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Do I need a physical before getting life insurance?

The answer is often—but not always—yes.

It’s normal for an insurance company to base its decision to cover you, and the price it charges you, on your health and medical history—just like companies will base your car insurance on your driving record.

However, there are also companies, like TruStage, that will provide you with a life insurance policy without a physical.

Here’s a closer look at physical exams for life insurance and your option if you don’t want to take one.

What does a life insurance medical exam include?

Let’s say your insurance company requires you take a medical exam before they will sell you a policy. You might wonder, “What are the tests for life insurance?” Here’s what to expect:

  • You will probably be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your health history
  • You will probably have your blood pressure tested
  • You will probably have blood drawn in order to look at things like cholesterol levels, and to check for infectious diseases like HIV
  • You will probably be asked to provide a urine sample that looks for kidney issues, recreational drug use, and more


As you can see, a life insurance physical is similar to a basic physical exam. But your insurance company should let you know what kinds of tests you will receive before your exam. If they don’t, and you want to know, don’t be afraid to ask.

Can I retake a life insurance medical exam?

Sometimes insurance companies will let you retake your medical exam. But that only makes sense if you have made significant changes in your life since your previous exam—changes like dropping excess weight or quitting smoking or alcoholic beverages. Major changes like those may produce better results and possibly save you money on your coverage. Insurance companies aren’t obligated to allow re-takes. But it never hurts to ask.

  • Hydrate. Drink water.
  • Stick to your fast. If you have been instructed not to eat anything and to avoid certain kinds of beverages, follow those instructions. Eating, and drinking beverages other than water, can cause certain levels like glucose to spike upward, which can make you appear less healthy than you are.
  • Watch the coffee. Too much caffeine can elevate your heart rate and blood pressure. So even if you’re told it’s okay to drink coffee on the day of your exam, don’t overdo it. And be sure you understand what, if anything, you can put in your coffee without accidentally changing your results in a negative way.
  • Try to relax. Your blood pressure goes up if you’re nervous or feeling stressed.

    How can I get a no-medical-exam life insurance policy?

    No-physical life insurance policies may be good for people who want life insurance but don’t want the hassle of getting a medical exam. They also appeal to those of us who know we’re not in the best possible health, but still want to help protect our families with life insurance. In either case, you may want to consider a no-medical-exam (sometimes called a “no-physical”) life insurance policy.

    Even life insurance without a physical will probably require you to answer some health questions in your application. But the companies offering those policies will make their decision on covering you without an actual exam or blood draw. In some cases, you’ll know if you’re covered in minutes.

    If you’re interested in a life insurance policy that does not require a physical exam, this easy-to-use comparison tool may help you find which policy is right for you.

    How to learn more about life insurance

    Life insurance may seem complicated, but it’s not that hard once you know the basics. Of course, we are happy to help. You can also use the TruStage Life Insurance Calculator to compare different types of insurance and learn more about your options.

    Keep reading:

    What are the different types of life insurance?
    It may seem simple but understanding insurance types can also be confusing. We’ve broken down a few of the most common types of life insurance policies to simplify things.

    What should I look for in a reputable insurance company?
    Cost isn’t everything in choosing the best life insurance policy. There’s also a lot to be said about choosing an insurance company you can really trust.

    How much life insurance do you need?
    This article walks you through several popular methods for estimating how much life insurance you need to ensure your family’s future.

    Life insurance when you're young
    It’s tempting to put off buying life insurance when you’re young, especially if you’re just starting out and money is tight. But there are two good reasons to buy life insurance now instead of waiting.