Insurance companies all have their own policies about how they handle medical exams, but most of them require a quick blood test, blood pressure screening and urine test. If you pass, you may not even get the results personally. You'll only know you are considered a low-risk individual if the insurance company approves your new policy.

However, if your test results turn up something negative or indicate a medical condition that the insurance company perceives as too risky, you'll hear back. You'll likely receive a notice from the insurer that tells you why you have been denied a life insurance policy or have been given life insurance quotes at a higher rate.

In some cases, you could even be notified by your doctor's office that the medical exam from the insurance company turned up a potential health problem.

Insuring an accurate medical exam

There are steps you can take that will improve your chances of accurate test results:

  • Schedule your tests early in the morning so you can fast for eight to 12 hours prior to the tests.
  • Drink only water the morning of your tests.
  • Avoid medications such as decongestants and pain relievers for a few days prior to the tests.
  • Avoid salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine for a few days prior to your tests.

Your insurance application should also include a list of your current medications so that if any of them show up in your test results, there will be an explanation.

False positive test results

If you receive a test result you believe is inaccurate, contact the insurance company to see if it will accept a retest. You can offer your doctor's medical files as proof of your medical condition, but not all insurance companies will use them.

While it may seem as if you could simply apply to another insurance company, most major insurance companies are members of the MIB Group, which shares data about your medical conditions and even your avocations, such as skydiving, that could impact your ability to obtain life insurance. If your false positive test result ends up in the MIB database, other insurance companies might also turn down your application.

You can contact MIB directly to receive a copy of your report and to dispute the information in your file.

If you are unable to correct any misinformation, you can ask that your file include a statement of dispute.

One more potential alternative is to apply for a smaller life insurance policy that does not require a medical exam. You can even layer several small life insurance policies to protect your family with more life insurance.