Life insurance for type 2 diabetics

You can get life insurance if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll pay more for coverage, especially if your symptoms aren’t well-managed.

Rebecca Shoenthal author photoAmanda Shih author photo

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Rebecca Shoenthal

Rebecca Shoenthal

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Rebecca Shoenthal is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius. Her insights about life insurance and finance have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, The Balance, HerMoney, SBLI, and John Hancock.

 & Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is an editor and a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about life insurance and disability insurance. Her expertise has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Little Spoon, and J.D. Power.

Updated October 25, 2021 | 3 min read

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Type 2 diabetes, sometimes referred to as adult-onset diabetes or type 2 diabetes mellitus, is unlikely to keep you from getting life insurance. But, the severity and treatment of your condition affects how much you pay for a policy. 

Insurance companies tend to view type 2 diabetes as a more manageable disease than type 1 diabetes, so your rates won’t be as drastically impacted. But each company is different, and some life insurers view applicants with type 2 diabetes more favorably than others. 

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

Key Takeaways

  • Type 2 diabetics are viewed more favorably by life insurance companies than type 1 diabetics

  • If you have severe complications, such as nephropathy, you can be denied coverage

  • Managing your diabetes with proper medications and a healthy lifestyle will help you get lower rates

How do providers set rates for type 2 diabetics?

The cost of life insurance varies depending on your age, health, lifestyle, and how much life insurance coverage you’re getting. The underwriter will look closely at the following factors when setting your rates:

Age of onset

The younger you were when you were diagnosed, the less favorable your rates will be. People diagnosed over the age of 50 receive better rates, according to 2021 Policygenius data.

Diagnosis severity

The insurer will use your A1c levels to judge the severity of your diabetes. [1] A1c levels in the lower 6.0-6.9 range will minimally affect your premiums, while A1c levels above 10.0 will lead to an application decline from most insurers. 

Height and weight

Life insurance companies use your height-to-weight ratio to determine your rates regardless of whether you have diabetes. Because type 2 diabetes can be managed by maintaining a healthy diet and weight, your height and weight are especially important in underwriting

Medications

Insulin or anti-diabetic medications such as Metformin are taken into account. The type of medications you do or do not take, how long you’ve been taking them, and how effectively they control your blood sugar levels indicate to the insurer whether you have your symptoms under control.

Tobacco use

Smokers pay more for life insurance than non-smokers. And since smokers are 30-40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers, [2] they'll see significant premium increases.

The underwriting process includes a phone interview. To prepare for the call, expect to answer questions about your diabetes history like:

  • What is the date of your first diagnosis/onset?

  • Do you measure your glucose daily?

  • What is your last A1c reading and what is your A1c average for the last year?

  • Are you taking insulin or other medications?

  • Do you have any complications with your eyes, kidneys, or feet as a result of diabetes?

  • Have you had any amputations?

  • Are you on dialysis?

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How insurers view type 2 diabetes vs. type 1 diabetes

Type 2 diabetics typically pay less for life insurance than type 1 diabetics because type 2 diabetes is considered more easily treatable. Diabetes is incurable, but type 2 diabetics may be able to revert their blood sugar to healthy levels by losing weight with diet and exercise. [3]

Type 2 vs. type 1 diabetes: Health classifications

Life insurance underwriters set premiums based on the likelihood that you will pass away while your policy is active. Companies use a classification system to indicate your risk level (ranging from Preferred Plus to Substandard).

People with type 2 diabetes usually don’t qualify for a rating above Standard, but certain companies may offer Preferred ratings to older type 2 diabetics with low A1c levels. In comparison, most type 1 diabetics only qualify for Substandard ratings.

→ Learn how health classifications impact your rates

Alternative life insurance options for people with type 2 diabetes

As long as your type 2 diabetes is well-controlled with treatment and medication, you should qualify for a term life insurance policy, just at higher rates than someone with a similar background who doesn’t have diabetes. In rare cases, you can be denied coverage if your symptoms are severe.

If your application is declined, you may be able to get coverage through:

  • Group life insurance: You can qualify for employer-sponsored life insurance without sharing any health information. But, coverage amounts are low and you usually can’t keep the policy if you change jobs.

  • Guaranteed issue life insurance: Offers near-certain approval, but benefits max out around $25,000 and premiums are high.

  • Simplified issue life insurance: Has slightly lower premiums than guaranteed issue, but may decline applicants who have terminal or severe medical conditions. Benefits go up to $50,000.

→ Learn more about the different types of life insurance

Having type 2 diabetes affects how much you pay for life insurance, but it’s still possible to find the coverage you need at a competitive price. Work with an independent agent or broker to compare rates across multiple insurance companies.

Frequently asked questions

Does life insurance cost more for people with type 2 diabetes?

Life insurance costs more for people with diabetes than people without diabetes. But, type 2 diabetics typically pay less than type 1 diabetics.

Can you be denied life insurance if you have type 2 diabetes?

Yes, if your particular symptoms are severe. However, as long as your diabetes is well-controlled, you should qualify for coverage.

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.