How to Pass the Life Insurance Medical Exam (15 Tips)

You just scheduled your life insurance medical exam. It’s a week or two away so you think you have some time to prepare to get the best rates possible.
This is a great plan. There are not a lot of things you can do in a week to change your rates from standard to preferred plus. Yet there are little things you can do to bump yourself up if you are on the cusp between rate classes.
ace the life insurance medical exam
Many people fall in the grey area between rate classes because they are super healthy in one area and have some less than stellar qualities in another. Maybe it’s a great BMI (Body Mass Index = height and weight) with a family history of cancer. Something like that. That means the underwriter has to make a decision on which class to put you in. Tiny things like slightly lower cholesterol or standing up straight can make the difference.

Life Insurance Medical Exam Overview

how to pass life insurance medical exam

Don’t stress yourself out before the exam. Skip anything that might raise your blood pressure.

There are two basic parts to the life insurance medical exam. The interview and the physical.

The interview is simply the medical examiner asking you a series of questions. Most of these questions were already on the application. It’s a way to help the underwriter make sure you didn’t lie on your application.
Not that the medical examiner will call you out. They just note your answers and the underwriter takes it from there. The problem most people run into when trying to lie on their applications is they cannot remember what they wrote. So their answer to the medical examiner will differ from the answer on their application. These discrepancies are huge red flags for underwriters.
The physical section of the life insurance medical exam consists of the following:
  • height
  • weight
  • blood pressure
  • urine sample
  • blood sample
  • EKG (sometimes)

Frequently Asked Questions

Knowing exactly what is going to happen helps give you a leg up to preparation. Reading about how to prepare and taking actionable steps is smart. Preparation saves money.

Where does the life insurance exam happen?

This is your choice when you schedule the exam. You can do it from home or your work. You can also go to the medical exam locations. It’s up to you.

How long does the exam take?

Only 20 to 30 minutes for most people. It depends on how long it takes you to answer the interview questions and if the examiner has any trouble drawing blood.
Sometimes the insurance company will ask for an EKG. This adds another 15 to 20 minutes to the exam time.

Why do I need to take an EKG?

Insurance companies will ask for an electrocardiogram (EKG) for older clients, think 50+. They also take more care with applications for large death benefits. In which case younger people might need an EKG for large amounts.

What happens if I fail the exam?

It’s a rare case for an exam to be incomplete. If your results are really bad, your application might be declined.
If your results are worse than you (or your insurance agent) think is reasonable, you can have another exam done by your primary care physician. You will have to foot the bill for this exam, but it might be worth it if you can get your rates down.
If the insurance company comes back with rates you or your agent disagree with, it’s a smart decision to request a copy of the results. That way your agent can take the results to underwriters at other companies. This usually leads to finding a more reasonable company.

How to Pass the Life Insurance Medical Exam Blood Work

You cannot reverse a lifetime of cheeseburgers in a week or two. Although drastic changes to your diet for two weeks can help improve your blood work.

Six Weeks Before

Take a break from any recreational cannabis. Obviously, if it’s medical then don’t ignore doctor’s orders. In order to find non-smoker rates, it’s best if you have little to no THC in your urine sample. With a few companies, you can get non-smoker rates, even with admission of smoking. If stopping marijuana use is an issue, call us first.  We will have you apply with a company that does not test for THC.
Also take a break from any other recreational drugs. The insurance companies test for almost everything. While a handful are open to cannabis, anything else is an automatic decline.

One/Two Weeks Before

life insurance medical exam tips

These should be your new best friends for the next two weeks. If you don’t like vegetables, saute in garlic and butter.

This is the time to eat like your mother thinks you should. Every meal should be mostly green. Preferably with leafy greens high in soluble fiber. You don’t have to eat like this forever, just a week or two so you can save money. Plus, you might find veggie recipes you like.

Eat lots of fish, apples, oranges, and avocado. Anything that is good for you. Make these the healthiest two weeks of your life.
No fast food. No junk food. No munchies. You shouldn’t be smoking at this point anyway so that will help. But if your normal lunch is a trip to the nearest drive-thru, get yourself some Tupperware. Eat leftovers from your healthy dinner the night before. Alternatively, spend a few hours doing those weekly meal prep things you see on Pinterest and Facebook.
Make sure you skip your supplements as well. (Unless your doctor recommended them.) They can make your blood work look weird and thus increase your rates. Normal vitamins are fine, including iron for women.
Skip shellfish. They temporarily raise cholesterol in many people. Not worth the risk.
Most importantly, stay hydrated! Drink tons of water. You might be doing this anyway to help flush your system, but keep it up. 64 ounces every day.
If you are really worried about your BMI, loose the weight normally through diet and exercise. Many companies will adjust your rates if you lose weight and keep it of for a year.

24 Hours Before

life insurance medical exam tricks

Don’t over-hydrate, but make sure you drink plenty of water leading up to the exam.

No alcohol. Sorry. While studies show a glass of red wine with dinner can help your heart (and your stress level), it can throw off your exam results.

Do not work out within 24 hours of the exam. Your body puts out different chemicals to repair your muscles than it does on rest days. You want your exam to be as normal as possible.
Depending on the company, they will ask you to fast for 8 to 12 hours before the exam. Continue to drink your 64 oz of water, but don’t overdo it. If your urine is too diluted, they cannot get a good reading and you’ll have to do the exam all over again.
Some people try to cut weight like wrestlers before the weigh in. Don’t. If you are under hydrated, it’s difficult for the medical examiner to get the needle in your arm to draw blood. It can also throw off the chemical concentrations in your blood and urine.
Absolutely no poppy seed muffins. This is not an old wives tale. We have known people this happened to.

Exam Day

Skip your morning coffee. This can raise your blood pressure, especially on an empty stomach. The headache is worth avoiding the extra premium. Plus, if you schedule your exam early enough, you can have your coffee after.
Skip breakfast. You’re fasting, remember?

Other Life Insurance Medical Exam Tips

When the medical examiner measures your height, stand up straight. As straight as possible. Think good posture. Pull your hips in toward the front. Imagine you are being held up by an eye hook drilled into the crown of your head. (Where male pattern baldness starts.) It sounds a little weird, but it helps. Any extra height you can get will help offset any extra weight.
Wear light clothing. The thinnest, lightest stuff you have. Leave off any watches or jewelry. If you have long hair, make sure it’s dry. Anything you can think of to reduce unnecessary weight.

The Drug Test

We mentioned before that the life insurance drug test checks for just about everything. Just say No for now. Most places will not do a hair follicle test. It’s more expensive than the EMIT test.
Even if you are applying with a 420 friendly life insurance company, it’s best to have as little THC in your system as possible. Even if you say you smoke 3 times a week on the application, if your urine shows less, great. There are a handful of other ways to make sure that you pay as little as possible.
The problem comes when you say you smoke once a month and your urine shows you hit the bong every night. That kind of discrepancy is what gets people higher rates or declined altogether. So it’s best to hold off for a while.

How to Prepare for the Interview Section

medical exam for life insurance

Remember to bring a list of all your medications. Otherwise your blood-work might raise red flags for the underwriter. You also want your interview to be 100% consistent with your application.

The interview section should be straightforward if you chose to be honest on your application.

With that out of the way, it’s also best to bring several lists to make things easier. Especially since many people tend to get nervous and forget things.
Make sure you have all the names of your current/former doctors along with the hospital name, phone number, and address.
If you are taking a lot of medications or have therapies to remember, bring a list of the following:
  • medications
  • vitamins (never hurts)
  • supplements (if you ignored the advice on skipping them)
  • any therapies/treatments
Having a list will make sure you don’t forget anything or ramble on. Do not volunteer information. It could hurt your rates.

Other Things You Should Know

If you don’t like the rates the life insurance company offers you, your exam results are good for 3 to 6 months afterwards. Time varies by company. Which means if you use an independent agent, you can use the exam to apply elsewhere. (An independent agent is someone who can sell insurance from multiple companies as opposed to just one.)
A good agent will take a look at rates which are too high and say you can do better. Without you lifting a finger (other than to email or talk to them) he/she will shop the market for you. This is simply an anonymous pre-screen with different companies. There over 850 life insurance companies operating within the United States. Odds are you can find someone willing to cover you for a reasonable amount.
The life insurance medical exam can sound like a lot of work. It can be inconvenient to take 20-30 minutes out of your day to have someone poke you with needles and ask you personal questions. But the bottom line is that taking the exam will save you money over a policy that offers coverage without an exam. Don’t end up as one of these stories of people who “sure could have used life insurance.”

How Marcan Insurance Can Help

Our independent agents specialize in finding affordable coverage for recreational marijuana enthusiasts as well as medical marijuana patients. There are friendly companies who will cover you.
The industry is changing. More and more companies are realizing that people who smoke recreationally should not suffer the same penalties as tobacco smokers. It’s unreasonable to lump them together. Our job is to keep track of the companies who figure this out.
We assess the underwriting criteria for cannabis of each and every company we offer. So if you smoke every day, we can direct you to the best company. If you smoke a couple times a month, there are other companies who just don’t care. If you are taking marijuana to help treat or manage a medical condition, we can help you find affordable coverage for that too.
Anything you share with us is 100% confidential and must remain so by law. So if you have any questions, please call at (888) 987-8447. There is never any pressure to buy with us. We believe that if you choose to smoke cannabis, you don’t need to have any hassle.

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