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Can you prepare for a life insurance medical exam?

Wondering how you can properly prepare for an insurance medical exam? We can help.

If you’re one of those rare people who took delight in taking their exams during school, congratulations, and tell us your secrets. For the rest of us, exams remain the stuff of nightmares, even long after we’ve graduated. We’ve all had these thoughts invade our sleep: You sit down for class, and you realize uh-oh, today’s the big exam. And I did nothing to prepare for it. Also, I’m naked for some reason. Then, you wake up, and it was all just a dream. (Thank goodness.) Sound familiar?

Well, we have good news: Getting your life insurance medical exam is nothing like that. Sure, it involves having your health and your medical records scrutinized, but it’s not like you need to know any math or the history of the Thirty Years’ War. And while you can buy life insurance without a medical exam (including from Haven Life), you’ll often get a better rate if you take one.

That all said, you may be wondering if you can actually prepare for a life insurance medical exam. The short answer is yes. The longer-but-still-short answer? It’s in this article, where we explain the medical exam process for life insurance, and provide tips on how to prepare for a life insurance medical exam.

In this article:

The process

If you’re getting a medical exam for life insurance coverage from Haven Life, you can have the exam performed at your home, your place of work, or at the offices of the company performing the exam. It’s up to you where you want to do your medical exam.

Because of COVID, Haven Life is currently allowing applicants to wait up to 120 days after applying for life insurance coverage to take their medical exam, so if you apply now, you could potentially get coverage within 15 minutes online, then have four months to schedule your medical physical exam.

For the exam itself, you will give fluids (through a blood test and a urine sample) and have other aspects of your health — such as your blood pressure — checked. It’s not invasive, and won’t seem that different from a regular doctor’s appointment. Life insurance companies and agencies take a comprehensive view of a person and their health, looking at all their results from cholesterol and kidney function to liver function and other kinds of health. If you do have an underlying health issue like kidney disease, heart disease, or high cholesterol, this may affect your life insurance application, premium or approval. You’ll be asked about prescription meds and family history, so it’s helpful to have that information on hand, along with contact information for your physicians.

Some FYIs: Because the examiner will be conducting a blood test, consider wearing short sleeves or something with sleeves that can easily be rolled up. Your life insurance company will also do what’s called an MIB check – basically seeing what information other insurers might have about you. And if you’ve done a medical exam for another life insurer in the past 12 months, ask the life insurance company or agency you’re now applying with if you can use those exam results instead of requiring you to do a fresh physical exam.

How To Prepare For A Life Insurance Medical Exam

Improving your health?

Broadly speaking, the better your health, the less you’ll pay for life insurance. So if you know you have a life insurance exam coming up, it’d be good to improve your health, right? Lose a few pounds, try to lower your cholesterol, pump some iron… that sort of thing.

Unfortunately, this won’t help. “Insurance companies like to look at stability,” says Kristen Wilson, an underwriter at Haven Life. “Something may have changed in the last few months, but usually we average data from the last year in making a decision. For example, if someone has lost weight in the last 12 months, we’ll add half of it back when we’re making our assessment.” In other words, when preparing for a life insurance medical exam, there is no useful equivalent of cramming.

Prep that actually works

So if going on a crash diet and hitting the gym like an actor preparing for a superhero role won’t help you, what will? The short answer is “Everything in moderation,” says Wilson. “Avoid alcohol before the exam, make sure you’re well hydrated so the kidneys aren’t working to filter out proteins, and things like that. We don’t recommend a really strenuous workout within 24 hours before the exam because then your body is trying to recover and that can affect the lab results,” she adds.

Also, try to be calm before the exam. “Let’s say you crash your car just before the exam — that’s a super-stressful situation which might affect your blood pressure,” says Wilson. “We recommend taking 15 to 30 minutes before the exam to just relax. I’d recommend doing anything that helps you relax before the exam that isn’t drinking a beer.” Also, “you should be at a normal heart rate. Obviously if you just jogged over to the exam your heart rate is going to be elevated. Same if people drive there and they’re super-stressed out and stuck in traffic.”

So this is one way that preparing for an insurance medical exam is like prepping for any other test — it’s far better to be early than late. Beyond that, the preparation is minimal. The exam itself won’t take much time or effort, especially considering what life insurance offers: financial protection for your family in case the worst should happen in the future, plus peace of mind in the here and now.

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About Michael Davis

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Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit:

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