What’s involved in a Medical Exam for Life Insurance?

Applying for life insurance can seemingly be a daunting task.  With the right assistance, and a little research and preparation, purchasing life insurance can be a relatively painless process.  I often get questions about the process, and specifically, what’s involved with the medical exam required for obtaining a life insurance policy.

The overall steps in the process are simple.  Generally, once you submit an application for insurance your agent will let you know if you need a medical exam.  If you do, your agent will schedule the exam with a professional, otherwise known as a paramedical examiner.  This exam will cost you nothing.  Once the paramedical exam is complete, your policy goes to an underwriter of the company for review.  The underwriter reviews your application for completeness and reviews the risk factors like age, medical conditions, etc.  Upon acceptance, your policy will be delivered to you for signature, and if you have not paid your premium, they will want to collect the premium.  After a waiting period of approximate 30 days (varies by state) while you review the policy to your satisfaction, the policy becomes effective and you’re good to go.  It’s important to note that if something happens to you during the time period while your application is in the underwriting process, you will only be covered if you have submitted a premium and if the underwriter determines that you are insurable.  Here’s what’s involved in the paramedical exam for your information:

If you are young and purchasing a small life insurance policy, chances are you won’t need an exam.  On the other extreme, if you are older and purchasing a large life policy, you will need to undergo a number of tests.  Your agent can tell you exactly what to expect based on your age, medical condition, and face amount on the policy.  Different companies may also have varying requirements when it comes to the paramedical exam.

A typical paramedical exam is not a very complicated not lengthy and is most often done in the comfort of your own home.  Generally, they will measure your height and weight, blood pressure and heart rate.  They may also do a blood and/or urine test.  Don’t worry about the blood test as they use a device that is painless and only produces a drop or two of blood – no need to stress about a big needle.  If you are older, or at risk of heart disease, they may also perform an EKG (this may require you to come in to the office).  If they do take blood or urine, you may be curious what they test for.  Generally, they will be testing for antibodies, signs of disease, or the presence of drugs.  Tests could include those for HIV, hepatitis, chemicals for liver or kidney disorders, early detection for diabetes, high cholesterol, nicotine, or even illegal drugs if they suspect you are a user.

During the exam, the examiner may also be looking for signs that you were truthful on your application – for instance, if you reported you are a non-smoker, but you smell like cigarettes, this may send up a red flag and trigger further questions.  The best policy, no pun intended, is to be as honest as possible on both your application and to the paramedical examiner during your exam.  If you have nothing to hide, you can rest assured that the process will certainly be a simpler, more pleasant experience.  In any event, it’s a small price to pay for the benefit of having life insurance.  Enjoy Life!

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