Why is my life insurance company requiring a medical exam? What will it check for?

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Asked July 2, 2015

1 Answer


When you apply for most types of life insurance, you will be required to undergo a medical exam as part of the application process. This is required for both term and permanent life insurance, with the only notable exception being Final Expense insurance. Insurance companies require you to take a medical exam in order to more accurately set your rates, and the exam includes several different tests.

The first part of a medical examination is a questionnaire you fill out while waiting to see a medical professional. This form will inquire about your family medical history, your personal medical history, and personal questions about you and your personal life. The questions are meant to reveal the potential for hereditary illness and to indicate your own current state of health. Even the personal questions are meant to establish your life expectancy, including such questions as asking about your activities and exercise patterns.

A physical examination is the next part of the test, and includes checking your heart rate, blood pressure, and estimating your actual fitness level. For insurance companies, this can be a big indicator of your insurability, because your level of physical fitness can be used to statistically estimate how long you can be expected to live.

A blood test is next in your examination. This test will be used to check for disease, cholesterol, and other medical warnings. It will also be used to test for frequent alcohol use, tested for many different types of prescription and controlled substance use, and more. In some cases, you will also be asked to submit DNA samples in the form of hair, saliva, or skin. Since the use of controlled substances can reduce your longevity, insurance companies are entitled to know what chemicals you are putting into your body.

If your medical examination turns up too many warning signs, your rates will have to be dramatically increased or the coverage denied. When this happens, your options for life insurance may be limited to high risk coverage at expensive rates or final expense insurance, also called funeral coverage, which has limited benefits and pays to a third party after your death.

Answered July 5, 2015 by Anonymous

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