An Introduction to Life Insurance for Diabetes

If you struggle from a long lasting health condition like diabetes, then you know how tough it can be finding comprehensive life insurance plans that are affordable. Having a life insurance plan gives you a peace of mind that your family will be taken care of in case of an emergency, but it is a lot more complicated when you have a pre-existing condition. Not only does it impact what life insurance policies you can have, but it also impacts the overall cost and coverage. Diabetes is a very common health issue and it’s estimated that around 1 in 10 American adults is dealing with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. If you’re able to prove that your diabetes is well managed and under control, you may be able to get better life insurance plans and negotiate a better rate. If you’d like to learn more about what life insurance options may be available to you as someone with diabetes, keep reading to learn more. 

Why Diabetes Impacts Life Insurance Coverage
The reality is that having a pre-existing condition, like diabetes, makes you more of a risk to an insurance company. Because diabetes is related to blood sugar regulation issues, having diabetes can also make you more likely to have a number of other related health conditions such as kidney disease, hypotension and heart disease. Life insurance plans are based around life expectancy, and so if you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes that can impact your life expectancy, you would expect to see an increase in cost to compensate for that. 

Those who live with type 1 diabetes will always pay higher rates than a person with type 2 diabetes.  This is mainly due to underwriters viewing your profile as a higher risk, as people with type 1 diabetes have a higher chance of developing diabetes related complications in the future.

Now if you’re a well controlled type 2 diabetic, there’s chances that your premiums may be the same as a person who doesn’t have Diabetes.  Many consumers can achieve standard rates or better for type 2 diabetes life insurance.

5 Considerations for Clients with Diabetes
There are five main areas an insurer is going to look at if you have diabetes. The way in which you’re managing your diabetes, as well as other factors like the type of diabetes and your age, will determine whether you’re able to access coverage and what kind of coverage.

Your Age:
Across the board, life insurance policies tend to be cheaper for younger clients. This is just a practical strategy as the younger you are, the less likely you are to die soon, meaning there’s more time for you to pay into the life insurance fund. Insurers will also take into consideration the age you were when you were diagnosed with diabetes, and the longer since your diagnosis the higher your premium will most likely be.

Type of Diabetes:

The majority of diabetes cases in the United States are type 2 diabetes, which is usually diagnosed in adulthood. Type 1 diabetes only accounts for 5-10% of cases of diabetes, and is generally diagnosed in childhood. If type 2 diabetes is managed well, you may be surprised by how little it impacts your overall coverage. However type 1 diabetes may make you considered to be ‘substandard’ in terms of health class and it can impact your life insurance options. Gestational diabetes is a temporary type of diabetes which lasts for the length of the pregnancy.

How Severe Your Diabetes is:
No two cases of diabetes are exactly the same and the insurer provider will call on medical professionals to give them a clear picture of how severe your diabetes is and how well it’s being managed. You may be ordered to take a A1C.or a glucose tolerance test in order to establish how severe your diabetes is.

Your Treatment Plan:
Your insurer will likely be curious about what treatments you’re currently on, especially any medication that could impact your overall health. For type two diabetes at least, you can make a number of lifestyle changes that can have a positive impact on your diabetes.  

Those who use a form of insulin will generally be looked at as a higher risk.  While this seems unfair, that’s how the life insurance industry is viewing insulin-controlled diabetics.

Your Bigger Health Picture:
Other health factors will be taken into consideration too, for example if you have any other health conditions or concerns, your health history and so forth. Your insurer will want to see a big picture look at your health so they can make a decision about whether to grant you life insurance.

How Much More is Life Insurance for Diabetics
The reality is life insurance is more expensive for diabetics, because there are considerably more health risks so that directly impacts the premium. You can expect to pay two to four times as much for a diabetic life insurance policy when compared to someone with no health issues. This can make life insurance policies a little out of reach for many diabetics, however if it is within your budget to have a life insurance policy, it may be worth it due to the added peace of mind. 
Please also be aware that certain websites you visit, may provide false or misleading information.  Matt Schmidt with Diabetes Life Solutions tells us the following.  “Most consumer driven websites are not going to be beneficial to people with Diabetes.  Sadly, sites like Select Quote, Policy Genius, or even Zander Insurance will provide quotes that are not accurate.  You’d receive a quote that is much lower than your actual rates.  Sites like these are designed to help people who do not live with Diabetes.  It’s best to seek out agents who ONLY work with diabetics.  This will help you out in determining which companies will be ideal for you.”

If you have diabetes, it doesn’t mean life insurance coverage is off the table for you. Hopefully this article has made it clear what factors are likely to be considered, so you can do your best to minimize any problems that could arise. If having life insurance is important to you, I’m sure with a bit of effort you’ll be able to find a good solution that works for your family.  Please realize that you’ll simply have a little tougher time finding the best policies.  But with a little patience and little research, we’re confident that you’ll be able to find life insurance coverage with diabetes.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.