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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 might think.

Colin Lalley 1600Rebecca Shoenthal author photo

Colin Lalley & Rebecca Shoenthal

Published July 14, 2020


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

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

  • Even if your diabetes is more complicated, you can still find the coverage you need

  • Choosing the right life insurance company can save you thousands over the term of your policy

It’s easy for diabetics to think that life insurance is out of reach. They may believe that their medical condition will make life insurance prohibitively expensive. The good news is, that often isn’t the case. 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, type of diabetes and treatment, some companies may be more lenient than others.

Lincoln FinancialExcellent
Banner LifeGood
Pacific LifeGood
Mutual of OmahaGood

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Why does having diabetes matter to life insurance?

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 determine 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 a Standard or below classification raises your rates. The more likely you are to die over the next 30 years, the higher your rates will be. Having a lower mortality risk means lower premiums.Your rates will be higher than someone who has a lower mortality risk.

Life insurance classifications

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 for diabetics seeking life insurance coverage?

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’re diagnosed after the age of 50, you may still qualify for better-than-average premiums. But in general, life insurance rates 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 accounts for about 90% 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.

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, it’s likely you will be classified in a less favorable health class during the life insurance underwriting process. But it’s important to compare rates at different insurance companies. If you have no other major health risk (for example, if you don’t smoke and maintain a healthy lifestyle), you could still secure competitive rates for life insurance.

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 during the underwriting process, but it usually won’t have as much of an impact on your monthly premium as type 1 diabetes would.

Life insurance for gestational diabetes

Pregnant women, in particular, should 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 status 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.

So, even if you were denied life insurance coverage in the past because of diabetes, it’s worth working with a licensed independent insurance broker like Policygenius to see if your treatment and control over the years translates to a better rate.

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.

The bottom line

When you’re shopping for life insurance, the most important thing is to never assume that you’re uninsurable, even if you have a specific health condition. The right treatment – depending on your type of diabetes –paired with the right insurance carrier, can make affordable life insurance well within reach.

About the authors

Insurance Expert

Colin Lalley

Insurance Expert

Colin Lalley is the Associate Director of SEO Content at Policygenius in New York City. His writing on insurance and personal finance has appeared on Betterment, Inc, Credit Sesame, and the Council for Disability Awareness. Colin has a degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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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