual requirements.

Read: Life insurance and tax

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