“Medical exam” doesn’t bring thoughts of flowers and rainbows, but such exams are a pivotal part of the life insurance application process. The results should verify what you’ve put on your application regarding your own health, which is an essential factor in getting a life insurance quote. If you do something before your exam that skews the results, you could get higher rates than you would have received otherwise. Here’s how to get the best test results — and maybe better prices.
A few days before the exam
Your goal with a life insurance medical exam is to have the best possible weight, blood pressure and cholesterol readings, and other measurements, at the time of your exam.
To that end, start eating healthy a few days before, for the sake of your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Your life insurance company will choose the exam provider, known as a paramedical examiner. Your own doctor can’t do the life insurance medical exam, but you can choose the time and location for the paramedical appointment. Don’t choose a high-stress place, which could alter your readings. For example, your office may be convenient, but it may not be a calm environment. Plus, do you really want to walk back from the office bathroom holding your sample cup?
The night before the exam
Continue preparing for your life insurance medical exam the day before.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Know what to expect in order to reduce your stress about the exam. The paramedical examiner will review your application answers, check your height and weight, and gather bodily fluid samples.
- Collect paperwork you may need to avoid a last-minute search in the morning. Have your picture ID, a list of the medicines (with dosage) you take, and a written health history, including diagnoses, treatment dates and your doctors’ names.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
The morning of the exam
At the risk of oversimplifying, the best thing to do immediately before a life insurance exam is to sit calmly and drink water. In other words, avoid actions that will raise the test measurements. You may think that exercising strenuously is going to give you that healthy glow for the exam, but it could potentially raise your blood pressure. Pass on the big cup of coffee or a salty, high-fat breakfast. The tall latte with a double shot and morning bun is probably out.
ExamOne, a company that contracts with life insurers to perform medical exams, recommends avoiding nicotine an hour before the exam. While that may help with your blood-pressure reading that day, other tests will reveal whether you are a regular smoker or nicotine user.
Many exam companies recommend drinking a glass of water an hour before the exam so you’ll have an easier time providing a urine sample.
Most of all, keep the big picture in mind. Being diligent about what you do in the hours prior to a life insurance medical exam is important, but it’s what you’ve done in the years prior that really counts. If you’ve kept in shape and eaten well, it should pay off now.
To estimate the cost of term life insurance, try our life insurance comparison tool.
Amy Danise is a former editor and insurance authority at NerdWallet.
Image via iStock.