It is in fact possible to find affordable life insurance for diabetics. Let’s take a look into what determines your policy and how to get the best rates.
In the last 20 years, the number of American adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled. How much exactly, you ask?
As of 2019, the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) revealed that more than 30 million Americans have diabetes, and about a quarter of that total number don’t know they have it. Type 2 diabetes is the most common, taking up to 95% of all known cases while only 5% has been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the US. What’s scary is that more than 84 million adults in the US have pre-diabetes but are completely unaware that they have it.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at how diabetes affects life insurance. But perhaps more importantly, how you can successfully get affordable life insurance rates even when you are a diabetic.
What is Diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone that our body generates to convert the glucose or sugar from the foods we eat into energy that our body can use.
The body of a person who has diabetes has a problem generating and utilizing insulin. Since there’s less insulin, there’s no hormone to convert glucose into actual energy that our body can use. Instead of getting absorbed by your cells for use as energy, the excess sugar piles up and starts building up in your blood.
There are three types of diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes
Also known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes. The pancreas of a person who has type 1 diabetes is not able to generate enough insulin to process the glucose coming into the body.
To cope, they have to take insulin via artificial means. Insulin can either be injected or taken in via insulin pump. When it comes to life insurance underwriting, it’s the one which has the most potential negative effect on your approval and premium rates.
Type 2 Diabetes
The most common type of diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the body is able to produce insulin albeit in an inefficient manner.
This leads to the body accumulating glucose within the blood and results in high blood sugar levels. In some cases, their body is able to generate insulin but not sufficient enough to manage the amount of sugar they’re taking in.
This type of diabetes happens among pregnant women. This is mainly the result of hormonal changes that are brought about by pregnancy. During this time, pregnant women have their cells less responsive to insulin, which leads to inefficient processing of glucose in the bloodstream, hence the build-up.
Risk Factors of Diabetes
|Type of Diabetes||Type 1||Type 2||Gestational|
|Risk Factors||Family history, Genetic and Geography/Environmental factors, Auto-immune||Old age, family history, obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, lack of physical activity, race-ethnicity, High blood pressure||Age, family or personal history, Weight, Race|
Does Diabetes Affect Life Insurance Rates?
Here’s the straight answer: It depends.
Since diabetes is categorized as a chronic illness, it technically puts individuals who have it as a “higher” risk when compared to those that don’t have it when it comes to life insurance underwriting.
However, actual quotes and results will vary from one person to the next simply because each person’s case is unique. A person with type 2 diabetes, for example, who has shown that he has been doing his part in keeping his illness in check will likely receive better rates versus another type 2 diabetic who is obese and has been missing out on his check-ups.
Or perhaps two, male, type 2 diabetics of the same age end up having different quotes from the same insurer because the first one has shown increased signs of negative effects on the body (high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol levels, etc.,) while the other has not.
What we can conclude is that diabetes is definitely something that underwriters look at and consider a factor in determining the premiums. Just note that having it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to pay excessively more or even get denied of a policy. As you will learn later, underwriters employ a myriad of questions and tests to determine the significance of your diabetes in your life insurance rates.
One of the most crucial factors that determine how you will be assessed for affordable life insurance as a diabetic is the type of control you have over it.
Simply put, the better control you have over it, the lesser chance that diabetes will negatively affect your life insurance rates. It’s not uncommon for a type 2 diabetic who has excellent control to be given a standard rate if that person performed (and continues to do so) all the necessary practices and lifestyle changes to keep the illness in check.
During underwriting, life insurance companies will ask you questions and request for documents related to your diabetes. This is their way of determining your level of control over the disease which is crucial in determining your risk factor for the insurance policy.
Diabetes and Your Current Health
This process includes assessing your current health status and the level of impact that diabetes has over your lifestyle. To do this, medical tests, reports, prescriptions, and all other related documents will be required. And even if your medical history shows you were in a much worse condition before compared to now, that doesn’t automatically disqualify you from getting a policy (or even get quoted for a more expensive premium).
As we’ve mentioned earlier, your latest health status is what’s mainly going to be used as a basis for the underwriting. There are even cases wherein there’s no significant impact at all during underwriting if a type 2 diabetic was able to follow the doctor’s orders and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.
However, that’s not the case for type 1 diabetics. With type 1, it’s almost guaranteed that you will be quoted for a much higher premium. This is because a type 1 diabetic is completely unable to produce insulin, which makes it a permanent disease and significantly harder to manage.
And this leads to all sorts of serious problems if not properly treated. Retinopathy, kidney damage, nerve damage, are some of the most common issues that arise relating to type 1 diabetes.
To be clear, however, type 1 diabetes is something that can be controlled and managed. The key is in keeping the blood sugar within normal levels. And this can be achieved through a number of ways.
Life Insurance Underwriting Criteria for People With Diabetes
Diabetics will be required to take a medical exam when applying for a policy. This is needed for determining your health class and premium rates. The following are the different factors considered when doing underwriting for diabetics.
- Age when you acquired or was diagnosed for diabetes
- Type of diabetes
- Family history
- Current blood sugar levels
- Medical history
- Type of medication
- A1C or Control Factor
- Current height and weight
- Other health risk factors related to diabetes
How Can I Get Affordable Diabetic Life Insurance?
Ahh, the big question. In most cases, the best way is to go with a life insurance carrier that specializes in high-risk health factors like diabetes. These companies conduct a more thorough “clinical underwriting”, which considers your overall health condition in determining your premiums and not merely dependent on certain risk factors.
What this does is make it possible for a diabetic to qualify for standard premium rates if the overall health assessment is favorable even with the disease. Other traditional insurers may simply place you in the high-risk category right away upon knowing you’re a diabetic even if you have it under control.
And this is what you’ll want to avoid. Look for an insurer that’s known for high-risk health policies as they will most likely have the most ideal policy available for you.
Some of the best practices that can significantly increase your chances of getting better rates as a diabetic are:
- Low A1C and blood pressure levels. An A1C is essentially a test that reflects your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months. A high A1C (above 10) means your diabetes is not controlled and it will reflect badly on you during underwriting. An A1C score of 7 or lower is ideal.
- Records that show you regularly visit the doctor for check-ups
- Records that show you have been taking your medication
- Healthy and ideal body weight
- Regular eye check-ups
Potential Reasons Diabetics Are Declined By Some Life Insurance Companies
- If you are a smoker (or someone who used to smoke)
- Have other heart conditions or have a history of heart attack
- Complications arising from diabetes
- High HbA1c readings (over 10% — 85.8 mmol/mol)
- High Body Mass Index
Remember that insurers earn their profit by taking risks on their policyholders. If you are able to show them that you are in good health overall, even if you have type 2 or gestational diabetes, then you may be considered low-risk and your condition won’t have any impact on your premiums.
Think of it this way: Companies don’t merely look at diabetics and dismiss them as high-risk right away. What’s important to them is if it’s being controlled optimally and the applicant is in good health.
Granted, diabetics might be initially thought of as high-risk individuals simply because they have the disease, and that’s why it’s our recommendation to choose an insurance company which specializes in these cases. They’re more capable and experienced with handling such applicants and most likely to provide better rates versus other traditional insurers.
The Best Life Insurance Companies for People With Diabetes
The following companies are known to offer excellent premium pricing and coverage for diabetics. Click on each link to read an in-depth review of each company.
Tips For Getting Affordable Life Insurance Rates for Diabetics
If you’re a diabetic and tried applying for life insurance, underwriters will naturally be extra thorough in their assessment. Mainly, how well you are in control of your condition. Here are some proven tips that can help you in securing a favorable life insurance quote if you’re a diabetic.
Organize and prepare all medical records.
This will include details of the medication you are taking, check-up history, and your doctor’s information. List down the name and contact info of all the doctors you’ve seen in the last couple of years and keep your list of medications up to date and include details like brand names and dosage.
Details of your treatment.
This includes all specific instructions and medication information pertaining exclusively to diabetes.
Well-maintained A1C levels.
Perhaps the biggest determinant of your level of control over diabetes. It’s very possible to be quoted with a standard rate of a healthy person if your A1C readings are around 130 or below.
One of the best ways to keep your blood sugar levels down is by being proactive in eating healthy food. The American Diabetes Association recommends cutting back on foods that are high in refined carbohydrates (sugar and flour) and focus on eating vegetables and lean meat like fish and chicken. Portion control is also absolutely important since diabetics must always try to keep the amount of sugar coming to the body within their ideal limits as the body is not able to produce enough insulin to process it.
The lack of activity means your body is not able to burn calories and the sugar that is in your body. Ask your doctor for the type of exercises that suit you best. Combined with a healthy diet, it helps keep your blood sugar levels within optimal limits and more importantly, keeps your body healthy overall.
Getting affordable life insurance for diabetics may require extra effort, but definitely not hard. Using a combination of tips mentioned here should help you land a policy that fits your budget and needs. If you need additional help on this topic, feel free to speak with one of our advisors so they can discuss your questions and give a recommendation.