When you submit an application for life insurance, the insurer will generally request a medical exam to determine if you have any medical conditions, whether you are at risk for any diseases, and your drug use. The exam may include a physical, blood, urine, and electrocardiogram (EKG) exam, as well as questions about your medical history.
Medical exams are standard for most term and permanent life insurance policies and are provided free of charge by the insurance company, giving you an opportunity to confirm the details of your health.
what does a life insurance medical exam entail?
Life insurance medical exams are typically handled by third-party companies, such as examone, that insurers contract with to handle the tests. Once your application has been reviewed, your agent or testing company will contact you to schedule an exam. The tests are quite simple and can be done at home, at work, or at a local test center. just keep in mind that you’ll be asked to fast for eight to 12 hours before a medical exam, so we recommend scheduling yours in the morning.
A standard life insurance physical consists of:
This whole process usually takes less than 30 minutes. the only exception is if an EKG is requested, in which case you should expect the exam to take an additional 15-20 minutes. some insurers may also request a saliva sample or x-rays, but these are relatively rare.
getting your results is an important precaution to take even if all goes well with the test. If the insurer comes back with a much higher quote due or denies you coverage because of poor test results, she’ll want to know why.
what is analyzed in a life insurance medical exam?
Life insurance medical exams are designed to assess your health, confirm information on your application, and detect illegal drug use.
See also: Who Can’t Pay for Health Care? – PMC
Height and weight measurements taken during a life insurance medical exam are used to determine if you are overweight, according to standards set by the insurer. the testing company will also take your blood pressure. Elevated numbers for any of these tests could mean you’re at increased risk for a heart attack or other health problems the insurer wants to avoid.
Blood and urine tests during a life insurance medical exam to detect dozens of health indicators and conditions, such as:
confirmation of application responses
Your blood and urine samples will be tested for prescription drug use, tobacco use, and disease status. In addition, you may be weighed and asked questions about your lifestyle. Although the insurer has already collected this information during the application process, they will verify that your test results and responses are consistent.
That’s why it’s important to answer all questions from your insurer and testing company honestly, even if they make you feel uncomfortable. otherwise, coverage may be denied. so, for example, if you take antidepressants or other medications, it’s best to let your insurer know ahead of time, as they’ll find out. Insurers also have a two-year period from the time you purchase coverage during which, if they find you provided false or misleading information, they can cancel your policy.
drugs and nicotine
You will be denied life insurance coverage if a blood or urine test indicates that you are using illegal drugs, such as amphetamines or opiates. the only exception to this rule is marijuana, as each insurer assesses marijuana use differently. If you use marijuana regularly, you should consult an independent insurance agent to determine which insurance companies to apply with. For example, MetLife offers preferential rates even if you smoke several times a week, while Primerica does not accept such habits for term life insurance applicants.
The life insurance medical exam also detects nicotine and cotinine in the urine test to determine your tobacco use. the test is non-binary and can tell if you are a regular smoker or if you have recently quit.
This is why you should list any details about why nicotine or cotinine would be in your system on initial application. Many insurers don’t mind a celebratory smoke a couple of times a year, but they won’t take much if you don’t disclose.
Smokers receive some of the highest life insurance rates, so some people try to quit for a period of time before their medical exam to qualify for better premiums. Nicotine and cotinine can stay in your system from a few days to several weeks after smoking, so it’s unlikely you’ll be able to pass a life insurance test for tobacco if you’re a smoker.
what should you do to prepare for a life insurance blood and urine test?
Preparation for a life insurance medical exam begins during the application process. You should be prepared to answer all questions about your health, lifestyle, and medical history for the past five years. this will make your initial quote more accurate, allowing you to decide if the company’s premiums are too high and switch to another insurer before going through a several-week underwriting process. In addition, insurers will attempt to confirm any answers you provide, so any subsequent inconsistencies may result in coverage being denied.
Starting a few days before your exam, you’ll want to eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water. specifically, you’ll want to eat more foods that raise your good cholesterol (like avocado, nuts, and salmon) while reducing your intake of fried or sugary foods (which can raise your blood glucose or blood pressure). Drinking more water helps flush chemicals out of your system, opens up your veins, and prepares you to give a urine sample on the day of your test.
what not to do before a life insurance medical exam
Starting a day or two before a life insurance medical exam, you should stop or reduce your coffee and alcohol intake. Additionally, you should tone down your exercise routine, as this can lead to elevated protein levels in your urine test.
If you want to be particularly cautious, there are also several chemicals and foods that have the potential to trigger inaccurate test results. medical tests have improved significantly over time, so while they’re unlikely to cause any problems, you might want to avoid:
what to do if you are denied coverage
If you are denied life insurance based on the results of your medical exam, the first thing you should do is determine why. you should check with your insurer and be sure to request a copy of your test results from the company that performed the test. in the event that something looks wrong, ask the insurer for a second exam.
Should the test results be accurate, the medical issue will determine the appropriate next steps. As a simple rule of thumb, there are three main paths to getting coverage through a different insurer: