12 Tips to Consider When Preparing for a Life Insurance Medical Exam

It can be stressful going into a life insurance medical exam. We discuss 12 tips to consider when preparing for one.

You might feel really stressed before going into a life insurance medical exam. Follow our 12 tips to reduce your stress and get a better outcome.


It can be stressful going into a life insurance medical exam, as it can play a huge role in what type of coverage life insurance companies offer you. Because of that stress, you can end up with results that aren’t truly reflective of your health.

Also, remember medical exams are not always necessary these days. Many newer companies realise that it's pretty old school to ask for one, us included! 👋 Go Bequest! We want the process of life insurance to be easy for everyone and want to bridge the gap of those who can and cannot usually get it.

However, if you've decided on life cover with an insurance company that asks for it, here are 12 tips to think about while preparing for your exam.

1. Have the life insurance medical exam at home if you can

People are usually more relaxed and comfortable at home. That could directly help with any blood pressure readings. If your life insurance company offers a home exam as an option, it may be a good choice.

Think about all the things that could go wrong before your life insurance medical exam. Your train could be late. The care might not start. The traffic could be terrible. We could go on and on. The point is simple: if you can keep things easy by taking the exam at home, then do it.

2. Wear light clothing

Wearing the right clothes can be important for several reasons. It allows you to have a blood test more easily, because you can simply roll up a sleeve. Lighter clothes will also stop you from overheating. Added to that, heavy clothes can also negatively affect your BMI if you wear them for a weigh-in.

3. Stand tall to improve your body mass index (BMI)

Doctors calculate BMI by looking at your height and weight measurements. So, stand up straight during life insurance medical exams to get the best BMI result. Slouching can take a couple of inches off from your height. Why is BMI important? A high BMI has been linked to a few health risks:

  • Heart disease and increased risk of a heart attack
  • Lower life expectancy
  • High blood pressure

For these reasons, it's a good idea to lower your BMI if you are outside the normal range by eating healthy foods, exercising, and developing better lifestyle habits.

4. Avoid caffeine and alcohol for lower risk of kidney disease

Both of these can have a negative effect on your body. Alcohol will show up in your blood results but both of them can increase your blood pressure. It’s best not to drink alcohol for a few days before your test.

Specifically, a blood or urine test can detect alcohol for up to 48 hours after drinking, although 24-26 hours is a more common estimate. A hair test could tell if you have been drinking during the past 90 days. So, you can avoid alcohol for several weeks or months to be sure, but at least two days at a minimum before giving a blood sample.

5. Stop smoking to lower life insurance rates

While you need to be open and honest about your habit, an upcoming medical exam is a great time to quit. It will also help you feel better for the exam.

Why is it important? To be blunt, life insurance companies are trying to calculate the odds of you dying while they are covering you. If your term life insurance policy lasts for the next 25 years, the insurance company wants to know the odds of you dying during that term. Anything that increases the risk of you dying is going to make it more expensive to buy life insurance.

Heavy smoking could reduce your life by up to 9 years. Top insurance carriers know this means they will pay out more for claims from smokers. Thus, smoking makes your life insurance quote go up.

6. Fast (if required)

It’s important to know exactly what will be checked during the life insurance medical exam. Eating a large meal before your test could spike your blood sugar levels. It could be a good idea to fast for around 12 hours beforehand. If blood sugar is not part of the life insurance blood test, then you can probably eat normally.

7. Eat good food to get a better blood test result

Eating healthier will help reduce bad cholesterol and improve the profile of your blood work. This is also true of eating fatty or sugary foods. These can raise your glucose levels and your blood pressure and therefore, it’s best to avoid these in the build-up to your exam.

Ideally, you could work on elevated blood pressure weeks or even months before the life insurance medical exam. Increased blood pressure is one of the health indicators that show you could improve your overall health. Talk to your regular GP and make some plans to reduce your blood pressure reading if it's too high.

8. Take control of the exam

You may need to have your blood drawn and that may cause anxiety. If so, ask to get it done first so you can relax. Or you could feel as though your anxiety may affect your blood pressure, ask them to leave it to the end when you have relaxed a little. Don’t be afraid to take some control over the process.

9. Get a good night's sleep and drink water to help with urine samples

A lack of sleep can lead to many health issues and increase stress. If you’re worried about the test, you may also forget to drink plenty of water. Having a hydrated body will also make taking a urine sample easier and aid in drawing blood.

10. Don’t exercise before the medical exam

It may be tempting to go for a run or engage in heavy exercise before your test but you should wait. Heavy exercise leads to an increased heart rate and also produces elevated levels of protein in your urine. So, skip the health class and focus on something soothing, like a massage or meditation session instead.

11. Be honest with your life insurance company

Throughout your application process, it’s important, to be honest. You want to give consistent answers throughout. If you don’t disclose relevant information, there may be trouble with the claim in the future. This could include any mental health-related or even pregnancy.

You may also be asked questions about your family history of illness. Again, the medical examiner is just trying to build a picture of your overall health and risk of illness. It's important to be honest about your medical history because covering up something in your past or in your family history could make your policy invalid later.

The person conducting the test will use all of this information to interpret your results more accurately.

12. Relax for a better blood pressure reading

Before your examination, try to relax as much as possible. Whether this is doing a yoga session or listening to music, find what is right for you. This will help to keep your heart rate down and can reduce your stress levels.

How do the medical exam results affect your life insurance policy?

The purpose of the life insurance medical exam is to help the insurance company decide the risk of you dying or becoming critically ill during the time they are covering you. If you are making decisions that will shorten your life, then you may struggle to find affordable coverage. However, if you have a clean urine sample, a normal blood pressure reading, and you are a normal weight, then you should find many life insurance companies willing to offer you great coverage at very good prices.

In summary

If you find yourself becoming stressed during the examination, ask for a few minutes to be alone and relax. Take your time but try not to overthink it. The results you get are very personal and if you take a look at these tips beforehand, you should end up with a premium that is right for you.

Also, remember that not all companies that offer life insurance require a medical test. Finding the right company for you is very important. We don't have an exam, just some basic questions to help us understand you better. Let us know at alexa@bequest.com if you have any questions, we would love to help find the best fit for you and your loved ones. 💛

FAQ

What do they do for a life insurance exam?

The medical examiner will give you a physical exam. They will check your height, weight, pulse, blood pressure and also take blood and urine samples. A life insurance company may also consider your medical history, prescription medications, and family history of illness.

Can you fail a life insurance exam?

Yes, you can "fail" a life insurance medical exam. This means insurance companies may feel you are very likely to die prematurely, during the term of your policy, thus they will not want to insure you. You could turn to an independent insurance agent or use a simplified issue life insurance policy.

What should I avoid before a life insurance test?

Avoid the following things before your life insurance test:

  • Anything that increases your blood pressure
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol
  • Recreational Drugs
  • Strenuous exercise
  • Red meats, because they increase cholesterol
  • Non-prescription drugs, such as nasal sprays or antihistamines, because they can increase blood pressure

How can I lower my blood pressure for a life insurance test?

Drink plenty of water for a few days before your exam to lower your blood pressure. Also, avoid smoking, alcohol, and sleepless nights. If possible, try to fast for twelve hours before the exam to bring your blood pressure down. Finally, book your exam early in the day, when your stress levels are likely to be lower.

Does life insurance require a physical exam?

Not all life insurance companies require an exam. Many companies offer a simplified issue life insurance option, which does not require an exam, just basic questions about your medical history. Companies like Bequest.

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FF Bequest Limited, trading as Bequest, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with firm reference number 923791. You can check our authorisation on the FCA Financial Services Register by visiting the following website: register.fca.org.uk . We are registered in England and Wales, Registered office address: Founders Factory, Northcliffe House, London, United Kingdom, W8 5EH. Company Number 12367897.

Regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) [ZA662891]. "Bequest" is trademark protected by FF Bequest Limited (UK00003452648). FF Bequest Limited is registered in England and Wales, No 12367897.

0203 916 5433

FF Bequest Limited, trading as Bequest, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with firm reference number 923791. You can check our authorisation on the FCA Financial Services Register by visiting the following website: register.fca.org.uk . We are registered in England and Wales, Registered office address: Founders Factory, Northcliffe House, London, United Kingdom, W8 5EH. Company Number 12367897.

Regulated by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) [ZA662891]. "Bequest" is trademark protected by FF Bequest Limited (UK00003452648). FF Bequest Limited is registered in England and Wales, No 12367897.

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