What's involved in life insurance medical examinations?

TBecause insurers stay in business by being able to make a reasonably accurate prediction of your life expectancy, a medical examination is almost always required when the guaranteed minimum amount is significant. This helps to identify people with a pre-existing medical condition or who have a higher risk of early death for some other reason. However, some insurers offer term life policies without a medical exam. The usual limit is $250,000 but, in a few cases, the amount insured can rise to $500,000. There are two reasons for this apparent generosity:

You should note, however, that term insurance without a medical exam is usually more expensive than a comparable policy with an exam, but it's quick and easy to fill in the forms and get the cover with two or three working days.

The majority of life insurance policies are issued after a medical exam. This process usually takes between four and six week so, if you're looking at several possible insurers to give yourself a choice, it's better to run the applications in parallel. That way, you have the least delay in arriving at a set of final quotes to evaluate. When you get the final quotes, always check to see how long they remain valid. If you delay too long, the quote may expire and you will have to go through another medical to ensure nothing has changed.

Who performs the examination?
-This is either a qualified doctor or a licensed paramedical.

Who pays for the exam?
- The life insurance company pays. Other than traveling expenses and your own time, there's no cost to you.

Where is the exam held?
-This varies from insurer to insurer. Some invite you to come into a local center, others will agree a mutually convenient location, or the licensed paramedic will come to you. .

What's included in the exam?
-This depends on how you answered the initial medical questionnaire. If you're healthy, you will be asked about your own and your family's medical history, your pulse, blood pressure and other vital signs will be measured, and you will provide samples of blood and urine. But depending on your age and general health, you may be asked to work on a treadmill, go through an EKG, and so on. .

Can you ask to see the results of the exam?
-Most life insurance companies will send you a copy of the test results when they are complete. It's usually better to ask in writing before you go for the exam. .

How long are the exams?
-Most are over within thirty minutes.