What You Should Know
- Life insurance companies conduct medical exams to assess your health risk
- A life insurance medical exam may include a health questionnaire, blood test, and urine analysis
- A life insurance blood test can detect health issues such as high cholesterol, diabetes, STDs, and drug use
When you apply for a life insurance policy, you may have to complete a medical exam depending on the type of policy you are trying to buy. You are more likely to be required to complete a medical exam for a permanent policy than term life insurance.
What do life insurance companies test for? We'll answer this and other common questions regarding life insurance medical exams below.
If you want to buy life insurance with affordable rates, enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool above.
What is a life insurance medical exam?
When you apply for life insurance, chances are that you may have to complete a medical exam during the underwriting process. This medical exam is used by the insurance company to verify your health and assess risk.
After you complete a life insurance application, you will be contacted by your insurance company, an insurance agent, or a third-party company that conducts the company's medical exams to schedule your appointment.
In some cases, you may be able to schedule your exam to take place at your home or place of work. Some third-party companies may also have their own locations.
The medical exam may consist of the following:
- A blood test
- A urine sample
- Checking your height, weight, heart rate, and blood pressure
- Health questions
- An EKG, if you're a senior or want a high coverage amount
Your medical exam may take between 20 and 30 minutes without an EKG. The EKG may add an extra 15 or 20 minutes to your exam time.
After your exam, the life insurance company should provide you with a quote based on your results or may deny you coverage.
What do life insurance companies test for?
What do life insurance blood tests test for? What do life insurance urine tests look for? Below are some things that a life insurance company may screen for:
- HIV and AIDS
- Sexually transmitted diseases and infections
- Hemoglobin A1C, fructosamine, and glucose
- Creatinine, hemoglobin, and protein levels
- Urine acid levels
- Drug or tobacco use
Each insurance company has standards for their risk classifications. Based on your weight and blood pressure, the insurance company may charge you more if they find you to be at a higher risk of health issues, such as a heart attack.
What STDs does life insurance test for? In addition to HIV and AIDS, a life insurance blood test may also be able to detect diseases and infections such as herpes, hepatitis, and syphilis.
A life insurance drug test can determine your nicotine usage and whether you use prescription or illegal drugs. If you use illegal drugs, the life insurance company is likely to deny coverage. You should disclose your prescription drug use before your medical exam.
A urine sample can measure nicotine and cotinine levels, which can tell the insurance company whether you smoke regularly or if you've recently quit smoking. If you smoke marijuana regularly, you should consult an insurance agent to see which companies will be more likely to approve you.
Your medical exam results can also be used to verify the answers you have provided to the health questionnaire.
How can I prepare for a life insurance exam?
While most of your life insurance exam results will be based on your overall long-term health, if you're wondering how to pass a life insurance medical exam, there are a few things you can do ahead of time to increase your chances of getting better results.
You should first prepare yourself by having a good knowledge of your health and lifestyle history from the previous five years. This will help you eliminate companies that are too expensive before going through the rest of the medical exam.
About a week before your exam, you should try to eat as healthy as possible and drink plenty of water. Healthy foods can raise your good cholesterol, and fluids can help flush chemicals out of your body.
In the days before your exam, you may want to cut down on coffee and alcohol, as well as exercise, which can increase your protein levels.
If you want to be extra cautious, you may want to avoid eating certain foods and taking certain supplements or medications, such as poppy seeds, tonic water, ibuprofen, sleeping medication, and protein bars.
What happens if I fail a life insurance medical exam?
Can you retake a life insurance exam? If you are denied coverage because of a medical exam, you should begin by getting the exam results to find out why. If you think that the results are wrong, you may be able to request a second medical exam.
If the issue persists, your next steps will be based on the reason you were denied.
If your health exam measurements are slightly outside the life insurance company's accepted ranges, you may be able to buy a different type of policy (such as term life insurance) or find another company that has more lenient underwriting guidelines.
If your health exam determines that you have a health condition that may have some minor effects on your lifestyle, you may want to discuss your options with an insurance agent or consider buying a simplified issue policy.
If your health exam determines that you have a health condition that will significantly impact your lifestyle, you may only be able to purchase a guaranteed acceptance policy with a smaller death benefit.
If you have a failed life insurance exam due to drug use, you will likely need to quit doing any illegal drugs before you can purchase a policy.
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