How to Pass the Life Insurance Medical Exam (15 Tips)

How to Pass the Life Insurance Medical Exam (15 Tips)

1 Comment

  1. Angela Waterford Angela Waterford

    April 22, 2021 at 2:44 pm

    I appreciate you reminding me to avoid tobacco three days before a medical evaluation because this constricts your blood vessels and increases your blood pressure. It’s interesting that a good result medical exam can help you save money on your insurance plan. I think it’s also important for insurance companies to choose an independent medical evaluation clinic to help them fairly assess the condition of their client. ReplyLink

When will I know if I passed?

Depending on the state, you could know as soon as the test is over.

So how to you get through this? What’s the best way to prepare? Where can I find a best-in-class study guide?

Mometrix has a number of tools that can help you study for the Life & Health Exam.

Our comprehensive study guide has been researched by a team of professionals with years of experience helping educators prepare for exams just like this one. The guide provides specifics on how to tackle the questions you’ll be asked. And, if you’re worried at all about buying the guide, don’t worry. We offer a 100% risk-free, money-back guarantee.

Our large, easy-to-read flashcards help you learn through repetition, and the questions cover every content area of the exam. Not only that, the cards make it easy for a friend or relative to help quiz you on the questions you’ll need to know to pass the Life & Health Exam.


Schedule Your Exam

Your exam will be administered by one of the three national testing centers, Prometric, PSI, or Pearson VUE. Visit the state prelicensing requirement page to find your state’s testing provider and become familiar with testing policies and procedures. Schedule your exam early for the best selection of times and locations.

2. Getting stressed out

Steinberg has often seen “white coat syndrome” boost blood pressure readings.

“People will get nervous when they see that someone with authority is taking their blood pressure,” she says.

Use relaxation techniques and spend time in a calm environment. 

8. Binging on pretzels and chips

Too much salt can lead to dehydration, boost your weight and throw off tests for kidney function. Avoid unusually salty foods 24 hours before the exam.

Additionally, make a list of all the medications you take and bring that with you to the exam, along with identification, your doctors’ names, and phone numbers and information about your family medical history. The paramedical examiner will likely go over all that information, even if you’ve already given it to your life insurance agent.

What can I expect on test day?

While the day of the test will vary by state, there are some similarities. You’ll need to present a photo ID, most likely a government-issued one. You may be required to present your test confirmation to ensure you’re taking it at the right day, time, and location. If there were pre-test requirements, you may be asked to provide proof that you successfully completed them.

Consider fasting

When you schedule the life insurance physical, ask the examiner if you should fast for eight hours before the exam. Just as some labs want you to fast before getting your cholesterol tested, it may be a wise move before the life insurance medical exam. Eating before the physical can affect not only cholesterol but glucose levels.

Free eBook: Launching Your Insurance Career with Confidence

As an aspiring insurance professional, wouldn’t it be great if you could sit down with a room full of successful insurance veterans and ask them for their advice? The Kaplan Financial Education team interviewed over 100 insurance professionals to develop this exclusive eBook for those who are considering the insurance industry.

Download Free eBook

Step 7: Stay Calm and Take the Exam

Here are some tips for how to handle questions on the exam:

  • Read each question carefully and thoroughly before answering it. Most questions will have a lot of detail and qualifying information in them. Try to focus only on the information in the question and avoid making assumptions just to fill in the blanks.
  • Find the questions you know the answer to and answer them first. If you find yourself stuck, move on and come back to it later.
  • Don’t leave any questions blank. Guessing the answer still gives you a 25% chance of getting it right. And, If you can eliminate any of the multiple-choice options that you know to be incorrect, you will have any even better chance at guessing the correct answer.

Once you complete the exam, you will get the results. If you pass, you will receive instructions on how to apply for your license with the state. You may have to wait a few days for the testing center to report that you passed before you can apply for your license. If you fail, you will get a diagnostic report so you know what areas to focus on the next time.

Stick to a Timeline

ExamFX recommends studying for a minimum of 40-hours to prepare appropriately for your Life and Health exam. Keep yourself disciplined by starting early and setting up a study schedule. ExamFX courses provide a Virtual Study Calendar that allows candidates to create a personalized study plan. With our exam prep platform, you will be able to set your schedule and reach your goals with a minimum amount of stress.

Learn more by taking our interactive program tour.

Wear lightweight clothing

If you usually weigh yourself wearing nothing or as little as possible wear lightweight clothing for a life insurance exam to get an accurate weight measurement. Weight can affect your rate class.

The life insurance physical affects how much money you will pay for your policy, so it’s in your interest to get the best results you can. By making some simple changes to your lifestyle you could create healthy savings over the life of a life insurance policy. If you make some of these changes permanent, such as eating more vegetables and fruits and eating fewer foods with high fat and salt content, you can even benefit your long-term health.

While a life insurance medical exam might impact your life insurance rates, you can get a general idea of how much you will be paying beforehand. Get a life insurance estimate online, or call 1-844-538-9998 to get a quote over the phone today.

2) Detoxify

Having a fiber-rich diet and taking a lot of fluids will really help in flushing out toxins from your body. Do not drink coffee, tea or soda as caffeine will make you look bad on the results. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Having high levels of nicotine or alcohol in your system will make them consider you a high-risk client and will certainly not help in getting the best insurance policy. If you have a pre-existing condition, reference our resource page on getting approved for high risk life insurance.

Warning: Do not smoke or chew tobacco a few days before the exam. I actually had a client that did this even though they aren’t typically a smoker and it more than doubled their rate. Life insurance rates for tobacco users is not cheap!

5) Avoid Pain Medications

Certain medications skew the results for tests aimed at evaluating the health of your liver. Under the guidance of a medical professional, avoid taking medications at the day of your life insurance medical exam. However, if you do take pain or other medications, inform the medical staff and insurance representative about the kinds you are taking. You may also have to provide the contact information of the doctors giving the prescription.

What to Expect After Your Medical Exam

It usually takes a few weeks for your insurer to process the results of your life insurance medical exam and get back to you. The insurer may request a second exam if unexpected results turn up.

The underwriting process usually wraps up in two months or less.

What to Do if You’re Denied Coverage

If you’re denied life insurance coverage based on the results of your medical exam, you need to immediately ask the insurer why.

Request a copy of the results and if they don’t look correct to you or your personal doctor, you may request a second exam.

If the exam reveals a medical condition that poses a serious threat to your life or health, you should talk with your doctor immediately.

You may still be able to purchase life insurance through another insurer, but you will have to take a new medical exam. There are policies that do not require medical exams, but they may have higher premiums or lesser benefits than standard life insurance.

What is tested for in a life insurance medical exam?

Life insurance medical exams are designed to assess your health, confirm the information on your application and screen for illegal drug use.

Health factors

The height and weight measurements taken during a life insurance medical exam are used to determine whether you’re overweight, according to standards set by the insurer. The exam company will also take your blood pressure. Elevated figures for either of these tests could indicate you’re at higher risk for a heart attack or other health issues that the insurer wants to avoid.

Blood and urine tests during a life insurance medical test screen for dozens of health indicators and conditions, such as:

HIV and AIDS Sexually transmitted diseases Cholesterol, including LDL and HDL, and triglycerides (poor levels correlated with heart disease) Hemoglobin A1C, fructosamine and glucose levels (as an indicator of whether you may have diabetes) Creatinine, hemoglobin and proteins (to identify kidney disease) Urine acidity (can indicate kidney issues or diabetes)

Confirmation of application responses

Your blood and urine samples will be tested for prescription drug use, tobacco use and whether you have any diseases. In addition, you may be weighed and asked questions about your lifestyle. While the insurer already collected this information during the application process, it will be checking that your test results and answers are consistent.

The insurer will also be checking that your responses match data from the Medical Information Bureau, prescription database and DMV records.

This is why it’s important to answer all questions from the insurer and testing company honestly, even if they make you uncomfortable. Otherwise, you can be denied coverage. So, for example, if you take antidepressants or other medications, it’s better to disclose this early to the insurer, as it will find out. Insurers also have a two-year window from the time you purchase coverage during which, if they find you’ve provided false or misleading information, they can cancel your policy.

Drugs and nicotine

You’ll be declined for life insurance coverage if a blood or urine test indicates you use any illegal drugs, such as amphetamines or opiates. The only exception to this rule is marijuana, as each insurer evaluates marijuana consumption differently. If you use marijuana regularly, you should consult an independent insurance agent to determine which insurance companies to apply with. For example, MetLife offers preferred rates even if you smoke multiple times per week, while Primerica doesn’t accept any such habits for term life insurance applicants.

The life insurance medical exam also screens for nicotine and cotinine in the urinalysis in order to determine your tobacco usage. The test isn’t binary and can indicate whether you’re a regular smoker or if you’ve quit recently.

However, the test won’t be able to identify how nicotine came into your system, so if you’re using a patch to quit smoking or have the occasional cigar, you’ll likely be classified as a smoker.

That’s why you should indicate any details regarding the reason nicotine or cotinine would be in your system in the initial application. Many insurers don’t mind a celebratory cigar a couple of times a year but won’t be very accepting if you don’t disclose it.

Smokers receive some of the highest life insurance rates, so some people try to quit for a period of time prior to their medical exam to qualify for better premiums. Nicotine and cotinine can stay in your system from a few days to several weeks after smoking, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to pass a life insurance test for tobacco if you are a smoker.

In addition, since the insurer can cancel your coverage if it later finds out that you smoke, it’s better to be honest during the application.

How Should I Prepare For a Life Insurance Medical Exam?

In the Weeks Leading Up to the Exam

A few healthy tweaks to your diet can help lower your LDL levels and raise your HDL levels.

  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking water can help dilute concentrations of sugar and protein, and clear toxins from your system.
  • Limit your salt intake. Too much salt can make your urine too concentrated and lead to dehydration.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Food that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products can help lower your blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic. It’s a good idea to avoid processed food that has added sodium.
  • Limit alcohol. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. That’s one drink per day for women and two per day for men, according to the Mayo Clinic. Drinking more than a moderate amount can raise your blood pressure and reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

The Day Before the Exam

You’ll want to take a few extra precautions the day before the exam, such as:

  • Avoid alcohol and nicotine. Both can increase your blood pressure. But remember, the blood or urine test will reveal recent nicotine use.
  • Avoid red meat. Red meat is a high-cholesterol food.
  • Avoid over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines and nasal decongestants. These types of medications can increase blood pressure.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. People who sleep less than six hours a night could have increased blood pressure, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The Day of the Exam

Here are steps you can take on the day of the exam to help ensure the best possible results:

  • Avoid caffeinated drinks, such as coffee, soda and tea.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise, which can raise your blood pressure.
  • Drink plenty of water. Being well hydrated also makes it easier to provide urine and blood samples.
  • Have a photo ID ready. You’ll most likely need a government issued ID, like your driver’s license, state issued photo ID or passport.
  • Have your medical information ready, including a list of medical conditions, treatments, prescription medications and contact information for your physician(s).
  • Wear short sleeves or sleeves that can be rolled up so the examiner can get your blood sample.

When you get the blood pressure reading, a few simple steps like not having a full bladder and keeping your feet flat on the floor during the reading can get you the best results. A full bladder can raise your blood pressure reading by 10 to 15 points and crossing your legs can add 2 to 8 points, according to WebMD. Dangling your legs can increase the blood pressure reading by 6 to 10 points.

Here are some more mistakes that can boost your blood pressure reading from WebMD.

What is on the Life Insurance Exam?

While the life insurance exam is state-specific, there is a lot of content that is tested in all fifty states. The life insurance license exam is often divided into a general life insurance section and a state-specific section. You can structure your studying to cover all of the topics included in your state’s content outline. Many states cover these items.

Life Insurance Exam Content Outline

  • Types of Life Insurance
  • Annuities
  • Policy Provisions, Options, and Other Features
  • General Life Insurance Topics
  • State Section

Types of Life Insurance

Different types of life insurance include the term, whole life, endowments, premium variations, universal life, and combination policies. Within each type of insurance, you should understand the general structure, features, and when that type of policy is recommended. Sample items from the North Carolina life insurance exam content outline include:

I. Types of individual life insurance

A. Term 

1. General nature 

2. Basic types of term contracts 

3. Special features 

a. Renewability 

b. Convertibility

B. Whole life insurance 

C. Endowment

The content outline continues to include more testable information, but this gives you an idea of how in-depth each section goes.


You will need to know the basic contract structure of an annuity. In this section of the test, expect to see questions about setting up an annuity-based life insurance policy, how benefits are determined, and when benefits are paid. The Illinois life insurance exam content outline covers:

D. Annuities 

1. Single and flexible premium

2. Immediate and deferred

3. Fixed and variable

4. Indexed

Policy Riders, Provisions, Options, and Other Features

This section covers how life insurance policy contracts are structured, provisions that apply in certain circumstances (ex. suicide, misstatement of age, aviation, war, etc…), how to designate a beneficiary, and the different types of beneficiaries. You will also be asked about cash value and loans against a life insurance policy. The Colorado life insurance exam content outline lists the following as a sample of testable items:

II. Policy riders, provisions, options, and exclusions

A. Policy riders 

1. Waiver of premium and waiver of monthly deduction 

2. Guaranteed insurability 

3. Payor benefit 

4. Accidental death and/or accidental death and dismemberment 

5. Term riders 

6. Other insureds 

7. Long term care 

8. Return of premium

General Life Insurance Topics

The final section of the general life insurance content on the test covers a variety of topics that don’t quite fit under the other sections. These include group contracts, underwriting, and conversion, retirement plans, social security, tax implications of life insurance payouts, and legal concepts as they apply to life insurance contracts.

State Section

The majority of the state-specific section tests your knowledge of your state’s rules and regulations. These can include requirements for contract language, disclosures, and rules that pertain to the life insurance policy itself. It also covers licensing requirements for you, as the life insurance agent, as well as brokers, limited representatives, and adjusters. You may also be asked about continuing education requirements and available professional organizations in your state.

Thank You for Your Feedback

We appreciate your feedback. One of our content team members will be in touch with you soon.

We appreciate your feedback. One of our content team members will be in touch with you soon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.