Life Insurance with Medical Exam – When to Take the Exam?

Ty Stewart - Founder - Written by Ty Stewart - Last Updated October 18, 2018

Situations where you should take the medical exam for life insurance

Let’s explore a few situations when it makes sense to take the medical exam:

  1. You regularly smoke cigarettes or use tobacco products
  2. You have a complex or unique medical history
  3. You have a health condition that is considered “high-risk”
  4. The lowest priced premiums are your #1 concern
  5. You are absolutely sure that you are in perfect health

Even if…

you fall under one of the above, you still may want to consider getting a no exam policy first. The risk is low and there is a lot to gain. The no medical policy will go into effect much quicker. Afterward, if you so choose, you can shop around for the absolute lowest rate and see what you qualify for. During this time, you’ll be covered.

If you take the exam first, and it uncovers something in your health that you didn’t know about, you can’t go back. That information is now part of your MIB record. This can prevent you from getting that excellent health rating and corresponding low premium at anywhere you try to apply at. Any questions? Contact us for help.

1) Regular Smoker or Tobacco User

In our study comparing hundreds of no exam vs exam rates, smokers had the greatest price increase. The average tobacco user will pay 17% higher premiums for no medical exam coverage.

It’s no secret that smoking leads to health concerns. Without the up to date information that a paramedical exam can provide, insurance companies will err on the side of caution. The extra buffer in premiums allows them to absorb that risk.

To be clear: The 17% average price increase assumes the same health class result. If there is something else that turns up from the medical exam and drops you down a health class, all bets are off.

Preferred Smoker rates on a no exam policy will be cheaper than Standard Plus Smoker (1 level down) on a policy where you go through with the examination.

2) Complex or Unique Medical HistoryIf your medical history contains a condition or history that requires lots of explanation, going through with a medical exam may get you a better rate on your life insurance policy

If your medical history contains a condition or history that requires lots of explanation, going through with a medical exam may be a better fit.

Insurance underwriting is based on data and probabilities. The larger the data set, the more comfortable they feel in taking on risks. You may be in average or above average health yet have a rare condition or set of circumstances that explain your particular medical history.

The traditional full underwriting process including medical exam allows you to “prove” your actual level of health. The extra information helps the underwriters assign an appropriate health rating and make a fair offer of life insurance.

3) High-Risk Health Issues

Most no medical exam companies only offer Standard as the lowest health rating. If you have a condition such as very high blood pressure, history of a stroke, severe asthma, or any other of the many conditions that can be considered “high-risk”, you will likely not qualify for the Standard class.

This does NOT mean you can’t be approved.

It just means that a simplified issue no exam policy isn’t an option for you. Full underwriting with a medical exam will allow the sub-standard table ratings to be offered.

If you can’t qualify anywhere at sub-standard rates, then it’s back to the no exam side of things with a graded, guaranteed, or final expense policy.

Need help understanding the different 4 types of no-exam policies? See our comparison breakdown or reach out to us.

4) Paying the Lowest Premium Is Your #1 Concern

In a detailed study, we broke down the true cost difference for no exam insurance. (Hint, it’s not nearly as much as you may think).

However, if you are in need of paying the absolute lowest rates, taking the medical exam will be the answer for most people.

The reason is simple, the more the insurance company knows about you, the less risk they assume. The less risk they assume, the lower your premiums can be.

5) Confident That You Are in a Perfect Health

Many people THINK they are. But are surprised by the lab results. If you are absolutely sure that your health is A+, then going through with the exam will save you a little money as mentioned above in #4.

The risk is that your blood work comes back from the lab a little less “perfect” than you expected. A minor change in something like blood pressure or cholesterol levels can bump you down a full health class and result in considerably higher premiums.

green money iconWe’ve said this before but it’s so important that worth repeating. If you get coverage in place quickly with a no exam policy, you can then take your time and do a fully underwritten process with medical exam if you want to try to qualify for a cheaper rate.

But if…

you take the risk and have blood work done first, it’s now in your records. These records are checked in the Medical Information Bureau on any future life insurance applications by all companies. You won’t be able to have a “do-over”. The Preferred Plus health rating and corresponding really inexpensive premium payment, are no longer possible.

About Ty Stewart
Avatar for Ty Stewart
Ty Stewart is the founder of He is an independent life insurance agent that works for his clients nationwide to secure affordable coverage while making the process simple. There is never any cost to use his services.

Posted in No Medical Exam Life Insurance