Guaranteed issue life insurance comes with guaranteed approval because there are no health or lifestyle questions when applying. A guaranteed policy sounds almost too good to be true, but it isn’t.

There are significant drawbacks, such as a two to three-year waiting period and higher premiums. In fact, for most seniors, a guaranteed acceptance policy is not the only way they can get coverage despite prior health issues.

Learn how these plans work, the best guaranteed life insurance companies, the exclusions you need to be aware of, if you need it, and the cost.

How Does Guaranteed Life Insurance Work?

Since approval is guaranteed, there is no underwriting of any kind and a mandatory 2-3 year waiting period. Any nonaccidental death during the waiting period will result in a refund of your premiums plus interest (typically 10%).

In other words, your beneficiaries will not receive the full death benefit amount for death due to natural causes.

No life insurance company in the USA offers guaranteed acceptance life insurance with no waiting period.

Some life insurance companies will refer to the waiting period as a “graded death benefit” or “modified benefit.” After the waiting period, the total life insurance benefit would pay out at any point.

All guaranteed life plans are whole life insurance. No company offers a guaranteed acceptance term life policy or guaranteed acceptance universal life.

Whole life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that builds cash value and has ironclad guarantees.

The monthly premiums will never increase, and the coverage will never decrease or expire.

Since it’s life insurance coverage, the payout will be a tax-free cash payment to your loved ones. They can use the money for funeral costs, medical bills, credit card debts, or anything else.

Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance Policy Features
Policy TypeWhole Life Insurance
Policy DurationLifetime
Fixed PremiumsYes
Typical Coverage OptionsUp to $25,000
Health QuestionsNo
Medical ExamNo
Waiting Period2-3 Years
Typical New Applicant Age Range45-85


Pros And Cons Of Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance

The best pro of a guaranteed issue life insurance policy is that you can’t be denied coverage due to a prior medical condition. The biggest con with this type of coverage is the mandatory waiting period and the higher premiums.

All policies with no health questions have a waiting period. Additionally, they are typically more expensive since the insurance companies take on substantial risk not knowing about the applicant’s health.

The Good
  • Cannot be denied due to prior medical history
  • Whole life insurance with a fixed cost and lifetime coverage
  • Can buy small amounts of coverage to cover final expenses
  • Fast application process
  • No health questions or medical exam
  • Pays out the full amount for accidental death even during the waiting period
  • Available for seniors up to age 85
  • Allows people with “uninsurable” conditions to get new coverage
  • No restrictions on how beneficiaries spend the money
The Bad
  • 2-3 year waiting period before the policy can payout for natural causes of death
  • Higher premiums compared to other life insurance options
  • Low coverage maximums
  • Typically only available to seniors
  • After many years, it’s possible to pay more into the policy than it would pay out
  • No living benefit riders for nursing home confinement or a terminal illness
  • Typically, there are no optional riders you can add on
  • Depending on your preferences, the payout may not be enough to pay for funeral costs


Do You Need A Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Policy?

Most people, including seniors with pre-existing conditions, do not need a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. Guaranteed issue whole life insurance is only worth buying if you have high-risk medical conditions that render you uninsurable via any other policy.

All too often, seniors mistakenly assume that guaranteed life insurance is their only option, but most applicants with previous health issues can qualify for a burial insurance policy with medical questions.

Please don’t assume you need a guaranteed issue life insurance plan because of your health history because you probably don’t. At Choice Mutual, over 90% of our policyholders qualified for senior burial plans with health questions, meaning they saved money and were fully covered immediately.

For example, final expense policies have very lenient underwriting. Most seniors qualify for final expense coverage despite high-risk medical issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD, or previous heart attacks.

You should only consider a guaranteed issue plan after you’ve exhausted all other options that do have underwriting.


Health Issues Where Guaranteed Acceptance Is Your Only Option

Some health conditions have such a low life expectancy that guaranteed acceptance coverage is your only option.

You need a guaranteed life policy if you have any of the following medical issues.

  • AIDS or HIV
  • Alzheimer’s or dementia
  • Currently in a hospital, nursing home, or skilled nursing facility
  • Actively have or are being treated for cancer (excluding certain stage 0-1 cancers)
  • Hospice care
  • Home health care
  • Alcohol or drug abuse (or treatment for either) within the last 24 months
  • Terminal illness
  • Wheelchair usage due to an illness or disease

If you don’t have any of the above conditions, there is a very high chance that you can qualify for coverage with underwriting (lower rates and immediate coverage).


How Much Does Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance For Seniors Cost?

Most guaranteed acceptance policies cost about $50-$300 monthly for $10,000-$20,000 in guaranteed coverage. All final expense life insurance quotes are based on your exact age, gender, and the amount of coverage you buy.

Ordinarily, life insurance rates would also be determined by your health. But since guaranteed life insurance plans don’t ask about health history, prior medical conditions will not affect the price.

The table below has some sample monthly prices.

Guaranteed Issue
Guaranteed Issue
Guaranteed Issue
Guaranteed Issue


Best Guaranteed Life Insurance Companies

Mutual of Omaha and AAA are the best guaranteed acceptance final expense companies. However, Physician’s Mutual life insurance is cheaper at certain ages.

Our rankings also revealed:

Below is a table that outlines all the top guaranteed issue life companies.

CompanyCoverage & New
Applicant Age Limits
Payout During
Waiting Period & Duration
Mutual of Omaha company logo• $2,000-$25,000
• 45-85
• 110% Of Premiums
• 24 Months
See Quotes
AAA company logo• $5,000-$25,000
• 45-85
• 130% Of Premiums
• 24 Months
See Quotes
AARP company logo• $5,000-$25,000
• 50-80
• 110% Of Premiums
• 24 Months
See Quotes
Gerber Life company logo• $5,000-$25,000
• 50-80
• 110% Of Premiums
• 24 Months
See Quotes
AIG company logo• $5,000-$25,000
• 50-80
• 110% Of Premiums
• 24 Months
See Quotes
Great Western company logo• $1000-$25,000
• 40-80
• 110% Of Premiums
• 24 Months
See Quotes
physicians mutual company logo• $3,000-$20,000
• 45-85
• 110% Of Premiums
• 24 Months
See Quotes
trustage company logo• $2,000-$20,000
• 45-80
• 110% Of Premiums
• 24 Months
See Quotes


Is Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance With No Waiting Period Real?

A no-health questionnaire plan always has a waiting period in the first two to three years of the policy. No life insurance products (from any company) have no health questions and no waiting period.

All guaranteed issue plans also have a minimum of a two-year waiting period. No company offers a 6-, 12-, or 18-month waiting period.


No Exam Vs. No Health Questions

It’s essential to understand the difference between the terms “no medical exam life insurance” and “no health questions life insurance.”

They do not mean the same thing.

  • No health questions life insurance: A guaranteed issue whole life policy with no health or lifestyle questions.
  • No medical exam life insurance: Any life insurance that has health questions but does not require a medical exam. Often, these types of policies are called “simplified issue” or “no-exam” coverage.

If you see s life insurance advertisement that only says “no medical exam,” that means it still has health questions.


Guaranteed Life Insurance Alternatives

If a guaranteed issue life insurance policy isn’t sounding like a perfect fit for you, but you still want to avoid a medical exam, there are a few other options worth considering.


Simplified issue life insurance

While not entirely guaranteed, simplified issue life insurance requires no medical exam, and the application process involves answering a simplified set of health-related questions. It provides a quicker approval process compared to traditional underwritten policies, making it a more accessible option for those who want coverage without extensive medical scrutiny.

The coverage might come with higher premiums compared to fully underwritten policies due to the increased risk for the insurer, and coverage limits are typically lower.


Accelerated underwriting

Insurers use accelerated underwriting to leverage advanced data analytics and technology to expedite the underwriting process. Instead of a comprehensive medical exam, they may rely on your electronic health records, prescription history, and other sources to assess your health and determine your eligibility.

It’s important to note that eligibility depends on factors such as your age, coverage amount, and overall health. While it offers a faster application process, not everyone may qualify, and traditional underwriting with a medical exam might still be required in some cases.


Accidental death insurance

This type of policy pays out a death benefit only if the insured’s death is the result of an accident. Keep in mind that it will not cover deaths due to illness or natural causes.


How To Get Life Insurance With No Waiting Period

To qualify for life insurance products that immediately cover you for natural causes, you must apply for a policy with underwriting. In most cases, you won’t have to take a medical exam, but you will have to answer health questions.

At the very least, most applicants can qualify for a senior burial life insurance policy with first-day full coverage.


Medical Conditions Eligibility

The table below has various health issues and whether they are eligible for a no-waiting period policy.

Please remember that your age, resident state, and the totality of all your health issues may result in a different outcome.

Health ConditionEligibility
AIDS or HIVWaiting period
Alcohol or drug abuse<2 Yrs: Waiting period
>2 Yrs: Immediate
Alzheimer’s diseaseWaiting period
Amputation due
to disease
Angina (chest pains)Immediate
Assistance with activities
of daily living (ADL’s)
Atrial fibrillation (Afib)Immediate
Bipolar disorderImmediate
Blood clotsImmediate
Bone marrow
<5 Yrs: Waiting period
>5 Yrs: Immediate
CancerMany variables to consider
Chronic bronchitisImmediate
Chronic kidney
Circulatory/heart surgeryImmediate
Congestive heart
failure (CHF)
Crohn’s diseaseImmediate
Cystic fibrosisImmediate
DementiaWaiting period
Diabetes (Type 1)Immediate
Diabetes (Type 2)Immediate
Diabetic comaImmediate
Diabetic nephropathyImmediate
Enlarged prostateImmediate
Graves diseaseImmediate
Heart attackImmediate
Hepatitis AImmediate
Hepatitis BImmediate
Hepatitis CImmediate
High blood pressureImmediate
High cholesterolImmediate
Home health careWaiting period
Hospice careWaiting period
Insulin shockImmediate
Insulin usageImmediate
Mini stroke (TIA)Immediate
Multiple sclerosisImmediate
Organ transplant<5 Yrs: Waiting period
>5 Yrs: Immediate
Oxygen equipmentImmediate
Parkinson’s diseaseImmediate
Rheumatoid arthritisImmediate
Seizure issuesImmediate
Sickle cell anemiaAge 0-49: Waiting Period
Age 50+: Immediate
Sickle traitImmediate
Sleep apneaImmediate
Systemic lupusImmediate
Terminal illnessWaiting period
Transient ischemic attack (TIA)Immediate
Tumors (cancerous)Many variables to consider
Tumors (noncancerous)Immediate
Ulcerative colitisImmediate
Wheelchair due to an illness or diseaseWaiting period


Frequently Asked Questions

Most guaranteed issue life insurance companies offer a maximum of $25,000 in coverage. Keep in mind that you can always buy multiple policies from different companies.

No company offers guaranteed issue term life insurance. Lifeshield National Insurance Company used to but discontinued the product in July 2023. At present, whole life insurance is the only option if you’re looking for guaranteed acceptance coverage.

Guaranteed universal life (GUL) is not the same as guaranteed issue life insurance. A GUL policy is a type of permanent life insurance with a fixed rate and death benefit. All guaranteed universal life plans have underwriting, so you must medically qualify.

Choice Mutual often cites third-party websites to provide context and verification for specific claims made in our work. We only link to authoritative websites that provide accurate information. You can learn more about our editorial standards, which guide our mission of delivering factual and impartial content.

  1. Lifeshield National Insurance Company.
  2. Guaranteed universal life.