Life Insurance for Diabetics
Finding life insurance options when you have a condition like diabetes is not an impossible task. However, securing coverage that protects your loved ones for the long term may be a challenge because of the high risk you present to insurance companies. You may find it more difficult to qualify or pay a higher premium for life insurance for diabetics.
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Diabetes is a growing health concern among children and adults in the United States for a variety of reasons. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates more than 100 million adults in America live with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Diabetes can be a devastating disease, leaving individuals with shorter life spans and complex treatment plans throughout a lifetime. Because of the potential complications those with diabetes face, getting affordable life insurance coverage is often easier said than done.
As a serious condition, diabetes can lead to increased risk of vision loss, heart disease, kidney failure, amputation of limbs, and stroke. While the condition is often managed well through oral or injection medications, an active lifestyle, and a balanced diet, some individuals with diabetes still present a much greater risk to insurance companies than those without the health issue.
Life insurance carriers consider adults with diabetes for insurance coverage, but life insurance rates may ultimately be higher when the condition is not well-managed or there are other risk factors present. For those with diabetes who are also in need of life insurance coverage, this guide offers insight into how life insurance companies view the disease and the process for securing the right type of coverage, even if you are viewed as a higher-risk individual.
Qualifying for Life Insurance With Diabetes
The risks associated with diabetes are varied, but nearly all suggest adults with the condition might face a shorter lifespan. Diabetes can cause the following health conditions, which are all seen as problematic for life insurance companies:
- Nerve damage due to excess sugar in the body
- Cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Kidney damage
- Eye damage
- Limb damage
- Skin conditions, including infections
- Alzheimer’s disease
Any one of these medical issues that arise because of diabetes may increase the mortality of an individual. Because of this reality, life insurance companies are less likely to offer coverage with the best possible health rating.
Nearly all life insurance underwriters assess individual applicants based on a variety of risk factors, including medical history and family history, current height and weight, age, gender, smoker status, and prescription drug use.
When diabetes in any form is included on an application or shows up in a medical exam, individuals applying for insurance are viewed as a higher risk than those with a similar health history but no diagnosis of the condition. However, if the condition is managed well over time, life insurance carriers are not likely to fully decline an application for coverage. They may simply increase the cost of the coverage based on these risk aspects.
Does the Type of Diabetes You Have Affect Your Life Insurance?
There are three main types of diabetes individuals may have as an adult: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. For each category of the condition, life insurers may evaluate the risk of a decreased lifespan differently.
- Type 1 diabetes – also known as juvenile diabetes, this condition is often diagnosed at a young age and controlled strictly through diet and prescription medications. Life insurance companies view type 1 diabetics as a higher-risk group than people with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes.
- Type 2 diabetes – as the most common type of diabetes, type 2 diabetes is still a serious condition, but it may be controlled without the use of medication. Type 2 diabetics are still a risk to insurers, but they may be less of a risk when the disease is under control through exercise and diet.
- Gestational diabetes – this type of diabetes occurs in pregnant women only, most of whom have not shown any signs of diabetes in the past. Because the body changes during and after pregnancy, blood sugar levels can return to normal and gestational diabetes may not present as high a risk as type 1 or type 2 to life insurers.
The Best Life Insurance Policies for People with Diabetes
For many adults with serious health conditions like diabetes, it is essential to work with an insurance company that has policies or underwriting guidelines specifically designed for people with diabetes. In addition to this consideration, opting for term life insurance is typically a more affordable choice.
Unlike permanent insurance, including whole life and universal life policies, a term life insurance policy is temporary in nature. Because it does not last for the entirety of your life, premiums are lower for a term policy than for a comparable permanent policy. This can help individuals with diabetes save money on the cost of coverage.
In addition to term life insurance, adults with diabetes may select a policy with a lower death benefit to help reduce the out-of-pocket expense. When the insurance company is providing a small benefit to the insured should he or she pass away, the financial risk to the company is lower.
This reduces the cost of premiums for the life insurance policy. While saving money on insurance premiums is beneficial in the immediate term, it is important to recognize your need for life insurance and the coverage amount necessary to protect your beneficiaries should you pass away. Check your coverage to ensure that it isn’t substandard according to your actual needs.
Taking Action to Help Improve Your Insurability
One of the best steps you can take before applying for a life insurance policy when you have diabetes is to control other risk factors as you are able. This may mean losing weight to get within acceptable or normal weight parameters based on your body mass index, quitting smoking, working toward reducing high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and managing your blood glucose levels. Because these are all additional risk factors insurance companies review prior to approving a new life insurance policy, minimizing their impact is crucial.
Adults with diabetes should also ensure their condition is controlled as best as possible, following their doctor’s recommendations. If you have type 2 diabetes, underwriters might want to see if you’re keeping your a1c levels in check. You may be on a strict regimen of insulin injections each day, have an oral medication to take, or have regular follow-up visits with your primary care doctor as part of your treatment plan. Sticking to these suggestions as a person with diabetes is necessary if you want to be approved for life insurance coverage in the future.
Comparing Life Insurance Quotes
Comparison shopping for a new life insurance policy is essential when you have diabetes. Do not opt for one policy without checking your rates and coverage options with other companies first. Several companies will offer life insurance policies with no exam for diabetics, but be sure to compare those rates and coverage to companies that do require a medical exam.
Each life insurance carrier has different parameters they want you to be within when you have diabetes of any type, and some are more lenient than others. Taking the time to compare various life insurance quotes from providers helps ensure you are receiving the best possible coverage for the best rates.
Even with diabetes, you still have options for getting a strong life insurance policy to help protect your loved ones in the event of your death. Be sure to know your other risk factors before applying for a new policy, and work toward improving your health in other areas if possible. Also, know the different types of insurance policies available to you and how the specific company you work with views diabetes type 1, type 2, and gestational.
Finally, be sure to follow the course of treatment recommended by your doctor to help control your diabetes before shopping around among life insurance providers.
Author: Melissa Horton