We covered questions like; What is a life insurance urine test? What happens during a life insurance urine test? Why should you get a life insurance urine test? What are life insurance companies looking for in a urine test?
Whether you choose permanent life insurance or term life insurance, you will need to go through the underwriting process. This is how the insurance company decides how much of a risk you are and how much of a death benefit you qualify for. The insurance company collects information about your health, job, income, finances, and other personal information to determine how much it will insure you and what your premium will be.
The underwriting process can take four to six weeks or even longer. If you have no previous life insurance policy in effect, some insurance companies provide conditional, or, temporary life insurance until the underwriting process is complete.
What is a life insurance urine test?
Traditional life insurance policies require a medical exam, which includes the collection of a blood and urine sample, as part of the underwriting process. A urine test will reveal drugs, nicotine, and other health issues. The exam is paid for by the insurance company as part of the underwriting process.
People with certain pre-existing health conditions may be ineligible for traditional life insurance — in which case they should consider no medical exam life insurance. As the name implies, this type of insurance doesn’t require a medical exam.
What happens during a life insurance urine test?
With a life insurance urine test, the insurance company sends a paramedical professional to your home or business to perform the exam. The medical exam, also known as a paramedical exam, can take up to 30 minutes and usually includes a blood and urine sample, plus taking your weight and blood pressure.
For the urine sample, you will use a cup like you would at the doctor’s office during a physical. The cup has a temperature strip that helps determine if the urine is genuine and fresh – to prevent using someone else’s urine or synthetic urine.
It’s recommended that you fast before the exam, so early appointments are best — otherwise, you’ll have to fast most of the day for an afternoon appointment. Your samples are sent to a lab and you are given a code to check the results.
If you have health issues like high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, or a family history of cancer or heart disease, the insurance company may request your health records from your attending or primary care physician. This will make the underwriting process longer, as the insurance company waits to receive your medical records from your doctor and review them. If your medical records indicate other health concerns, expect follow-up calls from the insurance company.
Why should you get a life insurance urine test?
Not knowing your medical history means the insurance company is taking a gamble on your health. As a result, death benefits for no medical exam life insurance are limited, typically with a more expensive premium than insurance with a medical exam. Plus, no medical exam life insurance is only available for a limited term — no more than 20 years.
Getting a medical exam with a urine test and blood sample helps lower your premiums because the underwriting process can better determine your level of risk.
What are life insurance companies looking for in a urine test?
Your insurer is looking for confirmation of what you’ve claimed in your medical questionnaire and to make sure you’re not engaging in any dangerous or unhealthy behaviors that might put your life at risk. Some of the more prominent checks include:
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1: Cholesterol and other health data
Your medical condition and medical history affects your life insurance premium. A basic urine test can check for substances that indicate underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, kidney disease or infection. These findings probably won’t cause the insurer to refuse your policy, but a pre-existing condition may raise your premiums.
2: Drug use
The test will check for any prescription medications to make sure you’re taking the appropriate doses and not taking drugs for health conditions you haven’t disclosed. But your urine will also be tested for illegal drug use, which — if detected — will likely cause your application to be denied. Depending on the company where you are applying, marijuana use may not disqualify you, and probably won’t spur an increase in your premiums as long as it’s legal in your state.
Smokers are considered to be such high-risk applicants that they have their own category for life insurance underwriting. If you claim to be a non-smoker, a urine test will reveal whether you lied on your application. But, if you are, review how smoking affects your life insurance.
When should I expect a life insurance urine test?
The life insurance company pays for the test, but you’re in charge of scheduling it. Once your insurer makes the request, you can schedule the test for whenever your medical center has an opening that works for you. The test should only take 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
What else is included in a life insurance medical exam?
In addition to the hair, blood and urine tests, your medical exam will check your overall wellness using a physical exam, in which the technician will:
- Record your height and weight
- Take your blood pressure
- Run an electrocardiogram, if you’ve reported heart issues
- Take fluid and hair samples
- Test your cognitive skills
- Measure your cholesterol
How do I prepare for a life insurance urine test?
In truth, there’s not a lot to do to prepare for a urinalysis test, but reading through the dos and don’ts below can help you do your part to avoid any mistakes or delays down the road.
What to do before a life insurance urine test
The following tips can help make the day go smoothly:
- Drink plenty of water. You don’t want to go overboard, but adding a couple of glasses of fluids the day of the test will ensure you’re ready to give a sample when the time comes.
- List your prescriptions. Come prepared with a list of your prescriptions and their doses to make sure the test doesn’t flag something that’s already part of your medical history.
- Don’t forget supplements. Include any vitamins or supplements you’re taking. Even vitamins as mundane as vitamin C can sometimes interfere with the test.
What not to do before a life insurance urine test
You may want to avoid the following in the days prior to your test:
- Too much caffeine. Indulging in your normal cup of coffee probably won’t affect your test, but too much caffeine or energy drinks could increase your blood pressure and mess with your results.
- Heavy exercise. The days before your urine test are probably not the time to step up your exercise game. High-level workouts can increase the protein levels in your urine, which can mimic kidney problems.
- Too little water. Dehydration can concentrate your urine, which again can throw off the levels that the urinalysis is testing for and mimic a health condition.
- Drugs. To avoid mistakes, properly dose your prescription drugs and be prepared to produce your prescription should your insurer require it.
- False-positive foods. Yes, eat enough poppy seeds and you can test positive for opiates, but your favorite bagels aren’t the only food that can trigger a false positive. Teas with ingredients like hemp oil or coca, snack bars that include hemp seeds and any cocktail with tonic in it can cause false positives. And while most modern tests have upped the threshold to account for these errors, it’s probably a good idea to change out your diet a few days before the test.
- Over-the-counter drugs. Ibuprofen, cold medicines and sleep aids have all led to false positives. Obviously take what you need to get through the day, but if you do have to take high doses of the medicines, let your tech know so that info can be noted.
Can I get a life insurance policy without a urine test?
If you don’t want to take a urine test, most insurance companies have options for policies you can purchase without one. But just because a medical exam isn’t required doesn’t mean the insurer won’t ask for a test if something comes up during the application process. Here are your non-exam options:
- Simplified issue. You still have to answer questions about your medical history, but as long as you don’t have any major health conditions, a simplified issue life insurance policy doesn’t require any medical exams.
- Guaranteed issue. The guarantee in guaranteed issue life insurance is that you won’t need a medical exam to get a policy. But you pay for that privilege. These policies are expensive, have low payout caps and are often purchased by seniors to deal with end-of-life expenses.
- Group life insurance. If you get life insurance from your employer as part of a group life insurance policy, you won’t have to get a medical exam. But it’s a short-term benefit, usually only active while you’re employed at the company, and usually has a low payout.
- Accelerated underwriting. A few start-up insurance companies are using algorithms populated with publicly-available data, such as your credit score and driving record, and data you provide, such as your medical records and prescription drug history, to set your premium and offer instant approval term life insurance.