What Happens in a Life Insurance Medical Exam?

Let's get physical, physical

Team LemonadeTeam Lemonade

Life insurance can help give your loved ones financial protection if you were to pass away. 

When applying for life insurance, the insurance company basically calculates your life expectancy. 

That might sound a little morbid, but this gives the life insurance company a better idea of approximately when they might need to pay out a death benefit to your beneficiaries, or if they’ll need to pay one out at all (in the case of a term life insurance policy, which—if all goes well—you’ll outlive). 

For some life insurance policies (but not Lemonade’s offering!) a required medical exam is a crucial part of the underwriting process. The exam helps give the insurance company a basic snapshot of your health, so they can decide if you qualify for coverage—and how much that coverage will cost you. 

Below, we’ll break down the basics of a life insurance medical exam, so you can know what to expect. 

Just so you know, Lemonade now offers term life insurance without a medical exam. The application process is 100% digital, and you could get coverage for between 10 and 30 years and up to $1.5 million in coverage.

No needles, no in-person doctor visits, and absolutely no peeing in a cup. So, if you’d like to skip the physical and get on with your life… just click below to get a quote.

Before the exam 

Scheduling the appointment 

Some life insurance companies partner with paramedical companies that test and examine individuals who might want to take out a life insurance policy.

You’ll likely get a phone call from the medical service company to set up the appointment. You can choose to have the exam at home or at work, or you can try to make an appointment at the paramedical company’s offices. The exam takes around 15 to 45 minutes. 

Good news: The insurance company covers the cost of the exam. 

Before the exam

The day before the exam, try to avoid high-cholesterol or salty foods, over-the-counter medication, alcohol, or strenuous exercise. Drink lots of water. When scheduling your appointment, ask if you need to fast for the 12 hours before the exam. 

Arrive at your appointment in short sleeves, or a shirt that you can easily roll up (for the blood test), and comfortable clothes (don’t worry, you won’t have to get undressed). Arrive at your appointment with a photo ID and your application documents at the ready. 

before the life insurance medical exam
Tempting, but should probably wait until *after* your exam

The exam 

The medical questionnaire

The technician, nurse, or physician will get things going by asking you a series of questions about your medical history. 

This includes information about what medications you take, and the dosages. They will also ask you if you have been hospitalized recently, and for what reasons, as well as inquiring about any psychiatric or medical conditions you may have been diagnosed with in the past 5 years. 

This should maybe go without saying, but we’re saying it anyway—it’s really important that you’re honest. If the insurer finds out you lied or left out information at this stage, the insurance company can discontinue your coverage down the line, or deny any claims. 

The physical exam

This is where the “fun” starts! The medical professional will record your weight and height and take your blood pressure. You will be asked to provide a urine sample and a blood sample to test your cholesterol, blood sugar, and check for nicotine or drug use (including things like marijuana, even if it’s legal where you live). 

Depending on your age and your desired coverage amount, the insurance company might ask for you to have an electrocardiogram (EKG), to check your heart health. On rare occasions, insurers might also ask for an X-ray, saliva sample, or a treadmill stress test. 

After the exam 

Your life insurance company will probably take a few weeks to process your medical exam results. You can usually get a copy of your test results within 5 to 6 weeks, which you can submit to other life insurance companies if you’re denied coverage, or if you’re looking to shop around. 

Apply for coverage without the needles

If you’re between the ages of 18-60, you could qualify for a term life insurance policy offered by Lemonade. 

Applying is simple on desktop or through our mobile app. Lemonade’s friendly chatbot Maya will ask you a series of questions about your age, lifestyle, and medical history—and voila! You can apply for the coverage you need without getting up from the couch… and without having to bother with any invasive tests or exams.


Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.