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What You Need to Know About Medical Exams When Buying Life Insurance

Life Insurance Medical Exam

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Are you searching for a life insurance policy? The thought of a mandatory medical exam may be daunting, but fear not – we’re here to shed light on what this exam entails and why it matters.


What is the Purpose of the Medical Exam?

When you apply for life insurance, insurance companies often request a medical examination as part of their underwriting process. This examination is crucial because it helps insurers assess your risk profile, essentially determining your life expectancy. While this process serves to price your policy accurately, it also safeguards the insurance company from taking on excessive risk.


But here’s the upside: the medical exam isn’t just for the insurer’s benefit. It can substantially lower your insurance premiums. By gathering comprehensive information about your health and lifestyle, insurance companies can tailor your rate more accurately. If you’re in excellent health and relatively young, you’re likely to secure a better rate compared to someone older or in poorer health.


What to Expect During the Medical Exam

When you opt for a fully underwritten life insurance policy, the insurance company arranges for a paramedical professional to meet you at a location of your choice – whether it’s your home or workplace.


The paramedical visit typically consists of two parts: the medical exam and the questionnaire.


The Medical Exam

According to Forbes Advisor, the examination usually lasts between 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the specific tests required by the insurance company. During this examination, the paramedical professional will record your:


  • Height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse
  • A urine sample
  • A blood sample


You may also be asked to undergo an electrocardiogram (EKG) test. In some cases, additional tests like X-rays, treadmill tests, or cognitive ability assessments may be necessary, and these might be conducted at a medical facility.


The Questionnaire

In addition to the medical exam, you’ll need to complete a detailed application that includes personal and health-related information. This application typically asks about:


  • Your personal medical history
  • Family medical history
  • Use of alcohol, tobacco, and nicotine
  • Driving record
  • Military service
  • Participation in high-risk activities such as skydiving
  • Travel plans
  • Preparing for the Exam


Since the results of your medical exam can significantly influence your insurance rates, it’s wise to prepare your body. Forbes Advisor recommends the following steps:


  • Stay well-hydrated
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Limit red meat consumption
  • Opt for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products
  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine
  • Ensure you get a good night’s sleep


The day before the exam, steer clear of caffeinated beverages, over-the-counter antihistamines, decongestants, and strenuous exercise – these factors can temporarily elevate your blood pressure. To ensure an accurate blood pressure reading, remember to empty your bladder beforehand, keep your feet flat on the floor, and avoid crossing your legs.


Exploring Alternatives

If the prospect of a medical exam doesn’t sit well with you or if time is of the essence, you still have options. Several types of life insurance policies are available that do not require a medical exam:


Simplified issue life insurance:

You provide personal and medical information through a questionnaire, offering insight into your health without the need for an exam.


Guaranteed issue life insurance:

Guaranteed approval, albeit with limited coverage at a higher price. Be aware of waiting periods, typically two to three years, before full coverage takes effect.


Group life insurance:

If you already have group life insurance through your employer, consider reviewing it for portability or conversion clauses that allow you to retain coverage even if you change jobs.


Accelerated or express underwriting:

A faster application process using third-party data sources. You might qualify for policies up to $1 million in coverage within a few days.

Remember, convenience might come at a cost. It’s essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully.


Consult with Your Insurance Agent

An experienced life insurance agent is your advocate in navigating the world of life insurance. They’ll take the time to understand your goals, explain various underwriting processes, and guide you toward the best-suited policy. Moreover, a seasoned agent can help ensure your application is accurate, minimizing potential issues for your beneficiaries down the road.


While DIY insurance apps may seem tempting, the complexity of insurance coverage is best handled with professional guidance. Ensuring that your loved ones receive their benefits seamlessly is paramount, especially during challenging times. So, if you’re in the market for life insurance, remember that understanding medical exams is just one piece of the puzzle. Our team of life insurance experts at Hotaling Insurance Services is here to assist you, ensuring you secure the right policy tailored to your specific needs.


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