What to Expect in A Life Insurance Medical Exam; See Details

What to Expect in A Life Insurance Medical Exam – If you have loved ones who count on you for financial support, you may be considering buying life insurance. A payout from a policy would help them pay the bills and keep them afloat if they pass away.


But you might be dragging your feet when it comes to applying for life insurance because of the prospect of a life insurance medical exam. Perhaps you don’t have the time or simply don’t understand what’s involved.

Why Life Insurance Companies Require a Medical Exam

Don’t let the prospect of a medical exam deter you from getting life insurance. The exam probably isn’t nearly as bad as you think.

Life insurance companies use a process called underwriting, which determines the risk of applicants, including expected life expectancy. This helps insurers price life insurance policies accurately to protect themselves financially.

It also helps prevent healthy people from overpaying for coverage to subsidize those who aren’t as healthy. Healthier applicants are more likely to get lower insurance rates. And those with health conditions and at older ages will pay more or could be declined for coverage.

A big part of the underwriting process involves gathering information about an applicant’s health. Insurers ask you to fill out an application with questions about:

  • Your medical history
  • Your past and current prescriptions
  • Your family’s medical history (parents and siblings)
  • Your driving record
  • Any dangerous hobbies
  • International travel plans

A fully underwritten policy takes all medical and personal information into account. That typically includes a medical exam to verify your information and determine whether you have health conditions that could affect your life expectancy.

What a Life Insurance Medical Exam Entails

A life insurance medical exam doesn’t require you to give up an entire day. It can take just 15 to 45 minutes, depending on what tests are included.

You’ll generally be asked questions about your medical history during a phone interview before your exam, and the examiner will review them again in person.

Here’s a sample of the type of information you should have on hand:

  • Names and dosages of medications, for past and current conditions.
  • Names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctors visited in the past five years.
  • List of medical conditions, dates of diagnoses, treatment, treatment outcome, and treating physician contact information.
  • Driver’s license number and expiration date.

During the exam, your height, weight, pulse, and blood pressure will be recorded. You likely will have to provide a urine sample and have blood drawn to test for health issues such as elevated cholesterol or blood sugar levels, and to screen for nicotine and drug use.

If you’re over age 50 and applying for a high amount of life insurance, such as $1 million and up, you might be required to take an electrocardiogram (EKG) which is painless. Electrodes will be placed on you to record the electrical activity in your heart. The guidelines for who needs an EKG will vary by insurer.

You won’t have to undress during the exam, but it’s good to wear loose clothing if your test involves an EKG.

Occasionally some insurers might require an X-ray or treadmill stress test, which needs to be done at a doctor’s office or clinic.

If you’re age 70 or older, you might have to take an additional test of your cognitive ability.

How to Get a Life Insurance Medical Exam

Not only is a life insurance medical exam relatively quick, it’s also easy to get. Insurance companies partner with paramedical companies that provide testing services, such as ExamOne and APPS-Paramedical Services.

Typically, a representative from the medical testing service will contact you to schedule an appointment. The insurer will cover the cost of the exam.

You can choose to have the test done at your home or workplace, and a nurse or paramedical professional will come to you. If you choose your workplace, keep in mind that it could be awkward to deliver the urine sample from the bathroom to your examiner.

Or you may be able to have the test done at one of the paramedical service’s exam centers.

Delaying the exam will only slow the process of getting insurance coverage, so you’ll want to schedule your exam for the earliest possible date.

How to Prepare for a Medical Exam

The results of your medical exam will play a big part in the life insurance quote you’ll get. It’s important to take the test seriously. Granted, you won’t be able to make major changes to your health in the short period between applying for insurance and taking the exam. But there are ways you can prepare for your life insurance medical exam to get the best results possible.

  • 24 hours before the exam. Limit salt and high-cholesterol foods such as red meat; avoid over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and nasal decongestants.
  • 12 hours before the exam. Refrain from alcoholic beverages and strenuous exercise, which can raise blood pressure levels.
  • One hour before the exam. Avoid caffeine and nicotine; drink a glass of water. Being hydrated will help with the blood test.
  • At the exam. Have a photo ID and application paperwork; wear short sleeves or sleeves that can be rolled up so your blood can be drawn and blood pressure can be taken

When scheduling your exam, ask whether you need to fast. You might have to avoid eating and drinking anything other than water during the 12 hours before your exam.

Getting the Results of Your Life Insurance Medical Exam

You may be able to access the results of your blood and urine tests, depending on the paramedical company that conducted the test. For example, ExamOne which is one of the top paramedical services provides results within seven to 14 days after an exam. Applicants can register on the ExamOne website and be notified by email when their results are available.

To find out whether you can get your exam results, ask the representative you speak with when you schedule your exam. Or contact the paramedical company’s customer service.

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