Term Life Insurance: What to Expect from Your Medical Exam

Tips for your in-home life insurance paramedical exam. Everything you need to know to get the best life insurance exam results.

Ready to get started?

Your quotes are always free.

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...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: May 13, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about life insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything life insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by life insurance experts.

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!

10 Tips for a Flawless Term Life Insurance Medical Exam

In-home medical exams are not as bad as some would have you believe. In fact, they can be fairly simple, quick and painless… Almost. The following tips will help you achieve paramed nirvana.

1. Fast for 8-12 hours before the exam.  This will help ensure more accurate blood chemistry results.

2. Avoid exercise or excess activity before the exam. This will help keep your blood pressure and heart rate in a range that is typical for you.

3. Make sure you are well hydrated. This will also help with your blood pressure and heart rate. Plus, it makes for a better urine sample.

4. Avoid caffeine before the exam. A good reason to schedule in the evening!

5. Schedule during the least stressful time of your day. For some, it may be mornings and for others evenings. And for many, there may be no such thing!

6. Schedule the exam for later in the week. Studies show Wednesday through Saturday tend to be the most stress-free days of the week. Mondays, well …

7. Avoid alcohol for 24 hours before the exam. Alcohol tends to disrupt blood results also.

8. Take all of your medications as normal and provide a list to the examiner. Make sure the examiner writes them all down, including the dosages.

9. Reschedule the exam if you are sick. Your body will be out of whack. It’s better to wait.

10. Review the paperwork completely. Accidents can happen. Don’t let them happen on your paramed exam. Review all measurements, answers and other information before signing.

That’s it. Ten simple tips to help you cruise through your paramed exam and on your way to a lower term life insurance premium!

Ready to get started?

Your quotes are always free.

Term Life Insurance Paramed Exam Simplified

Applying for term life insurance has become considerably easier over the past few years, thanks mostly to new technologies such as electronic applications and electronic signatures. And while some life insurance companies now offer non-medical term life insurance, most still require you to complete a life insurance paramed exam as part of the application process.

Don’t Stress Over the Life Insurance Paramed Exam!

There are some reasons why getting a paramed exam can be beneficial:

  • Policies that require a paramed exam are usually less expensive.
  • A paramed exam can uncover medical concerns you may not have been aware of.
  • The life insurance company pays for it, so… It’s like a free physical!

The paramed exam, like the term life application process in general, has also been enhanced by technology. Many examiners now complete the required forms and transmit all information back to the life insurance company electronically. And, exam companies have more offices and examiners than ever before, making it easier to schedule the exam at a time that is convenient for you.

If you are still a bit unsure, we’ve created this graphic to illustrate how simple the process is and to help you prepare for your paramed exam!

Term Life Insurance Medical Exam Infographic

Quick Guide: Life Insurance Medical Exam

It’s free, quick and painless. For the most part.

The life insurance medical exam (a.k.a. the paramed exam) brings on more anxiety and angst than any other part of the life insurance application process. Hands down.

But it shouldn’t be that way. The exam isn’t nearly as bad as some make it out to be. In fact, many people who’ve completed theirs tell us it was better than they expected.

It just gets a bad rap.

Well, it’s time to expunge the untruths and set the record straight about this misunderstood part of the life insurance application process.

What is a life insurance medical exam?

A life insurance medical exam is a requirement for most life insurance policies. The lone exception is a no medical exam term life insurance policy. If you are applying for a regular term life insurance policy or a permanent life policy, you will most likely need to complete an exam. Life insurance policies that require an exam are almost always less expensive than those without. So, taking this extra step may save you money over the life of the policy.

The life insurance medical exam is a 20-30 appointment conducted by an examiner who works for an exam company such as Superior Mobile Medics or APPS. The examiner will come out to your home or office to complete the exam, and the life insurance company will pay for it.

The life insurance company uses the information collected on the exam to help evaluate your application for coverage. This process is called underwriting, and the exam is a big part of it.

What information do they collect on a paramed exam?

The examiner gathers information that allows the underwriter to know your current health status and your medical history. The examiner will also verify your identity by viewing your picture ID. This helps the insurance company discover who is applying for the policy and helps prevent insurance fraud. This is especially important if you did not physically meet with your agent when you completed your application, as is the case in most policies applied for online.

The examiner will collect the following during the life insurance medical exam:

  • Health questionnaire
  • Height/weight
  • Body measurements
  • Resting heart rate
  • Blood pressure readings
  • Blood sample
  • Urine sample

There may be other requirements the examiner must collect for older applicants or people applying for significant amounts of coverage. These requirements vary by life insurance company. Some examples are resting ECG’s, functional tests and financial questionnaires.

How can I prepare for a life insurance medical exam?

We’ll start by scheduling your exam with you when your agent completes your application call.

You’ll need to fast for at least four hours leading up to the exam, so keep that in mind when choosing a date and time. Early morning or late afternoon may work best, but the exam company can find a time that works best with your schedule. They also offer weekend appointments in most areas.

The following tips will help you prepare for your exam and help you get the best results.

  • Schedule the appointment for the least stressful time of the day.
  • Do not eat for four hours before the exam. You can and should drink plenty of liquids during this time.
  • Drink a glass of water one hour or so before the exam.
  • Avoid caffeine (coffee, soda, tea, etc.) for several hours before the exam.
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco for at least one hour before your exam.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages for at least eight hours before the exam.
  • Get a good night’s rest before the exam.
  • Have photo identification available.
  • Limit salt intake and high cholesterol foods for 24 hours before your examination.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activities for 24 hours before the examination.
  • Have photo identification available.
  • Advise your paramed examiner regarding any medications you are taking, even non-prescription medicines.
  • Have available your physician’s names, addresses, and dates of past visits.

All done. Now what?

Congrats, you survived your life insurance medical exam! We told you it wasn’t so bad.

It will take 7-10 days for the life insurance company to receive your lab results and the exam forms. They will then submit the results and paperwork along with your application to the underwriter for review. If there are no other requirements, such as medical records or additional forms, we usually get approval from the company within 2-3 weeks of you completing your exam.

And one last suggestion… You should request a copy of your lab results from the life insurance company. All companies will send them to you for free. This is a good way to check up on your health and may even help you discover something you weren’t aware of. Just let your Case Manager know you’d like a copy.

Ready to get started?

Your quotes are always free.

Life Insurance Medical Requirements

Many customers ask if they will need to take a physical or see a physician as part of the application process for term life insurance. The answer depends on factors such as the type of coverage, the amount of coverage and the age of the insured.

First, let’s take a look at a description for each type of exam required by most insurance companies:

  1. Paramedical Exam – A brief examination usually performed by a registered nurse or examiner at a time and location convenient to the insured. The exam usually consists of measurements (e.g. height/weight, blood pressure, and heart rate), body fluid samples (e.g. urine, blood) and a medical history questionnaire. The insurance company pays for the exam.
  2. Physician Exam – A more thorough exam conducted by a licensed physician, typically in the physician’s office. The exam typically consists of all elements of a paramedical exam along with additional testing. Examples may include EKG/ECG, Treadmill Test, chest x-rays, etc. The insurance company pays for the exam.

Type of Term Life Insurance

Regular term life insurance is the most common type of term life insurance issued and is often referred to as fully-underwritten insurance. Underwriting is the process by which the insurance company evaluates and assigns risk to an insured. One of the underwriting tools used by the company is a paramedical or physician exam.

QuickQuote also offers instant or simplified issue term life insurance through two companies, Liberty Life Insurance Company and Garden State Life Insurance Company. This product is unique in that paramedical exams or physician exams are not required. The application is completed online, and a decision is typically given within minutes. The cost of this type of term life insurance is often comparable to regular term life insurance for younger, healthy individuals.  However, the maximum coverage amount currently available is $250,000.

Amount of Coverage and Age of the Insured

As the amount of coverage and age of the insured increase, the likelihood of a physician exam being required also increases.  Take a look at the chart below (requirements from one of our partner companies).






Paramedical Exam



Physician Exam



Paramedical Exam



Physician Exam

At QuickQuote, we have dedicated Account Managers and Case Managers who will always communicate your specific requirements to you.  If you do not want to undergo any exam whatsoever, take a look at quotes for Instant Issue Term Life Insurance.


Ready to get started?

Your quotes are always free.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption