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What Should I Expect If I Need A Medical Exam for Life Insurance?

Applying For Life Insurance

One of the items that people often find confusing is what to expect after they have actually filled out their life insurance application and it has been submitted to the insurance company.

What happens next? Depending on the life insurance company you are applying with and their underwriting guidelines, one of the next steps may be to have a medical exam that will aid in the underwriting decision (in other words, how the insurance company decides if they approve your policy or not).

What kind information will they look for during this process? Here is some information that will help with this (and a few tips as well).

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Completing A Medical Exam

Life insurance companies in Canada work with medical companies (usually Dynacare of ExamOne) to facilitate and complete medical exams for life insurance applications.

The medical company will arrange to send a nurse to come and see you at your convenience. This means that you won’t need to book an appointment with your family doctor, and you can likely schedule things around your regular working hours to avoid the need to take time off to complete the exam. We have had clients even have the nurse come see them at their place of work if it is suitable.

Some of the tests that the nurse completes with you will look for signs of high cholesterol, liver function, kidney function, blood sugar levels and potentially for STD’s. The exam typically has a few parts to it and it helps to be prepared for them.

Tip: Have photo identification ready to confirm you are who you say you are for the examiner.

The first thing that will happen will likely be a verbal health questionnaire. The nurse will ask you some health questions and record your answers. The idea is to provide the insurance company with a complete, accurate picture of your current and past health.

Tip: Have a list of any medications that you take handy. Include the frequency and dose amounts. Also knowing the name and address of your family doctor, as well as when and why the last time you saw them will help speed up this process.

The next thing that will happen is that the nurse will collect vital signs, as well as any samples that are required. This means that they will measure your height, weight, pulse and blood pressure and collect any samples that are needed for testing. This can include a urine sample, blood sample and/or a saliva sample.

If the death benefit that you are applying for is large enough, you may also need to have an ECG done. These extra tests typically based on the amount of coverage and the age of the applicant.

Tip: Staying hydrated will aid both in urine and blood sample collection. You should also avoid any caffeine or other stimulants prior to the exam as this can affect your blood pressure and pulse. Excessive exercise prior to the exam may also lead to unusual test results.


Believe it or not, the fact that you needed a medical exam is good. 

In most cases a policy that requires a medical exam will have a lower cost per $1,000 of coverage than one that doesn’t require one.  The exam will be a short term inconvenience that can save you a lot of money over the life of your policy.

Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain.


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