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Life Insurance For Diabetics

Life insurance for diabetics

Written By Doug Mitchell

Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA.  Doug has spent close to 30 years in the insurance and financial planning industry and has held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, health.  Doug is also a financial blogger addressing the topics of life insurance, annuities and retirement income planning.

Holly Mitchell  &

Holly Mitchell’s background in life insurance insurance goes back to 1985 when she worked for her father who was a New York Life agent. Holly has a marketing degree from Auburn University and has had a life insurance license since 2008. In addition to advising life insurance for customers all around the country, Holly is our website fact checker.

Rob Pinner   &

Rob Pinner is the founder and CEO of Pinner Financial Services servicing all 50 states. Rob started his insurance career in 2002.

Louis LaBash

Results-driven and innovative life insurance professional with 30 plus years of life insurance industry sales and marketing experience. Recognized as a pioneer in the field, leveraging phone and internet channels to exceed personal sales of over $100 million during the first decade of the 21st century. Creator of a highly effective intuitive IUL life insurance sales software that facilitated the sale of millions of dollars of indexed universal policies by numerous life insurance agents. Proven track record as a Managing General Agent (MGA), Life Agent, IUL Life Insurance Sales Software developer, and leading-edge creator of insurance marketing tools, educational content, and delivery systems.

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Life insurance candidates with 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. Our article will help you find which companies will offer life insurance for diabetics.

There are a few life insurance companies that understand your coverage needs and will be best 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:

  1. Mutual of Omaha: Best for Type 1 Diabetics
  2. Protective: Best for Type 2 Diabetics
  3. John Hancock: Best for the Health-Conscious
  4. Foresters: Best for No Medical Exam
  5. Prudential: Best for Complex Health History
  6. AIG: Best Term Life Insurance for Diabetics
  7. American National: Best Affordable Life Insurance for Diabetics

Mutual of Omaha: Best for Type 1 Diabetics

mutual of omaha life insurance for diabetics

Mutual of Omaha is among a handful of insurers recognizing 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 with type 1 diabetes.

Mutual of Omaha brings a strong reputation, 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 dividends like New York Life or Northwestern Mutual.

One thing to note: Mutual of Omaha’s whole life plans are simplified 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 simplified issue (costly and little coverage)
  • Sparse online tools

Protective: Best for Type 2 Diabetics

Protective life insurance

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, 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.

Protective Pros:

  • A+ rating from A.M. Best
  • Most diabetics qualify for coverage
  • Rate reconsideration can help lower premiums later

Protective Cons:

  • It can take a month to render a decision on an application
  • It won’t be the cheapest option for most shoppers

John Hancock: Best for the Health-Conscious

john hancock life insurance logo

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
  • obesity
  • tobacco use
  • other diagnosed medical issues

However, any diabetic should apply with John Hancock.

John Hancock works with Onduo, the health app, to help you make the best health and lifestyle choices.

Keeping up your end of the deal means avoiding 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 for diabetics logo

Foresters Life Insurance often turns around competitive rates on no-exam life insurance policies for shoppers with 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.

Foresters Pros:

  • A long history of stability and service
  • Relationship-based customer service
  • A rated by A.M. Best

Foresters Cons:

  • Products can differ by location
  • Membership required
  • Getting details requires a phone call

Prudential: Best for More Complex Health Histories

Prudential life insurance logo

This huge, well-known firm is a go-to option for diabetics with other complex underwriting factors.

We sometimes suspect Prudential does better with more complicated clients than 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 need reliable life insurance protection, this may be your best bet.

Prudential Pros:

  • Not afraid of complex health histories
  • A+ rated by A.M. Best
  • A long history of stability

Prudential Cons:

  • Slow processing times
  • Higher premiums than most

AIG: Best for Term Life Insurance

aig 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 must work with an insurance agent to get an AIG policy.

AIG Pros:

  • Flexible terms can create new savings
  • A rated by A.M. Best

AIG Cons:

  • Working with an agent required
  • Weaker customer service compared to other industry leaders

American National: Best for Competitive Rates

ANICO life insurance logo

In our experience, American National Life Insurance looks more favorably on applicants with diabetes than 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 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.

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, 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 lower your life insurance rates.
  • 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, losing some weight can help you get 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 rates.
  • 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.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance for Diabetics

Many diabetics think their only option for coverage is guaranteed issue life insurance. You’d indeed have an easier time qualifying for one of these policies. But not because they’re particularly friendly to diabetics.

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, which is 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 won’t be fully in force until two years have passed. If you died within the first two years, your family would not receive the full 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 individual life insurance policy. So rather than lowering your standards and going with a product like a guaranteed issue, you should identify the type of coverage you and your family need.

First, decide between term and permanent life insurance:

Term Life Insurance for Diabetics

Almost all insurance providers offer term life insurance, the simplest and most affordable type.

Term coverage expires at the end of its term, so it’s much cheaper than permanent life insurance, which can last your entire life.

Also, term life doesn’t have any 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 underwriting will also check your driving record and 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 grow cash value over time and can be used to borrow from.

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 a 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.

Life Insurance for 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 indefinitely.

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 of 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 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. 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 want to help you navigate the challenging world of life insurance with a medical condition.

Get started with the life insurance calculator on this page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors do insurance companies consider for diabetics applying for life insurance?

Insurance companies typically evaluate factors such as the type of diabetes, age of diagnosis, blood sugar levels, overall health, diabetes management, and any related complications. These factors help determine the risk profile and influence premium rates and policy eligibility.

Can diabetics qualify for life insurance without a medical exam?

Yes, some insurance companies offer no-medical-exam policies, although these might come with higher premiums or lower coverage limits. It’s important for diabetics to compare different policies and understand the terms and conditions.

How do the types of diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) affect life insurance options?

The type of diabetes can impact insurance options and premiums. Typically, Type 2 diabetics might find more favorable terms, as it is often diagnosed later in life and can be more easily managed. However, options exist for both types, and an insurance advisor can provide tailored advice.

Are there special life insurance policies designed for diabetics?

While standard life insurance policies are available to diabetics, some insurers might offer specialized plans tailored to their needs. These policies might include special benefits or coverage options.

Picture of Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA. Doug has spent close to 30 years in the life insurance and financial planning industry and has held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, health. Some other notable items about Doug: Top of the Table Million Dollar Round Table member (MDRT). (MDRT is a global, independent association of the world’s leading life insurance advisors) | Premier Partner with Lincoln Financial and Cabinet Member | Served two years as President of the Auburn/Opelika Association of Financial Advisors | Life Millionaire status at Horace Mann Insurance Company and was awarded the Life Agent of the Year Award | New York Life, Executive Council Member | Currently serves as President of Ogletree Financial, a life insurance General Agency. | Doug is also a financial blogger addressing the topics of life insurance, annuities and retirement income planning.

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