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Life Insurance Drug Test and Medical Exams

Life insurance companies use medical exams to determine what illnesses and diseases you may be at risk for and any potential drug use to help determine your eligibility and rates. Medical exams, urine tests and physical workups are standard for most term and permanent life insurance policies. They are provided by the insurer for free and can be conducted at your home, work or doctor’s office. 

What Does an Insurance Medical Exam Test For?

Medical exams for life insurance policies are designed to analyze your overall health condition, confirm the information you provide and test for illegal drug use. You will be declined for any kind of life insurance policy if a blood or urine test shows you use illegal drugs, such as opiates or amphetamines. Other drugs include:

  • Anabolic steroids
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cocaine
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Nicotine/cotinine
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Tranquilizers (such as Valium)

The only possible exception to this is if you use marijuana, and each insurer addresses consumption differently. An independent insurance agent can advise you about which insurance companies may allow marijuana consumption.

Standard life insurance medical exams also include testing for nicotine to determine tobacco use. The test does not indicate how nicotine came into your body, so if you have recently quit smoking and you’re using a patch or you smoke an occasional celebratory cigar, the insurer will likely classify you as a smoker. Some people try to quit before their life insurance medical exam so they can qualify for better premiums, but nicotine can remain in your system from a few days to several weeks after smoking. If you smoke, it’s best to be honest about it since the insurance company can cancel your policy coverage if they find out later that you lied about it.

Can You Get Life Insurance With a History of Drug Use?

If you have a history of drug abuse and you are clean and sober and you are interested in buying life insurance, it is possible. Most insurers require that you be clean for at least three years with no issues. In addition to a drug test, insurers may ask or all of the following questions: 

  • What drugs did you use in the past? 
  • How long did you use those drugs? 
  • How much of the drugs did you use? 
  • Were you ever in the hospital as a result of your drug consumption? 
  • Did drug use lead to serious health issues? If so, what conditions were you diagnosed with?
  • How long have you been clean?

Most insurance companies will provide coverage. It may be easier to qualify for a guaranteed life insurance policy that does not require a medical exam for coverage. 

What Not to Do Before Your Life Insurance Medical Exam

Life insurance medical exams, urine tests and blood work can indicate traces of drug use. Beginning a few days before a life insurance drug test, you should stop or reduce your coffee and alcohol intake. You should also avoid: 

  • Cold remedies and decongestants: May cause false positive result for amphetamines
  • Ibuprofen: Can cause false positive result for marijuana
  • Sleeping pills: May cause false positive result for barbiturates
  • Tonic water: Quinine, an ingredient in tonic water, can cause a false positive result for cocaine
  • Vitamin B12 or riboflavin supplements: Can cause false positive result for marijuana

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