The Fastest Ways To Buy Life Insurance Online in 2021

Are you looking to get life insurance as fast as possible and, preferably, without having to meet or talk to someone?

We tend to only think about life insurance during key milestones in our life – when we get married, have kids, buy a house, or lose a loved one.

Other times, that milestone is being fired or furloughed causing you to lose your group life insurance policy through your employer.

If you recently experienced a big change, it might be time to think about life insurance.

Years ago, it was nearly impossible to get life insurance fast, much less online. You'd have to call a few companies, probably talk to a broker, meet with insurance agents, get a medical exam, and then wait as the insurance underwriters analyzed your risks and issued, or declined to issue, a policy.

Today, you can do it online and if you are someone considered low-risk, they'll issue a smaller life insurance policy quickly.

If you qualify, you can get an insurance policy issued in minutes rather than the more traditional waiting period of weeks.

While there are two major types of life insurance, term and whole, this article only covers term life insurance. If you want to know the difference, read this article on term vs. whole life insurance.

Best Fast Life Insurance Options

Below are the best fast term life insurance companies we've reviewed, in no particular order. Read on to discover the right one for you.

CompanyStrongest InA.M. Best
Rating
SprouttInsurance marketplace, many offersN/A*
Bestow10-20 year terms, $50k-$1mm, no medical examA+
Fabric10-30 yr term, $100k-$5mmA+
Ladder10-30yr term, flexible coverage,
no medical exams up to $3mm
A+
PolicygeniusInsurance marketplace, many offersN/A*
Haven Life$100-$3mmA++

In the above table, the A.M. Best rating is for the primary insurance company that underwrites the company's policies.

For context, A.M. Best is a ratings company that has 15 categories for its ratings. They issue them based on the insurance company's financial strength, operating performance, and ability to meet obligations to its policyholders. The highest categories are A++ and A+ – anything above a B+ is considered a secure rating. Anything B and below is considered “vulnerable.” We don't list anyone below an A. You want to avoid what happens when an insurance company goes out of business.

Sproutt

Sproutt offers life insurance from several companies and looks to use your lifestyle choices to help you find the best insurance policy. They developed a Guided Artificial Intelligence Assessment platform to help figure out your Quality of Life Index and use it to help make recommendations to improve your lifestyle.

They are an insurance broker and not affiliated with a single company so they can search around for the best pricing. You can do this all without ever having to speak with a person but if you want to, you still can.

Our full review of Sproutt explains more.

Get a free quote on Sproutt

Bestow

Bestow Logo

Bestow, which we mentioned earlier, will get you a “quote in seconds, coverage in minutes” for terms as short as 10-years and as long as 20-years for a benefit between $50,000 and $1,000,000. Bestow's experience is entirely online, there's no meeting with anyone in person, and they will issue policies without a medical exam.

We take a deeper look at Bestow in our full review.

Bestow issues policies from North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, a company founded in 1886.

Get a free estimate from Bestow

Fabric

Fabric Logo

Fabric will issue 10-, 15-, 20-, 25-, and 30-year term life insurance policies with coverage starting at $100,000 up to $5,000,000 – all online. The online application process takes approximately ten minutes and if you qualify, they will issue a policy there.

Fabric issues policies from Vantis Life, which is a Penn Mutual Company (established 1874).

What separates Fabric, besides their coverage up to $5,000,000, is that they offer help in a variety of other estate planning areas like creating a will and organizing your financial and legal information through their custom tools. If you don't have any estate planning done, it's an easy way to organize and get things started.

Get a free estimate from Fabric

Ladder

Ladder Logo

Ladder is faster than traditional insurers as they offer a fully digital term life insurance application process. Ladder’s agents are salaried so there is no incentive for them to sell you a product. They offer term life policies of 10 to 30 years and there are no medical exams for coverage up to $3M.

The appeal of Ladder is that the policies they offer allow you to decrease or apply to increase your coverage. This can be useful in cases where you know your needs will change in the future (this is how much life insurance you need). If they may go up, apply to add more coverage. If they go down, decrease your coverage in a matter of clicks with Ladder. You could do this with other companies, by getting additional policies or letting your existing one lapse, but Ladder makes it easier. We did a review of Ladder that goes into much greater detail.

Their policies are issued by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, in all states except New York, and Allianz Life Insurance Company of New York issues policies in New York, both with A+ (Superior) Ratings from AM Best — affirmed October 2021.

Get a free quote from Ladder

HavenLife

Haven Life is one of the quickest options because they are completely digital and they tell you exactly what you'll pay after you fill out their online application. If you live in the United States, are between 18 and 64 years of age, not active military, and meet a few other criteria, you can get a quote online. Their underwriting algorithms will use third-party verification sources to confirm what they need and they can approve an application in minutes.

They issue term life insurance policies only with a death benefit as low as $100,000 or as much as $3,000,000. If you are 60 or older, the upper limit is $1,000,000. Most people will need to take a medical exam to finalize the coverage and rate but if you are eligible, you could skip the medical exam.

Haven Life issues policies from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, often called MassMutual, who has been in business since 1851.

Get a free estimate from HavenLife

Policygenius

Policygenius is an insurance marketplace that will help you get insurance for everything from disability to renters to auto to life insurance. For each of these policy types, you fill out a form and can get online quotes from a variety of policy issuers.

For life insurance, the benefit is that you can get the best price but the downside is that the issuing speed is slower, it can take on average 4-6 weeks. And since they work with multiple insurance issuers, you can get a policy as low as $50,000 and as high as $10,000,000. Their terms range from 1-years to 40-years.

Get a free quotes from PolicyGenius

Common Questions about Life Insurance

There are a few things to be aware of whenever shopping for insurance, especially when it's entirely online and without a medical exam:

How much term life insurance do I need?

The goal of life insurance is to protect your beneficiaries if you die unexpectedly. If you are single without a family, life insurance isn't a priority. If you die, you have no beneficiaries. There's no one left on the hook for your debts. If you have a mortgage and the bank forecloses, it doesn't matter because no one else is living there.

If you're married with two kids and a mortgage, your death will have an impact on your family's finances. If you're the sole or primary earner in the household, it will have a significant impact because your family loses your income but still has all of its expenses. If the bank forecloses on your house, your family must move. The role of life insurance is to reduce some of the burdens of your death.

How much do you need? That depends on your specific finances but experts generally recommend you get enough to cover your financial obligations. This includes your debts, such as a mortgage or car note, but also what you may need to raise children or care for pets. This will depend on your total financial picture (life insurance isn't free!) but the idea here is to have something so your beneficiaries aren't left with both an emotional hole as well as a financial one.

Does life insurance cover death from COVID-19 & Coronavirus?

In these unprecedented times, this is an important question and if you have a traditional life insurance policy then it is typically covered. There is nothing specific about the virus that would disqualify or invalidate a policy.

Other factors could impact a life insurance policy, such as if you fail to pay the premium or you did not submit an accurate application (and it's still in the contestable period, more on that below), but nothing specific to COVID-19 or Coronavirus would be excluded.

Here is our broader resource page for Coronavirus relief information and resources.

What is your “contestable period?”

Every life insurance policy has a “waiting period,” legally referred to as a contestable period. In the first two years of a policy (typically), an insurance company can void coverage because of a misstatement by the insured. An entirely online process can be fast but you need to be very careful because if you lie on the application, your policy could be invalidated during this period. This is why it's important to disclose everything you know about yourself and not fudge any numbers!

After the waiting period, the “incontestability clause” kicks in. It's a simple clause that says the policy is incontestable after this waiting period.

Why can they issue policies faster now?

Back in the day, insurance companies treated everyone the same. If you were 20-years-old and healthy, you went through the same process as someone who was 40-years-old and not nearly as healthy. That process included phone calls, forms, the postal service, and other steps that were slow. And everyone did the same process.

Today, you can do it online and if you are someone considered low-risk, they'll issue a smaller life insurance policy quickly.

For example, Bestow is willing to issue a policy of up to $1,000,000 and a term of up to 20-years entirely online without a medical exam. You won't need to be in perfect health to be approved. That's far faster than the old way of weeks and many of these companies are just the online face of an older insurance company that's been in business for decades. In Bestow's case, they are themselves a licensed agent and provide policies by North American Company for Life and Health Insurance, a company founded in 1886.

Can I still shop around for the best prices?

In the past, no medical exam life insurance was typically reserved for folks who were risky to insure. If you had an underlying health condition that would preclude you from getting life insurance, you'd have to go with a no medical exam policy. These policies were more expensive because insurers knew there was a reason why you didn't want a medical exam. They didn't know exactly why but they knew it was because you were a higher risk.

These days, the no medical exam aspect of the above offerings was to help streamline the process, not avoid the exam itself. That said, the “fast” part of the offer is still a benefit and it's important to understand that it has costs. A company willing to issue you a policy without a medical exam and using just your word is taking on more risk – that means they may want higher premiums.

Since every insurance policy is different, I recommend getting several quotes just to make sure you aren't overpaying simply because one company's actuaries calculate your risks differently. It always pays to shop around – plus the quotes are free so it'll only cost you time. Here's the average cost of life insurance so you'll have an idea of what to expect. 

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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