Updated August 4th, 2017
Affordable life insurance should be available for everyone, right? After all, many people could use the financial safety net that it provides.
But for people with chronic illnesses, it’s easy to think that life insurance is out of reach. They may believe that their medical conditions will make life insurance prohibitively expensive. The good news is that this often isn’t the case - including for people who are managing diabetes. There are plenty of opportunities for affordable life insurance for diabetics if you know where to look – and know what life insurance carriers are looking for.
How can you get the best life insurance rates as a diabetic, and what are the best life insurance companies for diabetes? Let’s take a look.
The best life insurance companies for people with diabetes
Not every life insurance company handles diabetic applicants the same way. Depending on the severity and treatment, some may be more lenient than others.
|Life insurance company||Ranking|
|Mutual of Omaha||Good|
Why does having diabetes matter?
You may be wondering how diabetes affects your life insurance rates at all, and it comes down to one word: risk. When you apply for life insurance, you’ll go through the underwriting process. This includes a look at your family’s health history, diving into your hobbies and driving record, requesting records from your doctor, and a medical exam, where your current health is analyzed.
All of this is to see the likelihood of you passing away over the term of your life insurance policy. You’re classified by this risk, and your premium rates are set according to your classification: the best class, Preferred Plus, gets you the lowest premiums, while Standard or below raises your rates. More likely to die over the next 30 years? Your rates will be higher than someone who has a lower mortality risk.
Since diabetes comes with health complications – even slight ones – there’s inherently an increased risk. Simply put: you with diabetes presents a different risk profile than you without diabetes. But it’s not an all-or-nothing scenario; underwriters will take into account the severity of the condition and treatment of it, meaning that affordable life insurance for diabetics is available for many applicants.
What factors are taken into account?
If you’re a diabetic applying for life insurance, life insurance underwriters will look at a lot of the same health and lifestyle factors that they do with any applicants. But here are a few things that they’ll look at in particular for diabetics.
Underwriters will take into account not only the age you are when you’re applying (like they do with everyone), but also the age at which you were diagnosed with diabetes.
In general, the longer you’ve had diabetes, the riskier your profile is. If you were diagnosed as a child, you’re likely to face higher rates than applicants with late onset diabetes. If you’ve been diagnosed after the age of 50, you may still qualify for better-than-average premiums.
Type of diabetes
Type 2 diabetics are likely to have an easier time applying for life insurance. That’s because this type of diabetes accounts for 90-95% of diabetic cases and is seen as more manageable than Type 1 diabetes. Plus, Type 1 diabetes usually surfaces when people are younger – and as we mentioned previously, the longer you’ve been diabetic, the higher your rates will be.
For pregnant women in particular, be aware of gestational diabetes. Many women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes and, while it’s a health concern, it typically goes away soon after pregnancy. Still, since insurers can’t predict your future health, they only have your past and current health states to determine your risk. That means that the underwriter will take gestational diabetes into account the same way they will other types of diabetes. The best way to get around this is to apply for life insurance before you get pregnant or within the first trimester; otherwise, you’re better off waiting until after pregnancy.
During the underwriting process, the underwriter will also take your A1C levels into consideration to help judge the severity of your diabetes. A1C levels in the 6.0-6.9 range are more likely to be viewed favorably and minimally affect your rates; levels between 7.0-7.9 may raise your rates somewhat but will still keep them relatively affordable, while having an A1C level 8.0 or above will give you a riskier classification and, therefore, higher premiums.
Underwriters will also be on the lookout for diabetes-related complications such as diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, and proteinuria. If these conditions aren’t well-managed, they can raise your rates – which is why proper treatment of diabetes is so important when you’re looking for reasonable life insurance rates.
Treatment and control
Regardless of the type of diabetes you have, when you have it, or how severe it is, you’ll almost always secure a better rate if you show signs of treatment and control. This proves true for other chronic illnesses too: Medical treatment has improved significantly over the years, and our ability to temper illnesses with effective treatment means that many applicants aren’t as risky as they might have been in years past.
The type of treatment for diabetes is relevant to how a life insurer views the condition, partly because it’s related to the severity. A diabetic who is able to keep their diabetes in check with smart diet choices is likely to get the most favorable ratings; those who use oral medication can get a better rating than diabetics reliant on insulin.
Still, any type of treatment is better than none at all; even if you’re a Type 1 diabetic who uses insulin, that ensures a better life insurance rating – and cheaper premiums – than letting your diabetes go untreated.
When you’re shopping for life insurance, the most important thing is to never assume that you’re uninsurable. With the right treatment and the right carrier, getting affordable life insurance is well within reach.
For more of the best life insurance companies for every scenario, see our round up here.