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Do I need to get a life insurance physical?

When applying for life insurance with a traditional insurer offering standard rates, chances are the company will require a life insurance physical or medical examination. The entire purpose of the physical exam is to show the insurer that you are in good health and that the answers that you have provided on your application are truthful to the best of your knowledge.

If you are quoting the cost of life coverage and comparing each of the products on the market, you might be wondering what the difference between a no medical policy and a fully underwritten policy is. You might also want to know just what insurance carriers are looking for when an exam in required to complete the underwriting process. Start comparing life insurance rates now by using our FREE tool below!

As a consumer, it can be difficult to look for answers to all of the questions that are running through your mind concerning the physical and why you would opt to take one when you have the option to buy other products. If you want answers to all of these questions that are popping in your head, read on and get the information that you would not be able to get out of your trusted insurance agent.

What is the difference between a no medical product and a standard product?

If you have the option to buy life insurance without the inconvenience of having a medical exam, you might jump at the opportunity. Before you are tempted to save yourself 20 or 30 minutes of your time or the prick from the needle, you need to really understand the difference between no medical life and standard underwritten life insurance. It is much more risky for a life provider to offer their applicants the option to secure insurance without having to prove that they are medically insurable. When there is more risk associated with an application, the carrier is justified to charge you higher rates.

Why are the rates for no medical exam life insurance higher?

A company that does not verify you are in good physical shape cannot fully assess the answers that you provide to them. Because of this, they cannot adequately charge premiums that are based on your personal life expectancy. This is the primary reason why the rates for the two no medical life products available today are higher than the rates for a standard policy that has been assessed at all levels.

Which type of policy is right for me?

Life insurance is not one-size-fits-all. Only you know what your health is like and only you know what you value most. It is important to know the advantages and disadvantages before you choose either insurance. If affordability is important to you and you are in good health, it is in your best interests to buy a standard policy and submit to the physical. If, however, you need insurance quickly, a Simplified Issue or Guaranteed Issue policy with no medical requirement are better alternatives.

What tests are administered during a life insurance physical?

If you have taken the time to compare the cost between policies that require physicals and those that do not, you might be convinced that the best route to go for your budget is to submit to the exam. Before you submit your application and commit to setting up your physical appointment, it is only natural to wonder what the life insurance company is looking for. While all companies have their own underwriting guidelines and testing requirements, in general, they will look for the same conditions and signs that your health could be at risk. Here are some of the tests that will be administered while you are getting your physical:

  • Measurement of height and weight
  • Blood pressure check
  • Blood and urine samples to send to labs
  • Oral swab to test for HIV, drugs or tobacco use
  • EKG for older applicants or those with known heart issues

What should you expect once your application is submitted?

A life insurance physical should be nothing to fear, but sometimes it is the fear of unknown that can be scary and nerve-wracking. If you like to know what to expect before you go through the process, you should learn about the application process before you even meet with the paramedical service provider doing the exam. Here are some questions you might have about what happens after your application is submitted with your agent or electronically:

1. Requesting Your Medical Records

One of the first things an underwriter will do when they begin to verify the answers you have given is order your medical records. If you were to look through all of those forms that you signed, you would find that you did give the company that you are applying with permission to order your records directly with your physician that you named on the form.

This signature page will be sent to the physician so that you do not have to take further action for the records to be sent.

Since Electronic Medical Records are becoming popular, forwarding the records is easier than ever. If there are delays in forwarding this over, it can affect how long the underwriting process takes. If there are delays and you have not been called for an exam, you may want to ask your doctor’s records department to expedite the records on your own.

2. Accessing Records Through the Medical Information Bureau

You cannot just choose not to put your physician’s name and hope that a recent diagnosis will not appear on your file. In addition to ordering your EMR’s through your personal physician, the company will use what all health insurers and life insurers use: the Medical Information Bureau database. Each consumer has their own MIB consumer file, and it includes information about your health insurance or adverse underwriting decisions from other companies. If this shows something that would signify that you were not honest on your application, you can be denied coverage or asked to provide additional information.

3. Scheduling Your Life Insurance Physical

You will be asked to set up your physical appointment shortly after records are ordered or reviewed. You may have the option to get a physical with your physician, but most often you will take a physical with a paramedic who will come to your home or your office. The purpose of the paramedical service is to ensure that the information is accurate and not influenced in any way by outside forces.

Typically, the company will call you to discuss what date, time and location are best for you. While there are some office locations you can visit to have the exam done, it is most typical for the mobile service to come to you so that the exam does not affect your routine too much. When you are scheduling a date and time, keep in mind that you will be weighed and asked to have blood drawn. Make sure you will have enough privacy and that you can spend at least 20 minutes of your time with the paramedic before the exam will be completed.

4. After Your Medical Exam

Once the exam is complete, any samples that were collected will be sent to the lab. The lab will run several tests to look for signs of medical issues or for issues that are detectable through blood and urine without the need for further testing. When the lab has the results, they will be sent to the underwriter for review. Once these are reviewed, the underwriter will see if there are new discoveries and if the discoveries will change your risk classification.

If it is found that you are a higher risk than the company believed you were when you were applying, your price quote will change and you will be asked if you still want your policy to be issued.

If you approve of the premium difference, you will then need to pay your rate and the policy will become active. If you do not approve of the difference and would like to reject the policy, you can do so and will get a refund for any amount that you have already paid.

Tips to Consider Before Your Exam

  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine the day of
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid exercising the morning of
  • Schedule your exam early in the morning
  • Fast for at least 8 hours
  • Wear light clothing and shoes
  • Get a good night’s sleep and stay calm

Now that you know that a physical can keep your cost of life insurance down, it is time to start retrieving quotes. You can get quotes from your own living room or home office by getting on your laptop and accessing rate comparison tools. These tools will show you your rates instantly with several different companies. Each company has their own underwriting guidelines and classes. Be sure to do your homework, and choose which company to take a physical exam for. Start comparing life insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!