Should seniors take health exams for life insurance?

A life insurance medical exam can go a long way in securing lower monthly premiums. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Life insurance policies are often considered beneficial to a wide range of adults, young and old. While some older adults may find the cost of a policy higher than they would have paid in previous years, the benefits of senior life insurance can still be significant. And despite popular belief, they don’t always have to be exorbitantly expensive.

However, the senior adult life insurance application process may be slightly different in terms of the amount requested and why. And while many adults would benefit from taking the traditional medical exam often required for life insurance approval, the benefit for seniors isn’t always so clear-cut. There are good reasons to take the exam and some other good reasons not to pass, both of which we will detail below.

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Should seniors take health exams for life insurance?

The answer to this question really depends on the person and their state of health at the time of application. Here’s what you should know.

When seniors should take a life insurance medical exam

Seniors in good health who do not smoke and have no history of smoking should strongly consider meeting for life insurance medical evaluation. These examinations are similar to the annual check-up at the family doctor. So expect some routine blood work to be done. Applicants will also have their urine and blood pressure tested and will be required to answer a series of detailed questions from a qualified doctor.

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Healthy seniors can underline their status by referring to the results of a medical examination. This will help reduce the implied risk that the insurer takes on by offering a policy to an older adult. And it will go a long way towards reducing the premiums that would be charged to the applicant. Healthy seniors who are confident that a medical exam will prove their well-being (and won’t hurt their application) should take the exam and enjoy the lower rewards they receive as a result.

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When seniors should skip a health check for life insurance

Seniors who feel that a medical exam could hinder (if not result in outright rejection) their application should skip this step in the process and go straight to a no-exam policy instead. While life insurance without a review is more expensive than policies that include the review, it is often better to go down that route and get a policy than to proceed with a review and risk being denied.

Despite the price, audit-free life insurance is still valuable for many seniors, especially considering it can be used in conjunction with full or term life insurance.

Another reason seniors want to take the no-exam path? They can be approved quickly.

It can take days, if not weeks, to schedule a medical exam for life insurance. Once the results are complete, they need to be sent to the provider for review, who will then approve the initial application amount, offer a lower amount, or possibly reject the application entirely. All of this takes time that could be invested elsewhere. By skipping the exam, seniors are essentially guaranteed approval — freeing up time they would have spent going through the applications if they chose a different type.

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The final result

So should seniors take health exams for life insurance? It depends on how healthy they are and what risk they are willing to take if the exam reveals any issues. For those confident in the likely outcomes, life insurance medical screening makes sense, if only to secure lower monthly premiums. For seniors who worry that an exam might hinder their application, however, it’s probably best to skip the exam, expedite the process, and go the no-exam life insurance route instead.

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