Affordable Life Insurance Protection for Your Family

At What Age Does Life Insurance Require a Physical?

If you’re shopping for life insurance you may be wondering at what age a health exam is required for the purchase of a life insurance policy.

Actually, it can vary based on several factors, including:

  • Your Health and Health History
  • Your Immediate Family Health History
  • If You Smoke
  • If You are On Any Medication
  • The Amount of Life Insurance You Need
  • The Insurance Company Guidelines for Requiring an Exam

Note: Many life insurers will require a health exam for any individual applying for life insurance who is over age 30, or requesting more than $50,000 of coverage.

Why Do Insurance Companies Require A Physical Exam?

The insurance company uses the results of your medical exam to determine if they will insure you for life insurance. 

The results of your exam, urine and blood tests help the insurer to understand what level of health risk you present, and whether or not they should insure your life.

The health examination is required of most applicants for life insurance to determine if they meet the underwriting standards, or should be classified as sub-standard, or un-insurable.

Based on the results of your exam, the insurer may offer less coverage, require a higher premium, or choose not to insure you.


Do I Have To Pay For The Physical Exam?

The health check-up is administered by medical personnel chosen by the insurance company. The insurer pays for the exam.

Many life insurers have different guidelines they follow in order to determine if an exam is necessary.

Factors considered may include: your age, amount of life insurance coverage requested, and your health history, among other things.


How Does The Physical Exam Work?

On larger life insurance policies, most insurers require the applicant to undergo a physical performed by a doctor, nurse or a para-medical.

During the exam samples of the applicant's blood and urine are may be taken. The insurance company will usually request the applicant's medical records from his or her physicians, and have the records reviewed by the life insurance underwriter.

The insurer usually will check the applicant's health history with the Medical Information Bureau, credit records, the driving record, and perform other investigations that may be needed.

The larger the amount of life insurance requested, the more intense the medical review and investigation of the applicant. That’s because the life insurance company would take in only a small premium, but have to pay out a large amount if the insured dies.

For Example: for a person age 40 it may be possible to buy a $1 million Term Life Insurance Policy for a premium of only $1,750 for the year. 

If the person whose life is insured dies the first year of being insured, the insurance company would be out $998,250 plus whatever the insurer paid to sell and underwrite the life insurance policy.


How Do They Use The Information from the Examination?

Once the insurance application and medical information is completely gathered, the underwriters make their underwriting decision as to whether to insure the applicant, how much coverage to offer, and at what annual premium.

First, the insurer decides whether they can insure you for life insurance. If you have had cancer in the past year, or have AIDS, you may or may not be insurable, depending on the insurer guidelines.

Next, the underwriter classifies the risk, which determines the price of your policy. Many people receive either a "preferred" classification (intended for those who are above average risk) or a "standard" classification.

If a person has a history or characteristics that suggest he is riskier than the average applicant (perhaps because he is 80 pounds overweight, or has high cholesterol, or had by-pass surgery 1 year ago) the policy would be "rated", and offered at a higher price based on that rating, given the applicant's age.


Do I Need a Physical Exam Before I Get Life Insurance?

It’s normal for insurers to base a decision to insure you, and the price it charges you, on your health and medical history—just like auto insurance carriers will base your car insurance on your driving record.

However, there are some leading insurers that will provide you with a life insurance policy without any physical exam required.

Here’s a closer look at physical exams for life insurance coverage, and your options available if you don’t want to take one.


What Does a Life Insurance Medical Exam Include? 

Let’s say your insurer requires you take a doctor exam before selling you a policy. 

You’ll probably wonder what the tests are for, and what exactly do they test you for?

Here’s What You May Expect:

  • You will probably be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your health history
  • You will have your blood pressure tested
  • You may have blood drawn in order to look at your cholesterol levels, and to check for infectious diseases like HIV, hepatitis, STD’s, etc.
  • You will probably be asked to provide a urine sample which may be tested for kidney issues, drug use, and more.

A life insurance physical is similar to a basic physical exam. 

But your insurer should let you know what kind of tests you will receive before your exam. If they don’t, and you want to know, don’t be afraid to ask.

Can I Retake the Health Examination?

Sometimes insurance companies will let you retake your medical exam. But that only makes sense if you have made significant changes in your life since your previous exam—changes like quitting smoking, dropping excess weight, or stopping the consumption of alcoholic beverages. 

Major changes like those may produce better results and possibly save you money on your insurance policy. 

However, Insurance carriers are not required to allow you to re-take your exam. But it doesn’t hurt to ask.

How Can I Get a No-Medical Life Insurance Policy?

No-physical life insurance policies may be good for people who want life insurance but don’t want the hassle of taking a health exam. 

They also appeal to those of us who know we’re not in the best possible health, but still want to help protect our families with life insurance. 

In either case, you may want to consider a no-med-exam (sometimes called a "no-physical") life insurance policy.

Even life insurance without a physical will probably require you to answer some health questions in your application for coverage. 

But the insurers offering those policies will make their decision on covering you without an actual exam, urine or blood draw. In some cases, you’ll know if you’re covered within as little as 15 minutes.

Do All Life Insurance Companies Require a Physical Exam?

No. Not all carriers will require you to take a physical. In fact, many companies now offer no physical life policies. 

Why Do Life Insurers Require Medical Exams?

Physical exams form part of how an insurance company assesses an individual's potential health risks. 

The aim of an assessment is to determine a person's life expectancy – how long you are expected to live. 

Along with such factors as age, gender, tobacco use and lifestyle, the individual's physical and health status are future indicators of the individual's cost to the insurance carrier and these form the basis for setting the price of a life insurance policy. 

What Do They Test for in a Life Insurance Medical Exam?

A routine examination may include a review of the person's medical history, the doctors he has consulted, the dates of those consultations: as well as, any treatments recommended by them. 

There is also a physical test, which covers basic information like height, weight, pulse and blood pressure. Urine and blood specimen testing are usually included.

For certain cases, the insurer may require an EKG, especially if the individual is older, or is requesting a large amount of life insurance.

In most cases, the insurance carrier pays a licensed, independent medical examiner to carry out the test. On average a medical exam gets completed in about 30 minutes.

What Kind of Health Exam Will I Have to Take?

The insurer will tell you exactly what medical examination they will require; however, the exact tests you will take will vary depending on the carrier and the policy you want to buy. 

For example, if you are under 35 and you are looking for $75,000 of coverage, it is likely that the company you approached will only require the basic, routine exam. 

However, if you are over the age of 40 and looking for more than $200,000 of coverage, the insurer may require a full doctor exam, which may include oral fluid test, EKG tracing: as well as, an Attending Physician’s Statement. 

Are There Life Insurance Companies That Don't Require Doctor Exams?

Yes, in fact, today many insurers offer no exam plans. Many even offer these no physical term life insurance policies online. 

You simply fill out an application on an insurance company's website, then you get approved in just about 15 minutes, if you qualify for coverage. 

You can immediately print a copy of your life insurance policy. There is no need for you to see an insurance agent.

These quick-issue life insurance policies may be offered for a duration of 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years of coverage. 

As you might imagine, premiums are higher than policies that require a health test, but they remain constant throughout the policy's term (duration). 

How to Prepare for the Life Insurance Medical Exam?

  • One Week Before Your Exam: Stay on a healthy diet. Keep your salt intake to a minimum, and stay off fatty and sugary foods.
  • Three Days Before Your Exam: Avoid alcohol intake and any tobacco products. 
  • One Day Before Your Exam: Avoid products that contain caffeine and avoid doing any strenuous activities. Fast and get eight hours of sound sleep. 
  • Hydrate. Drink enough water.
  • Stick to Your Fast. If you have been instructed not to eat anything and to avoid certain kinds of beverages, follow those instructions. Eating, and drinking beverages other than water, can cause certain levels like glucose to spike upward, which can make you appear less healthy than you are.
  • Don’t Drink Caffeine or Alcohol. Too much caffeine can elevate your heart rate and blood pressure. So even if you’re told it’s okay to drink coffee on the day of your exam, don’t overdo it. And be sure you understand what, if anything, you can put in your coffee without accidentally changing your results in a negative way.
  • Try to Relax. Your blood pressure goes up if you’re nervous or feeling stressed.
  • Get Enough Rest. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before your health check-up.
  • Don’t Exercise the Day of Your Exam. 

What Medical Questions Can a Life Insurance Company Ask?

You may expect health questions similar to the following:

  • Family History related to diabetes, heart condition, kidney or liver problems, blood disorder, disorder of the ears, nose mouth or throat and mental illness. 
  • History of Hospitalization, Diagnostic exams taken, X-rays done and for what reason.
  • Personal Experience related to blood spitting, shortness of breath, experience with bronchitis or asthma, bones, joints or muscle disorder and any history of tumors or cysts.
  • Name of your Doctor or Doctors you have consulted and the date of your consultation.


During the Health Check-Up, the Paramedical May:

  • Take your medical history (including medical conditions, surgeries and any prescription medications)
  • Listen to your heartbeat
  • Check your height and weight
  • Ask about your immediate family's medical history
  • Take your blood pressure
  • Draw a blood sample
  • Get a urine sample
  • Ask about lifestyle habits that could affect your health (e.g. exercise, smoking, drinking, recreational drug use, frequent travel, high-risk hobbies)
  • There may be additional tests you need to undergo depending on your age, the type of policy you want and the amount of coverage you're applying for. Additional tests could include an EKG, a chest X-ray, and/or a treadmill test. 


Next, an underwriter at the insurance company will review your application and medical exam results. He or she may order medical records from your physician to learn more about any medical conditions you may have and any treatment received. 

This information helps them determine what risk you represent to the company financially, and how much to charge you for life insurance policy. 

If you lie about any health condition, the insurer may not only deny you coverage but may also "red-flag" you, meaning other life insurance companies will know you were denied coverage because you lied when applying for a policy.

Once your application and health check-up have been reviewed, the insurer will either approve or deny your request to buy life insurance. 

The entire process can take days or weeks, depending on if you have submitted a complete application, how long it takes to receive your lab results, if the company requests information from your physician, and so on.

Types of Life Insurance That Does Not Require a Physical

There are a few types of plans that offer no exam coverage, including:

  • No Exam Term Life Insurance – These plans are usually available for healthy individuals between the ages of 20 to 60.
  • Accidental Death Insurance – These plans do not require any health exam or health questions asked. However, a death benefit is only paid out if the insured dies as a result of an accident.
  • Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance – These plans are available with guaranteed approval for people ages 45 to 85. There is no health exam required and no health questions asked. However, the amount of coverage offered may be limited to around $25,000.


How Much Life Insurance Can I Get without a Medical Exam?

That depends on your age, health, budget, and the insurance company.

One highly-rated life insurance carrier offers healthy individuals between ages 20 to 40 up to $2,000,000 of term life insurance without a medical exam required. Those between ages 40 to 60 may qualify for less coverage without an exam.


Is There No Medical Exam Life Insurance for Seniors?

Yes. There are life insurance plans with guaranteed acceptance for seniors between the ages of 45 to 85.

These guaranteed approval policies offer up to $25,000 of life insurance with no health exam required and no health questions asked.


Life Insurance Quotes


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JRC Insurance offers up to $2,000,000 of life insurance with no medical exam required.

You can get approval for your insurance policy in as little as 10 minutes to 2 days. JRC offers no exam life insurance for diabetics, too.

JRC offers some of the best rates on life insurance policies without any health exams required.

You can compare and choose from $25,000 to $2,000,000 of no exam life insurance coverage from several leading life insurance carriers through JRC Insurance Group.


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At What Age Does Life Insurance Require a Physical?

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