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What Do Life Insurance Companies Test For?

What Do Life Insurance Companies Test For?
Fiona Staff4/23/2021

Applying for a new life insurance policy involves answering quite a few personal questions. These questions cover everything from your age and gender to your occupation, hobbies, and even tobacco-use. You’ll often find that many of them are related to your health and medical history. 

Depending on the policy you buy and factors like your age and past health concerns, you may also be asked to submit to a life insurance medical exam. But don’t worry: this is done at no cost to you (plus, you’ll get a copy of the results for your own records).

Why Life Insurance Medical Exams Happen

When you buy a life insurance policy, you are essentially partnering with a carrier to share an interest in your continued health and longevity. Your life insurance company doesn’t want anything to happen to you any more than you or your loved ones do, so it’s in their best interests to thoroughly vet you before writing a new policy.

Sometimes, this involves a paramedical exam, or a series of medical tests ordered by your potential life insurance provider. These life insurance medical exams can give carriers an added layer of insight into your current health, and help them determine how much risk you pose as an insured customer.

This information not only makes it easier to build the right policy with the right level of coverage, but helps determine the best possible rates for you. 

Fiona, in partnership with LeapLife, can match you with a number of personalized life insurance policy quotes. Try it below!

Are Life Insurance Exams Always Required?

You should expect to provide a potential carrier with certain personal information related to your health. At the very least, this will involve answering questions about your height, weight, family and personal medical history, and any history of tobacco or drug use.

In some instances, this information is sufficient and you won’t be asked to submit to a physical exam and/or lab work. This is especially true with guaranteed-issue whole life policies, though no-exam term life coverage is also possible.

For many, however, an in-person life insurance exam is simply an expected step in the application process. 

What is a Life Insurance Medical Exam Like?

For the most part, life insurance exams are all pretty similar. They usually start with a questionnaire (mentioned above), which can be conducted online or over the phone. Then, the next step is often the physical, paramedical exam. 

Your potential carrier will usually offer to send out a nurse or other qualified medical professional to conduct the exam at your home or workplace. Most find that the entire process just takes a few minutes. Plan to show government-issued photo identification at this exam, as it is typically required.

You can expect your physical life insurance exam to include some mixture of the following:

  • Height and weight measurement

  • Blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate readings

  • Urine, blood, and saliva samples

  • Additional health and medical history questions

Certain policies may also require some applicants to submit to an EKG, or electrocardiogram, to test their heart’s health and function. 

What Life Insurance Exams Are Testing For

Even though the process is often quick, a life insurance medical exam can tell a carrier quite a bit about you and your health. In conducting a paramedical exam, life insurance companies are evaluating many of the following:

  • Your overall health — Factors such as a high/low BMI or elevated blood pressure could signal certain health risks or underlying conditions.

  • Heart issues — Blood pressure readings and cholesterol levels from blood work can point toward heart disease.

  • Diabetes — Both urine and blood samples can find evidence of diabetes or pre-diabetes.

  • Cancer Blood test results can sometimes show evidence of certain cancers or infections.

  • Organ system issues — Liver, kidney, gallbladder, and muscle diseases can be indicated by testing blood and urine samples.

  • Diseases — Blood work can reveal HIV/AIDS and STDs.

  • Tobacco, alcohol, and drug use — Both current and previous use of tobacco, drugs, and alcohol can be seen in urine and blood samples.

By asking you certain personal and family health questions during this exam, your carrier can also verify answers you already provided or clarify certain conditions you’ve already disclosed.

How a Life Insurance Medical Exam Affects Your Coverage

Sure, a life insurance medical exam can seem a bit stressful. But for many, the paramedical exam is simply a way to confirm the health and medical history you’ve already given when applying for coverage. Thanks to the physical exam results, your new carrier is able to offer an affordable life insurance policy that helps you protect your loved ones and your legacy.

In some cases, the results of a paramedical exam can mean additional questions or policy changes to help build the best possible coverage for you. For the average applicant, though, it’s just a small stepping stone toward locking in a brand new policy. And while no one enjoys getting a physical, your carrier will make the entire process as quick, convenient, and painless as possible.

Fiona, in partnership with LeapLife, is the fastest, easiest, and most comprehensive way to get matched with personalized life insurance policy quotes. Whether you’re looking for a quick online quote or want to seek out no-medical-exam coverage options, LeapLife and its representatives can help.

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