Life insurance for type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetics often pay expensive life insurance premiums, depending on the severity and treatment of their condition.

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If you have type 1 diabetes, life insurance coverage will be more expensive. But as with other pre-existing medical conditions, you can still get coverage depending on the severity and treatment.

Type 1 diabetes is a condition where you can’t produce any insulin naturally. It has no known cure and can develop at any age, though it is usually diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults. Because it’s less common than type 2 diabetes, insurance companies charge type 1 diabetics more than type 2 diabetics.

While not all insurers work with type 1 diabetics, certain companies, such as Banner and Prudential, offer applicants with type 1 diabetes reasonable prices. Insurance companies will also look at your age, the severity of your diabetes, and your treatment plan when determining your insurability and premium rates. Shopping around with an insurance agent is the best way to find an insurer that will work with you based on your health profile.

Key Takeaways

  • Type 1 diabetics receive higher premium rates than type 2 diabetics

  • If your diabetes is well-managed, with favorable A1c/blood sugar levels and no significant kidney or liver problems, it’s possible to get life insurance

  • Severe cases of type 1 diabetes could lead to an application denial or a lower health classification

How does type 1 diabetes affect the cost of life insurance premiums?

Generally, the younger and healthier you are, the lower your life insurance premiums will be, while certain medical conditions — including type 1 diabetes — raise the price of premiums. If your condition is severe enough, it can disqualify you from getting coverage altogether.

During underwriting, life insurance companies set your premiums based on a classification system (ranging from Preferred Plus to Substandard), which determines your risk profile and how much you pay for your coverage.

→ Read our full guide to the best life insurance companies for diabetics in 2021

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Life insurance health classifications for people with type 1 diabetes

People with type 1 diabetes usually don’t qualify for a rating above Substandard. Substandard ratings aren’t a specific rating classification like the others; instead, you’re placed in what’s called a table rating system, graded by either letters or numbers (typically either A-J or 1-10).

Your premium price will, on average, be the Standard price plus 25% for every step down the table:

  • A/1 = Standard + 25%

  • B/2 = Standard + 50%

  • C/3 = Standard + 75%

  • D/4 = Standard + 100%

  • E/5 = Standard + 125%

  • F/6 = Standard + 150%

  • G/7 = Standard + 175%

  • H/8 = Standard + 200%

  • I/9 = Standard + 225%

  • J/10 = Standard + 250%

If you have type 1 diabetes, you could be paying as much as 250% more on your premiums.

Type 1 diabetes sample rates: Standard vs. Table 5

Below are sample average rates for a $500,000, 20-year term policy for a male applicant with a Standard health classification compared to a Table 5 health classification, which is more common for type 1 diabetics.

Age of applicantStandardTable 5

Rates are calculated for a male non-smoker obtaining a 20-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy. Quotes are based on a composite of policies from AIG, Banner, Brighthouse, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Protective, Prudential, SBLI, and Transamerica and may vary by carrier, term, coverage amount, health class, and state. Not all policies are available in all states. Rate illustration valid as of October 2021.

You can see stark increases between a Standard and Table 5 rating premium. If you have type 1 diabetes, you could receive a health classification below Table 5 too.

If your blood sugar levels are well managed (as evidenced by HbA1c test results), you can still get life insurance coverage. By applying for life insurance at a younger age and paying premiums annually instead of monthly, you can also save money on premiums.

How type 1 diabetes differs from type 2 diabetes for life insurance companies

Having type 1 diabetes makes life insurance premiums more expensive than if you have type 2 diabetes or no diabetes, based on quotes provided by Policygenius partner insurers in 2021. Here’s why:

  • Management: Because type 2 diabetes can be managed with certain treatments or medications, insurance companies view it as less risky. 

  • Rarity: Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90-95% of cases in the U.S. 

  • Age of diagnosis: The younger you were at the time of your diabetes diagnosis, the less favorable your life insurance health classification will be because you will have had the condition for longer.

While having type 1 diabetes will likely mean a less favorable health classification assignment, it’s important to compare quotes from different insurance companies because some insurers might offer you better rates than others.

Life insurance for type 1 diabetes FAQs

Does COVID-19 affect the life insurance application process or eligibility?

Due to the ever-changing nature of the coronavirus pandemic, some insurers are modifying processes and/or imposing coverage restrictions on certain health conditions or age groups. Speak to a Policygenius agent for free to find out how to get the most affordable policy.

Can I get life insurance with type 1 diabetes?

If you have type 1 diabetes and it is well-managed, you can life insurance coverage from some insurers. If you have a more severe case or have other serious health complications due to your type 1 diabetes, you may be declined for traditional life insurance or pay significantly higher premiums.

What type of life insurance is available for type 1 diabetics?

Term life insurance and permanent life insurance policies are available to type 1 diabetics. If you don’t get approved due to the severity of your condition, final expense life insurance and group life insurance are available options.

Is life insurance for type 1 diabetics more expensive?

Insurance companies base premium rates on several factors, including health. Type 1 diabetes is considered a serious chronic medical condition, so you’ll pay more than someone who has type 2 diabetes or doesn’t have diabetes at all.