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Apr 8, 20225 min

How to Prepare for a Life Insurance Medical Exam

No one likes exams, but sometimes they're a necessity in life: at school, getting your driver's license, becoming a medical or law professional, and, oh yeah, life insurance. A life insurance medical exam is usually required before you get coverage, as the insurer needs to determine your health status before they decide on a policy. But how do you get ready for the exam?

In this guide, we've got everything you need to know about life insurance medical exams and how to prepare for them.

Why do I need a life insurance medical exam?

When you apply for life insurance, more often than not, you're required to take a medical exam as part of the underwriting process. This is so the insurer can better understand your current health status and the health classification you receive. Ultimately, the results of your medical exam determine how much you will pay for life insurance.

Taking the exam can lock you into the lowest rates if your health is in good shape. Therefore, it’s important to do the exam–it’s not just to catch you out to see if you have a pre-existing condition. The medical exam helps insurers make better decisions about the type of policy you’ll need.

Where does the exam take place, and what can I expect?

After submitting the application for life insurance, a representative will get in touch to schedule the exam. Usually, you can have it at your home, an exam center, or at your place of work, though the last one might not be the most private place available.

You can expect two sections to the exam: an interview and the physical exam itself. The interview consists of questions previously answered on the application, just to ensure that everything lines up and nothing has changed.

Then there’s the physical exam, where you’ll likely need to provide a urine sample and have blood drawn. Overs 50s applying for a high amount of coverage may also require an electrocardiogram (EKG).

What does the exam look for?

The exam looks at your general health to see if you're right for the life insurance coverage you've applied for. Along with a blood and urine check, the person conducting the exam will look at your previous medical history to get a better picture of your health status.

They will also take your height and weight measurements to determine your BMI, which measures body fat. Finally, there's a blood pressure check and, in some cases, an electrocardiogram.

Prepping for the life insurance exam

One week before the exam

One week before the exam, try to eat well and avoid processed foods high in sodium and sugar, instead opting for leafy greens, whole grains, and nuts. Also, don’t forget to drink plenty of water to flush your system. Avoid caffeine if you can–or at least limit it along with alcohol.

One day before the exam

Rest well the night before the exam, so you're in tip-top shape. Try not to stress either, as this will only raise your blood pressure. Being calm will also help you feel more relaxed throughout the exam.

Exam day

It's all about the H20 on the day of the exam. Make sure you drink plenty of water, so all the good stuff is running through your system. You'll also want to have your information to hand, such as photo ID and medication details.

When can I expect my results?

The wait time for results is dependent on the insurer. They will need to review everything and could possibly contact you with the results, or you might be able to get them directly from the medical team hired to carry out the exam.

As a rule of thumb, it might take around 14 days before you receive your results. If you feel you’ve been waiting for too long, get in touch with the insurer for an update about when you can expect the results.

What happens if I’m denied life insurance?

In an ideal world, everything will go off without a hitch, and you'll get the green light for your term or permanent life insurance policy. If, however, you're rejected, you should request a formal reason in writing (if you haven't been given one already).

Study the reasons and look out for any clerical errors, such as incorrect data entry or even a false positive on your test. A false positive shows that you have a disease when you don’t actually have one. Ultimately, if you’re denied for valid reasons, there may be things you can do to improve your health–such as improving collateral or weight et cetera–before reapplying.

When don’t I need an exam?

The Covid pandemic has changed the application process, though things are slowly getting back to normal. Many providers stopped doing exams due to social distancing restrictions, so there's still a chance you won't need to do one, depending on who you get coverage with.

It's also unlikely that you'll need to take a medical exam if you get a group life insurance policy through your job, as they're usually included in your employee benefits. While group life insurance can be handy, it's unlikely that it will offer a high level of protection. Therefore, it's always worth exploring getting individual coverage alongside your work policy.

In conclusion: preparing for a life insurance medical exam

A life insurance medical exam can help lower your premiums and lock you into the best rate. By knowing what to expect before it takes place, you can feel more relaxed on the day and hopefully tick your exam off as a minor part of getting a life insurance policy.

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