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Best life insurance companies for diabetics in 2020

Are you a diabetic looking for life insurance? Learn why securing coverage can be more affordable than you think.

Amanda Shih author photoRebecca Shoenthal author photo

Amanda Shih & Rebecca Shoenthal

Published October 13, 2020

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Having diabetes may raise the cost of your life insurance policy, depending on your age, diagnosis, and severity

  • It’s possible — and more affordable than you’d think — to get life insurance coverage if you have diabetes, especially if it’s well-managed

  • Even if your diabetes is more complicated, an insurance agent or broker can help you find the best policy for your diagnosis

It’s easy to think that life insurance will be prohibitively expensive if you have diabetes. The good news is, there are plenty of opportunities for affordable life insurance for diabetics if you can prove consistent and effective treatment for 6-12 months or more, have a less severe diagnosis, and work with the right insurance company.

While you may pay more for a policy than someone of your age and sex without diabetes, some insurers are more lenient than others. An independent broker can identify which companies are friendlier to people with your specific diabetes and treatment history.

The best life insurance companies for people with diabetes

Not every life insurance company handles diabetic applicants the same way. Depending on the severity, type of diabetes, and your treatment, some companies may be better for you than others. The table below marks insurers as Excellent if applicants with diabetes are eligible for the best health ratings (and therefore the best pricing), Good if people with diabetes can receive Standard health ratings, and Fair if the insurer assigns substandard health ratings to applicants with diabetes.

Methodology: Based on underwriting guidelines provided by 11 life insurance carriers that offer policies through the Policygenius marketplace (AIG, Banner Life, Brighthouse, Lincoln Financial, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Principal, Protective, Prudential, SBLI and TransAmerica).

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When you apply for life insurance, you’ll go through the underwriting process, which insurers use to assess the risk of insuring you (i.e., the likelihood of you passing away while your policy is active). This includes a look at your family’s health history, your hobbies, and your driving record. You’ll also undergo a routine medical exam and your insurer may request records from your doctor.

After underwriting, insurers assign you a health classification, which determines your premiums. The best class, Preferred Plus, gets you the lowest premiums, while Standard or below will result in higher premiums.

Life insurance classifications

Since diabetes comes with health complications, you’ll be considered a greater risk than someone without diabetes and be charged higher premiums as a result. But it’s not an all-or-nothing scenario; underwriters will treat less severe and well-managed diabetes more favorably you may still be eligible for the best health classifications with some providers.

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What factors are taken into account for diabetics seeking life insurance?

If you’re a diabetic applying for life insurance, life insurance underwriters will look at the same health and lifestyle factors that they do with any applicant. But a few things are especially important for diabetics.

Age

Underwriters 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. If you were diagnosed as a child, you’ll face higher premiums than applicants with late-onset diabetes. If you’re diagnosed after the age of 50, you may still qualify for better-than-average premiums. But in general, life insurance premiums increase with age. So, if you were diagnosed with diabetes later in life, your age might pose more of a risk than your diabetes diagnosis.

Type of diabetes

Type 2 diabetics are likely to have an easier time applying for life insurance. That’s because this type of diabetes, which accounts for about 90% of diabetic cases, is seen as more manageable than type 1 diabetes. Plus, type 1 diabetes usually surfaces when people are younger — meaning a diagnosis at a younger age and thus, higher premiums.

Life insurance for Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (also referred to as insulin-dependent diabetes) is less common than type 2 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes are usually diagnosed at a younger age (though not always), and face a greater risk of heart disease and stroke than type 2 diabetics.

If you have type 1 diabetes, you will likely be assigned a less favorable health classification during underwriting. But it’s important to compare quotes from different insurance companies. If you pose no other major health risks (for example, if you don’t smoke and maintain a healthy lifestyle), you could still secure competitive premiums.

Life insurance for prediabetes or type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is generally seen as milder than type 1. The same health risks (including heart disease and stroke) exist for type 2 diabetics and people with prediabetes, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise can keep these risks at bay.

Having type 2 diabetes will still affect your health classification, but it won’t have as much of an impact on your monthly premium as type 1 diabetes.

Life insurance for gestational diabetes

Many women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy, and while it’s a health concern, it typically goes away soon after childbirth. However, underwriters take gestational diabetes into account the same way they will other types of diabetes. The best way to avoid paying higher premiums is to apply for life insurance before you get pregnant or within the first trimester; otherwise, you’re better off waiting until after pregnancy.

Severity

The underwriter will also take your A1C levels into consideration to 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 premiums; levels between 7.0-7.9 may raise your premiums somewhat but will still keep them relatively affordable, while having an A1C level of 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, you’ll pay more for your policy.

Treatment and control

The type of treatment you receive for diabetes is relevant to how a life insurer views the condition, partly because it’s related to its 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.

Regardless of the type of diabetes you have, when you have it, or how severe it is, you’ll almost always secure better premiums if you show signs of treatment and control. 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.

If you were denied life insurance coverage or assigned a less favorable health classification in the past because of a new diabetes diagnosis and have been undergoing steady treatment for a year or more, it’s worth working with a licensed independent insurance broker, like Policygenius, to see if your treatment translates to better premiums.

When you’re shopping for life insurance, never assume that you’re uninsurable, even if you have a riskier health condition, like diabetes. The right treatment paired with the right insurer will help you find an affordable life insurance policy that suits your needs.

Life insurance for diabetics FAQ

Can I get life insurance if I have diabetes?

You can buy life insurance with a diabetes diagnosis, though you will probably pay more for a policy than someone without diabetes.

Does diabetes affect life insurance premiums?

The type of diabetes you have and your treatment history will impact your premiums. If you have type 2 diabetes and can prove it’s being well-managed by a consistent treatment plan, your premiums will be lower than someone with type 1 diabetes or someone who isn’t taking steps to improve their diabetes.

How much is life insurance for a diabetic?

Type 1 diabetics will pay more for a policy than type 2 diabetics, but your premiums will vary depending on several factors, including your life insurer, your age, your diabetes severity and treatment, any other health conditions you have, your family health history, your driving record, and your hobbies. The more risk you present in any of these categories, the more you’ll pay for your life insurance policy.

Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih

Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is an insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. Previously, she worked in nonfiction book publishing and freelance content marketing. Amanda has a B.A. in literature and communication from New York University.

Insurance Expert

Rebecca Shoenthal

Insurance Expert

Rebecca Shoenthal is an insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City. Previously, she worked as a nonfiction book editor. She has a B.A. in Media and Journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.

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