Your Life Insurance application may require a medical examination. These exams are usually done by paramedicals and sometimes at your home or office. They generally include a blood pressure check, blood and urine specimen, height and weight measurement, and sometimes a series of questions regarding your medical history. The insurance company will pay for this exam.
The insurance company is looking for any health condition that could shorten your life which would increase their risk. Expect this testing to be a lot more comprehensive for older applicants and high face value policies, and may also include a stress test and EKG. The test might be waived for lower face value policies and younger applicants.
Test results are reviewed by medical underwriters at the insurance company, and if you have any major risks, your premium might be adjusted up to compensate or they might refuse to insure you. Your results are kept on record at MIB (Medical Information Bureau) and is available to most other insurance companies. You can check your MIB file or dispute information in it at www.mib.com.
Since this is an exam that can cost or save you some money, it's important to prepare as best that you can:
- Get a good night's rest.
- Don’t eat anything for about 12 hours before the exam. Stay away from salt and high fat/cholesterol foods for at least a full day.
- Stay away from caffeine for two days before your exam. A cup of coffee, tea, or cola could raise your blood pressure and cost you $.
- Don't smoke for several hours before your exam. Although you can't hide that you're a smoker (it shows up in your blood test), holding off will allow your blood pressure and breathing to be closer to normal.
- Avoid alcohol for at least a day, it shows up in blood tests and can skew other results.
- Chill out and relax, avoid exercise or strenuous activity for 24 hours.
In most cases, you're best off completing the medical exam and then negotiating with the company if needed, but there are several ways to get around an insurance examination if needed. Some companies offer Simplified Plans, or Guaranteed Plans which require only a written application or, in some cases, offer coverage to all. These plans generally offer less coverage, or cost more.
Most group policies (sometimes available from work) cover everyone in the group without an exam. They are sometimes limited in coverage, and the biggest drawback is that they end when you leave the job.