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Tips on Preparing for a Life Insurance Medical Exam

When purchasing life insurance, it’s important to know that many different types, such as term life, whole life, and universal life insurance, may require a medical exam. Each life insurance company sets its own parameters for when a life insurance exam will be required. These parameters can include your age, your health, the type of policy you purchase, and the amount of coverage you purchase.

What Is A Life Insurance Medical Exam?

A life insurance medical exam is a short physical exam that helps the life insurance company determine your risk when issuing you a life insurance policy. Depending on the amount and type of coverage you are considering, the exam may vary.

Most exams will include checking your vitals, such as your height, weight, pulse, and blood pressure, and a urine and blood sample are also taken. For larger valued policies, typically over a million dollars, an electrocardiogram (ECG/EKG) or x-ray may also be required. Life insurance companies also use a series of questions known as a medical questionnaire and the medical exam to gather information on your health and lifestyle. 

Why Are Medical Exams Used In Life Insurance?

Medical exams allow the life insurance companies to assess and rate your risk when you purchase a life insurance policy. Depending on the exam results, along with other factors such as your occupation, family history, and hobbies, a life insurance company may approve or deny the policy.

If the policy is approved, the medical exam can play a crucial role in the price of your monthly premiums. The better your health and medical exam results, the less the policy premium may be. However, if you are in poor health or your medical exam results are unsuitable, the premium may be higher. 

What To Expect During A Life Insurance Medical Exam

Once you have purchased a life insurance policy, the insurance company begins its underwriting process. You should receive a call to schedule your exam and complete your medical questionnaire within a few days of purchasing your policy. The examiner will call you to schedule your appointment and let you know what to expect on the exam day.

Usually, you can choose where you would like to have the exam, such as at home, work, or a doctor’s office. On exam day, be prepared for a brief physical to collect your vitals and provide a urine and blood sample. The exam is typically short, under an hour, and paid for by the insurance company.

For the medical questionnaire, you will answer a series of questions regarding your health and lifestyle, often over the phone. The medical questionnaire is short, usually around fifteen minutes, and some companies may even send this via email.

How To Prepare For A Life Insurance Medical Exam

Once you have purchased a life insurance policy and scheduled your exam, it is time to prepare. It is very important to know how to best prepare for the exam to get the best results possible, and knowing what results the life insurance company is looking for on the day of the exam can help you optimize your results. 


When thinking about life insurance, it is important to know what long-term factors can impact the results of your exam. Eating healthy, staying active, and avoiding alcohol and nicotine are important in preparing to purchase a life insurance policy and your exam. 

Eat Healthy and Stay Active

Eating healthy and staying active are two ways to optimize the results of your exam. When looking to approve or deny your life insurance policy, a life insurance company will look at your overall health, including your glucose levels, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight. By eating healthy and staying active, you will have better results. 

Avoid Alcohol and Nicotine

Another long-term factor you can control regarding your exam is your exposure to alcohol and nicotine. Life insurance companies base your premiums on many factors, which include whether you are a nicotine user. By avoiding alcohol and nicotine altogether, you can increase your overall health and obtain better results on your life insurance medical exam. 

The Day Before The Exam

The day before your exam, you can prepare by doing a few simple tasks. These include avoiding high-cholesterol and salty foods, avoiding over-the-counter medications, avoiding alcohol and nicotine, drinking plenty of water, skipping the gym, and getting a good night’s rest. 

Avoid High-cholesterol and Salty Food

The day before your exam, it is important to avoid foods high in cholesterol and salt, such as red meat and fast foods. You will want to steer clear of these as they may negatively affect your exam results by raising your blood pressure, cholesterol, and salt levels.  

Avoid Over-the-counter Medication

Another way to prepare the day before the exam is to avoid over-the-counter medications. Certain over-the-counter medications, such as decongestants and antihistamines, can raise blood pressure. Avoiding these medications altogether allows for a better reading on the day of your exam. 

Avoid Alcohol and Nicotine

Avoiding alcohol and nicotine the day before your exam will not stop those substances from showing in your urine and blood samples. However, both alcohol and nicotine can negatively affect other factors, such as your blood pressure and sugar levels. By avoiding these substances the day before the exam, you may achieve a better overall result. 

Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking plenty of water the day before your exam is one of the easiest ways to prepare. Drinking plenty of water will help remove salt, sugar, and other toxins from your system. It will also help your body hydrate for the exam and blood draw. 

Skip the Gym

Although working out and staying active is great, it is best to avoid the gym the day before the exam. Skipping the gym the day before your exam rests your body and lowers your pulse and heart rate the day of the exam. 

Get a Good Night’s Rest

The night before the exam, make sure you get a good night’s rest. Getting plenty of sleep will make you feel more comfortable on the day of the exam, and your body will be well-rested. 

The Day Of The Exam

On the day of the exam, there are some key concepts to apply to help you prepare for your exam, such as avoiding exercise, avoiding caffeine, staying hydrated, having all your documents ready, and wearing comfortable clothing. 

Avoid Exercise

Similar to why you would skip the gym the day before the exam, you would also want to forgo a trip the day of the exam. Exercising can increase your overall heart rate and pulse, which could negatively affect the results of your medical exam.  

Avoid Caffeine

Avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee and soda, on the day of your exam. Caffeine can raise your heart rate and blood pressure. Avoiding it can help you maintain a lower heart rate and blood pressure, which is important on the day of your exam. 

Stay Hydrated

Continue drinking plenty of water on the day of your exam. Staying hydrated affects many of our body’s vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure, which are looked at on exam day. 

Have Documents Ready

On the day of the exam, you may be asked to provide some documents to the examiner or life insurance company. It is important to have these ready to make exam day as smooth as possible.

Possible documentation that you may be asked for may include your identification, such as your driver’s license, a list of your current medication, and your healthcare provider’s contact information. 

Wear Comfortable Clothing

Wearing comfortable and light clothing is important on the day of the exam. Not only will you feel more comfortable, but part of your exam will include being weighed. Heavy clothing may skew your weight.

During the exam, it is more than likely you will be giving a blood sample. Wearing short sleeves or loose-fitting clothing will allow for ease when your blood is drawn.

Plan for your family’s future. Get a life insurance quote today.

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Plan for your family’s future. Get a life insurance quote today.

Get a quote