Medical Exams for Life Insurance: What You Need to Know
You decided to take the plunge. You have covered all your bases: Your well-being is protected with a good health insurance policy; your car is protected with a comprehensive, collision, and liability policy; and whether you are a homeowner or a renter, you have covered your respective assets with an insurance policy.
Now that you are completely protected, you’ve decided to make sure your loved ones are secure as well. You are ready to add a life insurance policy to your bundle of coverage.
Is binding a life insurance policy as easy as filling in the blanks on an application?
Well, it depends.
Most life insurance companies will require a medical exam before binding a policy. There are some exceptions to this, such as if you are young with no pre-existing conditions. If you are older, with known health issues, you might choose a guaranteed issue policy.
For the rest of us, we sometimes need to prepare for a medical exam as part of the application process. Fortunately, Versured partners don’t usually require a medical exam, but there are some exigent circumstances where it might still be required.
The Factors That Matter for Life Insurance Medical Exams
Insurance companies sometimes want to ensure the information provided by you on the application matches the true nature of your health and well-being. Assessing all of your information, a company then determines which risk class you fall into.
This class determines your rate.
The criteria insurance companies consider when evaluating your personal information might include some or all of the following:
- Height and weight
- Family medical history
- Any pre-existing conditions
- History of smoking
- History of medications and dosages
- Occupation and lifestyle: Any risky or stress-inducing behaviors?
The Day of The Life Insurance Medical Exam
The insurance company will send a registered nurse practitioner or a paramedical professional, at their own expense, to your home or workplace to collect the necessary information.
For the average person (average age, average weight, average good health), the exam will consist of recording your basic information and taking your pulse and blood pressure. This is usually followed up with a urine sample and a blood sample.
If you are older, have pre-existing conditions, or a family history of a certain illness, such as cancer, further tests may be required. These can include an EKG, X-rays, or even stress tests.
There is nothing more complicated or awkward about the medical exam for your life insurance policy. Wearing loose clothing can be helpful, but this appointment is not like a routine exam with your regular provider. Rest assured there is no disrobing or any uncomfortable contact with the practitioner representing the insurer.
Be Prepared Before the Medical Exam
When you schedule your exam, it’s a good idea to ask whether you need to fast twelve hours beforehand, just like you would if you were having blood taken from your own doctor.
It is also helpful to prepare a comprehensive list of your personal information before your scheduled appointment. You may have already listed this information in your initial written application, but the practitioner might request the same information again on the day. They might ask you to list the following:
- Names and dosages of medications, both past and present
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctors visited in the past five years
- List of medical conditions, dates of diagnoses, treatments, treatment outcomes, and treating physician contact information
- Driver’s license number and expiration date
The Bottomline with Medical Exams
It goes without saying, the healthier you are, the better your rate. Your present condition is important, but your past history and behavior also matter. Tobacco use (in the last three to five years), previous drug or alcohol treatment, a family history of heart disease or cancer (before the age of 60) all count against you. So does a blemished driving record.
For instance, some brokers report a 45-year old male smoker can expect to pay 100 to 300 percent higher rates than a nonsmoker. That could be the difference between paying $52 a month or $289 a month for a policy.
Remember This Before Your Medical Exam
Insurers are inclined to vet you thoroughly to determine your risk class. They often leverage big data to uncover information you have withheld mistakenly or by design. They have the capacity to discover what medications you have been prescribed and at what dosage.
They can find out what lab tests you have had and what the results were. They can even mine your personal information from previous health and life insurance applications you have filed in the past.
They can also reveal if you were convicted of a DUI or if you declared bankruptcy.
Adding a life insurance policy to your portfolio is a smart decision. It ensures your loved ones will be protected when you are gone. Prepare for a medical exam to be a part of the application process. It’s nothing to sweat.
We all have a past and there is nothing any of us can do to change it. Just be honest.
Make sure the application you filled out matches the information they find on their own. Being ready ahead of time ensures the process goes smoothly on the day. You can rest easy knowing you have done everything possible to secure the best rate possible and protect the ones you love most.
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