What to Expect from a Life Insurance Exam


When you apply for life insurance, many life insurance companies will require that you complete a life insurance exam. How you do with the exam will be important. It could not only determine whether or not you get the life insurance you are trying to apply for, but it also affects the price you will pay for it in premiums.

Why do life insurance companies conduct physical exams?

Life insurance companies conduct physical exams in order to determine the specific risk factors that they are taking on in approving your application. It is part of a battery of information that they will gather in order to underwrite your application. In addition to the exam, they will also investigate your prior medical history, your employment history, your driving records, and even your criminal background history.

The company will be looking for information in the exam that will corroborate other information that they collect from various sources. They will also be using the exam to verify that the information that you have included on your life insurance application is in fact accurate.

What a life insurance exam involves

Depending upon your age and condition, a life insurance exam is generally less comprehensive than the complete physical you may get from your regular doctor. The exam is generally completed either in your home or at your place of employment. It is usually conducted by a nurse or other paramedical personnel who either works for the life insurance company, or has been contracted by the life insurance company specifically to conduct on-site physical exams.

The exam includes some or all of the following:

  • Questions about your medical history
  • Measuring your height and weight
  • Checking your pulse and blood pressure
  • Taking a blood sample
  • Taking a urine specimen

Insurance exams do go by a good bit quicker than those conducted by a doctor in his or her office, at least partially because it is done in your home or place of employment.

If there are no special issues, the insurance exam may be all that you are required to do. But if the insurance company wants more detailed information they may ask for specific medical records, or even require that you submit to a more detailed physical that might include stress tests, EKGs, or complete blood and urine analysis.

The depth of the exam – as well as subsequent tests – will depend upon your age, the condition of your health, and especially upon the amount of life insurance that you are taking. You should expect that there will be a more detailed exam the higher the death benefit on the policy you are applying for will be.

Preparing for your life insurance exam

For starters, if you have health conditions, or a history of negative health behaviors, there’s not much you will be able to do that can change these within a few days of the insurance exam. But there are steps you can take that may result in a more favorable outcome.

Related: How to get life insurance without medical examination.

Try the following:

  • Pick a day and time for the exam when you are least stressed
  • Be sure that you get a good night’s sleep the night before
  • Avoid stressful work or exercise for a few days before the exam
  • Keep smoking, alcohol and caffeine to an absolute minimum
  • Choose a location for the exam that will be the most peaceful for you

Obviously you can’t lie on a physical exam, or fake anything, so do your best to put yourself in the most optimistic situation for the exam itself. And do your best to relax!