Simplified vs. Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

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Contributor, Benzinga
October 25, 2022

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Simplified issue and guaranteed issue life insurance are two types of coverage that have little to no health questioning required to get insured. They are both good options for sick individuals who would otherwise have trouble getting a life insurance policy approved or for those in need of insurance fast. The premium payments are a little on the higher side and coverage is limited, but simplified and guaranteed are two insurance options that can be highly beneficial to select populations with special insurance considerations.

What is Simplified Issue Life Insurance?

Simplified issue life insurance is an insurance policy that does not require you to answer many health questions in order to be approved. It’s a type of life insurance that is typically used to provide a small amount of life insurance quickly for those looking to skip the medical exam or get signed onto their policy as soon as possible. The waiting period before coverage starts can be as short as a couple of days on these policies, which can also be beneficial for anyone looking for quick protection options.

Insurance providers may offer simplified life insurance as a term or permanent policy. However, simplified issue policies are usually whole life policies, which means that the insurance will last for the insured’s entire life. Some insurers may also offer riders for policy enhancement, while some may not offer any. 

While minimal requirements for approval exist for a simplified insurance policy because few health questions must be answered, insurance companies have an age requirement. Those looking to be approved for a simplified policy must typically fall between the ages of 45 and 85.    

What is Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance?

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of life insurance coverage that does not require a medical exam or health questions to be answered to be approved. The insurance company is also not allowed to review medical records before issuing a guaranteed life insurance policy. This type of insurance is sometimes referred to as “guaranteed acceptance insurance” or “no questions life insurance” for this reason. While there’s no medical review, you’ll face a waiting period before coverage starts. 

The typical age range of approval for guaranteed issue life insurance policies is between 50 and 80 years old. However, the age range is not necessarily a requirement; therefore, you may be able to still be approved even if you are outside the range. If you are outside the age range, your options will just be more limited and may include reduced death benefits.   

A death benefit from a guaranteed life insurance policy is generally used to cover funeral and burial costs without having to dip into other estate assets. However, the payout can be used for anything the beneficiaries see fit. This type of policy is better suited for those who have health issues or would prefer to avoid a medical exam altogether. 

Difference Between Guaranteed and Simplified Issue Life Insurance?

The main difference between guaranteed and simplified issue life insurance is that to get approved for simplified issue life insurance, you need to answer a few health questions whereas with guaranteed issue life insurance you do not need to answer any health questions. Because of the health questions, simplified issue insurance does offer a bit more coverage than guaranteed life alternatives. 

Simplified issue insurance also only takes a few days to be approved while guaranteed issue insurance always has a longer waiting period. The underwriting process for a simplified policy can be as short as a couple days, compared to a guaranteed issue policy underwriting process which may last as long as six weeks.

Benefits of Guaranteed Life Insurance

The benefits of guaranteed life insurance are obvious — no health questions are answered nor is a medical exam required, which means that more types of people will be able to access life insurance coverage. This feature is especially beneficial for individuals who have major health conditions who would otherwise be uninsurable or have to pay much higher premiums based solely on their health. Guaranteed life insurance is guaranteed no matter what your health currently looks like, which can make it one of the only routes that some men and women have to find coverage.  

Drawbacks of Guaranteed Life Insurance

The coverage from guaranteed life policies is typically on the lower side while the premium payments are still a considerable amount. You also have a waiting period before coverage starts, and your beneficiaries won’t get the full payout if you die within the first couple of years after purchasing the policy. 

Because no medical exams are required or health questions asked, insurance providers can charge a high amount for guaranteed life insurance. Compared to other types of life insurance, the premiums are significantly more costly. This aspect can make guaranteed life insurance out of reach if you’re looking for insurance on a limited budget.

Benefits of Simplified Issue Life Insurance

A major benefit of simplified issue life insurance is that there’s no waiting period. The waiting period for life insurance is typically a month or more, but with simplified insurance the waiting period could be as short as a few days. This feature means that you could get coverage almost immediately. 

Another benefit is the minimal health questioning in addition to no required medical exam. The absence of a medical examination contributes to the short waiting period. A short health questionnaire is required for the insurance provider to determine a death benefit and set a premium. This type of insurance allows you to access more coverage when compared to guaranteed issue policies, which have strict caps on the total death benefit that you can access because the insurance provider faces more risk. Simplified issue life insurance policies also tend to be more affordable than guaranteed issue policies, if only marginally. 

Drawbacks of Simplified Issue Life Insurance

Since there is considerable risk on the insurer’s part by not requiring many health questions, the premiums for a simplified life policy can get quite high, which also means that the death benefit is minimal because the insurer has little information on you. In addition, simplified life policies come with less coverage than other more traditional types of life insurance that require a full medical evaluation before you sign onto your coverage.  

Compare Life Insurance

The company that you choose to issue your life insurance policy can be as important as the decision on the type of coverage that you enroll in. Benzinga offers insights and reviews on the following life insurance providers. You may want to consider starting your search for insurance coverage using the links below. 

  • securely through Wysh Life Insurance's website
    securely through Wysh Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Those Under 50 Years Old
    Read Review
  • securely through Ladder Life Insurance's website
    securely through Ladder Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Adjustable coverage
    Read Review

    Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (Cal. license # 0K22568; Ark. license # 3000140372) offers term life insurance policies: (i) in New York, on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York, New York, NY (policy form # MN-26); and (ii) in all other states and the District of Columbia on behalf of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, Minneapolis, MN (policy form # ICC20P-AZ100 and # P-AZ100). Only Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York is authorized to issue life insurance in the state of New York. Insurance policy prices, coverages, features, terms, benefits, exclusions, limitations and available discounts vary among these insurers and are subject to qualifications. Each insurer is solely responsible for any claims and has financial responsibility for its own products.

  • securely through Haven Life Insurance's website
    securely through Haven Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Under Age 64
    Read Review

    Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC21 Haven Term in certain states, including NC) issued by C.M. Life Insurance Company (C.M. Life), Enfield, CT 06082. In New York (DTC-NY) and California (DTC-CA), it is issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001.

  • securely through Fabric Life Insurance's website
    securely through Fabric Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Young families
    Read Review
  • securely through Bestow Life Insurance's website
    securely through Bestow Life Insurance's website
    Best For:
    Term life insurance
    Read Review

    *excludes New York

  • securely through Sproutt Life's website
    securely through Sproutt Life's website
    Best For:
    People with healthy lifestyles
    Read Review

Guaranteed vs. Simplified Life Insurance 

If you’re debating between simplified issue life insurance and guaranteed issue life insurance, which choice is better? The answer to this question varies depending on your unique insurance needs. If you have a severe medical health issue that you believe will prevent you from qualifying for a life insurance policy otherwise, a guaranteed issue policy may provide you with the opportunity to get life insurance protection. If you only have a minor health condition or you’re not comfortable undergoing the full medical examination process that usually comes with enrollment in a life insurance policy, a simplified life insurance policy could be a better choice and allow you to access more coverage. 

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the major problem with guaranteed life insurance?


The major problem with guaranteed life insurance is that the premium payments are generally higher when compared to other types of insurance with lower amounts of coverage available. This situation results from the risk accepted by the insurance provider as there is no review of medical history or a required medical examination. As a result, past a certain death benefit threshold, you will need to undergo some form of medical examination before you can enroll in a life insurance policy. 


Is guaranteed life insurance expensive?


Because guaranteed life insurance typically covers high-risk people, it is more expensive than most other life insurance policy options. The premium payments are sometimes a couple hundred dollars more than other policies each month, which may make this type of coverage prohibitively expensive for many people. Death benefit amounts are also lower, which means that your policy has less value despite being more expensive. 


What is guaranteed life insurance for seniors?


Guaranteed life insurance for seniors allows older people to get life insurance without having to undergo a medical exam.


Benzinga crafted a specific methodology to rank life insurance. To see a comprehensive breakdown of our methodology, please visit our Life Insurance Methodology page.