Applying for life insurance? Here’s what to expect

A life insurance application may require an exam.

You’ve completed and signed an application for life insurance; what happens next? Depending on the amount of life insurance you apply for, you may be asked to provide medical information as part of the underwriting process or to submit to a medical exam. Underwriting for life insurance is often perceived as a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Underwriting is the process the insurance company uses to gather your information, decide whether you qualify for coverage and determine the appropriate premium. You benefit by receiving insurance at a rate that corresponds to your risk factors. The most common risk factor examined during underwriting is personal medical history. Less than perfect medical underwriting results do not necessarily disqualify you from purchasing life insurance, but they may affect the amount of premium you pay.

In addition to the information you provide on the application, a telephone interviewer may call you to obtain your medical history. The company may also request your insurance history from the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) and review medical history from your personal physician or other medical care providers.

Your agent will notify you if you need to get a physical examination, then a paramedical service will contact you to schedule a convenient date, time and place for the exam. You may choose to have the exam completed at your home or office.

Be prepared to respond to questions about your medical history, including whether or not you smoke. While you may be asked for a blood or urine test, or to undergo a non-invasive electrocardiogram, insurance medical exams are brief and do not usually require you to disrobe.

With minimal preparation, the life insurance exam is a simple, convenient procedure that supplies underwriters with valuable data needed to make an informed decision regarding your eligibility and the premium you will pay.

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5 Responses to “Applying for life insurance? Here’s what to expect”

  1. Mark

    Can you tell me what things they test for exactly with the blood and urine tests? Cholesterol, blood pressure, drugs, etc…?

    • Cincinnati Insurance

      Thanks for your question. The blood and urine tests, if requested, look at cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar levels. The tests also check liver and kidney functions and may include an HIV antibody test, where permitted by law.

      • Stan

        What specific liver and kidney functions are monitored?

        • Cincinnati Insurance

          Stan, tests may vary by company, but the most common tests are BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and Serum Creatinine for the kidneys and AST (aspartate aminotransferase), ALT (alanine aminotransferase) and GGT (gamma-blutamyl transferase) for the liver.

  2. Sean

    I agree that the life insurance medial exam is fairly simple, but even so, i’ve noticed a lot of our healthy clients opting for a no exam policy even though it can be a slightly higher premium.


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