Diabetes can be a difficult disease to live with – it can turn every day into a challenge. Unfortunately, it can also turn a number of other things into challenges including obtaining a life insurance policy. Diabetes is one of the heavier red flags that an insurance company will wave in considering a person’s eligibility for a life insurance policy. Fret not, there are plenty of insurance companies that will offer coverage to diabetics at low premium rates. The key is to shop around and educate yourself. Here, we will discuss how this medical condition will affect your shopping when it comes to finding a good policy at a reasonable cost.

What is Diabetes?

Whether Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the disease is characterized by high blood sugar. This is caused by either a lack of production of insulin in the body, or, the body has an inability to respond properly to insulin. The majority of diabetics are of the Type 2 variety. Type 1 diabetes, also knows as juvenile diabetes only accounts for approximately 9% of all cases. According to the American Diabetes Association there are almost 30 million Americans that have a diabetic condition – that is roughly 10% of the Unites States population. As of 2010, diabetes was the 7th leading cause of death.

Symptoms Associated With Diabetes

What are the symptoms and signs of diabetes?Warning signs of diabetes include frequent urination (especially at night), increased hunger, extreme thirst, fatigue, sudden weight loss, and blurry vision. For type 2 diabetes, patients often times feel numbness or tingling in their feet – this condition is known as diabetic neuropathy. These symptoms could be signs of a different problem so be sure to check with your doctor.

Why Does Life Insurance for Diabetics Generally Cost More?

The main reason that life insurance costs more money for those with diabetes is that their risk of cardiovascular disease is much higher. Diet plays an extreme role in the patients ability to control their blood sugar. In addition, the disease wears down the bodies organs (particularly the kidneys). In the eyes of an insurance company, his means that individuals with diabetes suffer shorter life expectancies on average, and this makes them bigger risks for insurers to take on.

Obtaining A Life Insurance Policy As A Diabetic

The Medical Exam Option

Doctor with a stethoscope waiting to perform a medical exam on a new patient

Even though you might have diabetes, there are options to allow you to pursue a life insurance policy. They require careful planning and do not remove diabetes as an obstacle, but they can put a life insurance policy in reach. The first thing to consider is the possibility of a positive medical examination. Diabetes can be managed, and an individual can be in good health overall while still being a diabetic. A doctor can verify that an individual’s diabetes is well-managed, that his/her blood sugar is well controlled, and they present a low risk. If you are a diabetic but in good health, and your blood sugar is well within normal limits, then a medical exam just might be your ticket to an insurance policy. Don’t be scared by this step as it can actually help you. Also, you should know that any medical examination will be paid for by the insurance company you are trying to get a policy with.

What Does the Medical Exam Entail?

Most people will want to understand what the medical exam process looks like. You should understand that the examining doctor will take a very detailed medical history from you. Some likely questions will be:

  • When were you diagnosed with diabetes?
  • Do you currently or have you ever smoked?
  • Do you currently or have you ever used smokeless tobacco?
  • Have you ever been hospitalized? If so, when?
  • What medications are you currently taking and at what dosages?
  • What medication conditions did your mother, father and grandparents have?
  • Do you currently or have you ever taken street drugs?

In addition to a lengthy question and answer session, the doctor will likely run a series of tests that might include:

  • Blood tests to check current blood sugar levels, as well as cholesterol
  • Take your current height and weight measurement
  • Take your current blood pressure
  • Perform a hemoglobin A1c test

The “No Medical Exam” Option

A number of life insurance policies can be attained without any medical examination at all. In this case, a possible client may still be assessed for risk, but their diabetes is less likely to be a factor that will cut them off from getting a policy. No-exam policies are usually sold on a “simplified issue” or “guaranteed issue” basis. Simplified issue policies revolve around a much more basic risk-assessment precis. Guaranteed issue policies do not take risk factors into account in the same way as other policies. Both require higher fees and tend to offer lower payouts relative to their terms when compared to life insurance policies that require a medical examination, but they are still substantial life insurance options that individuals suffering from diabetes can pursue with relative ease. If you diabetic condition is not well controlled, you might consider the no medical examination life insurance policy as an option.

Getting the right kind of life insurance coverage

Types of Life Insurance Policies

Term Life Insurance For Diabetics

Term life insurance is very easy to understand. The policy holder pays a premium for a set period of time, and will receive a set benefit if he or she passes away. For instance, a healthy 40 year old non-smoker might pay $600.00 per year for a $200,000, 15 year term policy. That means that when the policy expires in 15 years, the policy holder will have no more insurance coverage and will have paid a total of $9,000 in premiums. However, if the policy holder dies within those 15 years and the premiums have been paid current, then the beneficiary will receive the death benefit of $200,000. If you only need insurance coverage for a specified period of time, for instance the age at which your children become adults, term life insurance might fit your needs. A big factor in what your term life insurance policy will cost is your age – so, you will want to decide at which age is best to purchase a policy. Another option might be regular funeral insurance and that is something you can look into as well.

Whole Life Insurance For Diabetics

This type of insurance is a bit more complicated than term life insurance. Whole life insurance, sometimes referred to as “permanent life insurance”, definitely can provide a death benefit, however, it also include a “life benefit.” These types of policies have guaranteed cash value accumulation. This means that part of the premium that is paid, is placed in an investment account that can earn dividends and interest. As an added benefit, you pay no federal tax on the cash value growth of the policy. The good news for diabetics is that once you are approved for a whole life policy, it can never be cancelled by the insurance company as long as you keep your premium payments paid up when they are due.

Which Insurance Companies Offer Policies To Diabetics?

Most insurance companies will at least provide an evaluation to any applicant, including those with diabetes. However, some insurance companies have very stringent underwriting standards that will eliminate a diabetic no matter how well controlled their condition is. However, these companies have been known to view diabetic insurance policy applicants fairly:

  1. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
  2. New York Life
  3. Reliastar Life Insurance Company

To get the cheapest quote, as well as to have your diabetic insurance application have the best shot at getting accepted, we recommend that you seek out an independent insurance broker. A broker will work on your behalf to get you the lowest rate, with the best possible coverage, given your particular medical situation. Yes, the broker will take a commission if they are able to get you a policy, however that will be money well spent to get the coverage you need.

What Your Policy Will Cost

When it comes to pricing a life insurance policy for diabetics it will really boil down to your own personal situation. Your medical history, your weight, your current blood sugar and A1c levels, etc. Make no mistake, your medical history and current medical status will be closely scrutinized. After all is said and done the insurance company might not even offer you a policy. If they do, it goes without saying that the premium costs are going to be higher than if you didn’t have diabetes.

I have personal experience with several friends that have diabetes, but were able to secure life insurance policies despite their condition. By coincidence, they all chose 10 year level premium term life policies. I can tell you that their premiums range from $2,500 per year to $4,000 per year. You have to understand that their ages also range from 35 to 50, and their medical histories and current status are varied. So, you might pay more and you might pay less. If you are an older adult or even a senior citizen, the premiums can vary widely so you will want to shop around. Your best bet is to seek out an independent broker, fill out an application, and have them quote your premiums through several different insurers.

Final Thoughts

If you are a diabetic and looking for life insurance all is not lost. Just because you have a medical condition DOES NOT mean you aren’t going to find a policy that fits your needs. As long as you exercise, eat right, and keep your blood sugar levels in check you likely will live a long and prosperous life. Insurance companies know this too and don’t forget, they are in the business of selling insurance. Although you will have higher premiums than their “standard” policy holders, there is no reason you can’t find a policy that will protect you.



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