It’s understandable that you may be worried about your life insurance medical exam and what companies will test your blood and urine for. After all, whether you are approved to buy life insurance is largely based on health information obtained through your application, questionnaire, and medical exam, including a blood and urine test.
Fortunately, after we discuss how the exam will be conducted, the types of tests you may have to take, and what life insurance companies test for, most of you will realize there isn’t much to worry about with your insurance medical exam. Check out our recommended best life insurance companies page before making your final life insurance purchase decision!
The Life Insurance Medical Exam – What Underwriters Need To Know
Most life insurance policies are traditionally underwritten. This means that as an applicant, you are asked a number of health-related questions, such as:
- Current Health Status
- Your Medical History
- Family Medical History
- Health Habits (Smoking, Drinking, Drugs, etc.)
- Dangerous Hobbies
In addition to the health questionnaire, you will be required to undergo a medical examination before the life insurance underwriters can make a final determination regarding your premiums. The health exam is generally required for the underwriting process unless you apply for no medical exam life insurance or guaranteed life insurance.
Because life insurance companies are making an investment in you, carriers use medical exams to uncover major health issues or pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, liver problems, cancer, diabetes, etc. Life insurance medical exams also test blood and urine for drugs, nicotine, THC (marijuana), and HIV.
Although the information may seem extensive, the medical exam is actually a fairly routine process that does not take very long to complete. Knowing what to expect prior to this exam can help to make it seem less invasive.
How A Medical Exam For Life Insurance Is Conducted
Before we discuss what the life insurance medical exam looks for, let’s talk about the exam itself. During a medical exam for life insurance, the applicant will typically meet with either a paramedical professional (paramedic) or a traveling nurse.
Certified paramedics are contracted by insurance providers to perform these routine health tests, which are generally standard throughout the industry. The meeting will usually take place at your home or place of business – wherever is most convenient.
What Do Life Insurance Medical Exams Test For?
Similar to a general health check-up, the paramed will take readings of your blood pressure, heart rate, height and weight. The medical professional may also ask follow-up questions regarding information provided on your health questionnaire.
However, the primary component of the medical examination is a blood and urine test. The blood and urine samples will provide the insurance company with a great deal of health information needed to make an informed decision.
For example, life insurance companies test blood and urine for:
Cholesterol – Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance. High levels of bad cholesterol can clog up arteries, obstructing blood flow from your heart to the rest of your body, and cause heart disease.
Triglycerides – Triglycerides are another type of fat (lipid) in your blood. Obesity and diabetes can exacerbate high levels of triglyceride, which can increase your risk of heart disease as well.
Globulin – High or low globulin levels can be symptoms of many serious health conditions. For example, low globulin levels may mean renal disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), hepatic dysfunction (liver disease), anemia, etc. High globulin levels may be a sign of leukemia, lupus, syphilis, arthritis, or an infection.
Total Protein – Your protein levels may point to signs of liver or kidney disease.
Pancreas – Your pancreas regulates blood sugar levels by releasing the hormones insulin and glucagon. Blood and urine samples are used to test for diabetes. Fortunately, with proper treatment, life insurance for diabetics is possible and affordable.
Because life insurance blood and urine tests are crucial to the application process, it is wise to learn how to prepare for your medical exam beforehand.
Best Ways To Prepare For Your Life Insurance Medical Exam
By now it should be obvious that your medical exam plays a key role in getting approved for life insurance. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the results come out as accurate as possible. With that in mind, here are the best ways to prepare for your life insurance medical exam.
- Stay hydrated. One of the top preparation tips is to drink water and remain well-hydrated. This is especially critical the day before an exam. There are several good reasons for this. First, plenty of water makes for full veins, which in turn makes it easier for the medical professional to locate a vein and draw blood. Furthermore, drinking water instead of caffeinated beverages such as coffee or soda is less likely to elevate blood pressure.
- Avoid processed foods. Salty, fatty and/or processed foods tend to elevate blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Additionally, foods that are high in sugar have the effect of raising blood sugar levels. For accurate or best results, avoid these foods during the days leading up the medical exam.
- Do not consume alcohol and drugs. In addition to being high in sugar, alcohol can have a direct effect on triglycerides as well as result in dehydration and increased liver function. You should also avoid any drugs, including but not limited to tobacco, marijuana, cocaine, pain killers, etc.
- Avoid any exercise. While taking a brisk walk can oftentimes be refreshing and relaxing, not exercising within 24 hours of the medical exam is actually recommended. This is because exercise can elevate blood pressure and elevated proteins in your urine sample. Therefore, it is best to forgo exercise (weightlifting and cardio) until after the exam has been completed.
- Fast prior to the exam. It is critical that you fast for 8 hours prior to the medical exam so your test results are not affected. For those who are concerned about this due to health or dietary issues, it may be a good idea to schedule the medical exam for early in the morning.
- Dress lightly and comfortably. Dressing in loose, light weight clothing can help you relax and feel more comfortable, which may lower your blood pressure. Lighter clothing can also lead to lower readings on the weight scale – in some cases, even just a pound or two can place you into a different underwriting/health class.
- Be well-rested. While sleep may not have a direct effect on your test results, a healthy amount of sleep can help calm your nerves and reduce anxiety, leading to better blood pressure readings.
- Do not schedule during your menstruation period. Female applicants should reschedule exams that fall during their menstrual period.
What Happens Post Exam?
After the medical exam has been completed, you and your insurance company will be provided with copies of the exam’s results. It could take several weeks for the company’s underwriters to review all of your information.
If coverage is offered, your provider will also use your life insurance medical exam to calculate your rates. To learn more about companies, coverage options, and rates, enter your zip code to get free, instant life insurance quotes online.