chances are you know you need life insurance if you have loved ones who are financially supportive. a policy payout would help them pay the bills and keep them afloat if something happens to you.
But you may be holding off on applying for life insurance because of the medical exam. maybe you don’t have time or you just don’t want to be prodded or prodded.
Don’t let the prospect of a medical exam keep you from getting life insurance. the exam is probably not as bad as you think.
Here’s why life insurance companies require a medical exam and what it involves.
why life insurance companies require a medical exam
Life insurance companies use a process called underwriting, which determines applicants’ risk, including expected life expectancy. This helps insurers accurately price life insurance policies to protect you financially.
It also helps prevent healthy people from overpaying for coverage to subsidize those who are not so healthy. healthier applicants are more likely to get lower insurance rates. and those with health conditions and older age will pay more or may be denied coverage.
A large part of the underwriting process involves collecting information about the applicant’s health. Insurers ask you to fill out an application with questions about:
- your medical history
- your past and current recipes
- your family’s medical history (parents and siblings)
- your driving record
- my dangerous hobbies
- international travel plans
- names and dosages of medications, for past and current conditions.
- names, addresses and phone numbers of doctors seen in the last five years.
- list of medical conditions, dates of diagnosis, treatment, treatment outcome, and treating physician contact information.
- driver’s license number and expiration date.
- 24 hours before the test: limit salt and cholesterol-rich 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 work.
- at the exam: have photo ID and application documentation; wear short sleeves or sleeves that can be rolled up to have blood drawn and blood pressure taken
- review your medical records
- use a third-party company, such as milliman intelliscript, to verify your prescription history
- using the mib pool database to check the information in your application
- your motor vehicle report for violations that would show you engaged in risky behavior
- public records to verify your personal information
- what property do you own
- if you have a criminal record or other information that shows you are a risk to insure
- your credit
- your social media, to see if you engage in risky behavior
- third-party financial statements, such as tax returns or documents from an accountant, if you are applying for multi-million dollar coverage
- be in good health without having used tobacco in the last three to five years
- have a clean driving record
- no history of drug or alcohol treatment
- no family history of heart disease or cancer before age 60
A fully underwritten policy takes into account all medical and personal information. which generally includes a medical exam to verify your information and determine if you have health conditions that could affect your life expectancy.
related: do you want to skip medical exams? Check out our list of the best no-exam life insurance.
what does a life insurance medical exam involve
A life insurance medical exam doesn’t require you to give up an entire day. it can take between 15 and 45 minutes, depending on the included tests.
You will usually be asked questions about your medical history during a telephone interview before your exam, and the examiner will review them again in person.
Here’s a sample of the kind of information you should have on hand:
During the exam, your height, weight, pulse, and blood pressure will be recorded. You may need to provide a urine sample and have blood drawn to check for health problems, such as high cholesterol or blood sugar levels, and to check for nicotine and drug use.
If you are over 50 and applying for a large amount of life insurance, such as $1 million or more, you may need to have an electrocardiogram (ekg) which is painless. Electrodes will be attached to record the electrical activity in your heart. 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 may require an x-ray or treadmill stress test, which must be performed in a doctor’s office or clinic.
If you are 70 years of age or older, you may need to have additional testing of your cognitive ability.
how to get a life insurance medical exam
A life insurance medical exam is not only relatively quick, but also easy to obtain. insurance companies partner with paramedical companies that provide testing services, such as examone and apps-paramedical services.
Normally, 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 be tested at home or at work, and a nurse or paramedic will come to you. if you choose your workplace, keep in mind that it might be awkward to hand over the urine sample from the bathroom to your examiner.
or you can get tested at one of the paramedical service testing centers.
Delaying your exam will only delay the process of obtaining insurance coverage, so you’ll want to schedule your exam for as early a date as possible.
how to prepare for a medical exam
The results of your medical exam will play a significant role in the rate you pay for life insurance. it is important to take the test seriously. Granted, you won’t be able to make any major changes to your health in the short time between applying for insurance and taking the exam. but there are things you can do to get the best possible results.
When you schedule your exam, ask if you need to fast. You may need to avoid eating and drinking anything other than water for 12 hours before your exam.
Related: Tips to Prepare for the Life Insurance Medical Exam
get your life insurance medical exam results
You may be able to access the results of your blood and urine tests, depending on the paramedical company that performed the test. For example, Examone, which is one of the best paramedical services, provides results within seven to 14 days of an exam. applicants can register on the examone website and receive an email notification when their results are available.
To find out if you can get your exam results, ask the representative you speak with when you schedule your exam. or contact the customer service of the paramedical company.
other ways insurers get information about you
In addition to your application and medical exam, insurers collect information about you in a variety of ways. obtain information about your health through:
Life insurance companies can also check:
Insurers use all of this information to determine your underwriting classification, which is also called a risk class or rate. Insurers generally have preferred and standard rate classes, but may also have preferred plus and standard plus classes. they also generally have a poor category for people with more serious health conditions.
those in preferred plus and preferred classes get the lowest fares. To qualify for the best rates, you generally must:
how to avoid the medical exam
You can avoid getting a life insurance medical exam if you’re worried about how your health will affect your rate or your ability to get coverage, or if you just don’t want to bother with an exam.
Many insurers offer no-exam life insurance policies. Companies like Haven Life even offer a “fully underwritten” policy that doesn’t require an exam. fully underwritten policies tend to be the most affordable option for many applicants, especially if you are healthier and younger. That’s because they provide the most information to the insurer, which uses that information to accurately price a policy.
These three types of subscription do not imply a medical examination.
Many life insurance providers today offer no-exam policies and a faster application process.
There are also options for fast life insurance, where providers use data and algorithms to quickly decide on a term life insurance quote for you. these options are generally available to younger (under 50 or 60) and healthier applicants.
simplified issue life insurance
The subscription process for simplified issue life insurance does not require a medical exam. Applicants must answer a few questions about medical history and lifestyle. there may be verification of third-party data sources, such as recipe history.
Because less information is collected and a medical exam is not required, simplified issue policies will have higher rates than accelerated underwriting and fully underwritten policies, even for healthy individuals. It’s also common for insurers to limit the amount of coverage available under a simplified issue policy.
guaranteed issue life insurance
You don’t need to take a medical exam or answer health questions to get a guaranteed issue policy. these policies are a way to get coverage if you have health problems. They are often tailored for low-income seniors looking for a small policy to cover funeral and final expenses. and guaranteed issue policies are often the most expensive type of policy for the amount of coverage you get.
If you’re young and healthy, get over any fears you may have about getting a medical exam. then you’ll be more likely to get the coverage you need at the best price.