Ben Franklin said, “by failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” Preparation is important when it comes to your life insurance medical exam too. That’s why we’ve written this guide on how to prepare for a life insurance medical exam.
Editor’s note: Too long to read? Skip to the end of the article and download our checklist: how to prepare for life insurance medical exam.
In fact preparation could mean the difference between being approved with a good rate and being declined by your life insurance underwriter (or paying far too much than if you had properly prepared for the medical exam).
How Much You Will Pay For Your Life Insurance
How much you pay depends on a number of factors. This article is focused on a factor that you have control over: preparing for the life insurance physical exam.
(See what we mean?)
The chart above shows the difference in life insurance cost for those who take time to prepare for the medical exam, and those that just wing it.
Now before we jump into the tips, let me tell you a story about a time when Big Lou® was denied life insurance…
…Yes that’s right, Big Lou® has been denied life insurance too.
It was wayyy back during his younger years, during his last year of college.
Big Lou® knew he had a life insurance medical exam but his agent didn’t give him a heads up on how to prepare for the exam.
So Big Lou® did what every college student does–he went out for a couple of beers with his buddies the night before the exam…And just like when you go out the night before a mechanical engineering exam—he failed the medical exam.
That’s right Big Lou® was declined by the life insurance company because he had a few too many brewskis the night before—and his liver enzymes were outta wack.
Don’t be like College Big Lou®. Read this quick and easy guide and then download our PDF checklist for how to prepare for your life insurance medical exam and put it on your refrigerator so you don’t forget.
Why You Should Prepare for Your Life Insurance Medical Exam
The bottom line is if you want to get the best price possible for your life insurance policy you need to be prepared.
We’ve worked with clients for almost 30 years and know the ins-and-outs of the life insurance medical exam.
We’ll help you tip the scale in your favor. Read on.
How the Life Insurance Medical Exam Process Works
The life insurance company will pay for a paramedic or nurse to visit you are your home or office. The exam will take about 60 minutes. Sometimes the exam takes longer—it depend on how quick you and your examiner are.
When you first meet the examiner, they’ll verify your identity (please bring a valid photo ID) and a list of your current and former doctors.
The examiner will go through a list of health questions—they’ll ask you about any medications you take, any chronic illnesses, family history of illness, your vitamin and supplement usage, and whether you smoke or chew tobacco, how frequently you drink alcohol, etc.
The examiner will also ask you about your life outside of work—what are your hobbies, do you skydive or bungee jump? You should answer these questions in a candid and honest fashion.
[We’ve written about why you shouldn’t lie on your life insurance medical exam and how to avoid getting blacklisted by life insurance companies. It’s important that you tell the truth to the medical examiner or your life insurance could be denied and worse, your death benefit could be revoked at the time of your death if the insurance company finds out you misrepresented yourself. Read the full article here, and please, don’t lie to the medical examiner or you’ll put your loved ones at risk.]
Once the questionnaire is over, you’ll have to check your height, weight, heart rate, blood pressure, draw a blood sample, request a urine specimen, and administer an electrocardiogram (EKG). Most insurance companies will allow you to view the results of your exam—and you’ll want to follow up and ensure you grab a copy of the results when they are available.
5 Ways to Prepare for the Life Insurance Medical Exam
There’s a few primary ways you need to prepare for the life insurance medical exam. For starters there’s two things you must do:
- Be sure to disclose any and all health issues, chronic diseases, etc.
- Have you doctor’s contact Information available
The majority of the underwriting process happens after you complete your medical exam. That means this is your last chance to prove to the life insurance underwriters that you’re a worthy risk—and to obtain a good health class rating that ultimately provides a low priced policy.
(We’ve written in-depth about how the life insurance underwriting works in the past you can read that article here.)
How to Prepare for the Blood Test
People ask us all the time, “Big Lou, why do life insurance companies perform blood tests?”
Life insurance companies need to figure out how likely you are to die during the policy period (also known as mortality risk). The blood test allows insurers to learn more about your health than all of the other tests. They’ll test you for risky diseases like HIV and for prescription and illegal drug use. They’ll also test health markers like your cholesterol levels, blood urea nitrogen, triglycerides, and diuretic SCRN-U.
[Note: we’ve written in depth about why life insurance companies blood test. You can read that article here.]
To improve your chances of good blood test results be sure to drink plenty of water, reduce your sodium intake, and avoid caffeine and other stimulants the day of your exam.
How to Prepare for the Urine Test
The urine test is going to tell life insurance underwriters if you use any drugs (like marijuana) or prescription medications. They’ll also run tests to ensure your major organs function correctly. Specifically they’ll run tests for your kidneys, liver, pancreas, bladder, heart and arteries.
You should be sure to drink plenty of water the day before and day of your medical exam. You’ll need to produce a urine specimen during your exam and you don’t want to waste time because you’re dehydrated.
What to Do if You Get a Bad Medical Exam Result
Maybe you received a standard health class rating and you think you deserve a preferred rating.
If you are working with an independent agent you still have options. Your agent can approach multiple insurance carriers to see if they’re willing to underwrite your policy at the better rate. A good agent will lobby underwriters and argue your case to try and get you the best possible deal.
If you get rejected by the insurance carrier you should have a conversation with your agent to understand the reasons the insurance company wouldn’t write your policy. Remember that story of Big Lou in college? He was able to re-take his medical exam a few months later and obtain a preferred rating—after he switched agents.
48 Hours Prior to Exam
ü Stay off sodium to help reduce your blood pressure.
ü Eating oatmeal for breakfast will help lower your cholesterol..
ü Drink a glass of red wine each evening for a few days prior to the exam to lower your cholesterol.
24 Hours Prior to Exam
ü No strenuous exercise for twenty-four hours prior to the exam.
ü No alcohol 12-24 hours before the exam as it will raise your blood pressure.
ü Get a good night’s rest.
Day of Exam
ü Avoid caffeine for several hours prior to the exam.
ü Don’t eat for at least eight hours before the exam.
ü Drink a couple glasses of water one hour prior to the exam so a urine specimen can be taken.
ü Do not smoke or chew tobacco for at least 30 minutes prior to the exam as this constricts artery walls, thus elevating your blood pressure.
Health Conditions Requiring Extra Attention
Hypertension: No stimulants, take exam in the morning, continue your usual medications and relax prior to the exam.
Diabetes: Eat approximately 2½ hours prior to the exam and be sure not to consume any sugars afterwards. Empty bladder right after your meals that day and drink 1-2 glasses of water before the exam.
Past Coronary or EKG Issues: Do not take ANY stimulants prior to the exam.
Weight Concerns: WEAR CROCS, yes those previously fashionable pieces of rubber. They add an inch and weigh next to nothing. You may wear shoes while being measured for height, and then remove them while being weighed. An inch more and a pound less could save you considerably. If weight is a concern, do not wear bulky or heavy clothing while being weighed. Wallets, Watches, Jewelry, and Shoes can add more than you think.
Now that you’re prepared for your life insurance medical exam be sure to maintain a healthy diet and leading up to your exam. Every last bit counts! If you have any questions you can contact us here.