What do life insurance companies test for?

The life insurance medical exam tests for various factors, including drug use and general health. Your insurer pays for the medical exam, which includes questions concerning your health, lifestyle, family medical history, and other factors that might affect your eligibility for life insurance.

During the life insurance exam, a certified paramedical professional will conduct a basic physical, including asking about your health and taking your:

  • Blood sample
  • Urine sample
  • Height and weight measurements
  • Blood pressure measurements
  • EKG

These tests identify major health problems and diseases that affect your health and longevity and coverage. These factors can be indicators of future health problems such as high urine acidity or high cholesterol levels.

The blood sample will also look for drug use, both prescription and recreational. Testing positive for illegal drugs will likely result in automatic disqualification from traditional life insurance. Note that every insurance company evaluates marijuana usage differently, and states have different laws on recreational use of the drug. If your life insurance blood test detects prescription drugs, your insurance company will compare the detected drugs with your medical history and doctor-provided prescriptions.

Evidence of illegal drug use typically results in automatic ineligibility.

Do I need to go to the doctor for my paramedical exam?

In most cases, your insurance company will send a medical professional called a paramedical to your home, office, or other location of your choosing to conduct your physical. The paramedical will ask you questions about your current health and medical history, which should take roughly half an hour. The examiner will also collect blood and urine samples.

Your paramedical will go over the exam before they begin and explain if you will need any other tests. You'll receive your results from the paramedical or the life insurance company along with whether you're eligible for a traditional type of life insurance or not.

How to prepare for a life insurance medical exam

If you're worried about your current health, you can take some steps to prepare for an upcoming life insurance medical exam. You won't be able to turn your health around completely in a matter of weeks, but even a few changes can affect your eligibility and the life insurance rate you end up with.

If you plan to apply for life insurance in the future, begin making lifestyle changes now. Improving your overall health by losing weight, taking control of your blood pressure, and focusing on living a healthier life can result in better life insurance rates.

Quit unhealthy habits as soon as possible

If you have several weeks before the exam and you're a smoker, try to break the habit. You won't undo the long-term damage smoking causes in a few weeks, and you'll still need to disclose your history of smoking to your life insurer, but quitting before the paramedical exam may yield some health improvements.

You should also start eating healthier. Blood pressure tests are affected by your diet, and some types of food can cause higher blood pressure than others. Focus on consuming more greens and less red meat in the time leading up to the exam. If the change becomes permanent, even better.

Get some rest the day before

The day before the exam, avoid strenuous activity. Anything that might drive your heart rate up could negatively impact your exam. Aim to get a good night's sleep — proper rest will lower your heart rate and improve your overall health.

Schedule your exam for the morning

Finally, if possible, schedule the paramedical exam early in the morning. Most exams require you to fast for at least 12 hours beforehand, which means the earlier you take the exam, the sooner you can eat that day.

How to get life insurance


You'll be asked questions, and then you'll choose your coverage amount and more.

Call a rep

A licensed representative from Progressive Life by eFinancial will talk you through your options.