Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance: The Ultimate Guide

Written by Jeff Root

Are you interested in learning more about guaranteed issue life insurance?

Want to see the best companies, rates, and tips for finding the best guaranteed issue policy for you or a loved one?

If yes, this complete guide on guaranteed issue life insurance is for you. After reading this, you will know:

Ultimate guide to guaranteed issue life insurance

About Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed issue life insurance works just like any other life insurance policy, meaning that the beneficiary of the policy will receive a payment called a “death benefit” when the insured person passes away.

The difference between guaranteed issue life insurance, and most other life insurance policies is that there are no health or lifestyle questions, medical underwriting, prescription reports or medical exams during the application process.

With this type of life insurance, you are essentially guaranteed to be approved.

Other Names for Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Before we proceed, we will clarify the different ways you may see the term “guaranteed issue life insurance” written.

Typically you will see it written with some variation of “guaranteed” or “no questions,” and sometimes with “whole life,” “final expense,” “burial,” and “funeral” mixed in.

No matter what, “guaranteed” = “no questions.”

If you do not see these words, then it is not the same type of policy as covered on this website.

Each of these terms is referring to the exact same type of policy.

  • Guaranteed life insurance
  • Guaranteed issue life insurance
  • Guaranteed issue whole life insurance
  • Guaranteed issue funeral insurance
  • Guaranteed issue burial insurance
  • Guaranteed acceptance life insurance
  • Guaranteed issue final expense insurance
  • No questions life insurance
  • No questions funeral insurance
  • No questions burial insurance
  • No questions final expense insurance

On this website, we predominantly refer to the policy as “guaranteed issue,” “guaranteed acceptance” and “no questions insurance.”

There are other types of whole life, final expense, burial and funeral policies available that are NOT issued on a guaranteed basis. We will briefly go over these options below so you can understand what the alternative options are to a guaranteed or no questions insurance policy.

Features of Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Below are features you should know that are characteristic of any guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

  • The Policy Will Not Expire At Any Age. No matter what, the carriers cannot cancel your policy on you. Your policy is guaranteed until you die, even if you live to age 120. This is why they’re often referred to as “guaranteed whole life” policies.
  • The Monthly Payments Will Not Increase On You. Even if the cost of living increases, you will be locked into the same premium rate until you pass away.
  • The Death Benefits Cannot Decrease. The face value of the policy is set in stone after the graded period.
  • The Policy Will Accrue Cash Value Which You Can Borrow From. As time goes on, your policy will accumulate cash that you can borrow or loan to yourself. This money either needs to be paid back or will be deducted from the policy payout to your beneficiaries.

These four points are true across all no questions life insurance carriers, most of which we outline in-depth on this website.

Who Should Purchase Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance?

Keep in mind that guaranteed life insurance policies are not for most people. If you can get another type of policy, do that as you will get a better rate.

However, if you are older, and have a severe medical condition or health problems, guaranteed issue life insurance might be perfect for you.

With Certain Health Conditions, Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance is the Only Choice

There are certain severe health conditions which will immediately make you uninsurable for a simplified issue policy.

For example, cancer patients can only qualify for guaranteed life insurance. However, cancer survivors may qualify for an underwritten policy depending on a number of factors.

When you’re in the process of applying, you’ll be asked a series of “knockout questions” about your health that will determine if you can only qualify for guaranteed life insurance.

See our guide to 9 of the most common high risk medical conditions to see what type of policy you should apply for.

Qualifying for Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed acceptance life insurance coverage is the easiest to obtain and requires the most basic mandatory information for all policies.

  • Citizenship: You must be a US Citizen or permanent legal
  • State Availability: Not every insurance company offers their products in every state. You must make sure that the policy you want is offered in the state you reside in.
  • Age Limitations: With age, every company has their own restrictions. For the most part, guaranteed issue policies are available to people at least 50 years or older. There are some that go younger, but they are very uncommon. Most companies will stop taking applicants after their 70’s, but there are some that go into the mid-80’s.
  • Legal Consideration: signing a life insurance policy is a legally binding agreement. In order to apply, you (or the person that’s applying) must have the mental capacity to enter into a legal contract. An example where this might be an issue is if the applicant has Alzheimer’s and they’re no longer able to legally consent to an agreement. The insurance carrier will not accept them, no matter if there is a legal guardian.

Alternatives to Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance for Seniors

There are many whole life and term life insurance alternatives to guaranteed issue life insurance if you’re in good health.

However, for most seniors over 60 with health conditions a final expense policy is what you’re looking for.

If you are interested in a cheaper life insurance policy to take care of debts and costs associated with dying, there is a very high chance you can qualify for a simplified-issue final expense policy with underwriting.

Underwriting means that the insurance company will assess your health and lifestyle to determine your insurability.

When applying for an underwritten life insurance product, carriers take the following factors into account:

  • Current medical records
  • Past medical history
  • Pharmacy report
  • Credit history
  • Lifestyle

When it comes to your health, carriers know what the average life expectancy of every health issue is. Your life expectancy determines how high of a risk you are to an insurance company.

Again, always check that you don’t qualify for an underwritten policy before purchasing guaranteed life insurance. Just because you’re turned down by one life insurance company, doesn’t mean that none of them will take you.

Fill out the form on the page, and call our agents to find out!

Pros & Cons of Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Guaranteed life insurance policies, just like any other type of life insurance, have both pros and cons. Below are several benefits and drawbacks to this type of policy.

Pro: Policies are Guaranteed With No Medical Exam

One benefit to guaranteed acceptance life insurance is that there is no medical exam. You’re guaranteed to be accepted and won’t have to provide any detailed health information.

Pro: Guaranteed Life Insurance Policies Help Pay for Final Expenses

People usually purchase no questions life insurance policies for four major reasons.

  • Providing money to assist in your final arrangements, including burial and cremation expenses.
  • Relieving the burden of ongoing household expenses that your income no longer provides support for.
  • Assists in paying any remaining medical bills.
  • Help pay off some or all leftover debts.

The average cost of an adult funeral is over $7,000 and the average American household has credit card debt of $15,654. With that information, purchasing life insurance becomes a no-brainer.

A guaranteed insurance policy allows you to not worry about final arrangements and gives you peace of mind, instead of debt and burdens.

Pro: Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Policies Do Pay Out For Accidents

Insurance carriers want to reduce the amount of risk they take on, which is why death by natural causes has a waiting period (we’ll cover that below). That said, they do understand that accidents are completely out of your control.

This is why every single guaranteed acceptance life policy will pay out the full face value if death occurs by an accident. This holds true even during the waiting period of the first 2-3 years.

Regardless if you are responsible for the accident (such as a car crash you caused), the payout is guaranteed and will take place after your surviving loved ones provide a death certificate and police report to the carrier.

Con: The Waiting Period

The main way that insurance companies mitigate risk with these policies is through a mandatory graded death benefit period.

All companies who offer guaranteed life insurance policies without medical questions impose a restriction on the first several years of the policy.

The majority of companies have a 2-year waiting period, but some go as high as 3 years.

This means that if you pass away during the graded (or waiting) period, the insurance carrier will not pay out any death benefit to your beneficiary.

The graded period protects insurance companies from issuing a policy to someone with a high likelihood of passing away in the first 24-36 months. It is simply too risky for companies to insure someone who has an extreme medical condition, like terminal cancer, Alzheimer’s, or AIDS.

However, if you do pass away in the first two years, they will refund all of the premiums you have paid into the policy to date. In addition, they will also add an additional interest payment usually around 10%. This means all of the money you’ve paid in plus ~10% will be given to your beneficiaries.

This is the worst case scenario, of course. But no matter what, your beneficiaries will receive some sort of payment.

Guaranteed life insurance policies without a waiting period do not exist.

Con: Coverage Amounts are Lower for Guaranteed Life Insurance Policies

The majority of guaranteed acceptance life insurance carriers offer coverage up to $25,000. Some go a little higher, which we cover in out carrier reviews.

The reason that coverage amounts are much lower than other whole life policies or even term policies, is because carriers need to mitigate risk. Since anything guaranteed attracts people in poor health, companies are only willing to offer so much.

Keep in mind, these policies are also designed to cover the smaller debts and expenses that are left behind after you pass away. They are not designed to cover large mortgage loans, college tuition or significant income protection.

Frequently Asked Questions About Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Below are some of the most common questions we get about guaranteed issue life insurance.

How is Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Different?

The two primary ways that guaranteed issue life insurance is different from other policies are:

  1. The application process is simpler & shorter. There is no medical exam, underwriting, or health questions, so almost everyone is accepted.
  2. The waiting period is a 2-3 year time that must pass after the policy is purchased before the policy is in force. Life insurance companies do this to protect themselves against high-risk candidates who apply for this type of policy.

What if I Pass Away During the Waiting Period?

Most companies will refund the premiums that you’ve paid to that point, to your beneficiary plus a 10% interest.

Why is Guaranteed Issue More Expensive?

Because this type of policy has no underwriting, health questions, or medical exam, the insurance company is taking a bigger risk. To protect against this risk, they have higher premiums on these policies.

To get a lower rate, see if you can apply for a different type of policy.

What How Long Does It Take To Apply?

Since the application is so simple, you can often be accepted in as little as 48 hours. You just have to answer a few questions about your personal info.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Rates

The cost of your guaranteed issue life insurance policy will depend on your age, health, medical condition, and other factors. However, to give you an idea of what to expect, here are some sample rates for both men and women.

The top row is the amount of coverage, and the numbers below that are the ranges of monthly premiums for each age. You will likely fall somewhere in that range depending on your health and specific age.

Note: These rates are not exact, and you may fall outside of the listed ranges. Contact us to get an exact quote.

Rates for Men


Rates for Women


The Top 3 Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Carriers

There are over a dozen life insurance companies that offer guaranteed issue life insurance policies. We’ve reviewed 15 of the top guaranteed life insurance companies in detail throughout this website, but we’ve decided on the top three industry leaders below.

We’ve chosen these companies for their B++ to A financial ratings, quality products, competitive prices, customer satisfaction, and more.

For more detailed information about the products, click on the review link below the logo to see our full review on their guaranteed issue policy or see our comparison of these 3 guaranteed issue policies.

Note: We do not always recommend one of these 3 companies. Other carriers do offer better policies for specific situations. This varies based on age & health. To find the best policy for you, call us so we can help.

AIG Guaranteed Issue Policy

AIG life insurance logo

Our Full AIG Review & Rates Here

AIG Website

  • Founded: 1919
  • A.M. Best Rating: A
  • Age availability: 50-80
  • States Unavailable: NY
  • Face Amounts: $5,000- $25,000
  • Graded Period: 24 months
  • Interest Granted: 10%

AIG Guaranteed Issue Rates for Men


AIG Guaranteed Issue Rates for Women


Gerber Life Insurance Company

Our Full Gerber Life Review & Rates Here

Gerber Life Website

  • Founded: 1967
  • A.M. Best Rating: A
  • Age Availability: 50-80
  • States Unavailable: MT
  • Face Amounts: $5,000- $25,000
  • Graded Period: 24 months
  • Interest Granted: 10%

Gerber Life Guaranteed Issue Rates for Men


Gerber Life Guaranteed Issue Rates for Women


Great Western Insurance Company

Great Western Life Insurance Logo

Our Full Great Western Insurance Review & Rates Here

Great Western Website

  • Founded: 1983
  • A.M. Best Rating: B++
  • Age Availability: 50 – 85
  • States Unavailable: NY
  • Face Amounts: $1,000 – $40,000
  • Graded Period: 24 months
  • Interested Granted: 10%

Great Western Guaranteed Issue Rates for Men


Great Western Guaranteed Issue Rates for Women


The Easiest Way To Apply for Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

The simplest way to find the best guaranteed issue life insurance policy for your situation is to work with an independent agent.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Agents Can Save You Time & Money

These are life insurance experts who shop for different policies from multiple companies for you, and it doesn’t cost you any extra money.

You will save hours of research and get a qualified professional to answer any questions you may have.

In return, an independent agent will be able to ask you health questions to see if you actually need a guaranteed issue product or if you could qualify for another type of final expense policy. That way, you’ll have the peace of mind in knowing you received the best policy for you.

We speak with consumers daily who are overpaying for guaranteed acceptance life insurance through companies like John Hancock and Colonial Penn.

Make Sure Your Agent is “Independent”

Some agents can only sell from one or two life insurance companies. That means you might end up paying a higher rate, so make sure your agent is “independent.”

Working with an independent agency means that its agents can sell policies from multiple guaranteed issue life insurance companies. You’ll get a wider selection of life insurance coverage options to truly find the best fit for you.

This is incredibly important for all people, but especially for those with high-risk health conditions. Other agents may only represent one or two companies so you don’t get the best rate.

Call us at 877-800-0450 or fill out the quote tool to start comparing guaranteed issue life insurance rates from all the top companies. We are licensed to sell in all 50 states and our services are free to you.

About Jeff Root & Guaranteed Issue Life
About Jeff Root & Guaranteed Issue Life

Jeff Root is the author of The Digital Life Insurance Agent and host of the Modern Life Insurance Selling Podcast.

Guaranteed Issue Life is a nationally licensed agency, that has helped over 1500 consumers purchase guaranteed issue life insurance. We represent over 30 life insurance companies & transact business in every state.

All content on this site has been written by life insurance experts & licensed life insurance agents.

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