Diabetes and Life Insurance: Can I qualify?

Written by Rob Pinner

With over 30 million Americans living with diabetes we get this is a question on a regular basis.  You can qualify for life insurance if your diabetic, but it’s not as simple as you think.  There are a lot of other things that will factor into your ability to qualify.  You will want to team up with an experienced agent to help guide you through the process smoothly.  With that said, if you have diabetes and it is under control, there is a good chance you will qualify for life insurance.

Types of Diabetes

  1. Type 1 Diabetes- This used to be called juvenile diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes. Type 1 is a chronic condition where the pancreas does not produce enough insulin if any at all.  Insulin is a hormone that allows sugar to enter cells thus producing energy.  This type of diabetes usually occurs in children but can affect adults also.  There is no known cure and treatments usually involve insulin, diet, and lifestyle change.
  2. Type 2 Diabetes- This is the most common form of diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, your body does not use insulin like it should. Insulin resistance is the term used for this disorder.  The pancreas will try to produce more insulin to cure this problem, but over time it just can’t make enough insulin to keep your glucose levels normal.  Type 2 diabetes usually occurs in adults later in life, but we are seeing an increase in children because of child obesity.  Just like type 1, type 2 diabetes has no cure.  Treatment includes: healthy diet, regular exercise, and keeping a healthy weight.  If these don’t work, then medication is an option.  This usually comes in a pill form, but depending on the severity, insulin is an option.
  3. Gestational Diabetes- This type of diabetes happens during pregnancy. Babycenter.com says:

“When you’re pregnant, your body naturally becomes more resistant to insulin so that more glucose is available to nourish your baby. For most moms-to-be, this isn’t a problem: When your body needs additional insulin to process excess glucose in blood, the pancreas secretes more. But if the pancreas can’t keep up with the increased demand for insulin during pregnancy, blood sugar levels rise too high because the cells aren’t using the glucose. This results in gestational diabetes.”

With this said, this is usually a temporary problem and most insurance carriers are not concerned.

Do I qualify?

Now that we have covered the types of diabetes, lets dive into what type of rating you can expect when you apply.

  • If you have type 1 diabetes you can qualify for life insurance. You overall health (blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, etc.) needs to be good and your diabetes needs to be under control.  You will probably be rated above standard depending on your health and medical history.  The chances of qualifying for a standard, although possible, are very slim.  An experienced agent will know this and give you the rates accordingly.
  • If you have type 2 diabetes, not only will you qualify for life insurance, but many get a standard rating. Once again, your health and medical history will play a huge part in the rating you receive.
  • If you had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, then this usually a non-factor. Insurance carriers do not view this as a problem because the body goes back to normal after pregnancy. If you are pregnant now and have gestational diabetes, it is recommended to wait till after the pregnancy to apply for life insurance.

Do I have to take an exam?

If you have type 1 diabetes then most likely you will have to take an exam, unless you are purchasing a final expense/burial policy.  Now with type 2 diabetes there quite a few insurance carriers that have no-medical exam policies for you.  I always recommend for my clients to take a medical exam, especially if they have a medical problem, for this reason:

  • Most no-medical exam policies are going to be priced higher than a fully underwritten policy. The reason for this is the insurance carrier is measuring your risk factors based on what you have told them and your medical records.  An exam gives them a current look at your health.

With that said, you will also want to make sure the agent you work with knows which insurance carriers have the best no-med policy rates and which carriers are lenient when underwriting diabetes.  I have compiled a list of who I think are best:

  • Mutual of Omaha
  • American National
  • Assurity
  • Transamerica
  • Sagicor

Here is a list of insurance carriers that require an exam

  • American General
  • Banner Life
  • Protective Life
  • Lincoln Financial
  • North American

Best approach when applying for life insurance with diabetes

First and foremost, you will want to find and experienced agent who represents multiple insurance carriers.  This will ensure that you will get the best possible rate.  Make sure you are given multiple quotes and details on how each insurance carrier rates diabetes.  If doing a no-med policy, you will want to be as honest and forthcoming as possible.  You don’t want to leave anything out, this can result in a decline or a claim not being paid.  You will want to make sure your diabetes has been under control for at least 6 months and that you visit your doctor regularly.  Overall good health is a must when applying.  If your diabetes is out of control and you haven’t seen a doctor in years, I would recommend not applying to have this straightened out.  Insurance carriers just are not going to take the risk.

If you are declined because of diabetes, then you may want to look into a Guaranteed Issue Whole Life policy until you get your treatment under control.  They don’t ask any health questions at all but do come with some drawbacks. You will want to consult your agent for more information.  We hope this helps you make a wise decision when purchasing life insurance. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

Rob Pinner
Rob Pinner

I have been a licensed insurance agent for over 15 years.  If you have any questions or comments please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

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