There are plenty of people that apply for life insurance and are sure they are going to get the best rate class available. In their mind they are even ahead of Superman because he has that disorder that has to do with Kryptonite. These people have never been sick, only see a doctor when their spouse makes them get a checkup, and have parents that are well on their way to living to age 115.

You know how sometimes you are just driving down the road and out of nowhere you hit a pothole? Before long even people in California will know what I’m talking about when the budget cuts get to the highway department. It shakes your world, your teeth and occasionally ruins your tire. It’s a bad experience.

A pothole in the life insurance application process would be something showing up on your exam or in your labs that bumps you a rate class, or two, or three….something you had no idea about and never saw coming. These things generally come out of nowhere (referring back to the first paragraph) because you believe that you are immortal and have never truly been checked out by a doctor.

One that bites a lot of applicants is cholesterol. Quick now! What was your last cholesterol reading? Your HDL? LDL? Mine were 164, 45 and 104. It’s a trick question in that the only way you would know the answer is if you had been to a doctor or a health fair and had lab work done. If you did that and had a problem then there’s a good chance you wouldn’t be finding out about your out of normal range lipids on a life insurance exam when it isn’t just a matter to discuss with your spouse or doctor, but a determining factor in what rate class an underwriter will approve you at.

So, how to avoid that cholesterol surprise on your exam? There are health fairs everywhere and the good news is that they are cheap and easy. I know this is a stretch for guys, but suck it up once a year and go donate a little blood and get checked out. Better to find out your cholesterol is creeping up on you that way than having the ER doc explain the relationship between cholesterol and blocked arteries.

If your cholesterol is stepping out of the normal range, diet and exercise might just be the cure. Even if you have to medically control your cholesterol most insurance companies still allow their best rate class. So, annually guys! And annually isn’t once every decade. That would be decadually. Once a year. Your wife will love you for it. Your kids will see a good example when you do it. You’ll get better life insurance rates. You’ll feel better and your friends will be impressed.

The other pothole is blood pressure. I had high blood pressure once, actually just one time due to some medication I was on. When my blood pressure when from my normal 110/65 to 145/95, I felt it and it didn’t feel good. In fact it felt so wrong that I have been convinced since then that high blood pressure is bad for you.

Quick! What was you last blood pressure reading? If you don’t know this one you really need to get out more. There are blood pressure machines in every Walmart and in most pharmacies and grocery stores. And they are free!!! If you find out your blood pressure is running higher than it should (they have little charts right on the machines), again, diet and exercise might do the trick. If not, again, there are more and more companies that want to see you doing the right thing and will approve you at their best rate class even if you are medically treated for hypertension. That’s a much better bet for them than taking their chances with heart attacks or a stroke.

Bottom line. There are plenty of folks out there that can just la la their way into the best rate class, but if you aren’t sure how that exam and labs will turn out it’s time for a preventive checkup. Your Mom would be proud of you.