Are you ready to purchase life insurance? You might need to take a medical exam before you can buy life insurance. This will allow the insurer to estimate your life expectancy, and to determine your rate. Underwriting is a process by which life insurance companies determine the risk of you having to pay out your policy. They consider you a better option because they know how likely it is that they won’t need to pay you (especially if your term life insurance is paid off).
For obtaining a policy, a life insurance medical exam does not necessarily have to be done. If you are generally healthy, you can get the lowest premiums.
What is a medical exam for life insurance?
A life insurance health examination is a simple physical. This is part of the underwriting process. Your insurer will ask you to go through it in order for them to assess your risk factors and characteristics. This information is used by the insurer to determine the cost of your insurance policy.
The life insurance physical exam will be required before you can obtain a policy. This assumes that the policy requires a medical examination. We’ll discuss no-exam life insurance in a later section.
You don’t have to visit your doctor to get this exam. The life insurance company can send a technician to you at a time that suits your schedule. The average exam takes around 30 minutes. This exam consists of two parts:
1. Medical questionnaire
A series of questions about your health will be asked by the technician to get a better idea of your overall health. You will be asked about your medications, their frequency and dosages. You may also be asked about your recent visits to doctors, their recommendations, and whether you have been hospitalized in the past. You must be honest when answering these questions. If the insurer discovers that you lie after the policy is issued, they may cancel your coverage. These questions should not be answered differently than the information provided on your application.
2. Examen physique
The technician will conduct a physical exam. They will check your height, weight and blood pressure. To verify your identity, they will check your driver’s licence. They may perform an EKG to check the electrical activity of your heart if you are over 50 or applying for large death benefits. A prostate specific antigen (PSA), test may be required for males over 50 years old. Rarely, you might also be asked to provide a sample of saliva or get X-rayed.
The technician will use your height, weight and liquid samples to screen you for possible health conditions. These conditions could include:
- Hypertension – This condition is often called a “silent killer”. In many cases, hypertension can reduce the life expectancy of an insured.
- High cholesterol – This condition can cause heart disease by making it more difficult for your heart pump blood through your veins. You can control high cholesterol with the right medications.
- Diabetes – Even type 2 diabetes can raise your life insurance premiums. You will likely see a reduction in your life insurance premiums if you have type 1 diabetes.
- HIV/AIDS Although HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence, it’s still a serious condition. Almost all life insurance companies will test positive for the condition.
- Nicotine use – Smoking tobacco can reduce one’s life expectancy and cause a host of health problems. This box will increase your premiums.
- Recreational drugs You may be denied coverage if you are using other drugs than alcohol or tobacco. Insurers always verify that you are not using meth, cocaine, or other hard drugs. This can cause a variety of health problems.
- High levels of triglycerides This indicator can be similar to high cholesterol and could indicate potential health problems. This condition, like high cholesterol, can be managed with the right medication.
- High liver enzymes If your liver enzymes are high, it may be out of the normal range. This habit can be cut back or eliminated to improve your underwriting classification.
The life insurance health exam should be quick and easy for you. This allows your insurer check for a wide range of health conditions. This allows them to determine your life expectancy, and consequently your premiums.
What is the importance of the life insurance medical exam?
Your premiums are determined directly by your life insurance. Geoffrey Gordon, President, Andrew G. Gordon Insurance Agency, Norwell, Massachusetts, explains that the preferred rate is ‘preferred plus’ for the 20 healthiest people. The next 30 percent are rated a ‘preferred’ rate and the borderline 30 percent get the’select’ rate.
He adds that depending on your age, each step above standard will save you on average 20 percent on your premium.
A better health status makes a huge difference
You can say goodbye to “preferred plus” if you’re overweight or use drugs, tobacco, alcohol, or other substances. Gordon also says that even a small increase in blood pressure could result in a 20 percent increase in your insurance quote. You could save thousands of dollars by making small improvements to your health that will improve your chances of getting insurance.
What if I don’t have to take a medical exam in order to get life insurance?
Yes. Yes. With guaranteed issue or simplified issue life insurance you can skip the medical exam part of the underwriting process. Your insurer will still require you to take a physical in order to assess your risk before issuing you a policy. You can expect to pay higher for your health insurance if you skip this step.
There are some exceptions. There are some exceptions. A policy that includes a life insurance physical exam is the best option if you are healthy.
How to prepare for the health exam for life insurance
To score the lowest premiums possible on your policy, you must be prepared for success in your life insurance physical exam.
Most likely, your insurer will give you guidelines before the medical exam. For example, they may tell you to fast at least six hours before the exam. These are our top tips for getting the best results from your life insurance medical exam.
- Schedule your exam for the morning: As you will likely need to fast prior to your exam, it is a good idea to schedule your physical early in the morning. To ensure your blood pressure isn’t high, if you do a morning exercise routine, don’t do it on the day of your exam.
- Stay hydrated during your exam. This will make it easier to get the required blood and urine samples from your technician.
- Lightweight clothing and sleeves are best. Your insurer will likely want to know your body mass index (BMI). Wear clothes that don’t add extra pounds. Wearing short sleeves makes it easier for your technician take your blood sample.
- Make changes ahead of time: This is the place to go if you want to make health improvements. You can save thousands of dollars by making changes before you have your life insurance physical exam. In the weeks and months before your exam, quit smoking and get active.
- Keep your contact information and medical records on hand. To be able to answer any questions the technician may ask, it is helpful to have your records on your computer. Keep track of any medical conditions or procedures that you have had in the past.
What happens after the medical exam for life insurance?
Most likely, it will take several weeks for your insurer to process your results from a life insurance medical exam. They aren’t looking for every little thing that might be abnormal. They are merely looking for signs that indicate a shorter life expectancy.
If you have any unexpected lab results, your insurer may request a follow up exam. Don’t worry. Your insurer and you both want the same thing. They want you to have life insurance. Follow the steps to get to the point when your insurer will issue your policy. The entire process of underwriting, including repeat medical exams, should take no more than a few months.
You can still get coverage if you are denied coverage due to a medical reason.
Questions frequently asked
What are they looking for in a medical exam for life insurance?
Your insurer will conduct a life insurance health check to determine if you have any health issues that could affect your longevity. The following conditions can be expected to be checked:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure).
- High levels of cholesterol
- Recreational drugs
How can I prepare for a physical for life insurance?
Follow the instructions of your insurer and prepare for your appointment in the same manner as you would prepare for a physical at the doctor’s office. Wear lightweight, comfortable clothing and drink plenty of water. It is also a good idea to review your family’s health history before you go.
To get coverage, do I need to have a life-insurance health exam?
Not necessarily. You can get life insurance that doesn’t require you to undergo a medical exam. These policies can be more costly than others because they skip an important step in the underwriting process, which is what insurers use to determine your life expectancy.
Do I have to visit a doctor to get my medical exam for life insurance?
No. This is because many insurers want this process to be as easy as possible. You can have your medical exam performed by one of their medical technicians at a time and place that suits you best.