Medical Examination and How it Affects Your Life Insurance

Information verified correct on October 29th, 2016

Understanding How Medical Examination Can Have an Impact to Your Life Insurance

It is not unusual for life insurance companies to request a medical examination be undertaken before they are prepared to give life cover on individuals. Medical life insurance examinations are usually undertaken by your local doctor but some companies may insist you be examined by a doctor of their choice. This does not mean you have to undergo a medical examination before you can acquire insurance cover on your life but when you do the premium is usually cheaper.

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Although you can obtain life insurance without having to undergo a medical examination it is often best to submit to the examination if it's convenient for you to do so. For a start, once you're accepted the premium cost is usually lower because the life insurance company is more sure of where they stand as to the risk you pose of dying while they hold the cover over your life. Another reason why it’s a good idea is that many people can suffering from an illness they didn't know they had, and it is often discovered during a life insurance medical exam. Although this might mean you have to pay a little more for the cover it often doesn't but you do get to be treated for the medical condition you were unknowingly suffering from and it could well turn out to be lifesaving.

A life insurance medical examination doesn't take long to complete and it's usually carried out by your local doctor who will ask you a series of questions regarding your medical history. The doctor will then listen to your lungs and heart beat, check your blood pressure and measure your height and weight. You'll then be asked to submit to a urine and blood test. These tests are forwarded to a pathology laboratory for testing with the results forwarded to your doctor who'll enter the finding onto your questionnaire before forwarding the completed form to the life insurance company. If anything adverse was discovered during this process the doctor will contact you to discuss treatment.

The medical test is designed by experts to determine if you have, or don't have, any medical condition you're not aware of that can affect your mortality and morbidity.

Premium Costs Linked To Life Expectancy

Life insurance companies base much of the cost of their premiums on a person’s life expectancy, the level determined by actuaries for various age groups. This results in younger people being able to purchase life insurance at a lower cost than older people. Your life insurance company also needs to ascertain an individual’s health level to allow them to either accept the person as a particular risk by imposing an additional cost or rejecting them outright. On occasions an insurer will request an applicant’s own doctor to forward certain details about the applicant’s health so they can achieve a better understanding of the risk they will be carrying, and the amount of premium they will need to levy against the applicant.

Other matters they will often take into consideration when assessing an applicant risk factor, along with their medical life insurance examination results, will be their occupation, education, parents’ ages, weight and smoking habits.

No Medical Life Insurance is Widely Available

Life insurance policies that are offered to an applicant without having to submit to a medical examination are becoming increasingly popular, especially since people now prefer to seek out their own cover online. No medical life insurance is therefore quick and easy with no waiting involved - which often happens when at a doctor’s appointment and for the results to come back from pathology regarding your urine and blood tests. In contrast, no medical life insurance applications can be completed either over the internet, or by telephone within minutes.

No medical life insurance usually comes at an increased cost. When insurance companies do accept a person without having to undergo a medical examination they then fall back on the law of averages, reasoning that in a certain number of people (policy holders) they can expect to lose a given figure. Where most insurance companies may be willing to accept younger applicants without requesting they undergo a medical examination it is unusual for any to allow older applicants the same privilege.

It is noticeably harder for a male person aged over 35 to obtain life insurance without submitting to a medical life insurance examination. On many occasions older applicants can obtain life insurance with no medical examination if the insurance is arranged through their employer as group insurance. In this case the number of people in the group can give the insurer a pre-defined expectation of the risk they are undertaking.

Many people accept the higher premium cost of no medical life insurance because of the speed in which such a cover can be implemented. Where it can take up to six weeks to obtain cover under a policy that requires a medical examination, a no medical life insurance policy can become a reality within days, if not immediately. This time difference can sometimes be a very important factor, especially if the insurance cover is needed to ensure the success of a large loan or mortgage being accepted. Many other no medical life insurance policies are issued to older people in the form of funeral policies, these are people who are preparing for their end and have no possibility of passing a medical examination even if they were allowed to do so.

There are a few life insurance policies that are structured so that they can be offered to an applicant as a no medical life insurance these being:

  • Guaranteed Acceptance Life Insurance, also known as Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance, this policy can be obtained without any health questions being asked nor any medical examination being required.
  • Simplified Issue Life Insurance. This cover requires the applicant to answer health questions verbally but does not require a medical examination.
  • Graded Benefit Life Insurance. A life insurance policy that doesn't require a medical examination nor are any health questions asked. It is a policy that is designed for the older age group but its payments and purchase details are rather complicated.

The disadvantage of receiving no medical life insurance is that you can't usually get any additional cover such as trauma or total and permanent disability cover, the amount of cover you can obtain can sometimes be limited and the premium cost can be higher.

Family History and Obesity are Also Factors

Not only are health matters and age determining factors in being able to acquire life insurance at an affordable price, your family history can also be taken into consideration. The likelihood of you contracting the same disease as one of your parents or siblings did is very real and can affect the amount of premium you will have to pay. It can also determine if you have to undergo a medical life insurance examination as well. This type of precaution has become very important in the event of inheritable illnesses such as cancer and heart disease.

As the populations in the developed world are becoming more obese and this condition has been linked to diseases such as diabetes and certain heart conditions, insurance companies are looking at obese people of all ages as a greater risk than those who are less so. They are now asking such people to pay higher premiums than their lighter colleagues regardless of whether they undertake a medical life insurance examination or not.

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