Important Facts

Your Life Insurance Medical Exam: What Are They Testing Me For?

Used as a means to determine insurability and premiums, a medical exam may be a part of your life insurance application process. The exam includes routine screenings that may detect health issues.

Understanding the Life Insurance Medical Exam

What are they testing for?

In addition to asking questions regarding your health history, an insurance company may require that you complete a life insurance medical exam as part of the life insurance application process. If this is the case, don't feel as though you're being singled out. The fact is, a good majority of companies routinely conduct life insurance medical exams on prospective policyholders in order to determine insurability and to establish premium rates. But have you ever wondered what is it they are testing you for?

Life insurance companies routinely screen for a variety of different health alerts such as elevated blood sugar levels, abnormal liver and kidney functions, HIV, cocaine, and cotinine - the alkaloid found in tobacco that indicates nicotine use. They're looking for conditions that may indicate heart disease, diabetes, and even certain types of cancers.

To test for these issues, a typical life insurance medical exam may include a blood and urine sample, your height and weight, blood pressure, and pulse rate. Keep in mind that if you are age 50 or older and are applying for a large amount of life insurance, you may be asked to undergo additional tests that could include an electrocardiogram (EKG) and a treadmill stress test. In addition, your medical records may also be requested from your primary care physician.

Once your exam has been completed, your samples will be sent to a lab for testing. The length of time before the life company receives your results will vary; however, it typically takes on average between 30 and 60 days for a life insurance application to be reviewed and a policy to be issued.*

Getting coverage with no medical exam

Not every type of life insurance policy requires a medical exam. With guaranteed issue, final expense, or simplified issue term life, there are typically no exams. However, you may be required to answer a few medical questions - depending on the type of policy. However, the cost for no exam life insurance policies often come with a higher price tag. Why? Because the life insurance company won't be able to fully underwrite your policy to verify your health. For this reason, individuals who may have had medical problems typically shop for these types of policies.

If you'd like to get a better understanding of your life insurance medical exam or read more about no exam life insurance, visit the Protective Learning Center.

*This is only an average. Your individual results may take longer depending on the life insurance company and lab.

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax‐related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit

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Understanding What Your Medical Exam Means For Life Insurance

In order to qualify for a life insurance policy, you may be required to complete a life insurance medical exam that includes various types of tests. This article looks at what a typical life insurance medical exam generally tests for so that you have a better idea of what to expect. For more information, visit the Protective Life Learning Center.