What Is Simplified Issue Life Insurance: Pros & Cons, Benefits & if You Should Buy

Simplified issue life insurance is a type of life insurance that only requires customers to answer health questions and doesn’t require a medical exam. Because it’s easier to qualify, it’s more expensive than other kinds of policies and offers lower coverage amounts.

It’s a good option for people who want coverage right away and those who may not qualify for other plans, particularly those who may be suffering from medical issues.

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Last Updated: 8/22/2022
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Simplified issue life insurance doesn’t require a medical exam. This makes it a good fit for people with serious health complications or those who don’t like invasive procedures in medical exams, like needles.

Applicants do still have to answer some health questions. This type of life insurance is typically more expensive than policies that require a medical exam but may be the only type of life insurance that people with serious health issues qualify for.

What happens if I get rejected for simplified issue life insurance?

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Takeaways component

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Simplified issue life insurance is a type of life insurance that does not require a medical exam.

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This type of life insurance is usually more expensive than other life insurance policies that require medical exams.

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While simplified issue life insurance doesn’t require an exam, insurers may still reject applicants.

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What Is Simplified Issue Life Insurance?

Unlike traditional life insurance policies, simplified life insurance applications are often accepted more quickly since the underwriting process is relatively simple. As long as you pass the health questionnaire, your application will likely be accepted.

Simplified issue life insurance policies often come with higher life insurance rates than traditional policies and tend to feature lower coverage amounts, starting at just $2,000 and rarely exceeding $100,000.

While there’s no guarantee that the insurer will accept your application, simplified issue life insurance is often a good fit for people whose health issues might prevent them from qualifying for a traditional life insurance policy.

How Does Simplified Issue Life Insurance Work?

Like the name suggests, simplified issue life insurance is easier to apply for than a traditional insurance policy. While applicants must answer a few questions about their health and medical history, no medical exam is required. Approval is usually faster than a traditional life insurance policy.

For example, someone with a health concern might apply for a simplified issue life insurance policy, fill out a health questionnaire and have their application accepted in just a few days. Their coverage limit will likely be under $100k and their monthly premiums will vary depending on various factors, including any current health issues they may be experiencing.

Simplified issue life insurance is often a good fit for people who need health insurance quickly.

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    Easy application

    The underwriting process for this type of life insurance is simple since there’s no medical exam required. Applicants must answer a few questions about their health and medical history by filling out a short health questionnaire.

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    Quick approval

    Unlike traditional life insurance policies, which can take weeks or even months for applications to be approved, simplified issue life insurance policies have a fast approval time. Applicants can typically expect to receive a decision within 48 hours, and some insurers even offer instant results.

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    Term or whole life

    Unlike guaranteed acceptance insurance, which only takes the form of a whole life insurance policy, simplified issue life insurance can take the form of either a term of whole life insurance policy. Term life insurance covers the applicant only for a specified term and tends to be more affordable, while whole life insurance covers applicants for life as long as they continue to pay monthly premiums.

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    Lower value for money

    While there are some benefits to simplified issue life insurance, it tends to have a lower value than a conventional policy. Coverage amounts start as low as $2,000 and rarely exceed $100,000, while traditional policies can provide coverage in the hundreds of thousands or even millions.

What Do Life Insurance Companies Ask About in a Health Questionnaire?

While there’s no medical exam required for this type of policy, applicants must still answer some questions about their health. These include whether you require assistance completing daily tasks, whether you have health concerns like HIV or cancer and whether you have a terminal illness.

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    Description
  • Terminal medical conditions
    Applicants must disclose whether they have any terminal medical conditions or end-stage diseases. Typically, applicants will be rejected if they have less than two years of life expectancy.
  • Driving history
    Applicants must answer several questions about their driving history within the past two years, including whether they’re received two or more moving violations and whether they’ve been convicted of reckless driving or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • License suspension or revocation
    Applicants must also disclose whether they’ve had their license suspended or revoked in the past five years.
  • Probation
    Applicants must disclose if they’re currently on probation or have been on probation within the past year.
  • Felonies
    Applicants must answer questions concerning any felony convictions or guilty pleas in the past seven years.
  • Cancer, heart attacks or strokes
    The health questionnaire will also ask applicants to answer questions about serious health complications such as cancer (excluding basal cell carcinoma), heart attacks or strokes in the past two years.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
    The questionnaire will also ask applicants to disclose whether or not they suffer from alcohol or drug abuse for which they have received medical treatment.
  • Alzheimer’s or dementia
    Applicants must disclose if they have been diagnosed with conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  • HIV or AIDS
    Applicants must answer questions about their HIV status, including whether they’ve ever tested positive for HIV or been diagnosed with AIDS or ARC.
  • Hospitalized or in assisted care
    Patients must disclose if they are currently hospitalized, in a psychiatric facility or in extended or assisted care.
  • Incarcerated
    Applicants must answer questions about whether or not they’re incarcerated, including whether they’re currently in prison or a correctional facility.
  • Receiving healthcare at home
    The questionnaire will ask applicants to disclose whether they’re receiving at-home care or need assistance completing basic tasks like getting dressed and taking medication.
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While applicants may still be rejected when applying for a simplified issue life insurance policy if they have any of the above issues, there are still life insurance policies available even for people who might not qualify for traditional or simplified issue life insurance policies.

Guaranteed acceptance life insurance accepts all applicants and doesn’t require an exam or health questionnaire. Most guaranteed acceptance policies come with high monthly premiums and a low death benefit. That said, they may still be an option worth considering for those unable to purchase other life insurance policies.

How Much Does a Simplified Issue Life Insurance Policy Cost?

Final expense insurance policies like simplified issue life insurance tend to have higher premiums, especially given the amount of coverage they provide.

Health questionnaires can give the insurer a partial picture of the risk involved when insuring an applicant but do not provide as much information as a policy that requires a medical exam. Because applicants may be high risk, insurers protect themselves against this risk by charging higher premiums for this type of policy.

How much coverage do I actually need?

Pros & Cons of Simplified Issue Life Insurance

While seniors make up the majority of applicants for simplified issue life insurance, people of any age with serious health complications may want to consider a simplified issue life insurance policy.

If you’re worried that your application may be rejected, you should consider applying for simplified issue life insurance first since it can be cheaper than guaranteed acceptance life insurance.

That said, simplified issue life insurance may not be the right fit for everyone, and applicants who can qualify for traditional policies may get a better deal for a higher amount of coverage.

Key Takeaways

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PROS
  • No medical exam
  • Fast application
  • Quick approval process
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CONS
  • Low coverage amounts
  • Higher monthly premiums
  • Requires applicants to answer a health questionnaire

The main benefits of simplified issue life insurance are that it’s easy to apply, applications are typically accepted within a few days and the application process doesn’t require a medical exam.

This makes it ideal for applicants whose health conditions may disqualify them from a traditional policy, those who need immediate life insurance coverage and those who want to steer clear of medical examinations.

Reasons to Purchase Simplified Issue Life Insurance

1

You have serious health issues

Simplified issue life insurance may be a better fit for applicants with serious health issues. The type of life insurance doesn’t require a medical exam but does ask applicants to fill out a short health questionnaire.

2

You don’t like medical exams

For applicants who don’t like medical exams, simplified issue life insurance provides an alternative to traditional life insurance policies, which almost always require a medical exam.

3

You want coverage for final expenses

Simplified issue life insurance usually comes with a lower death benefit of under $100,000 and can be as low as $2,000. This makes it a good fit for people who may not want a higher amount of coverage but are interested in a benefit high enough to pay for final expenses like funeral costs.

4

You need coverage right away

While traditional life insurance applications can take weeks or even months to be approved, simplified issue life insurance policies are usually approved within a day or two and may even be approved immediately upon submitting your application.

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If you’ve never applied for life insurance before, you may want to begin by applying for a conventional life insurance policy. This life insurance policy is usually much cheaper and features higher coverage amounts. Traditional life insurance provides a better value for the cost, so it should always be your first option.

If you cannot secure a traditional life insurance policy for whatever reason, simplified issue life insurance is a good backup plan. When applying for simplified issue life insurance, look for simplified issue life insurance policies that feature low premiums and adequate coverage amounts.

Insurance Rates

Compare Life Insurance Rates

Ensure you are getting the best rate for your insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Since there are several different types to choose from, choosing the best life insurance policy for you can sometimes be a little confusing. We’ll cover some of the most commonly asked questions surrounding simplified issue life insurance.

About the Author


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Margaret Wack is a freelance writer who covers insurance, saving, investing, banking, and more. Margaret earned a bachelor's degree in classics, comparative literature, and poetry from Smith College and a master's degree from St. John's College.