While some life insurance policies don't require medical examinations, many do. This is because the insurer wants to assess the health of the person applying for the policy. This information is used to determine the risk associated with insuring that person and set the policy premiums accordingly.
People in good health are considered less of a risk to the insurer, so they may be offered lower premiums. On the other hand, people with pre-existing medical conditions or other health issues may be at higher risk which may be reflected in the required premiums.
If you're applying for life insurance and have to undergo a physical or specific medical exams as part of the application process, you may be wondering what to expect. Here we cover the most common questions on the subject and provide you with all the information you need to make the entire procedure as comfortable as possible.
What medical tests are required for life insurance?
The specific medical tests required for life insurance can vary depending on the insurer and the type of policy being applied for. In general, however, most insurers will need some basic blood tests for cholesterol and blood sugar level testing and a urine sample for drug and nicotine use testing and a general health screen. Measurements such as height, weight, and a blood pressure reading.
As part of the application process, an initial health and medical questionnaire will be completed. The information you disclose here, along with your age, will often dictate whether or not the insurer requires more specialized tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or a stress test. Some insurers may also require the applicant to undergo a medical examination by a doctor. The exact tests will depend on the individual circumstances of the applicant and the policy being applied for. There are several types of life insurance, for example, term life insurance, whole life insurance, and universal life insurance, each with different information and medical exam requirements.
For the more basic tests, a contracted qualified nurse may be sent to your home or office to facilitate the required tests. Depending on the insurer, a doctor at a specific health facility may be appointed if a doctor's visit is required. In some instances, you may have the option to have your regular healthcare provider conduct the physical and any required medical examinations. The insurance company generally covers these visits and does not require the applicant to pay for the consultation.
If a doctor's visit is required as part of the application process, the prospective insurer will provide your doctor with a list of the required tests and a questionnaire to be completed during the physical examination.
Preparing for a life insurance-related physical
While having a doctor examine you from head to toe may seem uncomfortable, this isn't as bad as one may imagine. The process is generally quick and easy, and the most discomfort experienced is due to any blood draws that may need to be taken for testing.
Still, most people prefer to be informed of what to expect so that they can prepare ahead of time. Here are a few steps that may be followed when preparing for a life insurance physical:
- Ensure you are well-rested before the exam, as fatigue can affect your blood pressure and other measurements.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals before the exam, as these can affect your test results.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing to the exam. This will make it easier for the technician or doctor to take your measurements and conduct any physical exams that may be required.
- If you are currently taking any medications or health supplements, bring a list of them and the dosages with you to the exam.
- If you have any medical conditions or concerns, inform the technician before the exam begins.
Following these steps can help ensure that your life insurance physical is as accurate and comprehensive as possible.
Do I need to disclose pre-existing illness to get life cover?
Yes, disclosing any pre-existing medical conditions is essential when applying for life insurance. The insurer will use this information to assess the risk of insuring you and work out your policy premiums. Failure to disclose pre-existing conditions can result in the insurer declining to offer coverage or voiding the policy in the event of a claim. When applying for life insurance, it is always best to be honest about your health. Complete and accurate disclosure ensures that you are adequately covered and that your loved ones are protected in the event of your death.
Which medical conditions are usually exempt from life insurance?
It is rare for life insurance policies to exempt specific medical conditions. Instead, the insurer will typically consider the applicant's overall health when determining the premiums for the policy. For example, if an applicant has a pre-existing medical condition, the insurer may consider them to be a higher risk and so may charge higher premiums to reflect that risk.
In some cases, the insurer may even decline to offer coverage to an applicant with certain medical conditions, depending on the severity of the condition and the potential impact on the insurer's risk. Ultimately, the specific medical conditions that are exempt from life insurance will depend on the policies and underwriting guidelines of the individual insurer.
Can life insurance companies access your medical records?
Yes, life insurance companies can access your medical records if you permit them to do so. When you apply for a life insurance policy, the insurer will typically ask you to sign a release form that allows them to access your medical records. This information is used to assess the risk associated with insuring you and determine the premiums for your policy.
Medical record access may be requested from various sources. These may include your primary care physician, any specialists you may have seen, and any hospitals or clinics where you have been treated. This information can include details about your medical history, any pre-existing conditions or treatments you have received, and any medications you are currently taking.
It is important to note that life insurance companies can only access your medical records with your permission. If you do not permit them to do so, they will not be able to obtain this information. However, this may affect their ability to offer you coverage or determine your policy's premiums.
While few people enjoy undergoing medical examinations or thinking about their death, life insurance ensures that loved ones are provided for. Life insurance medical tests are routine and should not be a source of anxiety. In fact, they double up as an annual health check. Any short-term discomfort experienced is generally worth it.
1. Image by rawpixel.com