Why You Must Get Access to Your Medical Exam Results Before Getting Life Insurance

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  • It's common to get a medical exam in the course of applying for life insurance.
  • Accessing your exam results is a step worth taking in case there's a mistake.

It's an important step to take.

My husband and I didn't really think about buying life insurance until our son was born. But once we became parents, we realized we needed to put a financial plan in place for our child, and that included purchasing a life insurance policy. 

Now because we were fairly young when we applied for life insurance, we were able to lock in affordable premium rates. We also opted for a term life insurance policy, which is far less expensive than buying a whole life policy. But we actually almost wound up spending more on our life insurance than necessary. And had I not done some digging, we would've gotten stuck with higher premiums for many years. 

How someone else's mistake almost cost us money

After applying for life insurance, we heard back that my husband had been approved at a select preferred rating. But that didn't happen for me, which I found odd.

At the time, I really didn't have any medical issues that might have served as a red flag. I didn't smoke, my blood pressure was good, and I really only had a thyroid condition that's fairly common and was well-managed. 

I decided to dig further to see why I hadn't been approved at the same preferred tier as my husband. And it turned out that the reason boiled down to a mistake in my medical exam record.

In a nutshell, the person who recorded my exam results accidentally entered my weight at a number that was 20 pounds lower than my actual weight. As a result, I was flagged as underweight. And because of that, I couldn't qualify for the best rating, which meant the company wanted to charge me more for my premiums.

Thankfully, I was able to get the issue corrected. Unfortunately, taking a video of myself on a scale wasn't enough. Instead, I needed to submit a letter from my doctor confirming that I'd recently had a checkup at a weight that's considered healthy for my height. It just so happened that I'd seen the doctor shortly before applying for my life insurance policy, so the company was willing to take that as proof that its number was wrong.

Don't hesitate to be thorough

If you buy a term life insurance policy, you could end up paying those premiums for 10, 20, or 30 years. And so it makes sense to do whatever you can to keep them to a minimum. 

I'm really glad I didn't just accept that I'd landed in a lower tier rating-wise than my husband, and that I looked into the issue instead. Had I not taken that step, I might, to this day, be paying hundreds of dollars more each year for no good reason.

In fact, even if you apply for life insurance and manage to get approved at a preferred rating, it could still pay to access your medical exam record and make sure everything checks out the way it's supposed to. Sometimes, equipment can fail or people can make mistakes. But it's a good idea to know what medical information is on file for you.

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