Understanding life insurance blood tests

When you apply for life insurance, it might come as a surprise to learn you may have to give the insurance company a blood sample. Why do insurers require a life insurance blood test? What are they looking to find?

First of all, rest easy: The blood test is simple and private. It’s a normal part of a life insurance medical exam, which certain plans require for coverage.

Completing the medical exam, including the blood test, can help you qualify for the best rates for life insurance. Insurers use your blood test to confirm the information you’ve already provided on your application and understand your overall health. The healthier you are, the better your rates will be.

Can’t stand needles? If you want to skip the blood test, you can choose a no medical exam life insurance policy instead. Before making that decision, here are some life insurance basics to know first.

What does the life insurance blood test look for?

Life insurance medical exams provide insurance companies with important details about your health.  The life insurance medical exam is free to you, takes about 30 minutes, and is performed by a licensed medical technician. You can schedule the exam at a place of your choosing, like your home or office, and you get to keep a copy of your results.

The purpose of the exam is to verify your application and uncover any other details that could affect your life insurance rates. A technician will generally:

  • Measure your height and weight
  • Take your blood pressure
  • Check your pulse
  • Ask some questions about your health and family medical history
  • Take a urine and blood sample for testing purposes

Afterward, the technician takes your urine and blood samples to a lab to run. Keep in mind that the life insurance medical exam blood test doesn’t screen for every health condition. Generally, the life insurance company is looking for common issues that could affect your lifespan. The insurer uses that information to determine your overall risk as a customer.

So, what do life insurance blood tests actually test for? Your blood screening may look for:

  • Any prescription medications in the bloodstream that could indicate treatment for specific health conditions or risks
  • Evidence of tobacco, which could indicate recent use, including smoking, vaping, or chewing
  • Evidence of marijuana or recreational drug use
  • Enzyme levels, which can indicate inflammation of organs, including evidence of cardiac and liver conditions
  • Cholesterol levels, including the presence of harmful triglycerides
  • Blood pressure and blood sugar levels

A medical exam blood test can give your insurance company a glimpse into the presence or risk of dozens of conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, kidney issues, sexually transmitted diseases, and other chronic illnesses. A blood test isn’t a replacement for a regular physical from your doctor, though. It’s a way for your insurance company to check your health and provide you with the most fair and accurate rates possible.

Could you be denied life insurance because of your blood test results?

Yes, it’s possible to be turned down for life insurance because of your blood test. Your health is a big part of the picture in qualifying for life insurance. If you have serious health issues that come out during the exam, your insurance company may not be able to offer you coverage.

That said, being upfront during the application is the best way to avoid a denial later on. If your blood work reveals information you didn’t mention earlier, the life insurance company may decline to cover you. For example, if you say you’re a nonsmoker and your blood work shows evidence of tobacco use, some insurers will turn down your application for dishonesty.

A better bet? Be open with your insurance agent when you apply about any health concerns. There are plenty of plans out there with more relaxed requirements, and they can help you find the best fit for your situation.

Rather avoid the life insurance blood test?

What does a life insurance blood test look for that worries you? People feel nervous about taking the test for many reasons. You may want to protect your privacy. You may be unsure what will show up.

If you want to skip the exam, you have options. No exam policies tend to have higher rates and lower coverage amounts than medically underwritten policies, but they can be a good alternative if you’re concerned about qualifying for a traditional plan.

No exam life insurance includes:

  • Simplified issue insurance: This type of coverage relies on a health questionnaire to determine your eligibility. The short application and no medical exam requirement make it a fast way to get covered.
  • Guaranteed issue insurance: This type of life insurance asks a few health-related questions to set your rate, but you can’t be turned down over medical issues. It’s best for people with serious health problems who may not be able to buy other types of coverage.

Still have questions?

Our team at Fidelity Life can help you find the policy that’s right for your needs, including options for people who would rather skip a blood test. Get in touch with our agents or start your quote today.

At Fidelity Life, our goal is to make life insurance simple, affordable, and understandable for everyday families. This content is intended for educational purposes only. Each post is carefully fact-checked, reviewed, and updated regularly to ensure the information is as relevant as possible.