How To Pass Life Insurance Medical Exam

A life-saving cheat sheet to pass your Life Insurance Medical Exam.

Life insurance plans are the new norm these days. Everyone is looking to be insured to protect their families and financial condition.

Scheduling a medical exam as part of the life insurance application process may not seem enjoyable. Still, it’s essential not to let the procedure discourage you. Rest assured, the life insurance medical exam is relatively brief, typically lasting between 15 to 45 minutes, and you can choose a convenient location.

What makes the life insurance medical exam significant is its potential to secure the most affordable life insurance rates. Insurers often determine rates based on life expectancy, meaning that the younger and healthier you are, the lower your life insurance premiums are likely to be; however, it’s important to prepare for the medical exam even if you believe you’re in good health.

Certain harmless activities can impact the results of your laboratory tests. For instance, excessive consumption of red meat, insufficient sleep, or an intense workout session before the exam could yield less-than-ideal results that may not accurately reflect your health status.

Fortunately, you don’t need to revolutionize your lifestyle to “pass” the exam and obtain the best life insurance quote possible. You can significantly benefit in the long run by making minor adjustments in the weeks and days leading up to your exam. Follow this guide on how to pass your life insurance medical exam to increase your chances of a successful examination, potentially securing more favorable life insurance coverage.

What is an Insurance Medical Exam?

The medical examination may initially seem like a daunting physical test, but it’s quite different from the bleep test we remember from school. An insurance medical exam, life insurance medical exam, or underwriting medical exam is a standard process conducted by insurance companies.

 Image Source: LifeQuote
Image Source: LifeQuote

An insurance company conducts a medical exam to calculate the amount of risk you carry. The medical exam is conducted in two series: one is the life insurance medical questionnaire, and the other is a collection of samples. They will inquire about various aspects, including:

  • Family history and any past illnesses.
  • Personal details like date of birth and gender.
  • Your medical history, specifically any existing or previous conditions that could impact the risk of a Life insurance claim (essentially referring to the possibility of death).
  • General appearance to determine if there are any visible signs of illness. For instance, if you have disclosed alcohol or drug use, the GP might assess if you have downplayed the extent of your consumption.
  • Basic measurements such as height and weight.
  • Examination of the respiratory system.
  • Evaluation of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Assessment of the nervous system.
  • Examination of the urinary system.

As you can see, the examination is comprehensive, and some aspects may sound intimidating, mainly the last four, which are crucial for your overall well-being.

If you’re a healthy non-smoker, chances are you will ‘pass’ the medical exam and pay low premiums on the policy. The logic behind this notion is that companies will invest their money and time into people who have a chance of living a longer life (so that they can continue paying their premiums for a long time!).

It’s important to note that the medical examination does not involve as much physical probing as one might assume. The medical exam usually takes about 20-30 minutes, and an underwriter thoroughly reviews your application.

What exactly will be part of the Medical Exam?

The medical examination required for life insurance consists of two components.

  1. Medical Questionnaire:
 Image Source: Canva
Image Source: Canva

During this part, a paramedical examiner will ask you health-related questions. The purpose of these questions is to provide the underwriters with a comprehensive understanding of your current health status. Some common inquiries made during a life insurance health exam include:

  • Your medical history, including past health conditions, procedures, medications, and hospitalizations.
  • Your family’s medical history.
  • Your lifestyle habits include smoking, recreational drug use, alcohol consumption, and exercise routine.
  • Any existing conditions like anxiety or depression.
  • Details about recent visits to doctors.

It is crucial to answer these questions truthfully. Suppose the insurer discovers later that you provided false information or withheld relevant details. In that case, it may result in the termination of coverage or denial of a claim in the event of your death.

     2.Physical Exam:

 Image Source: Medical News Today
Image Source: Medical News Today

A medical technician will conduct a routine health check-up during the physical examination. This typically involves measuring your height, weight, blood pressure, and pulse rate. The technician will also collect urine and blood samples for analysis. In certain cases, older individuals or those applying for higher benefit amounts might be asked to undergo additional tests, such as an electrocardiogram (EKG), to assess heart health. Men over 50 may also be required to take the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test to identify any prostate abnormalities.

The paramedical examiner will calculate your body mass index (BMI) using weight and height measurements. Additionally, the blood samples will be screened for various medical conditions, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • High triglycerides
  • Elevated liver enzymes
  • Nicotine usage
  • Recreational drug usage

Overall, the medical examination for life insurance is a straightforward, efficient, and painless process. It allows the insurer to assess your health status accurately, estimate your life expectancy, and calculate the appropriate premiums based on this information.

How to pass a Life Insurance Medical Exam?

Now that you have submitted your application for a life insurance plan, your insurer will inform you when you will have your medical exam. They usually give at least a week’s notice before telling you the date.

You NEED to pass that exam to qualify for a good life insurance policy, but how do you do it? Here are some life insurance exam tips that you should do to raise your chances of achieving a good result in the end.

What should you do before a Medical Exam?

Preparing for the Exam: Weeks Prior

In the weeks leading up to the exam, you can make some healthy adjustments to your diet to decrease your LDL levels and increase your HDL levels.

 Image Source: News by careers360
Image Source: News by careers360
  • Stay hydrated: The key to a present mind and body is if you’re hydrated. Drink lots and lots of water so that when they take your exam, your pulse is normal and you’re not panting.
  • Eat healthy: You need to eat clean for a healthy lifestyle. Avoid oily, salty, or sugary items the week before your medical exam. Instead, focus on greens and fruits. You will notice you look fresh!
  • Exercise: Normal movement or yoga helps in losing weight. Excess weight invites the risk of diabetes and so many other diseases, so make exercise a part of your regular weight loss journey.
  • Sleep: The medical exam is 50% on your appearance and lifestyle, so getting a good night’s sleep is VERY important. It would help if you stayed fresh and active for your exam to improve your chances.
  • Limit your salt intake: To avoid dehydration and concentrated urine. Excessive salt consumption can cause you to be dehydrated, leading to more concentrated urine.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation: If you choose to have alcohol try drinking it in moderation. According to the Mayo Clinic, women should limit themselves to one drink daily, while men can have up to two. Consuming more than this moderate amount can raise blood pressure and reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

Preparing for the Exam: The Day Before

To ensure optimal results on exam day, take a few extra precautions.

  • Avoid Alcohol and nicotine: Both of these can elevate blood pressure. Remember that recent nicotine use can be detected through blood or urine tests.
  • Steer clear of red meat: Red meat is relatively high in cholesterol.
  • Refrain from over-the-counter medication: Stop using antihistamines and nasal decongestants, as they can increase blood pressure.
  • Get a good night’s sleep: The Mayo Clinic suggests that individuals who sleep less than six hours per night may experience elevated blood pressure.

Day of the Exam

On the day of the exam, follow these steps to ensure the best possible results:

 Image Source: Aakash
Image Source: Aakash
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, soda, and tea.
  • Refrain from strenuous exercise, as it can raise your blood pressure.
  • Stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This will facilitate the provision of urine and blood samples.
  • Have a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, state-issued photo ID, or passport.
  • Prepare your medical information, including a list of medical conditions, treatments, prescription medications, and contact information for your physician(s).
  • Wear short sleeves or sleeves that can be easily rolled up to allow the examiner to obtain a blood sample.

During the Blood Pressure Reading

Image Source: Healthline
Image Source: Healthline

To ensure accurate blood pressure readings, follow these simple steps:

  • Empty your bladder before the test. A full bladder can increase blood pressure readings by 10 to 15 points.
  • Keep your feet flat on the floor during the reading.
  • Avoid crossing your legs; it can add 2 to 8 points to the blood pressure reading.
  • Refrain from dangling your legs, as it can increase the blood pressure reading by 6 to 10 points, as reported by WebMD.

What should you NOT do before a Blood Test?

Image Source: PosterMyWall
Image Source: PosterMyWall
  • Eat: Medical exams require you to fast the day before or at least 12 hours before you come for a medical exam. Ensure you don’t eat anything! But having lots of water during the fast is necessary.
  • Drink beer/alcohol: Having even one glass of beer or alcohol will significantly reduce your chances. Either quit entirely or make it rare because you could be a risk the insurance company wouldn’t take. Your bloodstream should be clean for at least three days before you take a blood test.
  • Smoke: The tests will show nicotine levels in your system, which will be a bad sign. Smokers tend to pay a higher amount of premiums on their insurance policies than non-smokers. QUIT! But if you can’t, don’t smoke at least 6 hours before taking the exam because it could show elevated blood pressure in the test.
  • Go to the gym: Light exercise is okay, but hardcore gym is bad. Your pulse and heart rate could be very high, giving you a lousy edge on the exam.
  • Coca Tea drinks: Avoid having those before the exam because they could indicate that you have cocaine in your system. Even though you don’t, the dried leaves make cocaine. This false indication could make you a drug user, seriously affecting your exam.
  • Avoid coffee: High levels of caffeine also indicate high blood pressure. Maybe a usual cup in the morning is fine, but not right before you walk in for the exam.
  • Avoid Consuming poppy seed bagels: Another item to avoid is poppy seed bagels, not just because the seeds tend to get stuck in your teeth. Some varieties of poppy seeds can result in a positive opiate test. Poppy seeds can result in a positive opiate test. Poppy seeds derived from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum) are oilseeds that contain small amounts of opiate. While they are not used for opium production, skipping poppy seeds and “everything” bagels is advisable to avoid potential issues.
  • Mitigate the nervous jitters: To manage Anxiety and Nervousness to mitigate the nervous jitters that may arise from anxiety about visiting a doctor, consider the following tips:
    • Arrive at your appointment early. Giving yourself extra time can help alleviate the stress of rushing and allow you to settle in before the examination.
    • Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, gentle stretching, or deep breathing exercises. These methods can help you stay calm and centered.
    • Listen to soothing music through your headphones or engage in a calming activity like reading a magazine. Distractions can help shift your focus away from anxious thoughts.
    • Instead of dwelling on anxiety, try to reframe your thoughts positively. For example, consider the potential savings on your life insurance that may result from maintaining good health.

By implementing these strategies, you can better manage anxiety and promote a more relaxed state of mind during your doctor’s visit.

These dos and don’ts can increase your chances of qualifying for a medical exam. You must keep all these factors in mind before you go.

Reasons you can Fail the Exam

As repeatedly mentioned above, the life insurance medical exam depends on several factors, all of which revolve around your health and well-being.

That being said, if the insurance company feels that you aren’t healthy as per their criteria and the risk of insuring you is far greater than the premiums you will be paying, they won’t qualify you for getting life insurance- hence, you failed the exam.

Having high levels of alcohol or tobacco, or any drug substance will lead to negative points.

 Image Source: Canva
Image Source: Canva

Road violations and having a poor driving record can also be a risk to your life. And the condition could worsen if you have ever been charged with a DUI (driving under the influence).

One major reason you can fail the test is that you didn’t tell the truth or weren’t transparent in all your records and information. You must tell the truth about all your details because even one lie and you could fail the exam. Not just that, even if you pass the exam and later on, the insurance company finds out you lied, they could lapse your policy. They won’t give your beneficiaries any death benefit.

Not just that, but they could also put you in a ‘red-flag’ zone which means you will be blacklisted from ever applying for insurance from any other company. This could fall negatively on your record, and you won’t be in any sort of benefit then.

Even lying about basic details such as your age (to get lower premiums) will ultimately have severe consequences, so just make sure you’re completely transparent with your insurance company.

Can you Retake the Life Insurance Exam?

What happens if you fail your exam? Can you give another exam?


If you fail once, you can give another medical exam with another company. Waiting at least six months before going for another exam is recommended. In these six months, you can improve where you went wrong: lessen your cigarette count, alcohol consumption, lose weight, etc.

If you want to give one out immediately, you can give it to another insurance company.

Who pays for a life insurance medical exam?

Since the insurance company requires all policyholders to take a medical exam, they pay for it too. They will simply go through all the financial requirements, take your test and hand it over to the underwriter for a proper evaluation.

Is there any Life Insurance without Medical Exams or Health Questions?

Most healthy people can easily qualify for a medical exam, but some don’t. Especially seniors with deteriorating health or some illness may find it very hard to qualify for a life insurance plan.

But, there is a life insurance policy that doesn’t require a medical exam: Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance.

This life insurance plan is a mini version of the whole life policy; the death benefit isn’t paid in the first 2-3 years of the policy if the insured person dies. But they give a 10% return on premiums if the insured person dies during this time.

This is the only life insurance policy that does NOT require a medical exam or health questions. However, the applicant must answer fundamental questions about their lifestyle.


Image Source: TopOnSeek (TOS)
Image Source: TopOnSeek (TOS)

Who covers the cost of the life insurance medical exam?

The life insurance medical exam expense is typically covered by the insurance company you are applying to, not by you. It is considered a necessary cost for their insurer to conduct their business operations.

Is it possible to obtain life insurance without undergoing a medical exam?

Many insurance companies offer life insurance policies that do not require a medical exam. These policies come in various forms and pricing structures.

Examples of no-exam life insurance include simplified issue life insurance, which involves answering a few health-related questions, and guaranteed issue life insurance, which does not include an exam or health inquiries. With a guaranteed issue plan, you cannot be denied coverage.

Additionally, no-exam life insurance options are available, which can be particularly suitable for younger and healthier individuals.

Can I utilize my medical exam results for a different life insurance application?

Comparing quotes from multiple life insurance companies is a practical approach to finding the best coverage. Suppose you underwent a medical exam as part of a previous life insurance application but still need to proceed with purchasing a policy. In that case, you may be able to use the same exam results for a different life insurance application.

Why are blood and urine tests conducted during the life insurance medical exam?

During the life insurance medical exam, blood and urine tests are conducted by insurance companies to gain insights into your overall health status. Assessing health is an essential factor for underwriters when determining policy rates. These tests provide valuable information regarding drug or nicotine usage and uncover any underlying health conditions that may impact your coverage.

Do life insurance companies review your medical records?

When offering coverage, life insurance companies examine your medical records as part of the evaluation process. Your medical history, including any pre-existing conditions, along with other factors, such as family medical background and lifestyle choices, are considered to determine the cost of your life insurance premiums.


Passing a medical exam is necessary to qualify for a life insurance plan; this way, the insurance company knows you’re a safe bet they can invest their money in.

Most people can qualify for the plan by passing their medical exam, and you can too. Just follow the tips given in this guide and avoid all the don’ts.

But again, make sure you’re transparent in whatever information you give during the exam, DON’T lie even in one tiny question because you could risk being blacklisted. Be fresh, sleep well, and good luck!

John Otero

John Otero

John Otero is an industry practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held various senior management roles both in the insurance companies and insurance brokers during this span of time. He began his insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. He got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how he fell in love with the industry. He saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. John has diverse experience in corporate & consumer insurance services, across a range of vocations. His specialties include Major Corporate risk management and insurance programs, and Financial Lines He has been instrumental in making his firm as one of the leading organizations in the country in generating sustainable rapid growth of the company while maintaining service excellence to clients.