What's Involved in Taking a Medical Exam for Life Insurance?

By James Tobin , CFP®

Critical Takeaways

  • Blood and Urine samples will be taken along with blood pressure and weight.
  •  Avoid alcohol, salty or rich foods for 48-72 hours prior to exam.
  • Exam will be performed by a nurse at the location you choose. 

Expert Review Of Medical Exam For Life Insurance

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Reviewed by

Jim Tobin, CFP®

Why you can trust this review

At Workers Bequest Life Insurance, we value our editorial independence. We keep our reviews strictly factual so you can use them to make informed decisions. Life insurance carriers referred to on this site do not approve reviews. 

If you are curious about what is involved in a  medical exam for life insurance, you are in the right place. This article will discuss what's involved, what they will be looking for, how long it will take, it can be done and cost (spoiler alert: it's free).

If  you have figured out how much life insurance you need, received pricingpicked a carrier  and done the application, you may be wondering "what's next"?

Well, first off some congratulations is in order. you have taken the first steps to protect your loved ones and that in itself is worthy of praise. That being said, you are not quite done.

If you are applying for fully underwritten life insurance (the best rates) you will want to know what's involved in a life insurance medical exam.

The exam will entail a nurse or para-med meeting with you to measure blood pressure, take blood and urine and use a portable scale to confirm your height and weight.

Hold It a Minute, I Hate Needles. Are there Any No Exam Options?

Many carriers offer so called "non-med" or no exam policies. These policies are usually about 30 percent more expensive than fully underwritten policies. However, for people in excellent health, there are a few companies with policy offers that are priced at the same level as "fully underwritten".

What IS a Medical Exam For Life Insurance Testing for Anyway?

Para- medical exams are used by life insurance companies to help assess the risk that they are taking in insuring you. After all, the reason they want to get all in your business is, well, business.

The following list is some of the more common things that your para med will reveal.

Smoking- Your blood test will reveal any nicotine/cotine metabolites in your system. Be truthful about smoking on your application as it will come out anyway and you will be far less likely to catch a break on other issues if you are branded as untrustworthy.

Cholesterol- An important indicator of your heart health, you will be tested for LDL -low density lipoprotein (bad) , HDL- high density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol & the ratio of HDL/LDL. The lower the ratio, the lower the risk of heart disease.

Avoiding salty and fatty foods for 48-72 hrs. prior to testing is the best practice.

Blood Pressure- Blood Pressure is an important indicator of health. Coffee, alcohol, and excessive exertion will affect you readings. Abstaining for 24 hours is the best policy.

Elevated Liver Enzymes- elevated liver enzymes are often associated with excessive alcohol intake. However, certain elevated liver enzymes may point to bone or heart disease.

Avoiding liquor for 24 hrs. prior to testing is a worthwhile precaution.

Elevated Glucose & Triglyceride levels - These are indicators of pre diabetes. Avoid excessively sugary foods the evening prior to the exam.

Hemoglobin Excessive Protein or Creatine in Urine - These are all indicators of possible kidney disease.

This Seems like an extensive test, where is it and what's it cost?

You may take the exam at the place of your choosing. The para-med service will generally come to your home or place of work. Most exams will take between 15 and 20 minutes (longer, if an EKG is required).

There is no cost to the prospective insured. the costs of exams are a necessary expense to the carrier, as they need to know the risks they are taking.

If you are declined, or offered a policy you choose not to accept their is no charge. Regardless of whether you take the policy , you will be entitled to receive a copy of the report.

How To Prepare for Life Insurance Medical Exam

So, now that you know about what's involved in a life insurance medical exam, you want to be able to "prep" for it as best you can.

While "living clean" for 2-3 days is not likely to materially improve your health rating, poor sleeping, eating and drinking choices can hurt you.

So, make sure that for the a couple of days leading up to the exam, you avoid salty, fatty foods and liquor. Additionally stay hydrated and get a good night's sleep the night before exam day.

Schedule your exam in the morning, skip your work out (to keep blood pressure level) and fast until you take the exam- that is no food or caffeine (water is okay).

Taking these steps will help to make sure you are at your best for testing.

Next Step

We are glad about the efforts you've made on checking out for a better upgrade for your Employer Sponsored Life Insurance Plan and finally decided on Workers Bequest. We are committed to a totally transparent process (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like), and making the application process as painless as possible.

Simply give us a call or send us an email so we can get you started. If you have any questions, We'd also like to hear them.

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