Can I Get Life Insurance If I Have Diabetes?

Posted on February 23, 2021

Being diagnosed with diabetes means you have to make a number of lifestyle changes: You have to be careful with your diet, monitor your blood glucose levels, and get more exercise.

Can being diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes exclude you from being covered by a life insurance policy?

Short answer: No, being diagnosed with diabetes cannot fully exclude you from qualifying for life insurance. However, the type of diabetes you are diagnosed with can impact several factors about your policy.

How Your Type of Diabetes Impacts Life Insurance

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. The type with which you are diagnosed can determine your life insurance coverage options, as well as how much you pay for your coverage.

Life Insurance for Type 1 Diabetics

Those with Type 1 diabetes – known as insulin-dependent diabetes – are considered a higher risk for insurers.

Because Type 1 diabetics require insulin to manage their diabetes, insurers believe their cases are more difficult to control and make them a much higher risk to cover. 

Additionally, because Type 1 diabetics are more likely to be diagnosed as children or teens, they are viewed as less healthy. The earlier someone is diagnosed with a chronic disease such as diabetes, the more years their body has to deal with the condition.

Type 1 diabetics may find that they have to pay more for life insurance, or that they may have to jump through more hoops when applying for life insurance.

Life Insurance for Type 2 Diabetics

Many Type 2 diabetics aren’t diagnosed until adulthood. This means their bodies have fewer years of dealing with the disease between diagnosis and purchasing life insurance, meaning they are seen as less risky for insurers.

Additionally, Type 2 diabetics are not insulin-dependent. Their condition is viewed as more manageable and not as much of a risk when buying life insurance.

As a Type 2 diabetic, you are less likely to be turned down for a life insurance policy, but you should expect to pay more for coverage.

Why Is It Difficult for Diabetics to Get Life Insurance?

When you purchase life insurance, the company is betting that you will remain healthy for many years in the hopes that they won’t have to pay out as much money to your beneficiaries.

If you have a current chronic medical condition, such as diabetes, your risk of an earlier death is higher than that of someone who is completely healthy. This means you are more risky for the life insurance company to take on, and can mean you will have to pay more for your coverage or, with some companies, not qualify for coverage.

Health Factors That Impact the Cost of Life Insurance for Diabetics

At the time that you apply for life insurance coverage, your insurer will use information you provide, as well as comparative data against other people of your similar age and health, to determine whether you qualify for coverage and what rate you will pay.

Being diabetic complicates your coverage options and can increase the price based on a range of factors.

Some common factors that life insurance companies will evaluate when you apply for coverage include:

Type of Diabetes

The type of diabetes you have (Type 1 or Type 2), as discussed above, can determine whether you’re eligible for coverage from a specific insurer, whether you will need to have a health screening, and how much your coverage will cost.

Current Age & Date of Diagnosis

The longer you’ve had diabetes, the longer it’s had to take its toll on your body. This increases your likelihood for experiencing other health problems, such as heart disease or stroke.

If you were diagnosed later in life, ideally over 50 years old, your diagnosis is less likely to impact your life insurance coverage.

Doctor & Care Records

How well your diabetes is being managed is an important piece of your life insurance quote.

To prove that you receive regular care, you will likely be asked to provide the name, address, and phone number for all doctors you’ve seen in the last two years. You may also be asked to provide documentation of follow-up appointments and referrals.

A1C Levels

Your A1C levels can be used to judge how severe your diabetes is and how well it’s controlled. The lower your A1C, the better.

Those with A1C levels below 7.0 are considered lower risk; those with A1C of 7.5 or higher are more risky.

How Your Diabetes Is Controlled

If you are insulin-dependent, many insurers will consider you higher risk than someone whose diabetes is controlled with diet and exercise.

Your insurer will want details of any methods you use to control your diabetes, including your current diet, frequency of exercise, types of medication and doses, or number of units of insulin you take per day.

Medical History

Other health factors will also be evaluated by your insurer, such as:

  • Current height and weight
  • Details of family medical history
  • Any other medications you take
  • Whether or not you smoke
  • Details of any other conditions you have

Choosing the Best Life Insurance Policy with Diabetes

The key to choosing any life insurance policy, regardless of whether or not you’re diabetic, is to determine how much coverage you feel you need and how much you can afford to pay for that coverage.

Here is some guidance to help you choose the best life insurance policy for you if you have diabetes:

Type of Policy

Term life insurance is often going to have the lowest prices on premiums as they only extend for a specific time period and don’t have any cash value.

If you are purchasing life insurance because you are worried about your spouse being able to pay off your home or allowing your children to pay for college in the event of your death, a term policy may be the most economical choice. Many term life insurance policies allow you to convert them into whole life policies without extra underwriting, meaning later complications of your diabetes won’t be considered in the conversion.

On the other hand, if you plan to use your life insurance policy to leave an inheritance for your family or to ensure that your spouse receives support, a whole life insurance policy may be necessary.

These policies will cost you more in premiums, but adjusting your coverage amount can make them more affordable to offset the increase in premiums your diabetes causes.

Level of Underwriting

There are two main levels of underwriting: fully underwritten and no medical exam policies.

A fully underwritten policy means that you may be required to submit to a medical exam before you receive a decision from the insurer. As a diabetic, this could prove problematic when qualifying for insurance and getting a decent price.

If you are worried about having to submit to a medical exam, you can opt for a no medical exam policy.

These can have their downsides, as the amount of coverage available is lower ($500,000 for term policies and $50,000 for whole policies). It is important to fully and honestly complete the health questionnaires the insurer provides you, as leaving out or lying about information can work against you.

Amount of Coverage

How much coverage you feel you need will be determined by a variety of personal factors, including:

  • Your salary
  • Your financial obligations
  • Whether you have a mortgage or other debt
  • Ages of children

Adjusting the amount of coverage you purchase can help you reduce the overall price of your policy, which is especially helpful if you’re diabetic.

What If You Are Diagnosed with Diabetes After Buying Life Insurance?

Once you have purchased a life insurance policy and the policy has been issued, your insurer cannot alter your rates or cancel your policy if you are diagnosed with diabetes. This means, if you purchased a term or whole life insurance policy and were then diagnosed with diabetes a few years down the line, your new diagnosis will not impact your life insurance policy.

However, there are a few situations in which a diabetes diagnosis can be problematic even if you already have life insurance:

  • You want to continue coverage after your initial term policy ends: If you want to purchase a new term life insurance policy once your current policy ends, even if it’s through the same company, you will again be subject to the underwriting process. This can cause your insurer to reject your application for life insurance, or to charge you higher premiums.
  • You have group life insurance through your employer: If you have a group life insurance policy through an employer and you leave that job, you may be given the opportunity to convert or port your coverage. Converting or porting your policy will not subject you to further medical review, but this option is often more expensive than applying for independent life insurance coverage on your own.
  • You want to increase your policy’s coverage: Increasing coverage often means additional underwriting, which means your diabetes diagnosis can cause an increase in your premiums.

Conclusion

Purchasing life insurance with a chronic condition such as diabetes can be challenging and frustrating, but it isn’t impossible. Carefully examining your options, as well as making sure your diabetes is well-controlled, can help you qualify for a life insurance policy at a more reasonable rate than you may otherwise find.

To help you find the right life insurance policy for your needs, try Insurdinary. Compare premiums and plans for a variety of carriers, receive a personalized quote, and apply for coverage all without ever leaving your couch. Get a quote today!

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