Many peo­ple false­ly believe that life insur­ance for dia­bet­ics doesn’t exist. In real­i­ty, there are quite a few life insur­ance options for the 34.2 mil­lion Amer­i­cans who have diabetes.

While dia­betes remains a health chal­lenge for many, it is still very pos­si­ble to secure good life insur­ance as a dia­bet­ic. Here are some key things to know about get­ting life insur­ance if you have diabetes.

Insurance companies consider many factors.

In addi­tion to know­ing whether you have dia­betes, a life insur­er may also want to know:

  • Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
  • The age you were diag­nosed with diabetes
  • What med­ica­tions you’re taking
  • Your height and weight
  • How well you’re con­trol­ling your diabetes
  • Your glu­cose levels
  • If you have oth­er health con­di­tions like heart dis­ease and/or high blood pressure
  • If you smoke
  • Your over­all med­ical history
  • Your fam­i­ly history

Some life insur­ers offer some­thing known as “clin­i­cal under­writ­ing.” (Under­writ­ing is when an insur­ance com­pa­ny eval­u­ates you for cov­er­age.) This type of under­writ­ing takes a more holis­tic view of your health instead of zero­ing in on cer­tain risk fac­tors. An insur­ance pro­fes­sion­al will know more about com­pa­nies that offer clin­i­cal underwriting.

Life insurance for diabetics underwriting varies by insurer.

One per­son who knows a lot about life insur­ance for dia­bet­ics is Jake Irv­ing. He’s is a licensed insur­ance agent and own­er of Willamette Life Insur­ance in Beaver­ton, Ore­gon. Irv­ing spe­cial­izes in help­ing peo­ple with dia­betes get life insur­ance. He says that every insur­er has dif­fer­ent under­writ­ing guide­lines when it comes to life insur­ance for diabetics.

Even still, Irv­ing says that most insur­ers care about your age at the diag­no­sis. “Being diag­nosed ear­li­er in life means there’s more time for relat­ed com­pli­ca­tions to devel­op,” he explains. That may make it hard­er to get coverage.

Most insur­ers will also care about any severe dia­bet­ic com­pli­ca­tions. “Hav­ing a dia­bet­ic coma, an ampu­ta­tion, or a hos­pi­tal­iza­tion are the big three they care about,” says Irv­ing. “But hav­ing any one doesn’t mean you can’t get coverage.”

Final­ly, peo­ple with Type 2 dia­betes typ­i­cal­ly have an eas­i­er time secur­ing life insur­ance than peo­ple with Type 1 diabetes.

Life insurance for diabetics is often (but not always!) more expensive.

Peo­ple in good health who don’t smoke gen­er­al­ly get bet­ter life insur­ance rates than peo­ple with health con­di­tions and smok­ers. That said, Jake says he’s had dia­bet­ics qual­i­fy for pre­ferred insur­ance rates. Pre­ferred is the best rate cat­e­go­ry avail­able for life insurance.

Nontraditional plans are an option.

One non­tra­di­tion­al option is grad­ed life insur­ance. With this option, your ben­e­fi­cia­ries only receive a per­cent­age of the full life insur­ance pay­out if you pass away before a set wait­ing peri­od. A typ­i­cal wait­ing peri­od is two years.

Anoth­er option is guar­an­teed issue life insur­ance. With this option, you get a lim­it­ed amount of cov­er­age on the spot. You are not required to have a med­ical exam or even answer any med­ical ques­tions. Just know that you may only get a lim­it­ed amount of cov­er­age and that the rate may be high. There’s also often a wait­ing peri­od as well.

Controlling your diabetes can help you get better coverage.

Life insur­ers look more favor­ably on dia­bet­ics who are work­ing on man­ag­ing their con­di­tion. This could mean reg­u­lar­ly vis­it­ing your doc­tor, tak­ing your pre­scribed med­ica­tion, main­tain­ing a healthy weight, and hav­ing low­er A1C and glu­cose levels.

Jake says that it may even be pos­si­ble to secure a bet­ter rate once you con­trol your dia­betes. This is espe­cial­ly true if a good amount of time has passed since a hos­pi­tal­iza­tion from dia­betes. (Just know that the inci­dent may remain on your health record and affect your rate.)

Working with a licensed insurance agent is your best bet.

Ide­al­ly, you want an inde­pen­dent agent who has rela­tion­ships with many dif­fer­ent life insur­ance com­pa­nies. This means they can shop around for the best pos­si­ble cov­er­age for you. It also means they can turn to oth­er car­ri­ers if your appli­ca­tion is rejected.

You might even con­sid­er an agent like Jake who works with high-risk appli­cants. These kinds of agents are espe­cial­ly knowl­edge­able about which car­ri­ers are most like­ly to offer you the best policy.

Start the process by learn­ing how to choose a qual­i­fied insur­ance agent. An easy way to find a qual­i­fied insur­ance pro­fes­sion­al in your area is to use our Agent Loca­tor.

By Aman­da Austin

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