Why Do I Need a Medical Exam for Life Insurance?

Why Do I Need a Medical Exam for Life Insurance?

Have you ever wondered why you need a medical exam for life insurance, even if you maintain regular check-ups with your primary physician? Tony Steuer, noted insurance author, will explain to you the reasons behind the insurance company’s requirements for coverage.

Some insurance companies, in order to determine your financial risk to the company, require a medical exam. They are conducted by an independent, licensed healthcare professional who will come to you to either your home or work. Or you may go to them to 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:

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.


By Tony Steuer, CLU, LA, CPFFE

Tony Steuer is an author and advocate for financial preparedness. Tony Steuer, CLU, LA, CPFFE, helps people make sense of the financial world in a way that’s easy for them to understand. His books including, “GET READY!,” “Insurance Made Easy,” and “Questions and Answers on Life Insurance,” have won numerous awards. Tony is the founder of the GET READY! Initiative which includes the GET READY! financial organization system, the GET READY! Financial Preparedness Club, GET READY! Podcast, and the GET READY! Financial Principles, a best practices playbook for the financial services industry. Tony served as long-term member of the California Department of Insurance Curriculum Board. Tony is regularly featured in the media including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Fast Company, and other media. He has also appeared as a guest on television shows, such as ABC’s “Seven on Your Side.” Visit https://tonysteuer.com/ to join the GET READY! Financial Preparedness Club and access free resources.

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