Taking a blood test for life insurance approval is a common, simple, and fairly painless procedure that’s over quickly and helps insurance companies gauge your level of risk to them. But for many people, this blood test for life insurance sparks anxiety.
Some people simply detest needles. But the most common anxiety stems from uncertainty about how the testing will affect them financially. Just what are the insurance companies looking for? How will their findings affect cost? Is there anything I can do to improve my results?
There’s no need for this worrying. The following five facts and tips can give you peace of mind about a blood test for life insurance.
You Don't Have to Take the Blood Test, But...
Many carriers will insure people without a health screening, so you CAN get insurance without taking a blood test. But if you’re in good health, you would be throwing your money away. Without a medical exam to prove a low level of risk, you’re not going to get the low rates your good health would otherwise qualify you for.
On the other hand, if you have health issues, you may think about hiding them by not taking a blood test. But even if you choose a no-exam policy, you will be asked questions about your health and many conditions will cause you to be declined. If you lie, your policy can be voided—and insurance companies don’t hesitate to investigate when faced with paying out a death benefit.
Go Ahead and Admit if You're a Smoker
Smokers generally pay significantly more for life insurance than non-smokers do. If you’re a smoker—realizing that nicotine usually leaves the body in two to four days—you may quit for a few days, hoping to get a non-smoker rate. But will your blood test for life insurance show nicotine? Don't be tempted to lie, false answers on your health questionnaire can invalidate your policy.
But what if you actually quit? Unfortunately, it usually takes at least a year of not smoking to qualify for non-smoker rates. Even if you pass the blood test, you should admit your smoking history. Most carriers will allow you to reapply for non-smoker rates after a certain period of abstinence. An independent agent will know each insurers guidelines about how long you must not smoke to be considered a non-smoker.
What's Being Tested
Blood tests for life insurance aren’t just used to detect nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs. Other tests include:
- Glucose—shows your blood sugar at the time of the test
- Fructosamine Glycated Albumin (AGP) and Hemoglobin A1C—AGP estimates your average blood sugar over a 2-3 week period, while A1C estimates average blood sugar for 4-6 weeks
- Blood Urea Nitrogen and Creatine—measures kidney function
- Alkaline Phosphatase—can indicate bone or liver disease
- Protein—abnormal readings can indicate numerous conditions
- Bilirubin—if abnormal can indicate blood and liver problems
- SGOT, SGPT, and GGT—measures of liver function
How to Get Ready for the Test
To get your best results:
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Fast for 12 hours before the test, unless you’re diabetic.
- Avoid fatty foods for your last meal.
- Don’t drink alcohol for 24 hours.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Discuss with your doctor whether you should take regularly scheduled medications before the test.
- Don't exercise immediately before your test.
The Bottom Line
Use an Independent Agent to get the Best Deal for Your Results
Whatever your blood test for life insurance reveals, an experienced independent life insurance agent will be able to steer you toward the best rate for you. Carriers vary widely in how they rate medical conditions, and an independent agent will know which carrier will be most favorable for your personal medical situation.