Since 1980, the number of people living with diabetes has quadrupled to more than 400 million, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The disease is particularly prevalent in the U.S., where roughly 8 percent of the population is stricken–19 million diagnosed, and 7 million undiagnosed.
If you have diabetes, it is still possible to find affordable life insurance. Don’t let your disease keep you from seeking financial protection for your loved ones.
We created this guide in order to help you learn more about life insurance for diabetics. We will cover:
- Can I Get Life Insurance with Diabetes?
- Life Insurance for Type 1 Diabetes vs. Type 2
- How Much Does Life Insurance Cost with Diabetes
- What Affects Life Insurance Rates for Diabetics?
- Which Type of Life Insurance is Best for Diabetics?
- Tips to Save Money on Life Insurance for Diabetics
- What Are the Best Life Insurance Companies for Diabetics?
- Instant Life Insurance Quotes for Diabetics
- Diabetic Life Insurance FAQ
- Find the Best Coverage for Diabetics
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.
Can I Get Life Insurance With Diabetes?
Yes. Even if you have Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, Gestational Diabetes, or health complications from diabetes, you can find affordable coverage. The only barrier that prevents people from being able to get life insurance with diabetes is age. Over age 75, a lot of life insurance options are off the table.
Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes
While 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.
Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed early in life and treated with insulin injections or an insulin pump. It cannot 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 may be required.
Life Insurance for Type 1 Diabetics
Type 1 and insulin-dependent diabetics diagnosed before the age of 30 typically present the largest challenges for securing life insurance coverage.
If you are a type 1 diabetic using an insulin pump, 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 were to simply stop 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 Type 2 Diabetics
Some life insurance companies are much more lenient with applicants who are able to control their diabetes through diet and exercise and/or with an oral medication such as:
- Metformin (Glucophage)
If you do not require insulin to control your blood sugar, there are potential workarounds for getting a competitively priced policy approved with “underwriting credits.”
Type 2 Diabetics with an A1C of 7.0 or lower will usually have an easier time finding the most affordable life insurance and may even qualify for Standard or Standard Plus rates depending on the age of diagnosis.
How Much Does Life Insurance for Diabetics Cost?
Many 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 diabetics 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
Let’s expand a bit more on how these factors affect life insurance rates with diabetes.
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, and thus the more risky you are to insure.
This is part of 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 are able to better control their condition.
What is Your A1C Score?
An A1C/glycohemoglobin test is the most important factor in determining whether you are eligible for a fully underwritten term life insurance policy as a diabetic. Your A1C score is the result of a blood test used to determine the average level of your blood sugar over the past three months. The higher your A1C, the higher your average blood sugar, the higher your rates 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, and there are a handful of life insurance companies that will offer you their most aggressive rates for diabetics (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 the most favorable rate class available to you.
An A1C over 8.0 typically indicates poor control of your blood sugar 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 Substandard Table Risk Category.
If your A1C is above 9.0, unfortunately, fully underwritten term life insurance is not available to you. 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 is 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. 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 lbs.
The table below shows the “Standard” height and weight allowances from our top “A+” rated company known for approving 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 who have 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 the majority of insurers will approve your application at a substandard rate, while others may decline.
Keep in mind that 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 in addition to 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, read here for a full description of 13 serious health problems that don’t rule out insurance.
Which Type of Life Insurance Policy is Best for Diabetics?
Depending on your needs and health, there are a number of types of life insurance policies that may be best for you:
In this section, we will explore a bit about the type of policy, what you need to know, rates, who they are best for, and how to learn more.
Term Life Insurance for Diabetics
Term life insurance is a temporary form of coverage, one which 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
When you choose a Term Policy you can pick a length of time, the most common lengths include 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years. This payout, referred to as the death benefit, as well as the premium that you pay each month, will both remain stable throughout the duration of the policy.
Who is Term Life Best For?
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 wants life insurance in the event that 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 Diabetics
The table below shows life insurance rates for people with diabetes who are in otherwise preferred health with no other conditions or complications.
|Age||Policy Type||$500,000 Male||$500,000 Female||$1,000,000 Male||$1,000,000 Female|
Permanent Life Insurance for Diabetics
Permanent 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 which is referred to as the 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 a loan, interest-free. 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, but there are certain policies which allow you to alter your premiums over time.
To learn more about permanent life insurance for diabetics, check out these comprehensive resources:
Who is Permanent Life Insurance Best For?
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:
Other than that, if you do not have large assets to pass down or serious needs for permanent coverage, you are better off with a term policy, as it is much cheaper.
Permanent Life Insurance Rates for Diabetics
|Age||$500,000 Male||$500,000 Female||$1,000,000 Male||$1,000,000 Female|
No Exam Life Insurance for Diabetics
No exam life insurance is a form of coverage that lets you get either term or permanent coverage without the need for a medical examination. There are two main types of no exam coverage:
- Simplified Issue
- Guaranteed Issue
Simplified issue still has health-related questions involved in the application process, and offers the same coverage amounts up to around $500,000 for people with moderate pre-existing health conditions at affordable rates. If you can pass a medical exam, you should always try to take one in order to save money on coverage.
Guaranteed issue has no health-related questions or a medical exam and offers very small coverage amounts, typically less than $50,000. This type of life insurance is the most expensive and is only recommended for people who have no other option. We will go over this more in the next section.
The trade-off is of course that the coverage amounts you get are typically lower and the costs are typically higher.
Who is No Exam Life Insurance Best For?
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 as a result of the findings of a medical examination.
Guaranteed Life Insurance for Diabetics
Guaranteed issue policies, as the name suggests, are guaranteed. This is 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.
Similar to the no exam, you don’t have to disclose as much. 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 also allows people who need quick coverage to typically find it within 48 hours or less.
Who is Guaranteed Life Insurance Best For?
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
|Age||$10,000 Male||$10,000 Female||$25,000 Male||$25,000 Female|
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 diabetic. 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 what risk you pose and in order to do that they have to see not just what conditions you have, but how will you manage those conditions.
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 to eat healthily, that will bode well for you especially compared to someone who does not do these things.
Going to your doctor on a regular basis is the best way to start keeping records. Your doctor will maintain medical information reflective upon how your condition has changed with time which also speaks volumes to the efforts you put into managing your diabetes.
3. Get a Medical Exam
If 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 may 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’ll 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. Some life insurance companies are simply 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 had you presented the same to an independent agent.
The reason for this is that agents who work for life insurance companies are required in most cases to sell the products that the company offers and they cannot sell other products. They are encouraged to only allow you to purchase something they offer.
But they might not have the best offers for someone who has diabetes and that is why you should work with an independent agent. Independent agents can give you a collection of quotes amassed from the companies that are most favorable for those with diabetes, based on your specific condition.
Best Life Insurance Companies for Diabetics
There are tons of life insurance companies that offer affordable life insurance rates for diabetics, but there are a few which really stand out for their affordable premiums, policy options, and coverage.
|A||4.1 / 5|
Mutual of Omaha
|A+||4.2 / 5|
|A+||4.3 / 5|
|A||4.2 / 5|
|A+||4.4 / 5|
Get Instant Life Insurance Quotes for Diabetics
Looking for quick life insurance quotes with diabetes? Use this easy quote tool below:
Diabetic Life Insurance FAQ
Over time, at JRC Insurance Group, we have helped hundreds of people with diabetes find the best life insurance coverage for their needs. Throughout our experiences of working directly with clients, it seems the same questions pop up a lot. In this section, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about diabetics life insurance.
Q. How Much Coverage Do I Qualify For?
The amount of coverage for what you qualify even if you have diabetes is really based on what you’re willing to pay.
Similarly, it is somewhat 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. You will receive more favorable rates for the same amount of coverage if you are working to manage your condition.
Q. Do My A1C Levels Affect Life Insurance Rates?
Yes, your A1C levels absolutely impact your life insurance rates. These levels are important not just from your applications medical exam but from your previous doctor visits. Your A1C levels are indicative of your overall diabetic condition and how well you have worked to manage your condition.
If 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 here and there, a life insurance company will see that you are making an effort and that your numbers are in spite of those minor ebbs and flows going down.
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 really trying to manage your condition and if you aren’t trying to manage your condition then that means you probably aren’t healthy in other regards, you probably don’t eat well and you more than likely don’t go to the gym regularly. All of this means that you are 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’re going to 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, the efforts you have made 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 in no case is it impossible.
Find the Best Life Insurance Policy for Your Needs
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.
Or, get started using our instant quote tool to compare rates from the best insurance providers:
Latest posts by Cliff Pendell (see all)
- Life Insurance for High Net Worth Individuals - June 9, 2020
- What They Haven’t Told You About Insuring Your Spouse - June 9, 2020
- Life Insurance with Anxiety: Actual Rates by Age - May 26, 2020