Having diabetes can make getting life insurance more difficult and expensive. Because diabetes raises mortality risk, insurers charge higher premiums to cover their increased potential costs. However, affordable life insurance is still attainable for diabetics who shop smart and utilize some helpful strategies. This comprehensive guide will walk you through how to find the best life insurance options if you have diabetes.
In the United States, over 37 million people have diabetes, which hinders the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels properly. The two main types include Type 1 diabetes where the pancreas cannot produce insulin, and Type 2 diabetes which is linked to genetics, inactivity, and obesity.
While diabetes can typically be managed with medication, monitoring, and lifestyle changes, it is associated with elevated risks of health complications and reduced life expectancy if not controlled well. For this reason, life insurance companies view diabetes as a high-risk condition and price policies accordingly.
However, with careful shopping, utilizing no medical exam policies, working with knowledgeable agents, and optimizing all other health metrics possible, those with diabetes can secure necessary life insurance protection for their families at reasonable rates. This guide will cover all the essential information you need to find cost-effective coverage.
How Diabetes Impacts Your Life Insurance Rates
During the life insurance application process, companies evaluate your health and risk factors to place you in a “risk class” that determines your policy’s rates. Individuals with diabetes often get rated in higher premium classes due to the associated health risks.
Those risks include increased likelihood of:
- Heart disease and stroke
- Nerve damage (neuropathy)
- Kidney disease (nephropathy)
- Eye damage (retinopathy)
- Skin conditions
- Hearing impairment
- Alzheimer’s disease
Additionally, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. The combination of these risks causes insurers to charge higher premiums to diabetics.
However, the degree of rate increase depends on the severity of your diabetes, control of blood sugar levels, presence of complications, and length of time since diagnosis. Using blood tests and lab results, insurers assess your health status and prognosis.
Well-managed diabetes has less impact on rates than poorly managed. Taking the steps below can help secure more affordable premiums:
- Maintaining healthy HbA1c levels below 7%
- Keeping glucose and blood pressure within target ranges
- Having no diabetes-related complications
- Stable weight and cholesterol
- Following the doctor’s treatment plans
Choosing the Best Type of Life Insurance Policy
The type of life insurance policy you choose greatly affects your rates and options for securing coverage. Here are the policies that work best for diabetics:
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance provides pure death benefit protection for a set period of time, typically 10 to 30 years. It is substantially more affordable than permanent forms of life insurance for all applicants, including diabetics.
Term life lets you lock in guaranteed coverage to protect your family at budget-friendly rates. While the premiums will still be higher than a non-diabetic applicant, term life remains very cost-effective.
Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
Guaranteed issue life insurance is available without any medical exam or health questions. It guarantees approval up to low face amounts like $25,000.
The rates are much higher than underwritten policies, but guaranteed issue life insurance offers a fallback option if you are declined for regular coverage. It provides basic financial protection.
No Medical Exam Life Insurance
Many insurers now offer streamlined underwriting using just an application health questionnaire rather than full medical exams. No exam policies often provide better rates for diabetics compared to fully underwritten coverage.
No exam life insurance can get those with diabetes larger amounts of protection compared to guaranteed issues. It makes a nice compromise solution.
Getting the Best Rates on Coverage When You Have Diabetes
While diabetes will increase your base life insurance rates, there are ways to minimize the rate hike through smart shopping and optimizing your health:
Work with an Independent Agent
Independent agents have access to quotes from multiple top-rated life insurance companies. They can shop your case around to find you the best price given your health profile.
Get Quotes from Specialized Insurers
Some life insurance providers specialize in higher-risk conditions like diabetes. Their underwriting expertise results in more favorable rates.
Look for Diabetes Programs
Most insurers have specific programs for diabetic applicants that offer discounts and improved underwriting. An agent can identify these opportunities.
Optimize All Other Health Metrics
Get cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, etc. under optimal control to counterbalance diabetes risk. This makes you more insurable.
Exclude Any Unnecessary Policy Riders
Decline extra riders for benefits like waiver of premium to avoid extras that add cost. Stick to basic coverage.
Pay Premiums Annually
Paying life insurance premiums annually rather than monthly/quarterly can earn you discounts of up to 10% with some insurers.
Picking the Best Insurance Companies for Diabetics
Choosing a life insurance company that caters to higher-risk applicants is key to getting affordable rates for diabetes. Here are the top recommended insurers:
Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha offers very competitive rates for diabetics through their simplified issue life insurance which only requires an application health questionnaire.
Principal Life Insurance
Principal has specialized underwriting programs to provide individuals with diabetes affordable term and whole life insurance options even if declined elsewhere.
Banner Life’s accelerated underwriting program offers instant decisions with competitive rates for diabetics who have well-managed blood sugar.
Pacific Life has one of the most lenient underwriting approaches for diabetics seeking term life insurance online through a streamlined application process.
Guardian has specialized options for diabetics including no medical exam policies with up to $1 million in coverage to fit different health scenarios.
Working with an insurer experienced in covering higher-risk individuals saves you time and money when shopping with diabetes.
Calculating How Much Coverage is Needed
Determining the right amount of life insurance coverage is always important but especially so for diabetics given higher premium costs. Avoid over-insuring but secure enough to cover final expenses.
As an individual with diabetes, you may not need millions in death benefits but want enough to pay off key debts and obligations so family members aren’t left carrying the burden.
When deciding on coverage limits, add together the funds needed for:
- Funeral and final expenses
- Paying off a mortgage
- Covering unpaid debts like vehicles, credit cards, medical bills
- College savings for each child’s education
- Daily living costs for dependents if you were gone
- Any business buy-out costs if you have a partner
An independent insurance agent can help analyze specific needs and scenarios to arrive at an optimal death benefit amount that protects your loved ones without overspending on premiums.
Navigating the Application Process with Diabetes
The life insurance application process can present obstacles for individuals with diabetes. Being prepared helps overcome challenges to get approved coverage.
Disclose Health History Fully
Provide complete details on medications, blood sugar levels, complications, and any specialist treatment upfront. Attempting to minimize issues raises red flags.
Gather Necessary Records
Having lab results, eye and foot exam records, doctor visit notes, and an Rx list on hand streamlines the underwriting process with clear data.
List All Current Treatment Plans
Providing details on insulin management, diet programs, exercise regimes, and foot care demonstrates you are actively managing diabetes.
Avoid Rushed Applications
Quickly completing multiple online applications often leads to declines. Take time to be thorough and work with an agent on the best options.
Answer Follow-Up Requests Promptly
Expect additional questions as insurers clarify health history. Respond to requests in a timely manner to keep your application moving smoothly.
Alternatives to Traditional Life Insurance
If life insurance premiums remain unaffordable for you even after extensive shopping, the following options may help supplement coverage:
Employer or Union Group Life Insurance
Many employers and labor unions provide some level of free life insurance. Review your policy documentation to see if it could offer enough protection.
Decreasing Term Life Insurance
A decreasing term life policy is structured to match a specific debt and provides high coverage early on that decreases as the debt is paid off. This can cover a mortgage payoff if you pass away early.
Accidental Death Insurance
Accidental death insurance pays beneficiaries if they die from an accidental injury. It typically has no medical questions and can provide a basic extra layer of protection.
Final Expense Life Insurance
Small final expense policies help cover one-time costs like funeral bills, medical expenses, and debt. They may be an affordable fallback option if completely uninsurable.
Discuss alternatives with an independent agent to find the right mix supplementing your needs if fully underwritten life insurance premiums remain out of reach.
How much can diabetes increase life insurance rates?
Diabetes can increase life insurance rates from 25% up to 100% or more depending on severity. However, well-managed diabetes has less impact on pricing than uncontrolled cases.
What are my options if decline life insurance because of diabetes?
Guaranteed issue life insurance approves applicants regardless of health, providing a basic policy amount like $25,000. No medical exam policies also improve chances for those with diabetes.
Can pre-diabetics qualify for life insurance?
Yes, those with pre-diabetes can often get policies with standard or slightly elevated rates. Well-controlled pre-diabetics may face a limited impact on pricing. Disclose any blood sugar or insulin concerns upfront.
Does gestational diabetes make life insurance harder to get?
Not necessarily. If glucose levels return to normal ranges after pregnancy and you have no complications, you can likely qualify for preferred rates if otherwise healthy. Disclose the history.
How long after being diagnosed with diabetes can I apply for life insurance?
It’s smart to secure life insurance as soon as possible after diagnosis while still young and healthy to get the best rates. Waiting too long allows potential complications making coverage costlier.
What is the difference in cost between Type 1 vs Type 2 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes often has a greater impact on life insurance rates because it implies lifelong insulin dependence. However, even Type 2 diabetes with insulin use can secure affordable rates when well-controlled.
While diabetes presents life insurance concerns, options exist to secure necessary coverage at reasonable costs. Optimizing blood sugar management, comparing top insurers, using no medical exam policies, and working with experts make finding affordable rates possible. Focus on staying as healthy as you can and protect your loved ones.