7 Key Steps to Pass Your Life Insurance Medical Exam

Are you going through the life insurance underwriting process and looking for some tips on how to pass the life insurance medical exam? Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to show you 7 key steps on how you can pass your life insurance medical exam the first time through.

Before we get started though, let’s start with some basics.

What is a Medical Exam?

Based on your medical exam, an insurance underwriter will decide your overall state of health which will be a factor in determining which class or category you are placed in. This then determines the cost of your life insurance premiums.

The exam includes both a medical exam (a physical) and an interview. The physical exam is similar to a basic physical you have likely had at your physician’s office many times. It usually consists of the following elements:

  • check of height and weight to determine body mass index (BMI)
  • blood pressure
  • urine and blood sample

The exam may also consist of an EKG in certain cases. In the interview portion, the medical examiner will ask you questions about your family history, current health status and lifestyle choices. Keep in mind that you have likely already answered these on the application. 

Because the exam is a few weeks later, the insurance examiner is testing you to make sure you have not lied on your application. When people lie on the application, they typically do not remember what they previously wrote, and get into trouble. 

Any discrepancy is a red flag for an insurance underwriter, and it will likely affect your category of coverage or may prevent you from even getting a policy altogether. So be truthful!

The interviews are straightforward. Make a list of all the medications (including vitamins), and bring your family history information and doctors’ names and phone numbers with you to give to the medical examiner. Also make a list of any therapies or treatments you participate in. 

Bringing lists help you remember and keep the interview short. Only answer the questions asked and do not volunteer any additional information. The medical examiner will ask for what they need, and any information they don’t need is extraneous and could possibly hurt your rates

How is the Life Insurance Medical Exam Performed?

Most people choose to have their exams at home, but you can also do it in your place of work. Additionally, many insurance companies have medical exam locations you can go to. It’s up to you where you have the exam, and also up to you regarding when to schedule it. 

Most exams take less than 30 minutes, and about 15 minutes longer if an EKG is required.It could take longer if there are issues obtaining the samples or EKG. 

You will provide medical history as well. If you are older (over age 50), the insurance company will most certainly ask for an EKG. If you are younger but are asking for a large death benefit, an EKG will also likely be required.

What if I Fail the Exam?

In rare cases you may be denied coverage. Most often, the person disagrees with the insurance company regarding placement in a particular rate category. If you do disagree, you can do quite a few things. 

First, request a copy of the test results to check for discrepancies. Second, you can also go to your primary care physician for an exam. While you will have to pay for the exam yourself, it can be worth it if you can get your rates down. 

Third, you can take your initial test results from the first insurance company to other insurance companies who might give you a more reasonable rate. It may pay to shop around.

Most people do not fail their exams, and there are several tips you can use to ensure you are ready on test day to put your best foot forward, and here are our 7 key steps for passing your life insurance medical exam.

7 Key Steps for Passing Your Life Insurance Medical Exam

Be realistic. You can’t erase a lifetime of poor eating, overconsumption of alcohol or smoking in a two-week period between applying for life insurance and having your medical exam. However, you can certainly avoid common mistakes that lead to false test results, which ultimately drive you to a higher life insurance rate.

7 Key Steps to Pass Your Life Insurance Medical Exam

Interestingly, most people do not think of preparing for an insurance health exam. Instead, they just show up.

Don’t just show up though. There is so much you can do to get your best results with just a little preparation.

These 7 steps below are key to pass your life insurance medical exam.


For example, caffeine is probably the one thing that throws most people off. If you usually have a cup of coffee in the morning, go ahead, but drinking several cups before your exam is a bad idea. Why? Because it can boost your blood pressure. The same goes for those caffeine-loaded energy drinks as well.


One of the most important things you can do is get a good night’s sleep the night before your exam. This will ensure your hormones are set and you won’t need a big cup of coffee to get going. 

Well-rested people have lower blood pressure, and sleep also helps conquer any anxiety and fear you may be experiencing. In total, a good night’s sleep helps you get a better test result and potentially a lower rate for your life insurance policy.


Try to clear your schedule for the morning of your exam. Better yet, schedule your exam as the first outing of the day. This way, you can take your time getting up and getting ready. You can just go to your exam, before your day gets stressful.

Furthermore, have you heard of white coat syndrome? Many people get nervous when a medical person takes their blood pressure, so the blood pressure normally goes higher in the presence of a medical professional. Try to use relaxation techniques to maintain your calm. Deep breathing works great.

If you do have white coat syndrome though or are anxious about needles and blood draws, explain this to the examiner so he or she will understand and not misinterpret any results or actions. This is particularly important when it comes to your blood pressure results, so that your anxiety can be taken into consideration.

Eating and Drinking

If you are supposed to take a fasting blood test, and you do not follow directions, and eat before your test, your levels of both glucose and triglycerides can be affected. Be sure to let the medical examiner know if you did eat. If your medical exam requires fasting, you will likely not be able to eat eight to 12 hours before the exam.

Try to avoid fast food and junk food for a couple of weeks before the exam. Changing your diet to include more leafy greens and fiber at least two weeks before the exam can also help.

Also try to eat lots of fruit, avocado and fish to boost your omegas. However, shellfish can increase cholesterol so avoid eating it in the days leading up to the exam.

You may want to also skip any vitamin supplements you are taking because some can skew your lab results.

Drink lots of water. Many people have the misconception that they should avoid water before an exam. They think they can’t have water if they’re fasting or that it will help them register a lower weight on the scale during the exam.

This is not the case. Be sure to drink plenty of water the day before the exam. An hour before the exam, drink a large glass of water. 

Dehydration causes the urine parameters to be outside the normal range. Things like sugar and protein can be elevated. If you are dehydrated, it can make it difficult for you to even produce a urine sample, and it may make it harder for the medical examiner to draw blood. 

Try not to eat too many salty foods 24 hours before the exam because salt can further dehydrate you. Also avoid fatty foods; while they don’t affect your hydration, they can affect your triglyceride levels and skew your blood tests.

Regarding alcohol, it is probably alright for you to have a glass of wine or beer with dinner as you normally do, but don’t get drunk the night before your exam. Alcohol can skew your liver function results, so avoid any alcohol at least eight hours before the exam.


If at all possible, try to schedule your test for early in the morning. If fasting, you can do your exam and then eat and get on with your day. You might carry a piece of fruit with you so that you can eat it right after you are finished.

Women should avoid scheduling an exam during their menstrual cycle. Having your period can contaminate your urine sample. You will likely have to redo the test anyway, so wait until a period-free day to do your exam. 

If you have scheduled your exam and get your period, simply contact the examiner to reschedule. They know it happens, and they will appreciate you saving them from having to do it a second time.


Don’t get us wrong, exercise is great, but not so great before an exam, so take the morning off! Strenuous workouts can cause protein to spill over into the urine and create false results. 

The insurance company will just read it as elevated protein, not knowing it was the result of exercise, and view it as a kidney problem which may affect your rate or ability to get coverage. As such, try not to do any strenuous exercise at least 12 hours prior to your exam.


If you are a smoker, you cannot avoid nicotine showing up in your lab tests. However, don’t smoke during the hour before your exam; since nicotine is a stimulant, it can elevate blood pressure.

With more and more states passing recreational cannabis laws, if you are taking cannabis, take a break at least six weeks before your exam. Just because cannabis may be legal in your state does not mean that an insurance company is obligated to cover you if THC is found in your samples. 

If you take medical cannabis, bring all your documentation to the appointment to discuss with the medical examiner. Learn more here about how marijuana will affect your life insurance rates.

We Can Help You Pass Your Life Insurance Medical Exam

It’s important to take initiative and use these 7 key steps to be sure you can pass your life insurance medical exam. Remember that life insurance is all about managing risk. So make sure you’re working with a life insurance agent who is very knowledgeable about your particular situation.

They will know that right companies to work with to ensure you’re getting the best rate. Insurance agents are very knowledgeable and can help you save money by finding the best carrier for your specific goals and needs. 

Are you ready to get a quote and see what rates you can get for the coverage you need? Get a quote today!