Life insurance for diabetes: Type 1 + Type 2 |

Diabetes and life insurance – What to know before applying for coverage

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Does having diabetes affect your ability to take out a life insurance policy?

Diabetes affects the lives of millions of Americans — over 8% of the US population — and it’s estimated that there are over 7 millions cases undiagnosed. That being said, life insurance companies have to take the risk of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes into consideration when insuring individuals.

This guide will provide you with some insight into getting coverage with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, limitations you may face and more.

Can I get life insurance if I have diabetes?

It’s possible to be insured for people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, however, the increased risks associated with diabetes mean that a policy may come with a pricey premium. To secure a policy, insurers will want to see that you’re taking measures to control and treat your situation.


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    What do insurers look at when assessing people with diabetes?

    An insurance underwriter will evaluate the type of diabetes and how you’re controlling the situation. Type 1 diabetics tend to pose an increased risk to life insurers, as Type 1 diabetes can be more serious over a long term and more difficult to treat when compared to Type 2 diabetes.

    Insurers will want to know a few things when you’re applying for life insurance with diabetes:

    • Age you were diagnosed. Someone that was diagnosed at a younger age is more likely to suffer complications later in life — this can be a contributing factor to the premium price. Type 1 diabetes is more prevalent among young people.
    • Alcohol consumption. An underwriter will take into account if the applicant has an excessive alcohol intake.
    • Family history. If a family has died before the age of 60 as a result of cardiovascular-renal disease, your policy may be more expensive.
    • How is the condition treated? The control of the applicants glucose levels will also be assessed. If it is not satisfactory the diabetic rating may be increased.

    What about complications caused by diabetes?

    Diabetes can cause many medical complications including blindness, kidney dysfunction and peripheral vascular problems. An underwriter will assess additional conditions the applicant suffers from and will likely request documentation from the treating doctor.

    Questions asked during the application process

    As a longtime diabetic Jason applied for life insurance anyway. Some of the questions the insurer asked Jason were:

    • What type of diabetes were you diagnosed with? Type 1 or 2, gestational diabetes, diabetes insipidus, glucose intolerance or insulin resistance.
    • Have you experienced any complications including kidney or nerve problems, high blood pressure, vision impairment or reduced blood circulation as a result of diabetes? Have you ever experienced a diabetic or insulin coma or required hospitalization because of the condition?
    • When was the condition last checked and what were the results of the tests?
    • What were the results of your most recent Glycosylated Haemoglobin test?
    • Provide the contact information for your doctor or doctors.

    What exactly is diabetes?

    Diabetes is a condition that can affect many parts of the body. It stems from the body producing an insufficient level of insulin, which allows the body to transform glucose into energy. The inability to regulate blood glucose levels can result in a dangerous overload of sugar in the person’s blood stream.

    This means that when people with diabetes eat foods that contain glucose their bodies can’t convert it into energy. Foods include:

    • Yogurts
    • Milk
    • Fruit and starchy vegetables
    • Cereals
    • Sweets
    • Breads
    • Legumes
    • Eggs

    How is Type 1 diabetes different to Type 2 diabetes?

    Type 1 diabetes

    Type 1 diabetes is where the pancreas is unable to continue making insulin, making blood cells unable to turn glucose into energy. This in turn can lead to an accumulation of dangerous chemical substances within their blood from the burning of fat. If not treated appropriately, this can lead to a condition known as ketoacidosis that can be fatal.

    Type 1 diabetes accounts for roughly 10 to 15% of all cases of diabetes. In order to prevent ketoacidosis, people with Type 1 diabetes are required to take up to four insulin injections every day. The condition typically occurs in people under the age of 30.

    Type 2 diabetes

    Type 2 Diabetes is more common among older adults and makes up roughly 85 to 90% of all people with diabetes. In comparison to Type 1, the pancreas is able to produce some insulin but it’s an inefficient amount to enable the body to work effectively.

    While Type 2 diabetes is a result of genetic makeup, it’s largely associated with lifestyle factors that can result in high blood pressure and obesity — usually a result of a poor diet and lack of physical activity. Luckily for this group, it can usually be managed via healthy eating and regular exercise. However, most people with this condition still need to take tablets or insulin when required.

    Critical illness insurance and diabetes

    Most critical illness policies will offer coverage for applicants that suffer from diabetes. As with life insurance, the provider will assess each applicant individually to determine their level of risk. Premiums will depend on the age of the persons diagnosis and how they are controlling the condition.

    This form of life insurance can provide great financial support if you’re diagnosed with diabetes. If your diagnosis meets the conditions as defined by the provider, you’ll receive a lump sum benefit that can be used to help cover medical expenses, mortgage payments and any income reductions that come with being unable to work.

    Richard Laycock

    Richard is the Insurance Editor at finder, and has been wrangling insurance Product Disclosure Statements for the last 4 years. When he’s not helping Aussies make sense of the fine print, he can be found testing the quality of Aperol Spritzes in his new found home of New York. Richard studied Journalism at Macquarie University and The Missouri School of Journalism, and has a Tier 1 certification in General Advice for Life Insurance. He has also been published in CSO Australia and Dynamic Business.

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