Do I have to take the life insurance health exam?

Do I have to take the life insurance health exam?

You almost always have to take a life insurance health exam, at least if you’re buying term life insurance. The reason for this is pretty simple: your life insurance rates are directly related your current health, and without a medical exam the life insurance company has no way to properly gauge your health.

For most people, this isn’t a problem — sure, it might be a little annoying to schedule an exam, but the actual exam is quick and painless, and no more invasive than your annual physical. If you’re curious as to what exactly goes on during a life insurance medical exam, check out our guide to life insurance health exams.

But some people don’t want to take the life insurance health exam. There are a few reasons someone might want to skip the exam:

  1. They need life insurance quickly and can’t wait for the medical underwriting process.

  2. They have reservations about the health exam.

  3. They have a medical condition that would make regular term life insurance prohibitively expensive.

In one of those situations, you may want to look into simplified issue life insurance. Simplified issue life insurance, also known as no-exam insurance, skips the medical exam and instead requires you to fill out a simple health questionnaire to determine if you qualify for insurance. In return for this convenience, simplified issue life insurance is usually more expensive than a traditional term life insurance policy.

There is another, even more expensive option that goes a step further: guaranteed issue life insurance. Guaranteed issue life insurance is pretty much guaranteed — there are only a few edge cases where someone wouldn’t be able to purchase a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. There are a ton of downsides, however: besides being incredibly inexpensive, guaranteed issue life insurance also has low death benefits. You may end up paying upwards of $200 per month for a mere $10,000 death benefit.

For the vast majority of people, dealing with the inconvenience of a medical exam and medical underwriting in order to purchase a traditional term life insurance policy is the better choice. Simplified issue and guaranteed issue life insurance are expensive, and unless you need life insurance right this second or have a terminal illness, they’re probably not worth the money.

If you’re worried that a health condition such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and old age — or undergoing a controversial treatment like medical marijuana — is going to affect your life insurance rate, talk to an independent life insurance agent. Every life insurance company views health differently, and an independent agent can help you find the right company for your health needs.

Image: ILO in Asia and the Pacific