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Interviews and Medical Exams for Life Insurance – Preparing for the Best (A Practical Guide)

When you discover that you need an interview and examination (referred to as a “paramed exam”) completed in conjunction with a life insurance application, a lot of things can run through your mind.  A common concern is “Will it be like my physician’s exam?”  The answer to this question is yes and no.  Yes, it will reflect a physician’s exam regarding vital medical data (blood pressure, various blood work levels, build and the like).

However, the questions that will be asked will be from a person not known to you and certainly not your trusted personal physician.  The unknowns could cause your thinking to be clouded prompting behavior prior to the exam that could hurt you in their life insurance consideration.  This guide can help you prepare for the insurance examination to insure accuracy, completeness and the best chance for a more an ideal outcome; that being an approval at the lowest rate.

Guidelines For Best Results In A Personal History Interview

1. Understand the questions that will be asked. – These are usually reflective of the insurance application but not necessarily a carbon copy so be sure that you are alert, not distracted by outside stimuli and answer correctly.  Reviewing your application prior to the interview or having it handy if it is done over the phone is helpful.

The answers should be concise in response to the interviewer questions without long elaboration or detail.  If the interviewer requires more detail they will ask.  Be brief and cordial.

Any knowingly false representation to an insurer is fraud and a crime.

2. Stay calm. – The insurer wants your business.  Anxiety and stress can cause elevations in a person’s blood pressure and heart rate and this is not the time to “stress out”.   Ideally set the appointment for the interview and the exam during times where you can have solitude and a lack of distractions.  Don’t be afraid to ask the examiner for some time to compose yourself should a spontaneously stressful situation arise.

As life would have it, occasionally one may suffer a cold, flu, allergies in the time leading up to the exam.  Even consumpstion of bad food can alter results dramatically.  Always place yourself in the best position for the approval.

Pro Tip: You are entitled to take the time to have your environment as “approval ready” as possible.  The best way to do that is giving yourself ample time to schedule the steps as you may require.  The life insurance company wants your application approved as applied or even better and they will reasonably accommodate you.

Many applications result in a decline or unfavorable rate due to lack of preparation for the medical exam.

3. Eat right. – Please eat only modestly and limit all high fat and salt content foods at least 24 hours before the exam.  If dining out, now is not a good time to try a new place and also to overeat.  Ideally, fasting at least 8-12 hours prior to the exam will aid in lipid analysis.

4. Refrain from alcohol. – NO alcohol at minimum 24-36 hours before the exam and it’s a good idea not to schedule an exam on a Monday or Tuesday just in case there is a need to “get over the weekend”.

5. Refrain from stimulants. – That cup of coffee or that cigarette before the exam is not a good idea.  Limit stimulants that are known to affect blood pressure and heart rate.  This includes diet medications, energy drinks and the like.

6. Control water intake. – Although you will need to provide a urine sample, a gallon is not needed.  Therefore, limit water use to 8 ounces prior to the exam in order to get your kidneys running smoothly and there is no impression of dehydration.

Pro Tip (for diabetics): Your best outcome for a blood sample occurs when it is provided at least 2-2 ½ hours after a meal.  Take a pass on dessert for the exam please.

7. Avoid strenuous physical activity. – Refrain from strenuous exercise or other taxing physical activity for at least 24 hours before the exam if possible.  Save your workout for afterward.

8. Manage your medications. – Please make sure that there has not been a change in the time and dosage of your medication and that they are taken at their normal times.  Now is NOT the time to experiment with your medications in any way.  This includes discontinuing prescribed meds or taking anything new that is not prescribed.


It is of no benefit to anyone including the insurer in an exam process that results in a decline or a rate increase that is unacceptable to you.  They want your business.  Everyone is pulling for you.  Stay calm in that understanding always and you will achieve the best possible outcome.

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