Term Life Insurance: What to Expect from Your Medical Exam

UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020

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A paramedical exam (or paramed) is a personal interview with you to collect information about your medical history. This information allows the life insurance company to perform a comprehensive evaluation of your current health. The paramed includes a medical history questionnaire, body measurements (height, weight, heart rate, blood pressure, etc), a urine sample, and a blood sample. The exam is usually completed within about twenty minutes. The exam may also include an EKG or X-ray, depending on underwriting guidelines based on your age and amount of coverage.

A paramed examiner will contact you to schedule a date, time and place that is convenient for you. You may elect to have the exam completed at your home or office or at an exam center. You make the decision that best fits your schedule. Your application for term life insurance will be complete once the paramed exam is done.

Urine Sample

A urine specimen will be collected during the paramedical exam. Tests results are performed by a laboratory and reviewd by the life insurance company. The test results will only be sent to the insurance company for review to help evaluate your individual application.

Blood Draw

Blood tests provide important information for underwriting. A wide range of tests are completed by a laboratory and the results are sent only to the life insurance company. A small amount of blood is drawn by an experienced paramed examiner. We recommend you fast between 8 -12 hours prior to the exam. Be sure to tell your examiner in advance if you have had previous problems such as fainting, nausea, difficulty clotting, bruise easily or are currently taking large doses of aspirin. Feel free to discuss any concerns you have with the examiner.


An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a recording of the electrical impulses associated with cardiac contraction and relaxation. The ECG does not cause any pain. You will be asked to lie down flat with your shirt unbuttoned in order to place the leads on your chest. The best preparation for a good electrocardiogram is to remain calm and totally relaxed to prevent muscle interference.

For Best Results

To obtain the best possible results we suggest you follow a few simple steps:

  • Please wear short sleeved garment or one with sleeves that can be easily rolled up.
  • Drink a glass of water one hour or so before the exam as this will facilitate obtaining a urine specimen.
  • Avoid caffeine (coffee, soda, tea, etc.) for several hours before the exam.
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco for at least one hour prior to your scheduled appointment.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages for at least eight hours prior to the exam.
  • Avoid nasal decongestants.
  • Get a good night’s rest before the exam.
  • Schedule the appointment for the least stressful time of the day.
  • Have photo identification available.
  • Fast for at 8 – 12 hours before your exam. You should drink plenty of water during this time.
  • Limit salt intake and high cholesterol foods for 24 hours before your examination.
  • You should not engage in strenuous physical activities for 24 hours before the examination.
  • Advise your paramedical examiner regarding any medications you are taking, even non-prescription medications.
  • Have available your physician’s names, addresses, and dates of past visits.

All of the information obtained during the paramed is strictly confidential and for insurance purposes only. The proposed insured may request a copy of the results if interested. Now that you understand the process, your paramedical exam should be a breeze. You now know what to expect. Simply follow the above advice for the best results and you will be that much closer to being approved for term life insurance!

Tim Bain

Tim is a licensed life insurance agent with 23 years of experience helping people protect their families and businesses with term life insurance. He writes and creates stuff for QuickQuote and other insurance and financial websites. You can find him on Twitter.

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