When you apply for life insurance, one of the things you’ll need to do to get approved for coverage is to take a blood test. Insurance companies use this as a way to gauge your health status and determine how much to charge you for your monthly premiums. There are things you can do to prepare for your blood test to get a better result and therefore get lower premiums. Here’s what to keep in mind when preparing for your life insurance blood test.
Why Do Life Insurance Companies Use a Blood Test?
Life insurance companies use your blood test results to help determine the final cost of your premiums. Your blood test results are indicative of your overall health status and can indicate to the insurance company how likely you are to die and file a claim. Statistically, the more likely you are to pass away, the higher your premiums will be. This system is designed to keep the life insurance companies financially stable because it offsets the costs of paying out a claim.
What to Expect From the Blood Test
If you’ve never had a life insurance blood test before, you may be wondering exactly what to expect. The insurer will make your blood test and medical exam as accessible as possible. In most cases, they will send an examiner to your home or workplace, or you’ll be able to take the test at a pre-approved clinic, depending on what is most convenient for you. You’ll also be able to set the date and time of the test to fit your schedule. The test itself should last about 30 minutes – your medical examiner will ask some preliminary health questions and conduct the blood test. They may also complete a few other basic tests, depending on the level of life insurance coverage you are applying for. The exam is always free, even if it is conducted in a clinic.
Tips for Better Results on Blood Tests
While you can’t change your health status overnight, there are things you can do to improve your chances of getting a good result. Here are some tips for a successful life insurance exam.
- Eat a healthy diet in the weeks leading up to the test. The food you eat can directly affect your blood test results, so switching up your diet can translate to a noticeable improvement. Avoid processed foods, particularly ones that are high in salt and sugar. You should also keep your consumption of animal products to a minimum, as these can increase your cholesterol. Some insurance companies may also ask you to fast for a certain period of time before the blood test, as this can produce more accurate results. Confirm this with your insurer ahead of time to see what conditions they prefer for the test.
- Maintain your sleep schedule. When you don’t get enough sleep, it can raise your blood pressure and increase your chances of stroke. This can show up in your test results. In the leadup to a blood test, start going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. If you’re struggling to go to bed at the same time every night, try setting an alarm to remind you to go to bed.
- Stay hydrated. In the days leading up to the blood test, cut back on alcohol and caffeine, as these are both very dehydrating. Alcohol also produces liver enzymes that will show up on a blood test, and caffeine can increase your blood pressure. Instead, carry a water bottle around with you throughout the day. This will remind you to keep drinking and stay hydrated. Try to hit at least eight glasses of water per day. In addition to helping your blood test results, the water will also help you feel healthier and more energized.
- Avoid vigorous exercise in the day or two leading up to the blood test. While exercise is an important part of any healthy routine, it can raise your blood pressure, which will negatively affect the results of your blood test. Take it easy the day before your test to avoid any negative repercussions.
What Are Insurance Companies Looking For?
There are specific health factors that insurance companies keep an eye out for when screening potential customers. They’ll use the blood test to screen for a huge range of chronic diseases that could shorten your lifespan. These include diabetes, HIV and AIDS, heart disease, and kidney disease. They’ll also look at your cholesterol levels – high cholesterol makes you more likely to develop a number of different conditions later in life.
Insurance companies will also use your blood test to look for drug use. They’ll test for tobacco use, alcohol levels, prescription drug abuse, and more. Abusing drugs and alcohol can dramatically shorten your lifespan, and if you are a habitual smoker or drug user, your life insurance premiums will be significantly higher. If you do smoke or drink, it’s very important to be honest about it when applying for life insurance. If your insurance company finds out that you smoke through your blood test, they will consider your original application a form of insurance fraud. This means you could be charged higher premiums later on or even denied coverage. In the days leading up to the blood test, you’ll want to avoid cold remedies or sleeping pills, which can occasionally cause false positives for illegal drugs. Although these false positives are rare, you won’t want to take the risk on such an important blood test. Your insurance company may instruct you to avoid certain foods or substances in the days leading up to the test for this reason.
Getting a blood test for your life insurance company can feel a little daunting, particularly if you haven’t done it before. However, the process is actually very quick and simple. Maintaining healthy habits in the days leading up to your blood test is the best way to improve your results and keep your premium costs low.