Does a Life Insurance Policy Require a Medical Exam?

Insurance companies routinely require life insurance medical exams on prospective policyholders in order to determine insurability and to establish premium rates.

They screen for a variety of different health alerts such as elevated blood sugar levels, abnormal liver and kidney functions, HIV, and substance abuse including nicotine use. They’re looking for conditions that may indicate heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancers.

To test for these issues, a typical life insurance medical exam may include a blood and urine sample, your height and weight, blood pressure, and pulse rate. If you are age 50 or older and are applying for a large amount of life insurance, you may be asked to undergo additional tests that could include an electrocardiogram (EKG) and a treadmill stress test. In addition, your medical records may also be requested from your primary care physician.

Once your exam has been completed, your samples will be sent to a lab for testing. The length of time before the life company receives your results will vary; however, it typically takes on average between 30 and 60 days for a life insurance application to be reviewed and a policy to be issued.

Getting coverage with no medical exam

Not every type of life insurance policy requires a medical exam. Depending on the type of policy, you may be required to answer a few medical questions, with no physical exam required. Policies with limited medical examination often come with a higher premium cost.