Let’s start with the most important simple truth: yes — you can purchase life insurance if you have diabetes, so you can set your mind at ease about it. You might have limited coverage options, and your policy will likely cost more, because insurers will consider you a higher risk, but there are many options nonetheless.
Firstly, the main thing to note here is that along with other health factors, the type of diabetes you have will significantly impact how life insurance companies evaluate your application since each type of diabetes affects your health differently.
You are very much able to buy life insurance protection with diabetes, but a lot depends on the type of diabetes you have and whether your condition is well-controlled by medication.
Provided certain conditions are met, many diabetics can still get very affordable insurance. Here’s what you need to know about your life insurance options, as well as how qualifying for life insurance might be different for you than others.
It’s a bit harder than usual and generally more expensive to qualify for life insurance for all people with pre-existing health conditions. Insurers rate applicants based upon their expected mortality, which is determined by your current medical conditions and the likelihood of developing additional critical conditions.
Unfortunately, not everyone can easily get approved for a policy at premiums they can afford because of how life insurance products work. Individuals with a health issue such as diabetes may face additional challenges getting covered.
Because diabetes often includes other health issues (for example, obesity), it is treated as a risk factor for other medical conditions, and it can be difficult to find a life insurance policy with amazing rates as a diabetic.
The mindset of insurance companies is that diabetes increases your likelihood of a number of conditions and operations, like stroke, heart disease, hypertension, negative impact to organs, eyes, and teeth (due to uncontrolled glucose levels), kidney disease or failure, or neuropathy which can lead to different surgeries (like bypass surgery or limb amputation)…
They take all of these hypothetical scenarios and consider you a high-risk applicant — especially if you’ve had any sort of complications, or if your application shows signs that your condition isn’t well-controlled, because of the possible side effects.
Sometimes this is even the case with diabetic-friendly life insurance companies.
Of course, there are still options. When you have diabetes and apply for a life insurance policy, the insurer will determine whether they offer coverage and the rates you qualify for based upon your current health, medical history, family history, and lifestyle.
For diabetics, life insurance companies will want to determine how your condition is controlled, how it has impacted your body, and how likely it is to negatively impact your health in the future.
Let’s see what your options are, depending on your type of diabetes.
People with Type 1 diabetes are considered higher risk than those with Type 2 and may have a more difficult time purchasing life insurance. Life insurance providers consider Type 1 diabetes to be less manageable, as it often requires insulin to control.
Life insurance companies consider the age of diagnosis when evaluating their risk because a diagnosis later in life means fewer years when it will impact your body and health. However, because Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in children or teens, you’d likely be viewed as a higher risk when applying for life insurance.
Type 2 diabetes is considered lower risk by life insurance companies, particularly if you’re able to manage it by adjusting your lifestyle or oral medication, and if you’ve had no complications.
Because it is often diagnosed in adulthood, you’re more likely to be viewed favorably by insurers. As long as you’re otherwise healthy and haven’t had any major complications, you should be able to get a policy with Type 2 diabetes, although it can affect your life insurance rating and increase how much you pay.
People with this type of diabetes should generally have a wider choice of life insurance products and an easier time qualifying.
Gestational diabetes can occur in pregnant women due to hormonal changes in the body and it’s often a temporary condition that goes away soon after giving birth.
But this isn’t always the case, and it will cause some women to develop Type 2 diabetes. Life insurance companies will therefore rate you as higher risk, which means you’ll pay more than someone without gestational diabetes.
If you are already pregnant and have gestational diabetes, you could wait until a few months after you’ve given birth before applying for a life insurance policy, because the condition may go away after pregnancy — and that means you’ll have a much easier time qualifying for life insurance and probably receive lower quotes.
Ideally, good life insurance comes with affordable premiums and pays a generous death benefit to your loved ones after your death.
When you look for life insurance for diabetics, consider your needs first. The best life insurance will protect you financially, fit your budget, and support your end goals.
The most common types of insurance are:
Term life insurance
- Pays Death Benefits Only
- An Ideal Form Of Life Insurance For The Purpose Of Income Replacement.
- Purchased For Periods Of Time Such As 10, 20, Or 30 Years
- Policies That Cover You To A Specific Age Are Available (Such As 65 Years Old)
- Premiums Are Guaranteed For The Life Of The Term
- The Death Benefit Is Paid To The Beneficiary As A Non-taxable Lump Sum.
Permanent life insurance
- Permanent life options can be whole life insurance or universal life insurance are also available for diabetics
- More Expensive Than A Term Life Insurance Policy, But Earn You More Money
- The Cash Value Accumulation Feature Can Significantly Increase Your Premium
After deciding on the type of life insurance you’d prefer, you will need to complete a questionnaire about your diabetes in addition to the standard life insurance application.
Your insurer may request additional records from any physicians you’ve visited in the past few years. Also, unless you’re purchasing a no-medical-exam policy, the insurer will require you to take either a paramedical exam or a complete physical exam.
The following questions are most commonly asked of diabetics when applying:
You write whether you have Type 1, Type 2, or gestational diabetes.
The longer you’ve had diabetes, the longer it’s impacted your body — which means an increased likelihood of side effects. A later-in-life diagnosis is better (age 50 is ideal).
The names, addresses, and phone numbers of all doctors that you’ve seen in the last two years. The insurance company may want documentation of all future appointments and referrals.
A1C levels indicate the severity of your diabetes and how well it’s controlled. The lower your A1C, the better, and if it’s below 7.0, you’ll generally be viewed favorably. Levels above 7.5 show insurers less diabetes control and present a higher risk for them.
Insurers will want to know if your diabetes is controlled through diet, exercise, oral medication, insulin, or a combination of these. They may also want a report on your current diet, exercise frequency, types and doses of medication, or the number of insulin units per day. Control through diet and exercise alone is ideal, but consistent control through any method is a lot more preferable to a total absence of control.
Apart from your current height and weight, you will be asked the details of your family’s medical history, whether you take any additional medications or not, the details about any other conditions you’ve had and whether you’re a smoker.
You will be asked your most recent reading and whether you monitor it yourself. A blood glucose level below 135 is generally considered good, but you can often get coverage if your level is higher but controlled.
High blood pressure issues will raise your life insurance rate.
Your readings for LDL (bad) cholesterol, which can cause coronary artery disease, and HDL (good) cholesterol. These also affect rates.
A common side effect of diabetes is kidney damage, and the microalbumin test is used to detect early signs of it. You may be required to do a test.
If you’ve had any diabetes-related complications or other serious medical conditions, you’ll be considered a significantly higher risk client. Insurers will want to know about your potential:
- Chest Pain
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Protein In The Urine (Proteinuria)
- Abnormal Ecg
- Elevated Lipids
- Kidney Disease
- Blackout Spells
All of these details will determine your annual premiums, rates, death benefit — well, basically, all the most important parts of your policy.
In many cases, life insurance for diabetics will cost more than that of an average policyholder in good health. However, the actual cost of your policy will ultimately depend on your overall health condition.
Even with online rate calculators, t’s impossible to determine the exact possible rates of life insurance without sharing your unique health profile with an insurance agent.
With most insurance companies, there are five primary rating classifications. The classifications (or classes) will also determine the cost of life insurance — the amount of premium that you’re supposed to pay annually.
- Preferred Plus – Those who obtain a preferred plus rating are considered to be the healthiest. These policyholders are in excellent health, and will therefore pay the lowest amount of premium, as they pose the least amount of risk to the insurer.
- Preferred – Those who obtain a preferred rating are also considered to be very healthy, and will therefore also pay a low amount of premium. While they are not considered to be in as “excellent” of health as those in the Preferred Plus category, they are still considered to be above average.
- Standard Plus – Those who are in good overall health, but not quite at a Preferred status, can receive a Standard Plus rating.
- Standard – Standard policyholders are typically those who are considered to be of “average” health, height, and weight.
- Substandard – Those who fall into the Substandard classification usually have some type of adverse health condition. Because of this, they are considered to pose more risk to the insurer, and in order to compensate for that risk, they are charged a higher amount of premium. There are typically several levels of Substandard, depending on the severity of the condition or the amount of risk that the policyholder poses to the insurer.
Heads Up: If a website is quoting Preferred or Preferred plus rates, they are most likely misleading you — because only 1% of all diabetes applicants receive those types of ratings.
Research thoroughly or contact the company for details.
Here are some example rates of life insurance for two different diabetics with 10, 15, and 20-year term options. Hopefully, these will help you grasp the typical life insurance rates for diabetics, and be a good starting point for your research.
Note: The numbers in both of examples are general. Each individual is different and qualifies for their policy personally.
The best life insurance companies for diabetics provide affordable coverage to customers with varying conditions, different ages, and different income levels.
John Hancock’s Aspire and Prudential are often ranked as one of the best diabetes-friendly insurance companies. Here’s some info on them.
- Specifically designed for diabetics
- Discounts for healthy life choices
- Resources and aids for diabetics
- No online quotes for Aspire
- Not available in New York, Idaho, and Puerto Rico
John Hancock’s Aspire has created its Vitality program to provide Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics with life insurance and tools to help them manage their disease better in order to save them up to 25% on their life insurance premiums. Established in 1862, John Hancock holds an AM Best rating of A+.2
Vitality by John Hancock is a special rider people can purchase for as little as $2 per month with any permanent or term life insurance. Clients have the option of choosing between 10, 15, 20, or 30 years of coverage for term life.
This diabetes-specific policy combines the protection of John Hancock’s life insurance with the services of Onduo, which provides diabetes support and supplies to policyholders. The policy also rewards the insured for healthy choices like exercise, diet, and smoking cessation.
In addition to this, people with Type 2 diabetes may be eligible to participate in Onduo’s virtual diabetes clinic that provides consulting services, health coaching, and free testing devices and supplies. Onduo awards each of its members with points for the healthy choices they make each day. John Hancock will pay for the Onduo membership for the first year for every member; in year two and after, John Hancock will pay for it for a permanent life insurance policy of $250,000 or more in coverage and term policies of $2 million or more in coverage for members that earn at least 900 Onduo points. If the member doesn’t earn at least 900 engagement points per year, they can pay the membership themselves, which typically ranges from $250 to $750.
Those who have a permanent life insurance policy of less than $250,000 in coverage or a term policy of less than $2 million in coverage will have to pay for the Onduo membership themselves after the first policy year.
John Hancock doesn’t currently offer online quotes for Aspire, so you need to reach out to them by phone or email to get a quote. In addition to this, the Aspire insurance program by John Hancock is currently not available in New York, Idaho, and Puerto Rico.
Prudential has found its place as one of the top picks for diabetics who have a complicated medical history due to its flexibility with hard-to-insure customers, including former smokers who are typically excluded from diabetic life insurance policies.
- Covers both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
- No minimum age of diagnosis prescribed for Type 2
- Option to update your information online
- Option to file claims online
- Higher premium costs
- Maximum coverage of $500,000 for no-exam policies
- Slower turnaround time for applicants with some policies
While many insurance companies see diabetes as a life insurance disqualifier, Prudential takes the time to understand your complicated medical history in order to create a policy that will cover you, making them our best choice for diabetics with other chronic conditions.
Prudential’s popularity is not only because of its flexibility but also because of its history and reputation as a trusted insurance company in the U.S. It was founded in 1875 and currently has high ratings from three top agencies, including an A+ rating from AM Best.
If you want to get no-exam term life insurance for diabetics, the maximum coverage you would be able to get is $500,000. In addition to this, you would have to fill out a diabetes questionnaire so their underwriters can get a more accurate assessment of your current health state. Keep in mind that lying on this questionnaire may result in your coverage being canceled.
While you can initiate an online quote for term life insurance, in many cases, you will still have to contact the company and get in touch with an agent that will complete the quote and give you the exact cost of your policy.
These two companies are some of the most popular life insurance companies for diabetics. However, make sure to really take your time and weigh in options with info about as many companies as you can and from as many sources as you can. It helps to take notes on paper or in a designated notebook to keep your info sorted!
As we’ve established, absolutely. There are multiple term life insurance options and permanent life insurance options for diabetics. Now, life insurance rates for diabetics are at an all-time low, since more companies are considering people with diabetes for coverage than at any other point in time. Depending on your level of diabetes control and other health history, you may even qualify for the same life insurance premiums that people without diabetes can qualify for.
For example, someone diagnosed at a later age with Type 2 diabetes who is able to control it strictly with diet and exercise will likely qualify for the best life insurance rates. On the other hand, if you’re insulin-dependent or have experienced any complications due to diabetes, you can still get life insurance, but your coverage options may be more limited.
Yes. Even though many life insurance companies have made changes to their underwriting guidelines, and people with Diabetes have been impacted negatively, there are still lots of options for life insurance with Diabetes.
The answer to this will depend on multiple factors.
Diabetes is considered a chronic illness, and life insurance companies could view you as a higher risk in terms of underwriting. In some rare circumstances, diabetes will have NO impact on your life insurance rates and sometimes you will pay higher premiums on life insurance.
Life insurance companies are going to want to know what type of control you have over your type 1 or type 2 diabetes — the better the control, the greater chance that your diabetes will not have an impact on life insurance rates.
Many people who have type 2 diabetes qualify for standard life insurance rates with no extra increase in premiums, because of their history of diabetes. However, if you have type 1 diabetes, you will probably have to pay higher premiums.
Ultimately, it all depends on your health.
Most people with Diabetes can qualify for all the same types of policies, as people without Diabetes.
You could obtain Term life insurance, Whole life insurance, Universal life insurance, and Burial insurance policies. Depending on your financial needs, you generally should be able to obtain the type of life insurance policy that suits them.
The insurance application process begins with a review of your health profile, that is aimed at helping underwriters find out more details on your case.
To make an unbiased decision on whether you qualify for a policy or not, insurers will require medical records and documentation from your Endocrinologist or Doctor for:
- Recent Test Results For A1c, Blood Pressure, Fasting Blood Sugar, Cholesterol Levels, Etc.
- Diabetes Management Methods, Treatments, And Medications You Are Currently Using
- Detailed Follow-up Reports;
- All Diabetes-Related Complications And Conditions
This information is essential for getting approved for a diabetes life insurance policy. Your insurance agent should work with your medical providers to secure these records.
It depends. Countless factors can affect how much you can qualify for in coverage. As long as you can ‘financially’ justify the amount of coverage you are seeking, most companies should be able to provide you with your requested amount.
During the underwriting process, underwriters will often check how you manage your Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, what medications you currently take, and at what age you were diagnosed with this chronic disease. As long as you fit their underwriting guidelines, you should be able to obtain whatever amount of life insurance you need.
If you are looking for no medical exam options, most companies are going to ‘cap’ the amount they will offer. The amount of coverage varies from company to company and can go up to $500,000.
Typically, no medical exam life insurance provides less in benefits than the usual plans.
No. Depending on your situation, you might qualify for multiple no exam life insurance policies. Some life insurance carriers may offer the same rates as if you completed a paramedical exam.
While guaranteed issue policies are not usually most people’s first choice as they are less cost-effective, they can however provide a bit of final expense coverage and do not require a medical exam.
However, it is important to remember that you could end up paying more in premiums for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy than the overall death benefit.
The A1C test tells your underwriter whether or not you manage to control your diabetes well by showing your average blood sugar level for 3 months. The results of this test help the insurance company to assess your case in terms of risks.
Ideally, an underwriter would want your A1C level should be below 7.0, meaning that the likelihood of diabetes-related complications is minimized. Unfortunately, if it is 8.5or higher, your underwriter will consider your case but may view you as a higher risk — which can dramatically increase your premiums for life insurance.
Some companies will consider you for coverage with an A1C as high as 10.0, but it’s best to remain realistic. Even if some insurance companies have already refused to offer coverage to you, continue to shop around, don’t give up just yet.
For all people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, it takes a lot of effort and time to find the right insurance company, a suitable coverage plan, and responsive agents. There are many diabetes-friendly insurers in the U.S. these days. Take your time to take in all the info, and don’t let it overwhelm you!
Let’s finish off with the second most important simple truth: The healthier you are when you purchase a life insurance policy, the lower your premium will be.
Life insurance companies for diabetics will look at how well you manage your condition, and if you can demonstrate that you have your diabetes under control, you will qualify for insurance, and often at lower rates than you may think.
The cost of diabetics life insurance depends on several factors including your insulin dependency, blood sugar level and control, how long it has been since you have been diagnosed, smoking history, the type of life insurance you want, and how old you are when you apply (i.e. companies may offer discounts if you exercise regularly and have a healthy lifestyle).
You will know the final offers and the precise numbers of your life insurance coverage only once you contact the insurance company and fill out your information. Once you know the final premium amounts, you can choose the policy that best suits you and your family in regards to the amount of coverage.
Keeping your condition under control and shopping around for coverage from the best companies will be essential to get a policy at an affordable price that provides the coverage your loved ones deserve. Good luck!