What Happens In A Life Insurance Medical Exam?

life insurance medical exam


Your medical exam for life insurance will not hurt.  It’s an easy process that will possibly save you thousands of dollars on your life insurance policy over time.

A life insurance medical exam allows the life insurance company that you are applying with to evaluate your health, your lifestyle, as well as your medical history.  

This life insurance medical exam is typically performed by a qualified medical professional such as a nurse, but not necessarily a physician. There are several main paramedical organizations that contract with life insurance companies to carry out the exam.  They will usually come see you at your home or office.  The main paramed examiners are Portamedic, EMSI, and APPS Paramedical.  

The information gathered during the two stages of the life insurance medical exam, accompanied by the statistical longevity data is used to determine your eligibility for a life insurance policy, as well as what the annual premium rate is anticipated to be.

Two Stages of the Life Insurance Medical Exam

  • Verbal Questionnaire

A licensed medical professional will ask a series of health-related questions.

  • Standard Sample Collections (Basic)

It may be required for you to submit urine and/or blood samples.  The tests are simple and can often be performed in your home.  Your life insurance agent should notify you in advance if these tests are required as well.

Where is a Life Insurance Medical Exam Performed?

As I mentioned above, you are not required to visit a medical center or hospital for a life insurance medical exam.  In fact, most can be done at home.  The qualified medical professional will visit your home with a test kit and collect your samples there.

How Long Does a Life Insurance Medical Exam Take? 

How long will this take?
It will take around 30 minutes for your examiner to thoroughly question you about your medical history.  The examiner will record your answers and this will become part of your application. 

Once the questions are completed, the examiner will usually need to collect a urine sample and a blood sample.  You will also have your blood pressure recorded and height and weight measured.

Why Are Life Insurance Medical Exams Required? 

Actually fewer life insurance exams are being needed due to advances in information sharing programs.  You can actually qualify for the best life insurance rates without taking an exam.  Life insurance companies are able to use information from the medical information Bureau (MIB), motor vehicle reports (MVR), pharmacy checks, Lexis Nexis and medical reports from your doctor.

Some of our most popular life insurance companies have an accelerated underwriting process that allow you to skip the exam.  These companies are:

When life insurance exams are necessary, there are really 3 top reasons a life insurance medical exam will be required by your company. 

One reason is that the insurance provider needs to verify your answers that were submitted on your life insurance application.

Next is that your life insurance company full and accurate view of your medical history.  To clarify, the questions on a life insurance medical exam is more intensive and includes the medical history of your family members.  If the underwriters discover you have certain health conditions that may cause you to die before life expectancy, you may have to pay a higher premium.   Conversely, if your provider feels you’ll have a longer life expectancy, your premium payments should be more affordable since you’ll most likely be around to make their payments.

Finally, a life insurance medical exam may be required in order to identify underlying medical conditions.  Chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hepatitis, and HIV are often times discovered during the examination unbeknownst to the applicant.  Many know of Magic Johnson retiring due to testing positive for HIV.  This was discovered during a life insurance examination.

Additionally, drug and nicotine use is identified during the examination. 

Be Ready…Questions to Expect During a Life Insurance Medical Exam

The examination process will be much easier and quicker if you have the following information ready for your examiner.

  • Names, Addresses, and phone numbers for your Primary Care Physician, as well as any specialists you have visited in the past few years, or that are relevant to your care and medical history. It’s important that you have these contact details handy.
  • Your full medical history including all hospitalizations, procedures, medications, and any known health-related conditions. This informations will be gathered over a series of questions so you’ll have the opportunity to provide your full medical history.
  • Your family’s medical history.
  • Your full mental health history and any hospitalizations or treatment(s) received for conditions such as depression or anxiety.
  • Lifestyle choices such as drinking alcohol, smoking nicotine, exercise, and recreational drug use.
  • How much life insurance do you plan to purchase if approved.

Procedures Performed During a Life Insurance Medical Exam

  • Urinalysis – checks HIV status, creatinine, glucose, protein, and drug screen.
  • Blood pressure and heart rate
  • Height and Weight
  • Blood work – checks HIV status, cholesterol, and other blood chemistry.

What Happens After the Exam?

Once the life insurance medical exam is completed, the insurance company will evaluate the results in order to determine if you are insurable and what premium rate will be applied to your life insurance policy. 

The underwriting process usually takes 3 to 6 weeks but in some cases can take up to a few months for the insurer to completely process your information.  This happens when medical records are needed but hard to locate.

When Does Life Insurance Coverage Start Following the Medical Exam?

The start of coverage varies with each insurance company.  While some life insurance companies start coverage at the time you sign your application, others begin coverage once everything has been received and approved.  If you were able to pay your insurance premium at the time you submitted your application, then coverage should begin at that time, provided your medical exam deems you eligible.

It’s also important to keep in mind that life insurance policies contain a contestability period.  This protects the life insurance provider from false information given during the underwriting process.  It allows the insurance company to deny benefits for various reasons during the first two years of the policy. 

Talk with your life insurance agent to confirm this information and to go over the coverage terms while awaiting the confirmation of your policy.

Failing a Life Insurance Medical Exam

Coverage could be denied or further testing might be needed if the information that you submitted on your application does not collaborate with the data collected during the medical examination. 

If you fail the life insurance medical exam or feel that a finding during the exam is inaccurate, request a copy of your results to discuss with your physician. 

Other Life Insurance Options if You Fail the Medical Exam

If you have failed your life insurance medical exam and coverage has been denied, you will want to contact a life insurance broker that represents several life insurance companies and policy types.  It’s quite possible that they might be able to find coverage for you elsewhere.

Does your employer offer life insurance policies to its employees? Many times, employee benefit life insurance policies do not require a medical exam.  Getting turned down by one life insurance company is not indicative of them all. 

As mentioned previously, contact a licensed life insurance broker who represents numerous life insurance companies or contact your state’s insurance commissioner’s office in order to receive the most accurate information to assist you in finding the right life insurance policy for your specific needs.

Ready to get started? The first step is for you to get instant online quote.


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You can also give us a call here at Ogletree Financial to discuss what policy will be best for you.  1-800-712-8519