Quick Guide: Life Insurance Medical Exam

UPDATED: Mar 6, 2020

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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?

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 we complete 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.

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