It’s 5:41 in the morning and I just finished my life insurance “paramed” exam. To the uninitiated, when you take out a life insurance policy, the insurance company sends someone to meet with you, and check your health using a variety of questions, diagnostics, etc. This process is called the paramed, or para medical examination. My examiner was a nice guy named Tony, who arrived at my front door around 5:15 AM.
What to Expect
It was a pretty easy process. Here’s a quick rundown of what we did:
- Check height
- Check weight
- Check blood pressure
- Check pulse
- Measure chest
- Measure waist (it felt like I was being measured for a tailored suit)
- Collect urine sample
- Collect blood sample
- Ask a bunch of questions about my health, medications, and the health of my blood related family members
Early Bird Special
The early bird slot wasn’t randomly assigned to me. I opted to get the early appointment for a reason. Your body isn’t as compressed in the morning as it is after a whole day of walking, running, driving, and sitting. You also usually use the facilities before going to bed. Basically, you’re taller and you weigh less, so it helps with your height to weight ratios Even if just a little, it makes you appear healthier, which can be the difference between one rate class and another, if your health is on the edge. I’m healthy as a horse according to Tony, but still, why risk it?
Also, you are usually calmer in the morning, not having endured 8 hours of stressful work, and 2 hours of stressful traffic, plus whatever other chores life throws your way. So your pulse and blood pressure will ready healthier results in the morning, than they would if you did the exam after clocking out of work, or sitting in rush hour.
Urine or You’re Out
They do require a urine sample for most life insurance paramed exams. Unless you are getting a super small $10,000 “funeral policy” as we call it, they’ll want to get some indicator of your health.
Make sure you drink water in the 4 to 8 hours leading up to your exam. If you don’t provide a urine sample then and there, they will have to reschedule the exam.
I had a problem with this part of my exam. No, no. My problem wasn’t performance related. It was actually that I had to pee really freakin’ bad, and had to hold it. Whether I wake up at 7AM, noon, or 5AM, using the john is the first part of my morning routine. My dude was running about 15 minutes late, and it had me bouncing on my tippy toes like a 6 year old waiting in like to use a porta potty.
When Tony arrived at my door I politely asked if we could do the urine part first and he obliged. I have the feeling it was not his first time being asked.
The blood part is super easy. I know a lot of people are a bit squeamish when it comes to getting their blood drawn. If you’ve ever donated blood you know that needle is the size of a 7 Eleven Slurpee straw.
The needle they use for donating blood is a 16 or 18 gauge (1.27-1.65mm outer diameter).
The needle they use for the paramed is about 21 or 22 gauge, which despite the larger number actually means it’s considerably smaller and less intrusive. It’s about 0.82mmm or 0.03 inches, smaller than most pencil lead.
Don’t worry, unlike giving blood the needle is in and out. I think it took about 15 seconds to get all the blood they needed.
I did not, to my disappointment, get a Ninja Turtle Band-Aid and a lollipop. I’m writing a stern letter to management over that one.
Do Yourself a Favor
Here are some things I recommend you do to make the process of obtaining life insurance and the paramed easier for you, and get this, your kids too.
Come prepared. Make sure that you are wearing light clothing, or easily removable clothing. Mine was at the crack of dawn, so I was still in my PJs. But remember that every ounce counts, and they don’t deduct the weight of shoes, your cellphone, etc. So make sure to empty your pockets and strip down as much as possible for your weight measurement.
If you are taking any medication, instead of making a list or stumbling to remember everything just bring all the prescription bottles with you to the exam. The examiner will make sure to notate everything for you. They’re the professional. Let them do the hard work.
Do NOT have your exam in a stressful place. So don’t have your kids running around wreaking havoc while the examiner is reading your blood pressure. It’ll mess with your results. Meet someplace private, away from stressors and distractions, and of course, some place where you can pee. So avoid the zen-filled park down the street.
Think About the Children!
I’m going to take this in a direction you probably didn’t think of. Yes, many people get life insurance to help take care of their kids in the event of the worst. But that’s not what I mean.
Many life insurance policies let you pay a little extra to add your kids on to the policy as well. So they might have a little $5,000 or $10,000 policy on them too. The benefit to this is that when your kids reach a certain age, like 18 or 25, they have the option of converting their policy to a big-boy policy like you have.
Most companies that offer this product don’t require the kids to get a paramed exam of their own. Basically, if you add your kids on to your life insurance policy, they don’t have to jump through all the hoops that you did. On top of that, they get locked into a particular health category. So if your kid started on your policy at 7 when they were super healthy, developed diabetes at age 15, and then converted to their own policy at 18, they don’t have to worry about being up-rated, because they started their life insurance when, and are being rated as if they are healthy. The only thing that they will be charged more for is aging.
I’m 99.9% certain on this, so I will make a few inquiries and find out, and retract/modify anything in this post later on if I am incorrect.
Get a Life… Insurance Policy
No seriously, you really ought to. Same thing I mentioned earlier about the kid, applies to you. A lot of people don’t even consider life insurance until too late. They think they are too young and even if they are married, if they were to die their spouse still has plenty of time to remarry, or get a job, etc.
Get a policy as soon as you can before any health conditions kick in like diabetes, high blood pressure, gout, or even an STD. Again, you’ll be locked into the risk category the policy was written at.
Plus, if you actually get a decent whole life policy there are a ton of benefits. They let you squirrel away money tax free. They have the ability to grow in value over long periods of time, especially if you have a universal or variable policy. You can borrow against your own life insurance policy if it has a built up a cash value, which pretty much acts as a miniature banking account that you can borrow from with no penalties and no obligation to ever pay it back. Many people borrow against their own life insurance policies to help their kids pay for things like their first home, or their grand-kids’ college.
Some of them kick in early if you suffer a terrible accident or are expected to die soon. For example a $500,000 policy might kick in $250,000 while the insured is still alive but are expected to not make it very long due to a medical condition. This can make the final hours much easier for the insured and their family (paying for travel expenses of family members to visit, hospice care, etc). And then the final $250,000 is paid out after departing.
And finally, many of them have Long Term Care riders built in to them. The life expectancy of Americans are getting longer and longer and more of us are expected to life into old age. To quote the Wall Street Journal, “more than 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will need long-term care services at some point in their lives, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.” Sources. Individual LTC policies can be pricey, but you can save a ton by bundling it with your life insurance.
Alright, I’m done. It’s getting late – 6:38AM. So I gotta get going. But thank you for reading. I hope you learned something interesting or two and chuckled a bit. And if you are curious about life insurance and live in California, message me.
2 thoughts on “My Life Insurance Experience”
That is interesting that you suggest just bringing all the medication bottles with you to the exam. It makes sense though because a lot of medications have more than one name and I might write the wrong one down. I hope this makes the exam a lot less stressful! Does the fact that you take medication affect your life insurance?
It definitely helps with preventing typos. Many of the test examiners are equipped with tablets to take photos of everything which helps too.
The medication may or may not affect life insurance rates or eligibility. Certain medications do increase the risk of certain other ailments. It depends on the insured though.
Remember, even though all these factors are plugged into a computer most of the life insurance policies, especially the more convoluted ones, are reviewed by a human underwriter.