If you have diabetes, shopping for life insurance can be more challenging because many insurers consider it a risk factor. As a result, they may charge higher premiums or offer lower coverage amounts for people with the condition. However, there are steps you can take to find a policy that meets your needs and budget.
We wanted to take a moment to answer some of the most common questions we receive from our clients. This way, you can have a better understanding of the challenges you may face when applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy after being diagnosed with diabetes.
Questions such as:
- Can individuals with Diabetes qualify for a traditional life insurance policy?
- Why do life insurance companies care if an individual has been diagnosed with diabetes?
- What questions are the insurance companies likely going to ask me during the application process?
- What is the difference between a simplified issue life insurance policy and a fully underwritten life insurance policy?
- How much will my insurance cost?
- What if I am denied coverage or have already been denied coverage?
- What options are available to those who simply can’t qualify for coverage right now?
- What can I do to help myself qualify for coverage and get the best possible rate?
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in!
Can individuals with Diabetes qualify for a traditional life insurance policy?
Yes, it is possible for individuals with diabetes to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy. However, the terms and conditions of the policy, including the premium and coverage amount, may be affected by your diabetes diagnosis.
Insurers generally view diabetes as a risk factor and may charge higher premiums or offer lower coverage amounts for people with the condition. The premium and coverage amount may be based on factors such as the type of diabetes you have (type 1 or type 2), your age, your medical history, your current health status, and your treatment plan.
That said, however, the first issue we’re going to run into is understanding what “kind” of diabetes have you been diagnosed with. Do you have type 1 diabetes, which most (if not all) traditional life insurance companies are going to treat more seriously? Or have you been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which many insurance companies will still consider serious, but won’t be as prejudicial towards?
Diabetes is a chronic medical condition in which the body is unable to properly regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels. Glucose is a type of sugar that is the primary source of energy for the body’s cells. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps regulate the amount of glucose in the blood by allowing it to enter cells and be used for energy.
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and is not preventable. It is classified as an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
As a result, people with type 1 diabetes do not produce any insulin and must take insulin injections or use an insulin pump to manage their blood sugar levels.
Insulin therapy for type 1 diabetes, may involve taking multiple injections of insulin per day or using an insulin pump to deliver a continuous supply of insulin.
People with type 1 diabetes also need to carefully monitor their blood sugar levels and make lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly, to help manage their condition.
If left uncontrolled, type 1 diabetes can lead to serious health complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and eye problems.
Type 2 diabetes:
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to meet the body’s needs.
When the body becomes resistant to insulin or the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin, glucose accumulates in the blood, leading to high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia).
Type 2 diabetes is usually treated with a combination of medications, insulin injections, and lifestyle changes. The type and dose of medication or insulin needed may vary depending on the individual’s blood sugar levels and overall health.
People with type 2 diabetes also need to carefully monitor their blood sugar levels and work with their healthcare team to manage their condition.
If left uncontrolled, type 2 diabetes can also lead to some serious health complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and eye problems.
Why do insurance companies care if an individual has been diagnosed with diabetes?
Insurance companies care if an individual has been diagnosed with diabetes because it is a chronic condition that can increase the risk of complications and the need for medical care. Statistically speaking, people with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing complications such as:
- heart disease,
- kidney disease,
- nerve damage,
- and eye problems.
These complications can be difficult to treat and may result in a shorter life expectancy to those who do not suffer from diabetes.
From a life insurance perspective, the higher risk of mortality associated with diabetes can translate to higher premiums or increased risk for the insurance company. Life insurance companies will typically ask questions about a person’s health history, including whether they have been diagnosed with diabetes, as part of the underwriting process.
Fortunately, not all life insurance companies opposed to approving individuals who have been previously diagnosed with diabetes, particularly if the applicant hasn’t recently been diagnosed and has a well-documented history of properly maintaining their condition.
What questions are the insurance companies likely going to ask me during the application process?
During the life insurance application process, insurance companies are likely to ask you specific questions about your diabetes to assess your risk as a policyholder.
These questions may include:
- When were you diagnosed with diabetes?
This question is meant to determine how long you have been living with diabetes. This is important because the longer you have had diabetes, the higher your risk of developing complications associated with the disease.
- What type of diabetes do you have?
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. The type of diabetes you have will affect the insurance company’s assessment of your risk.
- What medications are you taking to manage your diabetes?
Insurance companies will want to know what medications you are taking to manage your diabetes, as this can give them a better idea of how well-controlled your blood sugar levels are. They may also want to know if you have experienced any side effects from the medications.
- What is your current A1C level (a measure of blood sugar control over the previous three months)?
A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months. Insurance companies will use this information to assess your blood sugar control and your risk of developing complications associated with diabetes.
- Have you experienced any complications related to your diabetes, such as nerve damage, kidney disease, or eye problems?
Diabetes can cause a range of complications, including nerve damage, kidney disease, eye problems, and cardiovascular disease. Insurance companies will want to know if you have experienced any of these complications, as they can increase the risk of premature death.
- Have you been hospitalized or required emergency medical care due to your diabetes?
If you have been hospitalized or required emergency medical care due to your diabetes, insurance companies will want to know. This information can help them assess your overall health status and your risk of developing complications associated with the disease.
- Do you regularly monitor your blood sugar levels?
Regular blood sugar monitoring is an essential part of diabetes management. Insurance companies will want to know if you are monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly, as this can indicate how well you are managing your diabetes.
- Have you made any lifestyle changes to manage your diabetes, such as changes to your diet or exercise routine?
Lifestyle changes, such as changes to your diet or exercise routine, can help you manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of developing complications. Insurance companies will want to know if you have made any lifestyle changes to manage your diabetes, as this can indicate how well you are managing the disease.
- Are you following a treatment plan prescribed by a healthcare provider to manage your diabetes?
Following a treatment plan prescribed by a healthcare provider is crucial for managing diabetes. Insurance companies will want to know if you are following a treatment plan, as this can indicate how well you are managing the disease and your risk of developing complications.
- Have you had any recent medical tests or exams related to your diabetes?
Regular medical exams and tests related to your diabetes can help detect and manage complications early. Insurance companies will want to know if you have had any recent medical tests or exams related to your diabetes, as this can indicate how well you are managing the disease and your overall health status.
What is the difference between a simplified issue life insurance policy and a fully underwritten life insurance policy?
At this point in the process, (assuming that you’r working with an insurance broker with multiple carriers at his or her disposal) your life insurance agent should be thinking to him or herself about what “type” of life insurance policy might be best for you.
Can you qualify for a simplified issue term or whole life insurance policy which won’t require you to take a medical exam?
Or given the particulars surrounding your situation, might it be better for you to apply for a traditional fully underwritten life insurance policy which will provide you a greater opportunity to demonstrate your overall health status to the insurance underwriter before they make their decision?
Either way, it’s probably a good idea for you to understand the difference between these type types of life insurance policies which is why we wanted to take a moment and briefly define each.
Simplified issue life insurance:
Simplified issue life insurance is a type of life insurance that does not require a medical exam for approval, but may still require the applicant to answer health-related questions on the application. Simplified issue life insurance is typically available in term and whole life insurance forms.
Fully underwritten life insurance policies:
Fully underwritten life insurance is a type of life insurance policy that requires the insurance company to assess the risk of insuring an individual before issuing a policy. This process usually involves the applicant completing a medical exam, answering questions about their medical history, and providing other personal information.
Fully underwritten life insurance policies may offer higher coverage limits and may be more suitable for individuals with complex medical histories or who are seeking coverage for a longer period of time.
How much will my life insurance cost?
The cost of life insurance for someone with diabetes will depend on a number of factors, including the severity of the diabetes, the type of diabetes, the age of the individual, and the amount of coverage that is desired.
In general, life insurance premiums for individuals with diabetes may be higher than premiums for individuals without diabetes.
Now for Type 2 diabetics….
It’s safe to assume that the best rate that one can hope for assuming that they apply with a company that is consider “diabetic friendly” would be a STANDARD or Normal rate. Which given the seriousness of some of the complications uncontrolled diabetes can cause, we here at IBUSA will call that a win!
The vast vast majority of individuals who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will be taking some type of medication to treat their condition, and as a result, will usually qualify for what is called a “table rating”.
Table rates are insurance rates that are generally reserved for “higher” risk applicants and range from Table A to Table J. Table A rates will be given to “lower” risk applicants while Table J rates will be given to your “higher” risk applicants. What “table rate” you qualify for will largely depend on:
As a general rule of thumb, we generally like to “shoot” for a Table B rating which can still provide many affordable options for those looking for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
Type 1 Diabetes
Now when it comes time to help those who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes find coverage, there are two important things to understand.
being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will not automatically disqualify you from being able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will make it significantly more difficult to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy and if you are approved you should definitely consider taking the policy, even if it comes back at a higher premium than you were hoping for.
That being said…
However, you don’t want to feel like you got “ripped off” either!
This is why we here at InsuranceBrokersUSA typically like to “shop” your life insurance application to several different insurance companies prior to actually applying for coverage. Now in order to do this properly, we’ll need to know some important things like:
Now, we’re not…
Going to sugar coat it, finding traditional term or whole life insurance coverage as a type 1 diabetic is going to be tough, but if you’re:
- Managing your condition well,
- You don’t smoke,
- And you’re in pretty good health,
Then in “theory” you should still be eligible for a traditionally fully underwritten term or whole life insurance policy. But frankly it’s almost always a difficult process.
What if I am denied coverage or have already been denied coverage?
If an individual’s life insurance application is denied, it may be possible to reapply for coverage with the same at a later date, although the premiums may be higher. Or one might choose to apply all over again with a different carrier hoping for a different result.
In either case, it’s important to understand why you’ve been denied because while one might assume that your application was denied due to your diabetes, it’s quite possible it could have been for some other reason as well.
Other reason such as:
- The applicant has a history of risky behaviors, such as substance abuse or dangerous hobbies.
- The applicant has a dangerous occupation or engages in activities that increase the risk of injury or death.
- The applicant has a poor credit history or financial stability.
- Travel destinations.
If the applicant is able to address the issues that led to the denial, it may be possible to reapply for coverage and potentially secure a policy at a later date. It is also possible to consider an alternative insurance carrier that might not deny your application altogether.
What options are available to those who simply can’t qualify for coverage right now?
There are two insurance options that may be available to individuals who are unable to qualify for traditional coverage due to pre-existing medical conditions or other factors. Each with its own set of unique pros and cons.
In general, we here at IBUSA consider these types of policies as an option of last result, however in the right situation, sometimes they are exactly what a client is looking for and needs.
- Guaranteed issue life insurance: This type of policy does not require the applicant to undergo a medical exam or answer questions about their medical history. Coverage is usually limited, and the premiums may be higher than those for traditional life insurance policies.
- Accidental death insurance: This type of policy provides coverage in the event of death due to an accident. It may be an option for individuals who have been denied coverage by other insurance companies.
What can I do to help myself qualify for coverage and get the best possible rate?
There are a few things that you can do to help improve your chances of qualifying for life insurance coverage and getting the best possible rate:
- Maintain good overall health: Insurance companies may offer lower premiums to individuals who are in good health, so it is important to focus on maintaining good health through a healthy diet, regular exercise, and proper medical care.
- Manage any pre-existing medical conditions: If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it is important to work with your healthcare team to manage your condition and keep it under control. This can help improve your chances of being approved for coverage and getting a lower premium.
- Shop around and compare rates from multiple insurance companies: Different insurance companies may have different underwriting guidelines and may offer different rates for the same coverage. It is important to shop around and compare rates from multiple companies to find the policy that is the most affordable for your specific needs.
- Work with a broker or agent who has experience working with individuals who have pre-existing medical conditions: A broker or agent who has experience working with individuals in your situation may be able to help you find a policy that meets your needs and budget.
- Consider term life insurance: Term life insurance policies typically have lower premiums than permanent life insurance policies, so they may be a more affordable option for individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.
- Disclose any pre-existing medical conditions to the insurance company when applying for coverage: Failing to disclose a pre-existing medical condition could result in the policy being denied or the individual’s beneficiaries not being eligible to receive the death benefit.
Now if you’ve made it this far, we’re sure you probably have some additional questions you’d like to have answered so, give us a call and let us show you want we can do for you!