You more than likely understand the importance of life insurance if you are part of a family that depends on you for support. The thinking is the policy payoff will serve your family well in the event of your demise.
Despite the importance of a life insurance policy, you may be one of the many people who procrastinate when the subject becomes a topic for discussion.
One reason for the procrastination is feelings of uncertainty about the medical exam life insurance applicants may need to take. Reasons often given for not wanting to take a medical exam is a dislike for the process and fear of what may be uncovered by a medical exam.
Do not allow fears regarding a medical exam to stop you from completing this important process for your family. First, the medical exam is probably not nearly as bad in real life as the imaginary images in your mind. Secondly, you will not feel as uneasy about the medical exam once you understand why insurance companies deem the exam necessary.
Why Medical Exams are Required by Life Insurance Carriers
The process underwriters use to assess the risk a particular person presents to them is known as underwriting. This process allows insurance companies to price policies in a way that protects their financial stability.
The underwriting process is beneficial to healthy people because it prevents them from overpaying to cover insured individuals with health problems. Simply put, you will pay less for life insurance coverage if you are relatively healthy. If you are a little on the older side or who have a history of medical conditions, you may pay higher premiums.
Insurance companies need to collect information regarding the health of applicants to complete the underwriting process. Companies will ask applicants to answer questions regarding their medical history. Applicants may also field questions about the medical history of their families. Any prescriptions, dangerous hobbies, or driving records associated with the applicant may also become relevant.
Insurance companies often require a medical exam to confirm the information you provide to them. Once this part of the underwriting process is complete, an insurance company will have a clear picture of what they need to charge you for your life insurance premium.
What Happens During the Medical Exam?
The medical exam you will take for life insurance policies will take less than an hour to complete. In many cases, you will answer a group of questions by phone before you make it to the doctor's office. Possible questions include:
- Names and dosage requirements for past and present prescriptions
- Names and contact information for doctors that examined or treated you over the previous five years
- Information regarding medical conditions
- The number and expiration date of your driver's license
The health professionals performing your exam will record your pulse, weight, height, and blood pressure. Urine and blood samples may be necessary to test blood and cholesterol levels. Individuals past the age of 50 who apply for substantial amounts of coverage may need to take an electrocardiogram. Testing of your cognitive ability may be necessary if you are over 70.
How to Get Your Medical Exam
You will not have much trouble scheduling your life insurance medical exam. Insurance companies partner with many paramedical companies that can provide this testing for you. You can take your exam in a clinic or have a medical professional examine you in your home. The main thing to remember is that the only thing you accomplish by not scheduling your exam is a delay in protection for your loved ones.
Medical Exam Preparation
You are not likely to make significant changes to your health while awaiting your life insurance medical exam. However, there are measures you can take to guarantee the best results possible:
- Limit salt and foods high in cholesterol a day before the exam
- No strenuous exercise or alcohol 12 hours before the exam
- No nicotine or caffeine within an hour of the exam
- Possess a valid ID and your completed application
- Make sure you are well-hydrated
Many paramedical companies make test results available online to applicants within seven to 14 days of taking their examination.
No exam life insurance policies are available for people who are adamant about not taking a medical exam. However, these policies may represent a more expensive option than a policy that includes a medical exam as part of the underwriting process. This last fact is especially true for individuals who are relatively young and healthy.