How to Take a Life Insurance Medical Exam: Individual Policy

If you want to obtain the most affordable type of life insurance, be prepared to take a medical exam. Before you are issued a policy, life insurance companies must first determine if you are prone to illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, etc.

A paramedical company working with your carrier will send out a certified medical professional (a paramed) to conduct the medical tests and send the results to the company’s underwriter. The underwriter will then evaluate the results and determine if it is in their best financial interest to insure you. That risk assessment determines your life insurance rates. The greater risk you pose, the higher your premiums, until the company decides it can’t cover you at all.

The following will give you a solid idea of how you should prepare when you have to take a life insurance medical exam. Otherwise, you may want to start considering a no medical exam policy through your employer’s plan.

What to Expect

As a part of your health exam, the paramed will measure your height and weight, take your blood pressure, and collect blood and urine samples. Afterwards, the paramed will confirm the answers you provided on the health questionnaire you filled out as part of the life insurance application.

The paramed will measure your height and weight, take your blood pressure, and collect blood and urine samples.

Some insurance companies require an EKG to test your heart, especially if you are 50 or older. Most insurance companies will also conduct a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test on male applicants over 50.

Finally, if you are a smoker or tobacco user, be honest and admit it because companies test for cotinine in your system, a chemical that will indicate you consume tobacco. Medical exams even test for drug abuse, such as marijuana and cocaine.

Steps for taking an exam

  • Schedule the exam for the early morning. Because you should fast for six to eight hours before an exam, a morning medical exam will make that task much less stressful. Even a piece of fruit before the exam can read as high glucose levels. Anything you consume beforehand can affect your blood tests and drop you from a preferred health class.
  • Skip your morning coffee and cigarette. Caffeine and nicotine elevate blood pressure, so avoid your morning coffee and any tobacco products. This may be difficult for some, but trust me, it’s worth the thousands of dollars in potential savings over the course of your policy’s term.
  • Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated will make it faster and easier to give blood. Drinking water will also make it possible to give a urine sample.
  • Don’t eat salty or fatty foods. Cholesterol and blood pressure test results can be affected. For best results, avoid salt and excess fatty foods for five to seven days before your exam; however, 24 hours is the minimum recommended timeframe.
  • Avoid excessive exercise. Conserve energy for 24 hours before your exam. Stay away from the gym and avoid strenuous cardio. Exercise can raise your blood pressure and pulse.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. Refrain from drinking alcohol and taking drugs, including tobacco and marijuana. Alcohol can leave you dehydrated, which not only makes it hard to draw your blood, but can also cause increased liver function.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before. While one good night’s worth of sleep won’t get you a clean bill of health, sleep does offset anxiety and fear. When you are well-rested, your blood pressure will be lower, leading to better test results.
  • Have a list of any medications you are currently taking. Your examiner will ask about your medical history, including the use of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.
  • Don’t schedule an exam during a menstrual period. Women should not take a life insurance medical exam during their menstrual period, or if they have any kind of vaginal discharge, as it can contaminate the urinalysis.

Let the examiner know if you have an aversion to needles or medical tests like I do. There is no need to subject yourself to high levels of anxiety for this exam. If you are anxious, your blood pressure test results will indicate health issues. Talk to your examiner and explain your concerns. They may note your fear or phobia in the case file for consideration by the insurance company and underwriter.

Final word

If you follow these steps for your life insurance medical exam, you will feel calm and prepared, and able to achieve the best results, increasing your chances of obtaining cheap rates.

On the off-hand that you are denied coverage, don’t give up. You can choose to improve your health with a balanced diet, regular exercise and better control of any medical issues (i.e. diabetes) or decide to re-apply for a guaranteed issue life policy.

While more expensive, guaranteed life insurance is a type of coverage without a medical exam. Due to its high premiums and limited death benefit amounts, it should be a last resort. Your first and best option will most likely be traditional term life insurance.

Email me at so we can determine right over the phone or email on a field quote.

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