Diabetes and Life Insurance

Yes, You Can Get Life Insurance If You Have Diabetes

Many people who suffer from chronic illnesses such as diabetes may assume that life insurance is unavailable to them, at least not at an affordable price. The reality, however, may be different and they may have more options than they thought.

Insurance companies select the risks they will insure through a process called underwriting. An underwriter gathers information about the person applying for insurance, evaluates the probability of having to pay the benefits in the near future, and decides whether to offer coverage and the price to offer.

 Main factors underwriters consider

Because diabetes can shorten life spans, underwriters will consider it when evaluating an applicant. However, they take into account multiple factors, including:

  • General medical history.
  • Family medical history.
  • Whether the applicant smokes.
  • The type of diabetes — 1 or 2 (those with Type 2 get coverage more easily).
  • Any complications resulting from diabetes, such as amputations.
  • How well the applicant is controlling it.
  • The applicant’s age when the condition was first diagnosed.
  • Height and weight.
  • Glucose levels.
  • Prescribed medications, and whether the applicant takes them as directed.
  • Other health conditions, such as depression or high blood pressure.
  • Age when insulin was first prescribed
  • If a pain killer, indicating diabetic neuropathy, is prescribed 

The key thing that underwriters look for is whether applicants are controlling those factors that they can. For example, they can’t control their parents’ medical histories, but they can control their weight and glucose levels to some extent.

They can also avoid smoking, take their medications, and exercise. An applicant who actively manages their condition by doing the things under their control will have an easier time getting life insurance, or larger amounts of insurance.

Active disease management can also pay off in reduced premiums. Instead of receiving a standard rate, someone who is controlling their diabetes may qualify for a better rate.

One online tool estimates that a 50-year-old male with well-controlled Type 2 diabetes would pay $1,300 less annually for a 20-year $500,000 policy than he would if his illness were not controlled. 

Remember that insurance companies are not alike. Each has its own underwriting criteria when evaluating applicants with diabetes. They also have unique rate tables.

One may readily offer lower premiums to someone that other companies offered standard rates.

An insurance agent who specializes in selling coverage to people with diabetes said that insurers are particularly interested in the applicant’s age at diagnosis. Someone diagnosed at age 30 will have more time for complications to develop than would someone diagnosed at age 50.

While traditional term life insurance policies may be suitable for many people with diabetes, another option is graded benefit life insurance. Under these plans, the death benefit for the first two years of the policy is the premiums paid plus interest. After the second year, the death benefit increases to the policy’s full face amount.

 The takeaway

If you have diabetes, you can still protect your loved ones with life insurance, and it doesn’t have to break your budget. We can explain the options. Don’t let your diagnosis dissuade you from getting the protection you need.