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Understand how life insurance works

Life Insurance with No Medical Exam

No medical exam health insurance

When planning for the future, it’s important to consider all of your insurance options. Purchasing a life insurance policy is a great way to help protect your family’s future in the event of your death. The coverage from the policy can give you some peace of mind of knowing that your kids can go to college, or that your partner may be able to pay their mortgage each month.

One of those options is a life insurance policy that doesn’t require a medical exam. There are a few reasons you might want to skip the exam. Maybe you’re in great health, and don’t have the time. Or maybe your health isn’t great, and you’re afraid that a medical exam might make insurance too expensive – or even disqualify you completely.

While the downside is that it tends to be more expensive, at least compared to similar coverage for people who clear the medical exam, there are several options that let you forego the medical exam.

What’s Involved with an insurance medical exam?

So what all is involved with a medical exam, and why might you want to take it or avoid it? A life insurance medical exam is likely to take around 30 minutes. You’ll probably be asked to fast for 8-12 hours beforehand, so taking it in the morning before breakfast is likely your best bet.

The exam is looking for long-term health conditions like kidney problems, cholesterol, diabetes, and more. They can also screen for drug and tobacco use. If you do take the medical exam, answer the questions to the best of your knowledge when completing the paperwork. For example, if you’re chewing nicotine gum to quit smoking, let them know as you’re filling out forms and answering questions. Otherwise, the tests will indicate that you’re a smoker, and they won’t have reason to believe differently.

You’ll probably want to be careful about the foods you eat for a few days beforehand, and drink plenty of water. But while you may want to spend a few days preparing for it, the test itself isn’t lengthy or dramatic. Still, if you’re concerned about the effect a test might have on your ability to get insurance, there are other options.

Life Insurance that is Guaranteed Issue

As the name suggests, Life Insurance that is Guaranteed Issue is life insurance with guaranteed coverage. This insurance is usually available to anyone within a specific age range. (Ranges generally run from the 40s or 50s up to the 70s or 80s.)

Life Insurance that is guaranteed issue means you can always get covered. The process is usually fairly quick, since underwriters aren’t involved. If you’re looking for a small sum of money for your family to help cover funeral expenses or small debts, this can be a good option to apply for life insurance.

That said, there are downsides to guaranteed whole life. Compared to other kinds of insurance, premiums tend to be high, and payouts tend to be low. These policies tend to offer $25,000 in coverage at most. A competitive market for insurance that isn’t underwritten has brought the cost down a little over the years, but this still usually isn’t the most comprehensive or affordable route to life insurance coverage for people who are able to pursue other options.

Another thing to consider about guaranteed issue insurance is that the benefit often starts at a portion of the full amount and then grows year by year. That means that you’ll need to hold on to the policy for a few years to receive the full death benefit.

Life Insurance that is Simplified Issue

While some policies won’t make you go get a medical exam, they may perform other kinds of checks before issuing a policy. These include:

  • Requesting medical records from your doctor
  • Checking with your DMV about your driving record
  • Running a pharmaceutical report to learn what medicines you’ve been prescribed over help the last 5-10 years
  • Checking with the Medical Insurance Bureau to see if you’ve ever applied for (or been denied) life insurance in the past.

Some companies may also check your credit history, but that’s not particularly common. Simplified-issue insurance is still easier to get than a fully-underwritten insurance policy where you take a medical exam. However, it’s more expensive than comparable coverage for a healthy person who just gets the exam done.

Graded Death Benefit

For a policy with a graded death benefit, you won’t have to take a medical exam, but you will have to answer some questions, just as you would for a simplified-issue policy. For these policies, the questions you give may affect the size of your benefit, and the amount of your premium. The questions asked serve the same purpose as the medical exam would in that they help determine the conditions of the policy, rather than simply screening people in or out.

Accelerated Underwriting

Some companies use a hybrid process to deliver quick responses to potential customers. Accelerated underwriting starts out by having potential enrollees answer questions, the way simplified-issue insurance does. For some people, they reach a quick decision and put together a plan as quickly as 24 hours later. For others, they may request a health exam before making a final decision.

Group Plans

When life insurance is offered as an employee benefit, a health examination typically isn’t required. In a group plan, the employer covers some or all of the cost of the plan for its employees. This basic coverage typically amounts to a year or two’s worth of pay. In some cases, you can purchase additional coverage through the employer’s broker. But for younger people in good health, this coverage may not be as affordable as what they could find elsewhere.

Term Life Plans

Many whole life plans have similar term life analogs. For instance, you can find a guaranteed- issue or simplified-issue term life plan that covers you for 10, 20, or 30 years. These plans are typically more affordable than their whole life counterparts, and often come with a rider that lets you convert them to a whole life policy if you decide that you want longer-term coverage.

You Have Choices

If you’re looking to avoid a medical exam, there are a few types of insurance available to you. These won’t be as affordable as similar coverage available to people in good health who take the exam. But there is still enough breadth of options that you should be able to find a plan that works for you. If you’d like to learn more, you can always check our online resources about what options might be your best fit.


SOURCES:

1ValuePenguin.com. Web page: What do Insurers Look for in a Life Insurance Blood Test and Medical Exam? Retrieved on October 19, 2018 from https://www.valuepenguin.com/life-insurance/blood-test-medical-exam

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