Can diabetics get life insurance? Everyone wants to know how their particular medical condition impacts rates and insurability. I wrote an in-depth article about high-risk life insurance and how you’re probably healthier than you think. I think most of my clients are pleasantly surprised to see insurance through underwriters eyes (Psst, those are the people who assess your risk and ultimately determine your rates).
That’s because medical advancements allow people to live longer – even if they have elevated cholesterol or blood sugar…
…the key is control.
Life insurance is a business and they want to make money – so if you have a life-threatening issue they will decline your application. The thing is many of the ailments that concern people aren’t life-threatening if you keep them in check.
I get it, going to the doctor is no fun – and when there’s a diagnosis it seems like it’s the end of the world. But I’m here to tell you it’s not.
First and foremost, you need to tell your independent life insurance agent if you have Diabetes Type 1 or Diabetes Type 2. This is very important information because these conditions are looked at differently by the underwriters.
You may be wondering why? So let’s see how you can get the best life insurance for diabetics right now.
Who I Am & Why Do I Care?
My name is James Heidebrecht and I’m the founder of Policy Architects. Life insurance is one of those things that most people need but no one wants to talk about and I wanted to change that. In my humble opinion, it’s one of the best “investments” you’ll ever make in your family. There’s a lot to be said for having a financial safety net. The unexpected death of a major breadwinner is devasting emotionally and monetarily – but that’s mitigated if you think ahead.
Unfortunately, a lot of people believe they are uninsurable because they have medical issues. This is especially true for people who have chronic issues like diabetes. Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Having diabetes does NOT mean you’re uninsurable.
Types of Diabetes
There are three major categories of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common followed by type 1 diabetes. Gestational diabetes affects women during pregnancy but the good news is that it’s usually temporary.
Can Diabetics Get Life Insurance: Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in childhood – it actually used to be called juvenile diabetes, although it’s not impossible for adults to be diagnosed. This lifelong condition keeps the pancreas from producing adequate insulin or any insulin at all. This is the hormone needed to carry sugar to your cells for energy.
Unfortunately, Type 1 diabetes doesn’t have a cure, so patients rely on insulin supplementation and diet and lifestyle restrictions to prevent serious medical issues or death.
This condition can also create other health issues, so the health of the applicant has to be evaluated in greater detail. There’s no getting around it. Someone with Type 1 diabetes is considered to be a much higher risk to insure than Type 2 diabetes.
Can Diabetics Get Life Insurance: Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is much more common than Type 1 – but the good news is it’s more manageable. If you’re diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes your pancreas does produce insulin but your liver and fat tissue are insulin resistant which means glucose isn’t regulated properly. This may cause health issues, especially if it’s not well controlled.
The earlier you pinpoint this medical condition the better because it’s a progressive and can cause substantial damage to the pancreas. If it goes unchecked insulin injections may be the only way to control your blood sugar.
Early diagnosis allows patients to make diet and lifestyle changes to turn their situation around. It’s amazing to see what good food and exercise can do to control Type 2 diabetes. Many life insurance applicants with well-managed type 2 diabetes are able to get standard, non-smoking rates.
Can Diabetics Get Life Insurance: Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. It’s usually a temporary situation. The placenta makes hormones that can spike the glucose in your blood. For most people, the pancreas makes enough insulin to handle the increase, but if it doesn’t gestational diabetes is the result.
Testing for this condition is done throughout your pregnancy to ensure a healthy birth. If you have gestational diabetes some very simple changes help manage your blood sugar.
After delivery gestational diabetes typically resolves itself. The kicker is, it can be a marker for future type 2 diabetes so this medical issue is something an underwriter will take note of.
Can Diabetics Get Life Insurance: Pre-Diabetes
There are warning signs before you get Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes is one of them. If you keep up with your yearly physicals you may get a blood test that reveals a diagnosis of prediabetes. This is a serious medical condition defined by elevated blood sugar levels. It’s not severe enough to be called Type 2 diabetes, but that’s not to say there are not some serious health implications.
Sadly, most people don’t know they have this, but as with Type 2 diabetes, people with prediabetes have an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
Underwriting Life Insurance for Diabetics
To be perfectly honest with you life insurance for diabetics is a very complicated topic. That’s why it’s imperative for you to call Policy Architects today. Every life insurance company views diabetes differently – which means some are more lenient than others. But that’s not all…
…it really does depend on your personal circumstances and how well controlled your diabetes is.
Underwriting Diabetes Type 1
If you have type 1 diabetes, this is a much tougher situation to underwrite. Even if you get underwritten because your diabetes is well controlled you’ll likely be rated and have to pay more in premiums. The question is how much more? Underwriters will be interested in the following:
- Height & Weight
- A1C levels (past and present)
- Age of diagnosis
- Type of Insulin prescribed
- Units per day
- Other medications
- Any complications related to your diabetes
- Any other health issues (ie. heart disease, neuropathy)
You may have a shot at affordable life insurance rates if:
- Your diabetes is well managed and you’re proactive and compliant with your treatment
- There are no complications related to your diabetes
- Age 30 or above when diagnosed
- For adult-onset, A year has passed since diagnosis
- A1C level less than 8
Can insurance companies deny coverage if you have diabetes type 1?
It depends on your answers to the questions above, you may want to consider a no medical exam policy first because once an insurer rejects your application this becomes part of your Medical Information Bureau (MIB) record for other companies to see down the road. In cases with diabetes type 1, we will often test the market to see how underwriters will view your application. No medical coverage is a great option and is often on par or even cheaper than life insurance rates you would receive through traditional medical underwriting.
Underwriting Diabetes Type 2
You have a very good chance of obtaining an underwritten policy if you have well-controlled Type 2 Diabetes and no other medical issues. Although, again I can’t overstate how important it is for you to work with an independent life insurance agent to find the right company for you
Every carrier will view your diabetes differently. The strategy we use to obtain life insurance for diabetics or those with chronic issues is different than for healthy individuals. In the case of diabetes type 2, we have access to the best life insurance companies in Canada and know how each one of them looks at diabetes. Underwriters will be interested in:
- A1C levels
- Height & Weight
- Age of diagnosis
- Medication and dosage
- Any complications related to your diabetes
- Any other health issues (ie. high blood pressure, cholesterol)
As far as insurance carriers are concerned, when it comes to life insurance for diabetics, it’s entirely about control. They like to see:
- Your A1C levels are well stabilized
- You’re proactive when it comes to your own treatment
- A healthy diet and lifestyle
- regular self-testing
- regular follow-ups with your doctor
Did I mention underwriters love notes? Document your treatment and make sure your doctor is doing the same. A consistent trail of reliable health records communicates to underwriters that you’re someone who takes your health seriously. It can mean the difference between getting the best life inusrance rates for diabetics or not.
Underwriting Gestational Diabetes
If you have gestational diabetes and apply for life insurance, insurers will postpone your application until after you’ve had the baby. At that point, you may get a standard rating if and when everything goes back to normal. Remember having gestational diabetes puts you at greater risk of having type 2 diabetes later in life so this is taken into consideration too.
Medical Issues That Underwriters Are On The Lookout For
Age is one of the biggest factors when it comes to underwriting life insurance for diabetics. The younger you are when you’re diagnosed the more risk you represent. For example, someone in their 50’s with Type 2 diabetes that’s well controlled may even get a standard rate! The key to getting a standard rate is control (and not having Type 1 diabetes). Diabetes creates a lot of stress on the body which leads to other more serious health issues – so if you are working to maintain good health these variables may never come to fruition.
Underwriters also take your height and weight into consideration because of the impact weight has on this chronic medical condition. I discuss this in greater detail below. There’s a lot you can do to manage your diabetes.
Red Flags for Diabetes
If you’re concerned about Type 2 diabetes there are some red flags. I do however want to add a caveat. Although there are some markers that make you a candidate for this diagnosis, there’s a very strong lifestyle component. Just because you have a family history or even if you’re prediabetic you’re not necessarily destined for a lifetime of being unwell. That being said I will share the red flags for Type 2 diabetes now:
- You are overweight
- Over 45 years of age
- A family history of type 2 diabetes
- You live a sedentary life
- Diagnosed with gestational diabetes
- Your baby weighed more than 9 LBS
- A diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome
- African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders & Some Asian Americans have a higher risk
Why Underwriters Worry About Diabetes
As I mentioned above, diabetes causes other health conditions that complicate the issue when it comes to your life insurance coverage. This is why treatment is so important. Obviously, underwriters have to weigh your personal situation before they approve, rate or decline you.
The following medical issues go hand in hand with diabetes:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye damage
- Foot issues that are caused by neuropathy
Ouch! Now, these are some very serious issues. This is why it’s so very important for you to consult with an independent life insurance agent BEFORE you apply for insurance. We will go through your medical history to find the best life insurance company for your particular needs. This can literally translate into thousands of dollars of savings over the course of your policy.
Diabetes And When No Medical Exam Life Insurance Makes Sense
No medical life insurance for diabetics makes sense when you have other additional health issues like heart disease or neuropathy. If you’re seriously worried about being declined for traditional life insurance, a simplified-issue policy is a great way to get coverage in place quickly before you investigate medically underwritten options. This tactic ensures you have guaranteed protection in the event you’re are declined or highly rated.
Another issue is cost. Sure, no health exam life insurance is more expensive but that’s because the company takes on more risk when they insure you. That being said, being rated 150% plus is also going to hit your wallet hard. Depending on personal circumstances, no medical exam life insurance for diabetics may be the most cost-effective.
The Medical Exam & How You Can Help Yourself
I’m a big advocate of lifestyle changes when you feel things are going south. This past month I turned 54! Man, it’s a huge milestone as I still feel like I’m 15 at heart. The thing is my body doesn’t know that. As you age things you took for granted simply start to change.
The biological clock isn’t the same for all of us – but a lot of this depends on the way we live our lives. Sure there’s a genetic component and life isn’t always easy…
…but the good news is you can take the bull by the horns and turn things around.
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with prediabetes losing a 10 – 15 lbs if you’re overweight can really help. Yeah, I know losing weight is never simple, but you can increase your daily physical activity to 30 minutes per day and cut out the junk and before you know it you’ll see the extra weight melt off.
Can Diabetics Get Life Insurance: Diet
Because you’re dealing with blood sugar issues, a healthy diet is one of the best tools you have in the fight against diabetes. Using food as medicine doesn’t have to be a drag either. There are tons of ways you can make fresh nutritious food taste amazing.
First of all, you want to oust the croissants and unhealthy carbohydrates in favor of healthy carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Sadly your morning muffin or refined cereal break down into blood glucose so you want to choose foods that don’t add to that load. You also need to make sure you get enough fiber in your diet. This is another way for your body to control A1C levels. If you’re eating enough fruit, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains this should be a no brainer.
You should also incorporate heart-healthy fish such as salmon at least two times per week.
Good fats are another important part of the equation. Avocadoes, nuts and olive oil are also great additions. Many people report success adhering to the Mediterranean diet because it has all the components you need to live a healthy life and manage your weight.
Foods to avoid include the following usual suspects:
- Refined sugar
- Fried foods
- Saturated and Trans Fats
- Red Meat
- Hot Dogs, Sausage & Bacon
Can Diabetics Get Life Insurance: Exercise
The American Diabetes Association recommends two types of exercise to combat diabetes – aerobic exercise and strength training.
Aerobic exercise helps your body use insulin better. It makes your heart and bones strong, relieves stress, improves blood circulation, and reduces your risk for heart disease by lowering blood glucose and blood pressure and improving cholesterol levels.
As I mentioned above, get outside or go to the gym 30 minutes daily – and if you can’t manage that then 5 days per week. This will make all the difference in the world…
…and don’t go crazy. Moderate intensity is all you need. Remember slow and steady always wins the race. My personal favorite way to get out and about in the warmer weather is biking. But you can go swimming, take a nice hike or maybe even do some gardening. It all counts toward your final goal.
Strength training is another way to lower blood glucose not to mention that it wards off a whole host of age-related issues. Let’s face it the healthier you are headed into your later years, the better your senior years will be. In order to get the benefits of strength training, you need to do it at least 2 times per week. Squats, weights, lunges, sit-ups, and healthy gardening are all ways to increase your stamina.
Why You Need Policy Architects
Wow as you can see life insurance for people with diabetes is a very complicated issue. Again, this is why it’s important for you to contact an independent life insurance agent like Policy Architects. We have relationships with the best life insurance companies in Canada for diabetes.
You want to consult with someone who knows the ins and out of the underwriting process. Not all life insurance companies are created equal and your medical history will dictate what sort of rates you’ll receive. Remember some insurers are far more lenient than others when it comes to certain medical conditions.
You also need to take an honest look at your medical history. I will be completely transparent with you – if you have type 1 diabetes you’ll be rated and possibly declined. This doesn’t mean that you are uninsurable. No medical exam life insurance for diabetics may be the best path for you. Why don’t you give us a call today to see what we can do for you?
No matter how you look at it your situation is unique. Give the call centers and AI a pass. We’ll find you the best life insurance rates for diabetics in Canada. With Policy Architects you’re a customer for life.