Thinking about getting term life insurance? Good move. If you have a family or own a business, term life insurance is a relatively inexpensive way to provide for your beneficiaries in the event of your death. But be aware that, unlike group life insurance, many term life and whole life insurers require that you take a qualifying medical exam before they’ll issue an individual life insurance policy.
What to expect during the process
Typically, the exam will be performed by a licensed health-care provider such as a doctor, nurse or paramedic at the life insurance carrier’s expense. It will usually take place at your home or office at a time you designate as convenient.
As a rule, all life insurance medical exams will require a blood test to check cholesterol levels and screen for certain conditions and diseases and a urine specimen to screen for diabetes and other conditions. The examiner will also take your blood pressure, weigh you, measure your height and ask a lot of questions about your current health, your medical history and your family’s medical history.
The whole thing shouldn’t take longer than half an hour, unless additional tests like an EKG or chest x-ray is required. In some cases, depending on your age or other factors, you may be asked to complete the exam with a physican instead of the nurse or paramedic. You may also be contacted by a rep from the life insurance company with a few follow-up questions.
Be sure to answer all questions accurately and honestly. All the information you provide is completely confidential and used only for the purposes of evaluating your life insurance application, but lying could result in a canceled policy or negated benefits down the road.
How to prepare for your exam
Some of the things you’ll need on hand for you life insurance medical exam include: your driver’s license or other proof of identification; the names, addresses and dates of past visits to your various health care providers; a list of all prescription and OTC drugs you’re taking; and dates and basic information about hospitalizations, injuries and major illnesses.
For best results, try to schedule your life insurance medical exam at a time when you’re most at ease and least likely to be stressed out. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages for 48 hours prior to your exam (they can elevate your blood pressure), and don’t consume anything except water 8 hours prior to having your blood test. Do drink at least two big glasses of water just before the exam. If you’re concern about your blood pressure and cholesterol readings, lay off or cut back on salt, sugar and fatty foods for several days prior to your exam , don’t take decongestants, pain killers or aspirin the day before your exam unless you absolutely have to, and don’t exercise before your exam.
You’re entitled to a copy of your life insurance health exam results, but you may have to request it in writing. Ask at the time of the exam.