Life Insurance Medical Exam Underwriting and Requirements

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

This guide will explain the medical exam process when applying for life insurance.

Understanding Your Health Status

When shopping for life insurance quotes, the prices will be dictated by policy type, age, and health status. There are typically five different general health classifications based on current and past health conditions:

  • Preferred Plus: The best classification status to qualify for, which means your premiums will be the cheapest. You are the fittest of the fit with zero negative family health history. You are in excellent health.
  • Preferred: The second highest health classification. You’re in great health but have a few minor health issues, or a member of your family has or had health issues in the past.
  • Standard Plus (Regular Plus): You are in good shape but not the best. Maybe slightly outside the life insurance policy’s height and weight requirement range? Family health history is also in good shape.
  • Standard (Regular): Your height to weight range could be better with your average health status. You might have a few improvements needed to be made in regards to your medical tests. Your family’s health might have negative instances in their history. You can still get life insurance, but it won’t be the cheapest premium rate.
  • Substandard: You have or had negative health issues. You can get life insurance, but it won’t be cheap compared to the other classifications.

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Find Life Insurance Coverage with No Medical Exams

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Medical Underwriting When Applying For Life Insurance Coverage

In a life insurance application, health-related questions are always asked. Basically, the life insurance company wants to evaluate the risk they’re taking on by insuring you. Below are common health-related questions asked on an application.

Disclaimer: If you fall into one of these medical categories below, don’t be discouraged. It doesn’t mean you can’t buy life insurance. In fact, over 90% of our applicants obtain some form of life insurance coverage. However, you need to talk to one of our experts, a free service for you. They will provide you the best policy for any medical condition.

Have you ever consulted a member of the medical profession regarding or have you been diagnosed or treated for:

  • High blood pressure, high cholesterol, abnormal electrocardiogram, chest pain, irregular heart rhythm, palpitations, heart murmur, heart attack, angina, phlebitis, peripheral vascular disease, or any other disease or disorder of the heart or blood vessels?
  • Hepatitis, ulcer, internal bleeding, colitis, acid reflux, GERD, or any other disease or disorder of the stomach, gall bladder, esophagus, liver, pancreas, spleen, intestines, colon, or rectum?
  • Your blood or immune system disorder includes anemia, blood clots, bleeding, immune deficiency, leukemia, or lymphoma (excluding HIV)?
  • Cancer, tumor, melanoma, or any other malignant disorder?
  • Diabetes or high blood sugar or any other disease or disorder of the pituitary, thyroid, or endocrine glands?
  • Albumin, protein, blood, or sugar in the urine or any other disease or disorder of the kidney or bladder?
  • Cyst, polyp, lump, or other growth, or any disease or disorder of the skin or lymph nodes?
  • Any disease or disorder of the uterus, cervix, ovaries, or breasts?
  • Any disease or disorder of the prostate or reproductive system?
  • Any sexually transmitted disorders or diseases?
  • Pregnancy, complications of pregnancy, or infertility? If now pregnant, what is the expected date of delivery?
  • Asthma, shortness of breath, chronic cough or hoarseness, bronchitis, emphysema, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), sarcoidosis, pneumonia, TB (tuberculosis), sleep apnea, or any other disorder of the respiratory system?
  • A disorder of the brain, spinal cord, or nervous system including chronic headaches, convulsions or loss of consciousness, seizures, tremors, paralysis, fainting, stroke, MS (multiple sclerosis), or TIA (transient ischemic attack)?
  • Depression, anxiety, psychosis, suicidal thoughts or attempts of suicide, anorexia or bulimia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, or other mental, nervous, or emotional disorder?
  • Arthritis or disorder of the bones, skin, or muscles?
  • Any disease or disorder of the eyes, ears, nose, or throat?
  • Been treated by a member of the medical profession or at a medical facility? Had an electrocardiogram, x-ray, blood test, or other diagnostic tests, excluding an HIV test?
  • Had surgery or biopsy, or been an inpatient or outpatient in a hospital, clinic, or other medical or mental health facilities?
  • Been advised by a medical professional member to have surgery, medical treatment, biopsy, or diagnostic testing, excluding HIV testing, that has not yet been completed?
  • Been referred to any other member of the medical profession or medical facility?
  • Been unable to work, attend school, perform normal activities like age and gender, or be confined at home?
  • Have you ever used amphetamines, barbiturates, cocaine, heroin, crack, marijuana, LSD, PCP, or other illegal, restricted, or controlled substances, except as prescribed by a licensed physician?
  • Have you ever been addicted to prescription medication or been advised by a physician to discontinue using habit-forming drugs?
  • Have you ever consumed alcoholic beverages? If Yes, give the type and number of drinks per day and/or per week. Been advised by a physician or other licensed medical practitioner to limit or cease the use of alcoholic beverages?
  • Do you smoke or consume tobacco?
  • Been counseled, sought help or treatment, or been advised by a physician or other licensed medical practitioner to undergo counseling or treatment for alcohol problems?
  • Attended or joined any organization due to alcohol or related problems?
  • Are you currently taking, or have you been advised to take any prescribed medication?
  • Have you tested positive for exposure to the HIV infection or been diagnosed with ARC (AIDS-Related Complex) or AIDS (Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome) caused by HIV infection or other sickness or condition derived from such infection?
  • In the past 5 years, have you been diagnosed, treated, tested positive for, or been given medical advice by a member of the medical profession for any disease or disorder not previously stated on this application?

Having a Pre-Existing Medical Condition

It may be difficult to get life insurance due to a pre-existing medical condition or impairment under some circumstances, but don’t fret; we can help you find a solution. First, contact us for a life insurance quote that requires no exam. In the meantime, I’ve listed examples of conditions or impairments that might give you a hard time getting coverage.

Disclaimer: Every insurance company has different parameters, so please use this as a reference.

  • Activities of daily living (ADL’s) limitations requiring assistance
  • Alcoholism with less than 2 years of sobriety since alcohol treatment or diagnosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)/Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Autism, under age 8
  • Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 that has not been discharged
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) over 48.
  • Cancer, the majority of stage 4 only
  • Cardiac defibrillator
  • Chronic Myeloid Leukemia
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) requiring oxygen
  • Chronic pain treated with Methadone
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF) not resolved
  • Coronary artery disease diagnosed before age 35
  • Criminal history, currently on probation or parole
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, applicants age 0 to 17 only
  • Diagnostic testing advised but not completed yet
  • Down syndrome, age 0 to 16 and over age 40
  • Driving violations that involve multiple DUIs, with the last one occurring within the last 3 years
  • Drug treatment or illegal drug use (other than marijuana) in the last 3 years
  • Esophageal varices
  • Heart valve stenosis, severe without heart valve replacement
  • Kidney failure requiring dialysis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Pregnant currently with complications such as gestational diabetes, toxemia, eclampsia, or pre-eclampsia
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Quadriplegia
  • Sclerosing cholangitis
  • Sickle cell anemia, age of applicant under 30
  • Suicide attempt within the last year
  • Transplant recipient of a liver, heart, or lung

A Warning About Running Life Insurance Quotes Yourself.

If you think you might get declined for life insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition, do not by any means apply for coverage and hope for the best. If you are officially declined from coverage, most insurance companies will not accept you for at least 2 years just for those reasons alone.

So talk to an expert first. Let them consult with you on your options, then go from there. We can run additional life insurance quotes that don’t require a medical exam.

If you can’t get coverage at all, some annuities have enhanced death benefits.

So let’s get a quote for life insurance now!

Find The Best Life Insurance Coverage At The Cheapest Cost!

Compare life insurance quotes from 25 companies in seconds. Then, apply for coverage in less than 10 minutes.

Find Life Insurance Coverage with No Medical Exams

Apply for affordable life insurance with no medical exams. Then, apply for same-day coverage in less than 10 minutes.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’ve sold annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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