Getting the Best Insurance – Medical Exams 101

by Chuck on Feb 13, 2014

When applying for life insurance, you will probably have to undergo a medical exam to determine your premium. These exams are done in your home by paramedical health care professionals who are hired by the insurance company. In addition to the exams, you will also have to provide information about your medical and family history.


Here’s what you can expect from a medical exam process:

Medical Exams 101

The best insurance companies hire a paramedical professional to complete a medical exam before issuing life insurance in order to identify any health conditions that may shorten your life. Most exams will occur at your home because the professional carries his/her own supplies.

You may also have to obtain an attending physician’s statement (APS) from your doctor, in addition to the exam. The cost of this entire process is covered by the insurance company.

The Medical Exam Process:

  • Paramedical professional will gather your medical history, height, weight, blood pressure, pulse and potentially blood and/or urine samples. Additional tests will be ordered based on your age and the policy amount desired.
  • Blood tests are used to detect the presence of antibodies or antigens to the HIV virus, cholesterol and related lipids, liver and kidney disorders, diabetes, hepatitis, prostate antigens and immune disorders. Urine tests are used to detect the presence of nicotine, medications and illegal drugs.
  • Exams do not include sensitive tissues, such as breast or prostate exams.
  • If there are any additional questions after the exam, you may be asked to submit more information.
  • After the results are received by the insurance company, you will be given a risk rating: either flat or table for your medical history and conditions. For instance, an underwriter would give a flat rating to someone who just had surgery because the situation is temporary, and someone with high blood pressure would receive a table rating. In general, table ratings increase premiums because they are permanent or somewhat permanent conditions.


Some things to consider before having a life insurance medical exam:

  • Get a good night’s sleep the night before.
  • Do not drink alcohol for at least eight hours prior to the exam.
  • Avoid drinking coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages for at least an hour prior to the exam.
  • Limit your intake of salt and high cholesterol foods for at least 24 hours prior to the exam.
  • Do not engage in strenuous exercise for 24 hours prior to the exam.

If you are considering a life insurance policy, give the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance a call. We can walk you through the entire process and get you the best insurance premium based on your health.



This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your company’s risk exposure with your group health insurance, please contact the insurance experts at ARCW Insurance.  We are here to help.