What to know about life insurance when you have diabetes

You can find affordable coverage, especially with successful treatment

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Diabetes affects the lives of millions of Americans. And while it can make underwriting for life insurance a bit more complicated, many providers are willing to provide you with a policy as you live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

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Why we like: Policygenius for people with diabetes

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Can I get life insurance if I have diabetes?

Yes. Many of the top life insurers in the United States extend coverage to people with diabetes, some at more affordable rates than others.

While not every life insurance company weighs diabetes the same way in underwriting, you’ll likely pay a higher premium than for a person who doesn’t have it. Just how much depends on the measures you’re taking to control and treat your situation.

What about gestational diabetes?

Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition that’s associated with pregnancy. But if you apply while you have an active case of gestational diabetes, your provider will weigh your diagnosis as heavily as it does type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

If you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you may want to wait until after your condition subsides before applying for life insurance. But keep in mind that it can still affect your life insurance premiums after it goes away, though generally not as much.

Compare life insurance providers

Name Product Issue Ages Coverage Range Medical Exam Required State Availability
21 - 54 years old
$50,000 to $1,000,000
Not available in New York
Affordable 2-, 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies. Instant quotes and no medical exams.
20 - 85 years old
$100,000 to $2,000,000
Depends on policy.
Products and product features may not be available in all states.
This well-established life insurance provider could offer you $250,000 worth of coverage for as low as $14 per month.
LadderLife™ Life Insurance
20 - 60 years old
$100,000 to $8,000,000
Not available in New York
Term life insurance with no policy fees and the freedom to cancel anytime. Simple application process that can get you approved for coverage instantly.
18 - 85 years old
$10,000 to $10,000,000+
Depends on provider and policy
All 50 states
Compare affordable quotes from 12+ A-rated life insurance companies side-by-side.
Haven Life
18 - 64 years old
$100,000 to $3,000,000
All 50 states
Customized term life insurance policies up to $3 million, no medical exam for certain applicants.

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What do insurers look at when assessing people with diabetes?

Insurance underwriters evaluate diabetes along with most of the same health and lifestyle factors they use to evaluate any applicant.

But the severity and type of diabetes you have can complicate specific factors, which means your provider may pay closer attention to:

  • Your age at diagnosis. Generally, the longer you’ve had diabetes, the more likely you’ll suffer complications later in life. A person diagnosed with adult-onset diabetes might pay a lower premium than somebody who was diagnosed in childhood.
  • Your diabetes type. Further illustrating how important the when of your diagnosis is, if you have type 2 diabetes, you may find lower rates than for somebody with type 1 diabetes. Because type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed earlier in life, it’s considered a more serious disease, making you a riskier applicant to providers.
  • Your alcohol use. Alcohol can exacerbate diabetes, accelerating the more extreme effects of the disease and sometimes interfering with medication. You could be denied a policy if you drink excessively.
  • Your family’s history. An underwriter will look at more than just your family’s history with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, for instance, carries a higher genetic risk for renal and cardiovascular disease.
  • How you’re managing your disease. You’ll nearly always get a stronger premium if you successfully manage and treat your diabetes. You’ll likely need to take a blood test so that the provider can assess your glucose levels. Generally, the better your blood test, the lower your rates.

What about complications caused by diabetes?

If your diabetes has led to complications, like kidney problems, heart problems or nerve damage, it will affect your ability to qualify for life insurance. Minor problems can lead to higher premiums, and major complications can lead to a denied life insurance application.

Because an insurance underwriter considers your overall health in relation to your diabetes, you’re typically required to submit to a medical exam to determine whether you’re suffering from diabetes-related complications. Your doctor may need to provide documentation on your behalf that prove any serious complications are under control.

What medical questions might I need to answer?

Depending on your diagnosis, treatment and overall health, you may be required to answer invasive medical questions that include:

  • What type of diabetes do you have? You may need to be more specific than simply type 1 or type 2, indicating diabetes insipidus, glucose intolerance or insulin resistance as well.
  • Do you experience diabetes-related complications? You could be asked specifically about kidney or nerve problems, high blood pressure, vision impairment or reduced blood circulation.
  • Have you ever experienced a diabetic or insulin coma? If your history includes coma, you’ll likely need to provide hospitalization records that detail the outcome.
  • When was your condition last checked? Your insurer could ask for test results over a series of recent appointments.
  • What were the results of your most recent hemoglobin A1c test? This test reveals your average blood sugar level over several months.
  • Where are you receiving ongoing treatment? You may need to provide the names and contact info for each of your doctors — even those outside of endocrinology or diabetes treatment.

How can I qualify for better rates?

If medical tests and documentation support that you’ve managed your disease well, you have a better chance for affordable rates. Which means that the best way to qualify for competitive rates is to make regular doctor’s appointments, take your medications on schedule and follow all of your doctor’s orders.

If you’re finding it difficult to get approved, consider seeking out a broker that specializes in high-risk applicants. Life insurance is a competitive industry, and many brokers maintain relationships with insurers willing to take on specific health and lifestyle risks — including diabetes.

Critical illness insurance and diabetes

Critical illness insurance is a type of life insurance policy that can ease the financial strain of a serious medical diagnosis. You can bundle critical illness insurance with your existing life insurance policy, though many providers also offer a standalone policy.

While diabetes is not commonly included in the list of medical diagnoses covered by critical illness insurance, you may be able to protect yourself from diabetes-complications that arise later in life.

You’ll need to disclose your pre-existing diabetes in your application for coverage. If your later diagnosis meets the conditions defined by your provider, you receive your benefit as a lump sum of money that you can use to cover medical costs, mortgage payments or any gaps in income that come with being unable to work.

Bottom line

While it is possible to get life insurance with diabetes, you’ll likely have to pay higher rates — especially if you’ve had other medical problems. To get the best deal on a policy, compare life insurers to find one that fits your needs.

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