I can’t tell you how often my clients underestimate the importance of their life insurance medical exam.
We are seeing more and more companies jump on the accelerated underwriting process where there is no exam at all. Many of our clients can qualify for up to $2,000,000 of life insurance without even having to take an exam.
If you are trying to avoid the exam completely, you can get a quote right here on our website.
If you do have to take an exam, don’t take the exam lightly. A little preparation can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the policy.
While there may not be much you can do regarding chronic medical conditions prior to your exam, there are strategies that can help improve the chances that your application is accepted, while also keeping your premium rates affordable. It will be well worth it to look as healthy as possible to the underwriter and the life insurance exam is one of the tools they use to calculate your risk.
My best advice is if you have already started an application with a life insurance company, make sure you are applying with the company that will likely give you the best rate. Just because an agent or website gives you a spreadsheet of rates to 5 or 10 life insurance companies, the cheapest one on the list may be one that you can’t get.
We can certainly guide you to the best life insurance company with just a quick 1 minute questionnaire. You can start the process by answering a few questions:
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Get Affordable Rates for Optimal Health
Even though you may be ready to purchase life insurance, you might still need to undergo a life insurance medical exam. This medical exam will help the life insurance company to best predict your life expectancy, along with determining your rate.
Purchasing life insurance has evolved over the years and today we can many times forgo the medical exam if we are healthy.
The younger you apply for coverage, the lower your premiums will be.
If you’re not happy with the rates the life insurance company offers you following your medical exam, that’s fine. Your medical exam results are considered valid for 6 to 12 months (varies by company), which means that if you’re using an independent insurance agent, you will be able to use your medical exam to apply with other companies as well.
Cleaner Lifestyle Makes a Big Difference
Bottom line, “preferred plus” is not an option if you are obese, or drink alcohol in excess, smoke cigarettes or cigars, vape, chew tobacco or use recreational drugs. Even just a slight elevation in your blood pressure reading or cholesterol could result in an increase in your premium.
While you may not have the time to lose significant weight or stop smoking prior to your examination, following these strategies will help you improve your rating, as well as possibly save you a substantial amount of money during the life of your insurance policy.
Get Prepared With Your Answers and Paperwork
The life insurance medical exam is usually performed by a qualified medical professional in your home or office, at the expense of the insurance company, and typically takes about 30 minutes.
Be prepared to supply the examiner with your photo ID, and a list of all former and current physicians you have visited, as well as their addresses and phone numbers.
You’ll be questioned about your present state of health, including any current therapies, prescription medications, and supplements you are using.
Expect to also be questioned whether you drink, smoke, use recreational drugs, or engage in dangerous hobbies like mountain climbing or skydiving.
Be Prepared to Roll Up Your Sleeves
Once your medical history paperwork is completed, the examiner will measure your height, weight, pulse rate, and blood pressure, as well as collect both a blood and urine specimen.
There may also be some instances in which an electrocardiogram, or EKG is ordered. Most life insurance companies will provide you with the results of your examination that you may review with your physician if you have questions or concerns.
The life insurance company will screen for many conditions and include – cancer, heart disease, liver disease, and diabetes.
It’s also important to note that the life insurance blood test is also used to check for drug and alcohol abuse so it’s a good idea to refrain from alcohol and non-prescription drugs at least 72 hours before your test.
Rate classes vary by your health and begin with Super preferred and go down to standard. If you have some health conditions you may be table rated and have to pay additional premiums. Many applicants fall somewhere between ratings, so the more you abide by a healthier diet and get plenty of exercise, the better your chances are of improving your rating. Additionally, many life insurance applicants find out that they have health issues they didn’t know about after submitting to a life insurance blood test.
Begin Preparations a Week in Advance
Drink Plenty of Water
Paramed organizations offer advice on how to prepare for the exam and one suggestion is to drink plenty of water at least one week prior to your life insurance medical examination. Drinking plenty of water will boost hydration and help to remove toxins from your body, along with making blood draws easier.
Avoid Fast Food
If fast food is your greatest temptation, this is definitely the time to avoid the excess carbohydrates and saturated fats that will raise your blood pressure and your cholesterol. Try, instead to replace those foods with green, leafy vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and “good fats” like avocado and olive oil. While you’re considering diet changes, choose to cut back on the sugar and salt as well.
Cut-out Caffeine and Alcohol 3 Days Before
If you can avoid alcohol, your blood test will show that you don’t have alcohol on board. This looks more appealing to an underwriter. The liver is an organ with strong consideration when underwriting for life insurance.
While you won’t be excluded for consuming excess caffeine, drinking too much coffee or energy drinks prior to your exam will certainly not help your results. Caffeine can also raise your blood pressure.
Stop Smoking Immediately
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it has been estimated that tobacco use reduces your life by at least 10 years. Life insurance providers have reason for concern when it comes to smoking applicants, and it is not uncommon for a smoker to be charged two to three times more for coverage compared to nonsmokers.
It’s important to discontinue using the form of nicotine you’ve been using long before applying for a life insurance policy. Quitting smoking a few days prior to your life insurance medical exam will not get you a non-smoker rate but will help in getting your blood pressure down.
Most companies will require you to stop smoking or using tobacco products for 12 months before you can qualify for a non tobacco rate.
What if I chew or dip tobacco, smoke cigars or pipes?
Prudential is the only company that allows you to vape or smoke e-cigarettes and qualify for non smoker rates.
Day Before Life Insurance Exam Preparation
Top suggestions for you to practice the day before your life insurance medical exam:
- Drink water as needed, but not to excess (starting one week before exam)
- Fast 12 hours before the exam
- Limit extreme exercise – may elevate cholesterol and protein levels
- Get at least 8 hours sleep the night before
- Avoid stress as much as possible.
We suggest you schedule your life insurance medical exam first thing in the morning so you don’t have to go without that cup of coffee or breakfast for too long.
Exam Day Blood Pressure Tip
With the anticipation you might feel the day of the life insurance medical exam, it’s possible for your blood pressure to rise slightly. Here is a simple technique that lowers your blood pressure. An elevated blood pressure could mean that you’re more at risk for stroke, heart attack, or kidney failure.
Try, Try, Try Again
Even if your first choice for life insurance turns you down for coverage or rates your premium, you can keep looking, or wait and apply again next year.
If you use an independent life insurance broker, they may be able to find you affordable coverage with another company. If you do decide to apply elsewhere, make sure to address the issues that caused the rating in the first place. The life insurance exam can impact your insurance premiums so it’s important to make it a priority.
We work with over 40 life insurance companies and can help you find the one that is right for you. Call us here at InsuranceQuotes2Day at 1-800-712-8519 or start your quote now:
Frequently Asked Questions
Are life insurance medical exams always required?
Although many companies have insurance policies that don’t require medical exams, applicants will typically get the best rates if a medical exam is required.
What does a life insurance medical exam consist of?
The exam is not like a physical exam and is pretty straight forward. It includes a brief medical history interview and the follow:
1. Measure height, weight, blood pressure, temp, and sometimes EKG (if underwriter requirement)
2. Urine Sample
3. Blood Sample
How can I prepare for a life insurance medical exam?
1. Have all prescription meds available
2. Drink plenty of water beginning a week in advance
3. Avoid alcohol during the week prior
4. Cut back on caffeine 3 days prior
5. Get plenty of sleep the night before
6. Have exam in a distraction-free environment
What’s the best tip for good blood pressure reading?
When the examiner is taking your blood pressure and the cuff is on your arm, raise your arm until it’s level with your heart. This action alone can lower your systolic reading nearly 10 points. In this position, the heart is not having to exert as much effort to circulate your blood. Another position to try is laying down with your cuffed arm resting at heart level.
Who has to pay for the life insurance medical exam?
Since the life insurance company you are applying to is requiring the medical exam, they will pay for the exam and have the results delivered to your policy underwriter.