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Take a Medical Exam for Life Insurance – Here’s Why

Clifford PendellWritten by Clifford Pendell, Managing Partner and Co-founder

Since the Coronavirus Pandemic began, no medical exam life insurance has become a trend among both consumers and life insurance providers. 

These policies offer young and healthly applicants the convenience of forgoing the medical exam, and oftentimes, they are approved and issued in less than a week.

While no exam life insurance is might be a good choice for some young and healthy people, it's rarely the best option for anyone that needs more than a $1,000,000 of coverage, is over the age of 50, or in less than prefect health. Here's why:

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Even Non-Medical Policies Involve a Medical Screening

Just because a policy doesn’t require a medical exam doesn’t mean anyone and everyone will be approved. Non-medical carriers check your medical background, including your prescription history, Medical Information Bureau (MIB), and your personal responses to a detailed health questionnaire.

They'll also want to confirm that you've recently completed a physical with your primary care provider, (which is not a requirement for many policies that require an exam). At the end of the day, someone considered “high risk” may still be declined for a non-medical policy, or limited to outrageously expensive options at best.

More Options for Coverage

Speaking of options, you’ll have exponentially more of them if you take a medical exam.

Non-medical term life insurance policies typically have shorter terms and lower face amounts than policies that require a medical exam. Completing a free mini-medical checkup unlocks more products, better coverage, and more carriers.

For example, only a handful of the 63 life insurance providers we represent offer more than $1,000,000 of coverage to applicants without a medical exam. This is also the case for anyone over the ag of 60, regardless of how much coverage they need.   

Meanwhile, exceeding a $1 million death benefit is quite common for medical-backed policies, and most life insurance providers will offer coverage to qualified applicants until age 75 or later.

Save Money on Your Policy

Not only will you get better coverage with a medical policy; you’ll also get better rates.

Across the board, non-medical policies are noticeably more expensive, especially for older adults. It makes perfect sense: without a medical exam, the provider is unable to quantify the medical risk they are taking by insuring an individual–essentially adding another layer of risk on top of risk.

Therefore, they must err on the side of caution and charge higher premiums. For applicants under the age of 40, the difference is usually negligible, but after the age of 50 you can expect to pay at least 30-40% more for identical coverage. 

Higher Chances of Being Approved

If you’re in good health overall, a medical exam works in your favor. It leaves no questions asked, enabling the insurance provider to approve you with greater confidence. Oftentimes, doctors don’t use cold, hard medical terminology when mentioning slightly elevated or unusual lab results to longtime patients, in hopes of curbing any sense of panic.

All is well, until you try to apply for a non-medical policy and your background uncovers the high cholesterol you never knew you had. At that point, it might appear to the provider that you were attempting to misrepresent yourself, which will only bring added scrutiny.

Keep in mind that when you’re applying for a non-medical policy, the insurance company isn’t searching for reasons to approve you; they’re searching for reasons not to approve you. Also note that most policies have a two-year contestability clause, meaning that if you die within the contestability period, the insurance company can investigate and void the death benefit to your family if they find that you gave inaccurate medical information.

Free Health Checkup

You can only avoid getting a health checkup for so long–inevitably, at some point, you will have to visit the doctor’s office. So, why not bite the bullet now and take a medical exam for life insurance? You’ll get all of your lab tests and vitals free of charge, as the exam is billed directly to your insurance company upfront, regardless of your application’s outcome.

Once you complete your medical exam, your nurse will provide you with the information you need to review your results and forward them to your doctor's office for future reference. 

Case by Case Consideration

Lastly, when you get a medical exam, underwriting becomes more lenient and personalized. If you had, for instance, a previous cancer diagnosis that is now NED (no evidence of disease), a provider might still approve your application seeing that the cancer has gone into complete remission, whereas they would have declined if you had simply answered, “Yes” to the question, “Have you had cancer in the past?” on your survey.

This is also the case for well-controlled diabetics with Type-II diabeties. While no exam carriers will likely decline your application, completing a medical exam allows the provider to evalute your current A1c, greatly increasing your chances of an approval. 

Finding the Right Policy

Are you shopping for life insurance and wondering where to start? JRC Insurance represents more than 50 top-rated carriers, so you can be sure you’ll find the best rates on the coverage you need. Click here for a free quote or select your state on the map below to get started.

 

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Clifford Pendell

Clifford Pendell

Managing Partner and Co-founder

Cliff is a licensed life insurance agent and one of the owners of JRC Insurance Group. He has helped thousands of families of businesses with their life insurance needs since 2012 and specializes with applicants who are less than perfect health. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and the great outdoors.

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