People with diabetes often think they’ll never find affordable, quality life insurance coverage. Some have been denied coverage before, or they’ve been approved but unable to afford the inflated premiums. It seems hopeless.
Yes, type 1 or type 2 diabetes can limit your life insurance options, especially if you need a lot of coverage.
But by learning how underwriters set your premiums, and by shopping with the right insurers, you can take control of the process.
We know because we regularly help connect applicants who have diabetes and other conditions with the life insurance companies most capable of helping them get great coverage.
Diabetics Can Find Great Life Insurance Options
There’s no doubt about it: A life-changing diagnosis like type 1 or type 2 diabetes will complicate your ability to buy the 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.
Of course, 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 and Other Health Factors
You can’t control your diagnosis. You also can’t change the life insurance industry’s general 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, 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.
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.
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 coverage. But don’t stop there.
Other Health Factors to Control
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 healthier lifestyle can give you access to better coverage.
- 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 open up more life insurance options.
No Exam Coverage and Other Options for Diabetics
You may not have the time and patience for lifelong changes to your health, especially when you’re already trying to manage diabetes.
You may also need coverage right away without spending months preparing for a health exam then waiting weeks for your exam results to travel back to the insurance company.
No-exam life insurance usually looks appealing to applicants in this situation. With no-exam coverage, you can answer a questionnaire about your health and your family health history instead of taking the exam.
Underwriters will also consult databases to learn about you:
- MiB: Your Medical Information Bureau (MiB) file will include health information you’ve shared with insurance companies in the past, including results of any previous insurance-related medical exams.
- Rx Records: Underwriters can also find your current prescriptions, and medicine you’ve taken in the past, through a database. This information will help them learn about other health conditions you may have.
- DMV: Insurance companies check your driving record to get an idea about how many risks you tend to take on the road.
- Insurance credit score: Even your credit score can tell insurance companies about your risk — not your risk for making late payments, but your overall tendency to take risks.
No-exam policies have lower coverage amounts. Most companies cap no-exam coverage around $250,000, though you can possibly find coverage up to $400,000. Premiums also are higher even though you’re buying less coverage.
When you’re in pretty good health and you’ve been managing your type 1 or type 2 diabetes for 6 months or longer, you can use your good health to your advantage by unlocking the higher coverage of a medically underwritten policy, even if you do have to take a medical exam.
When to Get Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance
Traditionally, many diabetics thought their only option for coverage would be guaranteed issue life insurance. Every applicant who meets the age requirements gets approved for these policies regardless of their health or diagnoses.
However, coverage caps remain very low and premiums are expensive. Not only that, but your coverage probably won’t be available for a few years because of graded benefits.
If you died within a year or two of buying the policy, it might not help your family at all, or at best your family would receive only a portion of the coverage amount you’d been paying for.
Guaranteed issue policies have an important role in the marketplace. They make great final expense policies, for example. But most diabetics can find better options by knowing how and where to shop.
Connecting With the Best Life Insurance Companies for Diabetics
Knowing how and where to shop is where we can help. An independent life insurance agency has a lot of freedom. Rather than selling policies on behalf of one or two companies, we work with dozens of insurers.
Working with so many companies puts us in a unique position to notice trends and tendencies. For example, some companies’ underwriting processes look more favorably upon applicants who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
And it’s not just about diabetes.
You’re not defined by your disease, and your insurance policy shouldn’t be either.
An independent agent can consider the broader view of your life insurance needs as we match you with the right company.
A 35-year-old who has diabetes and needs $1 million in term life coverage to help protect a new mortgage, for example, may need a different company than a 58-year-old with diabetes who needs a universal life policy going into retirement.
We consider all your needs so we can find a life insurance company that will see you as a person with a future and not see you as just another application that includes a risky diagnosis.
Call today, 1-800-712-8519, so we can get started.