Getting life insurance isn’t just about choosing which policy is best for you and your family, though that is an extremely important part of the equation. But before you can obtain any type of insurance policy, candidates are required to undergo a routine medical examination. Though there are some ways to qualify for life insurance without an exam, a majority of policies require one.
This article will help you to understand what exactly these medical exams entail, what agents will be looking and testing for, and what you can expect.
What Should I Expect?
If you’ve never undergone a life insurance medical exam, you might be surprised to discover that the actual exam is conducted by a third-party agency. This company is often hired by the insurance company to perform the necessary medical exams and tests. You might also be surprised to discover that these medical professionals come out to your house or a location of your choosing. This means the medical tests are performed in the comfort of your home.
But what exactly are these tests? And what other things do you need in preparation of the exam? You’ll likely need a driver’s license or another form of photo identification to verify you are who you say you are. Because a blood and urine test is required, you’ll likely be asked to fast for 8 to 12 hours prior to the visit. Keep this in mind when scheduling your appointment.
The agent will also be checking your height, weight, pulse, and blood pressure. You’ll also be asked a series of health related questions. These include, but are not limited to, family health history, alcohol and nicotine use, and past surgeries or medical diagnoses. The visit usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes depending on the extent of the questioning and your ability to produce a urine sample.
What Are They Testing For?
Now that you know what to expect from a life insurance medical exam, you’re probably wondering what exactly these companies are looking for. In short, the insurance company wants to verify that you’re a viable candidate for insurance, that the information provided on your application is correct, and that you do not participate in illegal drug use.
The general medical procedures performed, like checking your height and weight, as well as blood pressure are to determine whether you are overweight, or at risk for diabetes, heart attack, or other health conditions. Most insurance companies have their own standard of what your height and weight should be, based on a general BMI (body mass index) scale.
The results of your blood and urine samples will help insurers determine other medical factors. These include but are not limited to:
- STDs / HIV
- Drug Use
- Glucose levels
- Diabetes / Kidney issues
All of these medical tests will be compared against how you answered the questions both on the application and during your meeting with the medical professional. These measures are taken to confirm the truthfulness of your answers, so it’s suggested you are completely honest on both your application and during medical questioning. If you are not forthcoming, the medical results will show this.
How Can I Prepare?
If you know that you’ll be applying for life insurance in the near future, you can take certain steps to prepare for the medical exam. Many of the lifestyle changes you’ll make in preparation of the exam are ones that you should likely continue long after the exam is over.
Look at Your Past
You should know that most exams will contain questions and testing dating approximately five years back. So take the time to sit down and make a list of your medical history, hospital stays, and other pertinent information for at least five years prior to the date of your exam.
Watch What You Eat
Although you should always maintain a well-balanced diet for overall health, starting approximately a week before your medical exam, you’ll want to step-up your health food game. This means consuming foods that will help boost your good cholesterol numbers (nuts, salmon, and avocados) and cut out fatty, fried foods which can negatively affect blood pressure and glucose levels.
Drinking plenty of water can also help to flush any unwanted and unhealthy chemicals from your body. Though you have to fast for your blood test, its suggested you drink ample amounts of water prior to the exam so you can easily produce a urine sample.
You should also avoid certain foods and drinks that might lead to false readings on some of your tests. These include, but are not limited to:
- Poppy seeds
- Vitamin B12
- High protein bars
All of these items can cause false readings for marijuana use. You might also want to reduce your intake of alcohol and caffeine for 1-2 days prior to testing.
Yes, you read that correctly. It’s actually suggested you reduce the intensity of your exercise routine prior to your life insurance medical exam. Why? Because intense exercise can increase the protein levels in your urine results. High protein levels could create a false reading of kidney complications.
With everything we now know about the negative effects smoking have on overall health, quitting is already in your best interest. However, you’ll definitely want to consider it at least two weeks to one month prior to your exam.
Saliva and urine tests can usually detect nicotine use about 14 days prior to administration. But some insurance companies have tests that detect even the smallest traces of nicotine in your system for up to one month following use.
Be Prepared When You Apply
The amount and type of life insurance you’re seeking will be determined mainly by your state of health. This means knowing what the insurance companies are testing for and how to prepare for the medical exam are important components of the process. Your rates will be based on these results, so the more you know, the more prepared you can be and the more likely to receive the policy you’re seeking.
Article Submitted By Community Writer