Life Insurance for Diabetics: How to Find the Right Policy
Diabetes is particularly prevalent in the U.S., where roughly 10.5% of the population is stricken—26.9 million diagnosed, and 7.3 million undiagnosed.
If you have diabetes, it is still possible to find affordable life insurance. So don’t let your health condition keep you from seeking financial protection for your loved ones.
With this guide and the help of an independent life insurance agent, you can secure the coverage you need–and likely at a much better price than working with a captive agent at a big-box insurance company. Keep reading to learn more about purchasing life insurance with diabetes.
Quick Article Guide
Here’s what we'll cover in this post:
- Can You Qualify for Life Insurance with Diabetes?
- Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes
- How Much Does Life Insurance for Diabetics Cost?
- What Affects Life Insurance Rates for Diabetics?
- Which Type of Life Insurance Policy Is Best for Diabetics?
- 4 Tips to Save Money on Life Insurance for Diabetics
- Best Diabetic Life Insurance Companies
- Get Instant Life Insurance Quotes for Diabetics
- Diabetic Life Insurance FAQs
- Find the Best Life Insurance Policy for Diabetics
Can Diabetics Get Life Insurance?Diabetes won't prevent you from qualifying for life insurance, but it will limit your options. While some companies will automatically reject your application, a handful of top-rated life insurance providers actually specialize in affordable coverage for people with elevated blood sugar.
Selecting the right company depends on various factors including your age, overall health, and the type of diabetes you have. For example, Type 1 diabetics typically have the fewest options, and pay the highest rates, while well-managed Type 2 diabetics can expect to pay average rates with some providers.
That's why working with an independent agent representing at least a few dozen life insurance providers is essential. Every company sets its own rates and underwriting guidelines, so applying with the right provider could save you a considerable amount of money and prevent your application from being declined.
Type 1 vs. Type 2 DiabetesWhile both are characterized by elevated blood sugar, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are quite different in terms of how they affect your health and chances of securing life insurance with diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed early in life and treated with insulin injections or an insulin pump. However, it can't be controlled without insulin.
Type 2 diabetes, often called the “silent killer,” is a lifestyle disease and is often associated with obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
It is dangerous because early symptoms are often invisible. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, though, Type 2 diabetes can usually be controlled with diet, exercise, and oral medication. In extreme cases of Type 2 diabetes, insulin might be required.
Life Insurance for Diabetics Type 1Type 1 and insulin-dependent diabetics diagnosed before the age of 30 typically present the most significant challenges for securing life insurance coverage.
For example, suppose you are a Type 1 diabetic using an insulin pump. In that case, the insurance approval process is more stringent because of the possibility that your blood sugar could easily spike to dangerous levels if you were to miss a treatment or if your body stops responding to treatment.
Insurance companies will typically only approve Type 1 diabetics who:
- Are not more than 50 pounds overweight based on clinical charts
- Demonstrate well-controlled blood sugar (an A1C of 6.9 or lower)
Life Insurance for Diabetics Type 2
Some life insurance companies are much more lenient with applicants who can control their diabetes through diet and exercise and/or with an oral medication such as:
- Metformin (Glucophage)
Type 2 diabetics with an A1C of 7.0 or lower will usually have an easier time finding the most affordable life insurance might even qualify for Standard or Standard Plus rates depending on the age of diagnosis.
How Much Does Life Insurance for Diabetics CostMany of our clients who maintain reasonable control over their diabetes qualify for Standard rates. In some cases, if a client has documented excellent control through diet and exercise and has an A1C below 6.0, certain carriers will approve them at Standard Plus rates.
We even work with one carrier that sometimes approves life insurance for people with diabetes over age 60 with Preferred or Preferred Best rates. See the charts below to compare quotes for Preferred, Standard, and Table B or Table 2 ratings. We have used examples for both males and females ages 35, 45, 55, and 65, who are non-smokers and live in California.
What Affects Life Insurance Rates for Diabetics
Outside of the typical factors that affect life insurance rates, there are additional factors for diabetics:
- Age of diagnosis
- A1C score and management
- Height and weight
- Diabetes-related complications
- Other medical conditions
At What Age Were You Diagnosed?When it comes to getting approved for life insurance, the older you were when you were diagnosed with diabetes, the better. Life insurance companies view diabetes as a progressive disease, meaning the longer you have it, the more susceptible you are to complications from the elevated blood sugar. Therefore, the riskier you are to insure.
That's why Type 1 diabetics who were diagnosed early in life (usually before age 30) have a more difficult time getting insured than Type 2 diabetics who were diagnosed fairly recently and can better control their condition.
Why Does Timing Matter for Life Insurance for Diabetics?When you apply for a life insurance policy, the insurer takes a "snapshot" of your current health to evaluate your overall risk and, ultimately, the cost of your coverage. To determine the severity of an applicant's diabetes, life insurance underwriters will consider your A1C or glycohemoglobin score.
Your A1C score indicates your average blood sugar level over the past three months, so if you've had poor control of your diabetes during this time, hold off on applying for your life insurance. The higher your A1C, the higher your average blood sugar, and the higher your rates will be for life insurance.
A1C scores usually range from 5.5 to 9.0. If your A1C is below 7.0, your diabetes is considered well controlled. A handful of life insurance companies will offer you their most aggressive rates for people with diabetes (their third-most-aggressive rate overall)—Standard Plus.
If your A1C falls in the 7.0 to 7.9 range, don’t worry, you are still eligible for life insurance. However, your rates will be affected, as Standard will be your most favorable rate class.
An A1C over 8.0 typically indicates poor blood sugar control or that your body is not responding to medication. An A1C above 8.0 is considered a substandard risk and might cause your application to be denied or approved at the Substandard Table Risk Category.
If your A1C is above 9.0, unfortunately, fully underwritten term life insurance is unavailable. Life insurance companies will postpone or decline your application until your A1C falls below the 9.0 mark.
See the chart below for average blood sugar to A1C comparisons. If you haven’t had your A1C tested in a while, this will give you a general idea of where you stand.
What Are Your Height and Weight?Your current height and weight can also have an impact on life insurance for diabetics. In general, life insurance companies will not penalize someone for their build unless their height and weight are above the Standard rate class build tables used for underwriting. For example, a standard build for a male who is 5’10” is up to 234 pounds.
If you are 5’10” and weigh more than 234 pounds, insurers will consider you “overweight,” which means your rates will be approximately 20% higher than someone who weighs less than 234 pounds.
The table below shows the “Standard” height and weight allowances from our top “A+” rated company known for approving life insurance for diabetics.
Do You Have Any Complications?Complications from diabetes can pose additional challenges in qualifying for life insurance. Diabetes can cause heart disease, kidney disease, and kidney failure. It is also among the leading causes of blindness and lower limb amputations in the United States.
In general, the lower your A1C, the lower your risk of having complications from diabetes. So, life insurance companies are most lenient with diabetics with an A1C between 6.0 and 7.0. If your A1C is between 7.1 and 7.9, you may still be eligible for life insurance, but most insurers will approve your application at a substandard rate, while others may decline coverage.
Remember, some life insurance companies are more lenient with A1C than others, so it’s important to speak to a life insurance agent who can help you survey what’s available to you.
Do You Have Any Other Medical Conditions?If an applicant has other health issues besides diabetes, finding life insurance can be more of a challenge. Many clients come to us having had heart stents or bypass surgery.
As a general rule of thumb, the longer it has been since the surgery was performed, the better your chances of approval—especially if you’ve had regular checkups and tests.
If you have recently had heart surgery, it’s best to wait at least one year before applying for life insurance. For more information on which other medical conditions are insured, here are 13 serious health problems that don’t rule out insurance.
What Is the Best Life Insurance Policy for Diabetics?Depending on your needs and health, there are many types of life insurance policies that could work for you:
Term Life Insurance for DiabeticsTerm life insurance is a temporary form of coverage that exists for a specific term.
This type of policy is designed to offer affordable rates to people who are looking to find coverage for a specific period of time such as:
- Length of mortgage
- Years until retirement
- Until children are grown
- Until children graduate college
Who Should Get Term Life Insurance?Term life insurance is best for those who need the policy to coincide with the number of years they have left for certain bills and simply want life insurance in case they pass away prematurely.
It is important to purchase an amount of coverage that can cover your family’s financial needs in the event of your death.
To learn more about term life insurance, check out these helpful resources:
Term Life Insurance Rates for DiabeticsThe table below shows life insurance rates for people with diabetes who are in otherwise good health with no other conditions or complications.
*Monthly rates are accurate as of 06/23/2022 and are provided for illustrative purposes only.
Permanent Life Insurance for DiabeticsPermanent life insurance is a policy that lasts for your entire lifetime - really until age 101, 111, or 121 in most cases. Most types of permanent policies include an investment component called cash value accumulation.
This cash value accumulates on a tax-deferred basis. You can choose to borrow against the cash value of your account in the form of an interest-free loan. If you are unable to pay it back in its entirety before you pass away, the remaining amount due is simply taken out of the total death benefit.
Permanent life insurance will typically give you premiums that remain the same for as long as you live, however some policies will allow you to alter your premiums over time.
To learn more about permanent life insurance for diabetics, check out these comprehensive resources:
Who Should Get Permanent Life Insurance?
Permanent life insurance is best for people who have long-term needs for coverage, such as a spouse who will always be dependent on their income, such as a spouse or child. It is also best for people who need to:
Permanent Life Insurance Rates for Diabetics
*Monthly rates are accurate as of 06/23/2022 and are provided for illustrative purposes only.
No Exam Life Insurance for DiabeticsNo exam life insurance is a form of coverage that allows you to get either term or permanent coverage without needing a medical examination. There are two main types of no-exam coverage:
- Simplified Issue
- Guaranteed Issue
The trade-off, of course, is that the coverage amounts you get are typically lower and the costs are typically higher.
Should I Get No Exam Life Insurance?This is best for someone who is simply on the road a lot and unable to come in for the medical exam, someone who has a fear of needles, or someone who doesn't want to risk higher premiums due to the findings of a medical examination.
Guaranteed Life Insurance for DiabeticsGuaranteed issue policies, as the name suggests, are guaranteed. It's a form of coverage that is typically used to cover the cost of funeral services or burials, offered in lower coverages compared to the other policy options.
Like no exam life insurance, you don't have to disclose as much information. The paperwork to apply for this type of coverage is usually very short, about one page in length, and there is no medical exam whatsoever and no invasive medical information.
This allows people in very poor health to get life insurance coverage, and allows those who need quick coverage to find it within 48 hours or less.
Who Should Get Guaranteed Life Insurance?This is sort of a last-ditch effort intended for those who simply cannot get coverage in any other capacity but still want to leave behind something to help their family.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Rates for Diabetics
*Monthly rates are accurate as of 06/23/2022 and are provided for illustrative purposes only.
4 Tips to Save Money on Life Insurance for Diabetics
There are a few things that you can do in order to save lots of money on your life insurance as a person with diabetes. Follow us as we outline some great tips from the experts.
1. Have Medical Information to Prove Your Management
It is always best to have medical information to prove that you have managed your condition. Simply having diabetes is not enough to rule you out for coverage but, failing to manage your condition might be.
Life insurance companies have to evaluate your risk. They must see what conditions you have and how you will manage them.
If you have diabetes but you go to the gym regularly, you visit your doctor on a regular basis, you take your insulin as necessary, and you are working on eating healthy, that will bode well for you—especially compared to someone who does not do these things.
Going to your doctor regularly is the best way to start keeping records. Your doctor will maintain medical information reflecting how your condition has changed with time which also speaks volumes to your efforts to manage your diabetes.
2. Get a Medical ExamIf you’re a diabetic searching for life insurance without a medical exam, our best advice to you is to take a medical exam, especially if you are a Type 1 diabetic. Some older applicants with well-controlled Type 2 diabetes may qualify for an affordable no-exam policy, but this is not the norm.
While it might seem like a good idea to mask or downplay your diabetes, it’s always best to be honest and upfront with insurance companies. Even the no exam life insurance companies will likely review your attending physician’s statement, and they will want to see that your diabetes is “well-controlled.” Read more about why you should take a medical exam for life insurance here.
3. Know the Best Companies
It is equally important for you to know the best life insurance companies for your situation. Not all companies treat every condition favorably. For example, some life insurance companies are more favorable to conditions like diabetes than others.
Knowing the best companies out there for your condition can save you hundreds of dollars. Working with an independent life insurance agent is the best way to expose yourself to a lot of the best companies for your specific needs. This leads to our next tip:
4. Work With An Independent Agent
You might not know which companies are the best for you, or the ones most favorable to diabetes, but an independent agent will.
Independent agents do not work for a specific company, so they have an obligation to find you the best solutions. If you go through one life insurance company and you ask for a broad range of quotes and comparisons, the information you receive will not be nearly as thorough as what you would receive from an independent agent.
In most cases, agents who work for life insurance companies are required to sell the company's products and can't sell other products. They are encouraged only to allow you to purchase something they offer.
But they might not have the best offers for someone who has diabetes, and that's why you should work with an independent agent. Independent agents can give you a collection of quotes amassed from the most favorable companies for those with diabetes.
Best Life Insurance Companies for DiabeticsThere are tons of life insurance companies that offer affordable life insurance rates for diabetics, but there are a few that stand out for their affordable premiums, policy options, and coverage.
|4.1 / 5
Mutual of Omaha
|4.2 / 5
|4.3 / 5
|4.2 / 5
|4.4 / 5
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Diabetic Life Insurance FAQsFor more than a decade, JRC Insurance Group, has helped hundreds of people with diabetes find the best life insurance coverage for their needs. Throughout our experiences of working directly with clients, the same questions come up. In this section, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about life insurance for diabetics.
Q. How Much Coverage Do I Qualify For?
The amount of coverage you qualify for—even if you have diabetes—is based on what you're willing to pay.
Similarly, it's limited by your age. With regard to age, you simply won't have as many options available to you such as permanent life insurance or 30-year term life insurance.
The older you get the fewer options you have. However, you can still qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars even millions of dollars worth of coverage if you have diabetes. In addition, you will receive more favorable rates for the same amount of coverage if you are working to manage your condition.
Q. Do A1C Levels Affect My Life Insurance Rates?
Yes, your A1C levels absolutely impact your life insurance rates. The levels from your application's medical exam and your previous doctor's visits will be evaluated. In addition, your A1C levels are indicative of your overall diabetic condition and how well you have worked to manage your condition.
Suppose you have a history of fluctuating A1C levels that have started high at the time of your diagnosis but slowly worked their way down with occasional ebbs and flows. In that case, a life insurance company will see that you are making an effort and that your numbers are decreasing in spite of those minor ebbs and flows.
If you have high numbers that spike regularly and are climbing each time you come in to see your doctor, it reflects poorly on any management you might be conducting.
This shows the life insurance company that you aren't trying to manage your condition. If you aren't trying to manage your condition, then you probably aren't healthy in other regards. For example, you probably don't eat well, and you probably don't go to the gym regularly. All of this puts you at a higher risk. The higher the risk you pose, the higher the rates you will pay.
Q. Do I Have to Take a Medical Exam?
You will have to take a medical exam unless you opt for the no exam policy. You shouldn't aim for a no exam policy or a guaranteed issue unless you have no other options.
Realistically, the only way you'll know if you have no other options is to undergo the exam for a term or permanent policy application. Rest assured that the medical exam is far from invasive.
It is very similar to any other medical exam you would undergo and the results shouldn't surprise you so long as you have been visiting your doctor regularly.
Q. Is It Difficult to Get Coverage?
It can be difficult to get coverage depending on the severity of your diabetes. Those who develop the condition later in life versus those who were born with it struggle to different degrees.
The longer you have had the condition, your efforts to control your condition, the medications you are on and how much you are on all impact how difficult it will be for you to get coverage. But it's not impossible.
Find the Best Life Insurance Policy for Your Needs
Are you looking to work with an expert to find the best life insurance with diabetes? We’ve got you covered.
Give us a call to work with an independent agent who can help you compare policies, rates, and answer any questions you may have.
You can also get started using our instant quote tool to compare rates from the best insurance providers:
Managing Partner and Co-founder
Cliff is a licensed life insurance agent and one of the owners of JRC Insurance Group. He has helped thousands of families of businesses with their life insurance needs since 2012 and specializes with applicants who are less than perfect health. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and the great outdoors.