A New York and New Jersey Lawyer Who Represents Policyholders and Beneficiaries in Life Insurance Denial Cases

When applying for life insurance, applicants are often required to submit to a medical examination. In the majority of cases, the exam is conducted by a paramedic hired on a contract basis by the insurance company, who asks a series of health questions, administers a blood test and obtains a blood pressure reading. For more expensive policies, a physician may conduct the exam and there may even be a medical record review. In my experience, however, this is not a frequent occurrence.

A local news station has published a short article discussing how applicants should conduct themselves both before and during a life insurance medical examination. Just as an example, among other things, it recommends not eating foods rich in cholesterol in the days prior to an exam and to schedule a morning exam when your body is “at its best.”

This may be all well and good, but I suggest you take the article with a grain of salt. That’s because what’s most important, when submitting to a life insurance medical exam, is that the applicant tells the truth. If the insured dies within the two-year contestability period that exists in just about all policies, the insurance company, under most state laws, can review the insured’s entire medical history to see if a material misrepresentation was made in the application. Trying to gin up one’s medical test results, just to be awarded a slightly better rating and hence lower premium, will ultimately do more harm than good in the event the insured dies within the contestability period.

To use one of the examples set forth above, say the insured has a history of high cholesterol. If the insured discloses this in the application–and all life insurance applications inquire about it–the insurance company will probably investigate it and rate the condition accordingly. But don’t disclose it, and change your eating habits so as to provide a better-than-usual test result, so that the condition is not rated by the insurer, and your beneficiaries might find themselves without coverage.

So, as I said, tell the truth when you are given a medical exam in conjunction with a life insurance application, and significantly, that includes making sure that you read each medical question and fully understand it before answering.

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