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  • Why do I need a medical exam for life insurance?
  • July 31, 2013
  • Tony Steuer

    By Tony Steuer, CLU, LA

    Some insurance companies, in order to determine your financial risk to the company, require a medical examination. They are conducted by an independent, licensed healthcare professional either at your home, work, or a near-by licensed clinic.

    Please note that the following information is not the advice of a physician, but the advice of life insurance advisers and underwriters based off their personal experiences.

    Let’s start off by saying that insurance companies are looking for average people, living average lives, so relax as much as possible during the examination.

    Here’s a list of some helpful tips:

    Try to stay relaxed throughout your life insurance examination this will lower your blood pressure, which can lead to better results.

    Try to stay relaxed throughout your life insurance examination this will lower your blood pressure, which can lead to better results.

    Scheduling an Exam

    · If at all possible, schedule a morning examination this way you’ll be more relaxed.

    · Do not try to hide any of your medical history, since this tends to make it look worse than it probably is.

    · Prior to the examination, you should discuss any potential problems or health abnormalities with your adviser. This could affect your adviser’s recommendations, such as which company or companies to apply to and how to prepare for the underwriting process.

    · Your adviser may want to discuss your case informally with the underwriter before you apply. In some cases, this could be beneficial.

    Food and Drink Intake

    · Avoid eating for at least eight hours prior to the examination

    · Try to consume as little to no caffeine

    · Since alcohol tends to elevate blood pressure for 12 to 24 hours, it is highly advised not to drink 24 hours before your exam.

    · Avoid salt or use it in moderation for three to four days prior to the examination, since salt retains fluids.

    Before the Exam

    · Get a good night sleep; this will decrease your blood pressure, which will keep you relaxed during the exam.

    · If you are a smoker, it is highly advise not to smoke prior to or during the exam. Smoking tends to elevate blood by constricting the artery walls.

    During the Exam

    · Try to stay as relaxed as possible.

    · If possible, give a urine specimen before a blood pressure check, since the elimination of fluid tends to moderately lower blood pressure.

    Disclosing Medical Information

    · To the best of your knowledge, give your complete and accurate medical history or other important items.

    · Be certain the examiner correctly lists the location of doctors and hospitals that you have seen in the past, since the insurance company will most likely request their reports.

    EKG (i.e., electrocardiogram) Test

    · This is a graph of the electrical activity of the heart, be relaxed and comfortable prior to the test.

    · Do not consume coffee or any other stimulants before this test.

    · If you are aware of EKG changes that have been noted and evaluated in the past, then it is most helpful to bring those to the examiner’s attention as well as your advisers.

    · Some people have an abnormal-looking EKG, but it is normal for them.

    An employee from a third-party firm who is contracted by the company may be contacting you, your advisers, or acquaintances as part of a routine inspection regarding your preliminary insurance application. This is a traditional part of the application.

    Usually, these questions are handled efficiently and in a professional manner. Please let your adviser know if there are any problems, which is known as an inspection report.


About Tony Steuer

Noted insurance author Tony Steuer has spent over 25 years in the life insurance industry. Steuer’s leadership roles include serving on the California Department of Insurance Curriculum board and the National Financial Educator's Council Curriculum Advisory Panel as well as having served as President of the San Francisco Chapter of the American Society of CLU & ChFC, President of the leading Life Insurance Producers of Northern California, and as a board member of the San Francisco Life Underwriters Association. Mr. Steuer is the author of Questions and Answers on Life Insurance: The Life Insurance Toolbook, The Questions and Answers on Life Insurance Workbook and The Questions and Answers on Disability Insurance Workbook - the first two were awarded the “Excellence in Financial Literacy (EIFLE) Award from the Institute of Financial Literacy. Steuer holds a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation and also holds the Life and Disability Insurance Analyst License, a designation that is held by less than thirty people in California.

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Questions & Answers on Life Insurance by Tony Steuer, CLU, LA, CPFFE is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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