Do all life insurance companies require a physical exam?


No. Not all life insurance companies will require you to take a physical examination. In fact, many companies now offer no physical exam life insurance policies. You can even purchase a policy online.

Why do life insurance companies require physical exams?

Physical exams form part of how an insurance company assesses an individual's potential risk. The aim of an assessment is to determine a person's life expectancy. Along with such factors as age, gender and lifestyle, the individual's physical and health status are future indicators of the individual's cost to the insurance carrier and these form the basis for setting the price of a policy.

What do they test for in a life insurance medical exam?

A routine examination may include a review of the person's medical history, the doctors he has consulted, the dates of those consultations as well as any treatments recommended by them. There is also a physical test, which covers basic information like weight, height, pulse and blood pressure. Blood and urine specimen testing are usually included.

For more details about the blood and urine test that you may be required read our Q&A "What are they looking for in life insurance blood test?"

For certain cases, the insurance company may require an EKG especially if the individual is older or is requesting a larger policy.

In most cases, the insurance company pays a licensed, independent medical examiner to carry out the test. On average a medical exam gets completed in about 30 minutes.

What kind of medical exam will I have to take?

The insurance company will tell you exactly what medical examination they will require. Hence, what exact tests you will take will vary depending on the company and the policy you intend to purchase.

For example, if you are under 40 and you are looking for $90,000 of coverage, it is likely that the company you approached will only require the basic, routine examination. However, if you are over the age of 40 and looking for greater coverage the company may require a full medical examination which can include oral fluid test, EKG tracing as well as an Attending Physician’s Statement.

Are there life insurance companies that don't require medical exams?

Yes, nowadays there are many companies who do. Many even offer these no physical term life insurance policies online. You simply fill up an application on an insurance company's website and then you get approved in just about 15 minutes. You can immediately print a copy of your policy. There is even no need for you to see an agent.

These policies are offered in periods of 5, 10, 20 to 30 years. As expected, premium rates are higher than policies that require a physical test but they remain constant throughout the policy's term. Once you get to renew your coverage the rates will go up significantly.

How to prepare for the life insurance medical exam?

  • One week before the examination: Stay on a healthy diet. Keep your salt intake to a minimum and stay off fatty and sugary foods.
  • Three days before the examination: Avoid alcohol intake and any tobacco product.
  • One day before the examination: Avoid products that contain caffeine and avoid doing any strenuous activities. Fast and get eight hours of sound sleep.

What medical questions can a life insurance company ask you?

You can expect questions of the following nature:

  • Family history related to diabetes, heart condition, kidney or liver problems, blood disorder, disorder of the ears, nose mouth or throat and mental illness.
  • Personal experience related to blood spitting, shortness of breath, experience with bronchitis or asthma, bones, joints or muscle disorder and any history of tumors or cysts.
  • Name of your doctor or doctors you have consulted and the date of your consultation.
  • History of hospitalization, diagnostic exams taken, x-rays done and for what reason.
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