The results of your life insurance exam can sometimes help make or break your case.
Having excellent exam results can help me to get you credits for an even better offer than may usually be offered.
Conversely, having poor exam results can result in you only qualifying for higher rates than expected.
If you’re like me and have some underwriting issues to begin with, like a heart condition, diabetes or any other issues, then read below carefully, as this information will help you to get the best rate.
There are some very important things you can do to make sure the results of your free exam are as good as possible.
I’ve been able to get people who need life insurance with diabetes rates as low as possible, as well as getting people with heart disease, overweight people, and people with many other issues bumped up one or two better rate classifications simply because the results of their insurance exam were optimal and because I pressured the underwriter for the rate class improvement.
By optimal, I mean total cholesterol less than 200, HDL cholesterol above 40, LDL cholesterol less than 130, blood pressure of 130/80 or lower (the lower, the better), good height/weight and BMI, etc.
A key way you can help to make sure you have the best insurance exam results possible is to be strict about your diet for as long as possible before you have your insurance exam.
Even if you only get strict about your diet for a few days prior to your exam, it can help.
On the other hand, if the day before your exam you have bacon and eggs for breakfast, pizza for lunch, and a cheeseburger and fries for dinner, it’s almost a sure bet that the results of your exam will be far from optimal.
Try to eat as close to a healthy vegetarian as possible, and if you do eat meat, eat lean meats like grilled chicken or pork tenderloin, or eat fish. Eat lots of vegetables.
Avoid fast food, fried foods, and red meat.
Even though the examiner may tell you to only fast for four hours, try to fast for 12 full hours prior to the exam, as non-fasting blood work can result in some abnormalities that may not be serious but could be enough to place you in one or two higher rate categories. This is a good reason to get examined in the morning before eating anything.
If you must eat prior to your exam, avoid fatty foods, butter, sugar, salt, cream, soda, coffee, or any food/beverage with caffeine.
Drink lots of water prior to your exam and then eat whatever you want afterwards.
Avoid alcohol for at least three days prior to your exam. Alcohol can elevate liver functions, which could cause you to only qualify for higher rate.
Avoid strenuous exercise for 48 hours prior to your insurance exam. Cardiovascular work outs like jogging, biking, and weightlifting can adversely affect both blood and urine specimen results. I’ve had several cases for which protein showed up in the urine specimen, and since a later test showed the issue was resolved, we determined it may have been caused by strenuous workout the day of or the day prior to the exam.
Smoking can elevate your blood pressure. If you do smoke or use any nicotine based products, try to avoid smoking or nicotine for at least 30 minutes or as long as possible prior to your insurance exam.
Many life insurance companies are also okay with you having an occasional celebratory cigar, but it’s best to avoid smoking any cigars for at least a few weeks prior to your exam.
There are also a few companies that will give “non-cigarette tobacco users” a non-tobacco or non-smoker rate. These non-cigarette tobacco or nicotine users include anyone who uses cigars, pipes, chew, nicotine gum, patch, e-cigarettes, and hookah pipes, as long as no cigarettes have been used over previous 12 months.
Some of these insurance companies that are good for alternative tobacco users require that no nicotine show up in the lab results from your insurance exam for you to get the non-tobacco rate, but a few of these companies are okay with nicotine showing up in your insurance exam lab results as long as you’ve admitted to the tobacco/nicotine use on the application or exam. Even if the insurance company is okay with nicotine showing up in your lab results and they’ll still offer you non-tobacco rates, the less amount of nicotine that shows up, the better.
Ask the insurance examiner if you can do the urine specimen before the exam begins as the elimination of fluids can help you to have a better blood pressure result.
If you are even slightly overweight for life insurance, it is always best to be as light as possible on the day of your free insurance exam. Most people are lightest in the morning, so this is another reason why a morning exam is best.
Stand as tall as possible when getting measured by examiner because even one-half inch increase in your height can put you into the next higher height category which can make a very big difference as far as what maximum weight is allowed.
Since all competitive life insurance companies will debit anyone for an amount equal to half of any weight loss over previous 12 months, the less amount of weight you can admit to losing in last 12 months, the better for life insurance underwriting purposes. So while losing weight should be good for your overall health, insurance underwriters know some people try to drop weight prior to having an insurance exam, and the underwriters want to see a stable weight for 12 full months. Be honest, but underestimate as much as possible when questioned about weight loss during your insurance exam. If you gain some weight in winter and then lose it again in summer, that’s a wash and does not need to be mentioned.
Some insurance companies’ exam questionnaire will ask if you’ve EVER used illegal drugs like marijuana, cocaine, etc. or if you’ve used prescription drugs that were not prescribed to you by a doctor. Since I know many people have experimented while growing up, if you do answer “yes” to this question, you will be required to fill out a drug questionnaire with details as to every non prescribed drug you’ve used in the past, how much, how often used, and when last used. Depending on what you’ve used, this may not be a big deal and may not change the rate that you’ll be offered, but the flip side to that is that it could cause an underwriting issue and possibly result in you being declined for life insurance if you’ve ever used more serious narcotics. This can be a sensitive issue, so feel free to call me for my opinion if you’d like it.
Listen closely to the questions that the examiner asks you and only answer what is asked. For example, if examiner asks you, “Within the past five years, have you been a patient in a hospital or other medical facility?” and six or more years ago you were in hospital for something that was not already specifically asked for, don’t bring it up. This is not lying or being dishonest.
If you would like to see a copy of the exam questionnaire prior to the day of your free exam, just ask me for it, and I’ll email you copy so that you can see what may be asked and prepare ahead of time.
If you tend to be less stressed on weekends, then scheduling your exam on a Saturday morning could be best, as stress can affect the results of your exam.
Moreover, if you happen to wake up the morning of your insurance exam and don’t feel well, call the examiner and cancel the exam right away. Even a minor cold or infection/virus could possibly throw off your exam results. It’s better to wait until you feel well to have exam. Make sure you have the examiners phone number in case you need to cancel last minute.
If you happen to be taking any non-prescribed cold medicine, pain reliever, or anything else, it’s always best to tell the examiner exactly what you take, including any vitamins and supplements. This way, if anything abnormal shows up during exam, we may be able to tie the abnormality to one of your medications or supplements.
If you are a woman and you’re menstruating at the time you have exam, make sure to tell the examiner this, so the underwriter may have less of a concern if any blood shows up in urine specimen. Telling the examiner can also prevent you from having to have a repeat urine specimen later, as I’ve been able to get exceptions on this specific issue many times, but it’s easier for me to get exception if indicated during the exam.
Finally, on the day of your exam, it is best if you have your driver’s license ready to verify who you are, all of your doctor’s full contact information and phone number, and all of your prescription medications with dosages ready to provide to the examiner.
Everybody wants the best rate possible for their life insurance, so following the tips above can help you to get it.