I started Insurance Blog by Chris™ because I have a passion for insurance. Here at the blog, our job is to educate and inform people about the best insurance for them. Since then, we have grown into national brands with a large team of researchers helping people understand all forms of insurance.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insu...

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Reviewed by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 24, 2021

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Understanding and finding affordable life insurance can be a juggernaut. When looking at all the types of insurance available, life insurance is probably the least appealing to discuss. No one likes to think about their mortality, but having a plan for your loved ones in the event of your passing, can give both you and your family peace of mind.

As a diabetic, you may feel finding the best life insurance rates are out of the question. Trust me, finding affordable life insurance companies isn’t impossible.

It is possible to qualify for good, and in some cases, the best rates for life insurance with diabetes.

Because each life insurance carrier has a different set of underwriting guidelines, it can be overwhelming trying to prepare for a life insurance application. We can help you find the right life insurance policy for your medical history and overall budget.

What is Diabetes?

Every time you eat, your body converts that food into glucose, or sugar, as fuel for your body. The only way this process works is through a hormone called insulin. If your body cannot produce this hormone, your body cannot make the conversion, and your sugar levels build up inside your blood.

There are three major types of diabetes. Let’s quickly go over the three types before diving into finding the best diabetic life insurance:

Gestational Diabetes

Typically this type of diabetes occurs only in pregnancy. With all the hormonal changes shifting during pregnancy, the body is unable to process insulin, causing your blood sugar levels to rise. Because this particular type of diabetes is resolved after the baby is delivered, each insurance company handles this category differently.

Type 1 Diabetes

Known as Juvenile Diabetes, this type is usually discovered in kids and younger adolescents. In this case, the pancreas is completely unable to produce insulin. To keep your blood glucose levels in the safe range, typically a type 1 diabetic relies on an insulin pump or injection to administer what the body isn’t able to produce. Life insurance underwriters usually look at type 1 differently than all the other types of diabetes because of its early in life diagnosis.

Type 2 Diabetes

This type of diabetes comes on later in life when the body can produce insulin, but not enough to keep your blood sugar levels down to a healthy level. Type 2 diabetics make up roughly 90% of all diabetic cases.

According to the CDC, in 2020, 34.2 million people have diabetes (roughly 10.5% of the US population). The American Diabetes Association states 30 million people in the United States have been diagnosed, while 84 million Americans have pre-diagnosed diabetes.

  • 9 million adults and children have been diagnosed with diabetes, leaving 7.3 million as undiagnosed diabetics in the US.
  • 2% of diabetics fall in the Type 1 diabetes category, equalling approximately 1.6 million people.
  • 5 million Americans, 18 and older, were diagnosed with diabetes in 2018–210,000 of those cases were children and adolescents younger than age 20 years.
  • Overall, 88 million adults (18 and over) are prediabetic (34.5% of the adult US population). Of that 88 million, adults 65 and older claim over 24.2%.

Depending on the insurance options you choose, whole life insurance, term life insurance, or no exam life insurance, to name a few, understand that EACH life insurance carrier has a different set of underwriting guidelines when assigning a diabetic life insurance policy.

RELATED: 5 Critical Tips You Must Know Before Buying Life Insurance

Diabetes is a major risk factor for serious health conditions such as a stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, or heart attack. Because it is considered high risk, life insurance companies will need a full, in-depth look at your current health history, medical records, and family history, to assign a better rate for your specific type of insurance.

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Can You Find Affordable Life Insurance For Diabetics?

As someone who specializes in finding affordable coverage for clients with a difficult medical history, I am often contacted by diabetics looking for a good deal.

Because I am an independent life insurance agent, I can shop around multiple carriers to find the cheapest life insurance quote from some of the best life insurance companies.

Here are a few recent offers I have found:

  • 64 Year old male, 5′10, 235 lbs, non-smoker, 4 years since diagnosis.
    • On medication for blood pressure and cholesterol, on two diabetes meds, and takes 1 insulin injection per day.
    • Recent a1c was 6.9.
    • RBC/Liberty Life offered standard non-tobacco.
  • 69 Year old male, 5′10, 213 lbs, non-smoker, 6 years since diagnosis.
    • Just on 1 med, Glucophage, for diabetes, also controls it with diet and exercises 3x per week.
    • Recent a1c was 7.2.
    • ING/Reliastar’s offer was standard non-tobacco with 2 tables.

One of my insurance companies will give their preferred best rating if your average a1c level for the past year is 6.5 or lower, along with the level on your labs for the insurance policy.

There are other variables here, though, but you can see if some companies will possibly give their best rating, there is definitely affordable life insurance for diabetics to be found.

Life Insurance Classifications for Diabetics

In plain language, as a diabetic, you pose a greater risk to the life insurance company.

Let’s look in-depth at what underwriters use to assign your classification:

  • Driving record
  • Hobbies
  • Family medical history
  • Current medical records
  • Medical exam
  • Current doctor phone numbers, addresses
  • Medications with the corresponding dosages

Life insurance companies assign you to different health classes, ranging from mild to severe. There are four tiers life insurance companies can place you in:

  1. Preferred Plus: This category has the lowest risk to companies and is assigned the best life insurance rates. Typically they are diabetics with lower a1c levels and blood glucose levels. They generally maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.
  2. Preferred: Preferred individuals aren’t in “excellent” health, but are still considered a lower health risk. While they may not get the best rates, they still receive extremely affordable coverage.
  3. Standard: This category holds “average” individuals, meaning they are usually average height and weight and in average health. They are assigned the standard rate.
  4. Substandard: Substandard individuals are the riskiest group to cover because they usually have a serious medical diagnosis. There are different levels of severity within this one category, depending on the severity of the risks.

If your policy does not qualify for a Substandard classification, there are companies that will cover you. We’ll go over the different types of insurance policies in a later paragraph.

Here are some common variables that can affect the rates you may receive as a diabetic seeking life insurance coverage.

RELATED: Check Sample Life Insurance Rates by Age (No Personal Info Required)

Treatment

Treating your diabetes will help you have an easier time lowering the cost of life insurance. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and going to follow-up doctor appointments are great starting points.

Ask yourself, are you able to keep your diabetes under control with diet and exercise only, or do you have to take a pill?  Or are you insulin-dependent? Type 1 diabetics pose a higher risk to life insurance carriers because of the duration of their diabetes.

Insurance companies like to see fewer medications and good overall health for better ratings.

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Is Your Diabetes Under Good Control?

If you know your a1c level and it’s lower than 7.0, that’s considered good control by many insurance carriers. Assuming no other health issues are present, standard rates (or possibly better) may be possible.

Between 7.0 to 7.5 is considered average control, and you can still get insurance.

Weight, Tobacco use, and other Medical Issues

If you smoke cigarettes, have retinopathy, or are overweight, these compound your risk factor as a diabetic and make you a riskier client to insure.

If you’ve had any other medical impairments, such as coronary artery disease (clogged arteries) or you once had a heart attack, this also multiplies the risk to insure diabetics, so expect sub-standard ratings in your insurance plan.

Age and Time Since Diagnosis

Insurance companies give better ratings to people who are older when they are diagnosed and if they were diagnosed just in the past few years.

Because diabetes is such a slow-progressing disease a 65 year old recently diagnosed with diabetes has a greater likelihood of passing due to other reasons than diabetes.

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Types of Life Insurance for Diabetics

There are multiple types of life insurance available to diabetics, but two predominants–term life insurance and whole life insurance.

Let’s break these down a bit more:

Term Life Insurance Policy

Term life insurance is just as it sounds. You can buy a designated term policy (10,15, 20, or even 40-year terms) to cover you and your loved ones. It is generally the most popular option because it tends to be the cheaper option. Because it only covers a specific amount of years, once the policy expires, your coverage drops.

Your next option is to either go through the application process again at a higher rate or see if your policy can be converted into a permanent life insurance policy. It is a good idea to ladder your policies, should you go the term route.

For example, you may buy different term lengths that expire over different times, lowering your coverage as you age in the hopes you will be in better financial standings by then, no longer needing as much coverage.

Whole Life Insurance Policy

Whole life insurance, also known as permanent life insurance, it is just that, it’s permanent. As long as you pay the monthly premiums, you will be covered, no matter what health conditions may arise later on in life.

These particular types of life insurance are great investments as well. If you outlive the term of your policy, you are repaid all the monthly premiums you’ve paid throughout your term.

Also, you can borrow against the cash value of your policy if needed to pay for a vacation, child’s college education, or even supplement income. The amount owed would just be deducted from the death benefit at the time of your passing.

Guaranteed Issue Policy

Also known as a no exam policy, these policies typically do not require the paramedical exam the other types of insurance required. They guarantee acceptance, no matter the type of health risk or a medical condition you may have.

The disadvantage to a guaranteed issue policy is two-fold–the premium prices are much higher due to the great amount of risk covering you, and the cash value amount of these policies tend to be much smaller than whole and term life policies.

Life Insurance Quotes for Diabetics

It’s crucial to use an independent agent to assist you in finding life insurance with diabetes.

In the example of my 69 year old above, I put the details of his health out to about a dozen different companies, and several company underwriters came back with standard offers with 2 tables.

If my client had gone to an agent who didn’t take the time to shop the case, he would have ended up paying about 50% more in premium than he needed to!

If you have any questions about life insurance with diabetes, you can get started by getting an instant quote using our form on the upper right of this page.