Medicare can be complicated. Explore our guides to basic coverage, supplement plans, Medicare Advantage, and more.
Pet Insurance can be complicated. Explore our guides to basic coverage, end-of-life plans, chronic health conditions, and more.
What You need to Know
Taking out a life insurance policy is an excellent way to financially protect your family in case you die. Some of these policies are also an investment that can pay off while you are alive. But in most cases, you can't simply decide that you want a policy and then buy it. You have to undergo a medical exam to verify the information you gave on your application and undergo some basic medical tests to check for certain illnesses. The exam is not something you should dread, though. It is usually pretty quick and painless. At the end of the process, you should acquire enhanced protection for your loved ones.
Your life insurance exam is not like having a full physical from your doctor. In fact, doctors don't usually give these tests. You are not allowed to choose the medical professional who will administer the exam, so your GP is not an option. Instead, a nurse or other licensed caregiver will probably come to your home for the exam. The entire process generally takes only 30 minutes or so to complete, so you won't have to miss work. You should dress in comfortable clothing that leaves your arms uncovered.
The health professional will first go over the health information that you gave on your application, often asking for more detail. They want to verify that the answers you gave were correct and get more information on any health conditions or family disease history that you mentioned. They will also be asking about alcohol and nicotine use, exercise habits and mental health conditions. This part of the exam will take approximately 20 minutes.
The physical exam can usually be completed quite quickly, and the health care professional will bring all the necessary supplies. They will measure your height and weight, take your blood pressure and obtain a saliva sample, a blood sample and a urine sample.
If you are older or have requested a hefty policy amount, you may be given an electrocardiogram and have cognitive and mobility testing. Remember, the life insurance company's focus is to protect their investment.
The insurance company will pay for the exam, but you may request the results and have them sent to your doctor. That way, you can receive prompt treatment for any new health problem that the testing uncovers.
The insurance company has obvious reasons for demanding a medical exam before issuing a life insurance policy to you. They use the exam to estimate your lifespan. If you are healthy and likely to live a long life, they will accept you and charge you lower premiums. If you have some health issues but can still expect to live for some time, you may get the policy but pay more for it. If you have chronic or acute illness, the company may refuse to cover you at all. For instance, if they determine that you have HIV or serious heart disease, they probably won't grant you a policy, although some companies do issue life insurance to high risk applicants. Of course, many chronic diseases have become manageable, and patients can live long lives despite their illness. The life insurance industry doesn't always recognize these medical advances.
Obviously, you cannot overhaul your health in just a few weeks, but you can take a few steps to prepare for your medical exam and improve the results. Eat healthy in the period before the exam. Even a few healthy eating days can help reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure. Get plenty of sleep and avoid alcohol. On the morning of the exam, avoid caffeine and skip your workout. You don't want to spike your test results by running five miles or guzzling coffee. Try to stay calm and positive.
The life insurance medical exam can be intimidating since it is a judgement on your health and possible life span. Getting turned down for life insurance is a sobering experience. For many people, however, this worry is unnecessary. In under an hour, the exam will be completed, and you'll soon know the results. Then you'll find out how much you'll be paying for your coverage.