Life insurance shoppers who have diabetes already know finding affordable coverage can be difficult.
Chronic health conditions like diabetes limit your coverage options. That’s just the way life insurance works.
But this doesn’t mean you have no options at all.
In fact, there are a few life insurance companies that understand your coverage needs and excel at providing them.
7 Best Life Insurance Companies for Diabetics
When clients tell me they have diabetes and can’t find good life insurance coverage, I suggest checking with these companies first:
- Mutual of Omaha: Best for Type 1 Diabetics
- Protective: Best for Type 2 Diabetics
- John Hancock: Best for the Health Conscious
- Foresters: Best for No Medical Exam
- Prudential: Best for Complex Health History
- AIG: Best Term Life Insurance for Diabetics
- American National: Best Affordable Life Insurance for Diabetics
Mutual of Omaha: Best for Type 1 Diabetics
Mutual of Omaha is among a handful of insurers who recognize the differences between types 1 and 2 diabetes.
This well-known insurer offers higher coverage amounts — up to $300,000 — for term life insurance applicants who have type 1 diabetes.
Mutual of Omaha brings a strong reputation to the table, backed up by consistent A+ ratings from A.M. Best.
You can find term, whole, and universal coverage with or without a medical exam.
Though it’s a mutual company, MofO does not pay out dividends like New York Life or Northwestern Mutual.
One thing to note: Mutual of Omaha’s whole life plans are guaranteed issue which means you’d pay more for less coverage.
Mutual of Omaha Pros:
- Specializes in type 1 diabetes coverage
- A+ rating from A.M. Best
- Variety of coverage options
Mutual of Omaha Cons:
- Mutual’s whole policies are guaranteed issue (costly and little coverage)
- Sparse online tools
Protective: Best for Type 2 Diabetics
Protective Life Insurance’s rate reconsideration program makes it a good choice for type 2 diabetics.
After you lock in a rate with Protective, you can get a better rate on the same coverage later.
For example, let’s say you lost about 20 pounds and lowered your A1C levels after buying a term policy.
You could get re-checked after a year and lock in a lower rate for the rest of the policy.
You wouldn’t have to keep getting checked to maintain the lower rate.
Protective does not exclude diabetics because of their diagnoses.
If you don’t get approved for coverage it’ll be for some other reason such as other health issues or high-risk habits like smoking.
Protective offers a full range of life insurance products, including more complex universal life plans that let you invest the policy’s cash value.
- A+ rating from A.M. Best
- Most diabetics qualify for coverage
- Rate reconsideration can help lower premiums later
- Can take a month to render a decision on an application
- Won’t be the cheapest option for most shoppers
John Hancock: Best for the Health Conscious
John Hancock Insurance Co.’s Aspire with Vitality product line is designed specifically for people who have diabetes.
This plan works best for diabetics who have no other complicating risk factors such as:
- heart disease
- tobacco use
- other diagnosed medical issues
But any diabetic should apply with John Hancock.
John Hancock works in tandem with Onduo, the health app, to help you make the best health and lifestyle choices.
Keeping up your end of the deal means you can avoid the underwriting pitfalls diabetics often face.
This may feel like an invasion of privacy, but getting affordable life insurance protection for your loved ones — up to $2 million worth of term life — could make it all worthwhile.
Plus you may optimize your health in the process.
John Hancock Pros:
- A+ rated by A.M. Best
- A program designed for diabetics
- Term & permanent policies available
John Hancock Cons:
- Can’t buy online
- Not available in New York State
Foresters: Best for No-Exam Term
Foresters Life Insurance often turns around competitive rates on no-exam life insurance policies for shoppers who have diabetes.
The application process is fast and easy to complete, and you should hear back within three days.
The healthiest shoppers can get up to $400,000 in simplified issue coverage (with no medical exam).
Foresters also has medically underwritten life insurance that does require an exam and more time to underwrite.
But it’s the no-exam policies that tend to work out best for our clients who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Foresters is more than a life insurer. It’s a financial services provider and part of a fraternal organization that helps provide scholarships to students in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
You’d need to join the organization to buy a policy, but it’s not a difficult hoop to jump through.
Along with term life, Foresters also has a solid line of whole and universal policies, including a guaranteed universal policy we like.
- A long history of stability and service
- Relationship-based customer service
- A rated by A.M. Best
- Products can differ by location
- Membership required
- Getting details requires a phone call
Prudential: Best for More Complex Health Histories
This huge, well-known firm is a go-to option for diabetics who also have other complex underwriting factors.
In fact, we sometimes suspect Prudential does better with more complicated clients than it does with routine cases.
Prudential offers a full range of life insurance products — from term to whole to universal.
And the company keeps consistently strong financial ratings from A.M. Best and others.
Prudential isn’t a budget-friendly option. If you’re relatively healthy, you can probably find better rates elsewhere.
But if you have a particularly complex medical history and you need reliable life insurance protection, this may be your best bet.
- Not afraid of complex health histories
- A+ rated by A.M. Best
- A long history of stability
- Slow processing times
- Higher premiums than most
AIG: Best for Term Life Insurance
AIG isn’t known for favorably underwriting diabetics, but the company is set up well for diabetes anyway.
How is this possible? AIG specializes in customizing term life insurance.
When you have so much control over your coverage options, you can find other ways to save.
This means anyone with health challenges could benefit from considering AIG.
You’ll hear some bad things about AIG on blogs and online reviews. This is all based on its weaker customer satisfaction ratings from surveys like J.D. Power’s.
For most policyholders, though, AIG provides what they need: dependable coverage at competitive rates.
One word of caution: Shopping with AIG Direct means you’ll get guaranteed issue life insurance which is the most expensive type of coverage and not representative of AIG’s product line. You’ll need to work with an insurance agent to get an actual AIG policy.
- Flexible terms can create new savings
- A rated by A.M. Best
- Working with an agent required
- Weaker customer service compared to other industry leaders
American National: Best for Competitive Rates
In our experience, American National Life Insurance looks more favorably on applicants with diabetes compared to the broader market.
This is a large company that covers all the bases, offering term, whole, and universal life insurance coverage to shoppers in all 50 states.
Other than our experience seeing better-than-expected rates for diabetics, American General doesn’t stand out all that much.
The biggest complaint people have relates to customer service — specifically waiting on hold for a half-hour when they have a question.
Still, when you’re a diabetic looking for lower premiums and you don’t expect to interact with the company regularly, this company should make your shortlist.
American National Pros:
- A simple, basic insurance company that happens to underwrite favorably for many diabetics
- A rating from A.M. Best
American National Cons:
- Slow turnarounds (month+) on new policies
- Slow customer service response times
Buyer’s Guide: Diabetics Can Find Great Life Insurance Options
There’s no doubt that a life-changing diagnosis like type 2 diabetes will complicate your ability to buy the life insurance coverage you need, especially if you have a family and need a large coverage amount.
To learn how you can alleviate this problem, it helps to understand why insurers tend to charge higher premiums or even deny coverage to the 30 million people in the United States who live with diabetes.
With insurance, everything usually boils down to risk. Any quality insurance product factors risk into its rates and its decisions about eligibility.
Otherwise, it couldn’t stay in business to provide insurance.
It’s not just life insurers who think this way: If you drive your car 1,000 miles a week you’ll likely pay a higher auto insurance premium than someone who drives only 50 miles a week because driving more increases your risk of a wreck.
When you have diabetes, a life insurance company may automatically classify your application at a higher risk level because statistics show people with diabetes tend to die at earlier ages.
This increased risk could increase premiums or possibly lead underwriters to deny you coverage.
That’s the bad news.
The good news is underwriters will consider many other factors about your life as well.
By controlling those variables — and by keeping your diabetes under control — you can increase your chances of finding great coverage and lowering your insurance premiums.
Controlling Your Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
You can’t control your diagnosis. You also can’t change the life insurance industry’s tendency to react negatively to your condition.
So let’s focus on what you may be able to control, starting with your disease process.
Getting and keeping your diabetes under control should open up a lot more life insurance options. In turn, allowing you to shop around and even compare quotes from more than one quality insurer.
People with type 1 diabetes often have a lifetime of practice managing their conditions and can already check off this box even though they are insulin-dependent.
If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, be sure you’re working with a physician and learning how to avoid crises that require emergency intervention.
Be sure you’re always monitoring your:
- blood sugar levels
- blood glucose levels
- A1C levels
Not only could this lead to a healthier future. But by showing an ability to control your condition, you’re reducing the risk underwriters see when they look over your application.
Once again, your risk relates directly to your ability to access great life insurance coverage.
But don’t stop there.
Other Health Factors to Control with Diabetes
Many other variables impact your premiums and your eligibility for coverage. Especially when you need a coverage amount only medically underwritten coverage can offer.
Medically underwritten coverage almost always requires you to get a medical exam.
Depending on your overall health right now, you may need to make some long-term lifestyle changes to make the following improvements.
If you’re serious about unlocking great coverage, they should pay off:
- Tobacco use: People who use tobacco pay significantly more for life insurance regardless of whether they have diabetes. Quitting tobacco is one of the single most important things you can do to open up options for affordable life insurance.
- Weight control: Medically underwritten life insurance, which has the potential to give you the most coverage, considers your overall health. If you’re obese or even just overweight, adopting a healthy lifestyle and losing some weight can give you access to lower life insurance premiums.
- Blood pressure: Blood pressure is another general health indicator underwriters may use. By taming hypertension — either through diet and exercise or prescription medicine — you can get better life insurance quotes.
- Heart disease: The bad news is that people with diabetes already have a higher risk of heart disease, neuropathy, high blood pressure, and other disorders. But if you can develop a healthy lifestyle and stave off these problems, you’ll look a lot less risky to life insurance carriers.
When to Get Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance with Diabetes
Many diabetics think their only option for coverage is guaranteed issue life insurance. It’s true that you’d have an easier time qualifying for one of these policies. But not because they’re particularly friendly to diabetics.
Just about anyone with any health condition can qualify for these policies because they don’t check your medical records and require no medical exam. The questionnaires for these policies may have only two knock-out questions to exclude people who have terminal illnesses or live in long-term care facilities.
Yes, it’s convenient, but there are some huge drawbacks:
- Low death benefit: Most insurers cap death benefits at $25,000 — significantly low compared to a medically underwritten term life insurance policy.
- High rates: Life insurance rates for guaranteed issue policies of $25,000 could surpass the premiums on another policy’s $100,000 death benefit.
- Waiting periods: In most cases, your coverage wouldn’t be fully in force until two years pass. If you died within the first two years your family couldn’t claim the death benefit.
Guaranteed issue policies have an important role in the marketplace. They make good final expense policies, for example. But most diabetics can find better options by knowing how and where to shop. Many better life insurance options also require no medical exam.
Best Types of Life Insurance for Diabetics
Either type of diabetes can affect the underwriting process for any type of individual life insurance policy. So rather than lowering your standards and going with a product like guaranteed issue, you should identify the type of coverage you and your family needs.
First, decide between term and permanent life insurance:
Term Life Insurance for Diabetics
Almost all insurance providers offer term life, the simplest and most affordable type of coverage.
Term coverage expires at the end of its term so it’s a lot cheaper than permanent life insurance which can last your entire life.
Also, term life doesn’t gain its own cash value. It’s just life insurance coverage with no frills.
Usually, you’ll need a medical exam, but no-exam options like the ones I listed above from Foresters and AIG offer alternatives.
Expect to answer a health questionnaire, including providing details about your family health history.
A family history of cancer or heart disease could complicate your underwriting process.
If so, be sure you’ve checked with Protective Life, which I mentioned above.
Insurance agents will also check your driving record, and possibly even your credit score, to assess your risk beyond diabetes.
Term life is best for larger coverage amounts at lower prices.
Permanent Life Insurance for Diabetics
Permanent life insurance, as its name suggests, can last your entire life, but there’s another big difference: these policies gain their own cash value over time and can become an investment.
Just like with term, you’ll need to provide medical information as part of your life insurance application.
Permanent policies cost more because these policies can last the rest of your life, and your premiums fund the cash component of the policy. Permanent policies include:
- Whole life insurance: The cash built up in these policies normally grows at a guaranteed interest rate as it could in a savings account. Expect a level premium and a guaranteed death benefit. With some companies, whole life insurance for diabetics means a guaranteed issue. You shouldn’t have to settle for this.
- Universal life insurance: The cash built up in these policies can grow faster because it’s connected to a stock index or invested in mutual funds. These policies can also lose money in down economic times which could jeopardize the death benefit or inflate premiums.
Diabetics and others with complex health histories are often drawn to permanent life insurance because they’d rather not have to go through underwriting again in 10 or 20 years.
A universal life insurance policy is more flexible than whole life. Later in life you could save on premiums by using some of the policy’s built-up cash value to subsidize the premiums.
However, the death benefits tend to be smaller for this kind of permanent coverage when compared to term life.
What about gestational diabetes or pre-diabetes?
Women who are pregnant face the risk of gestational diabetes, but this isn’t a permanent condition and it shouldn’t have much, if any, impact on your life insurance choices.
However, gestational diabetes can be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes so you should monitor your health condition and get occasional blood sugar level checks during routine check-ups.
A diagnosis of pre-diabetes means you have an elevated blood sugar level and elevated A1C levels (3-month average of blood glucose levels). This condition will likely increase your life insurance rates.
But you still have time to reverse pre-diabetes before it turns into full-blown type 2 diabetes. When clients tell me they have pre-diabetes I ask whether they can adopt a more healthy lifestyle and reverse this condition before it’s too late.
If they can, they can save a lot on life insurance premiums for the indefinite future.
In this scenario, I recommend Protective or another life insurance carrier that allows rate reconsideration.
That way you could get covered now and still save money by improving your health over the next couple years.
Deciding What Type of Life Insurance Policy You Need
Regardless of your diagnosis, deciding which type of life insurance to buy should always go back to this: What kind of coverage do you need?
- If you’re younger and have a growing family: a term life insurance policy can provide the large death benefits and lower life insurance premiums you need.
- If you’re looking for permanent coverage: a universal life insurance policy provides the most flexibility later in life. Find out for sure how the cash value is invested before buying in since bad economic times could erode your policy’s death benefit.
- If you’re looking for final expense coverage: A guaranteed issue could work, but try some better options first like guaranteed universal, a life insurance product that can guarantee your death benefit but won’t show cash growth.
We’d like to help you navigate the challenging world of life insurance with a medical condition.
Call us at 1-800-712-8519, or get started with the quote box on this page.