Life insurance for type 2 diabetics

Getting life insurance with type 2 diabetes is possible, but it could lead to higher premiums if you don’t manage your symptoms well.

Disclaimer: The content supplied here may be impacted by COVID-19. Contact a Policygenius agent for free to find out more.

Type 2 diabetes (sometimes referred to as adult-onset diabetes or type 2 diabetes mellitus) is unlikely to prevent you from getting life insurance. But the severity and treatment of your condition (like any pre-existing medical conditions) can affect how much you pay for a policy

Like type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes has no known cure and can develop at any age, though it’s usually diagnosed in people over the age of 45. It’s the more common type of diabetes and according to the CDC, approximately 90-95% of people with diabetes are type 2 diabetics. 

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, including Policygenius partners AIG and Principal, underwrite applicants with type 2 diabetes more favorably than others. In addition to your type and treatment plan, insurance companies consider your current age, the age of diagnosis, and the severity of your diabetes when considering premium rates. 

→ 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 lower your rates

Is it difficult to get life insurance with type 2 diabetes?

Most major life insurance companies offer life insurance policies to type 2 diabetics who can manage their A1c (blood sugar) levels. Unless your condition is more severe or isn’t well-managed with medications and treatment, you’ll likely qualify for a policy. Most insurers consider diabetics to have a severe form of the condition if their A1c levels are above 10.0, they have developed diabetic nephropathy (diabetic kidney disease), or have lost a limb due to diabetes.

→ Learn what to do if your life insurance application is declined

How much does life insurance cost for type 2 diabetics

The cost of life insurance varies depending on your age, health, lifestyle choices, and how much life insurance coverage you’re getting. Chronic illnesses and medical conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, will impact your health classification and premium rates.

While you will typically see more affordable rates when you’re younger, getting a diabetes diagnosis at an older age could be looked at more favorably. That means, the older your age of diagnosis (for example, over the age of 50), the more favorably underwriters will view your diabetes condition. Life insurance companies consider diabetes a progressive condition: the shorter you’ve had it, the more favorable your rates. However, each year that you delay buying a life insurance policy, premiums increase by 4.5-9% on average, and rates may be pricier if you’re shopping for a policy at an older age, regardless of any other health issues. 

Life insurance health classifications for people with type 2 diabetes

Life insurance underwriters set premiums based on the likelihood that you will pass away. To evaluate that risk, insurers use a classification system (ranging from Preferred Plus to Substandard ).

People with type 2 diabetes usually don’t qualify for a rating above Standard , but certain companies will offer Preferred ratings for type 2 diabetics .

In addition to your overall health, insurance companies look at family medical history, hobbies, and tobacco use to decide your classification. If you have type 2 diabetes, these other factors can help get you a better classification.

Type 2 diabetes sample rates: Preferred vs. Standard

Below is a comparison of average rates for a $500,000, 20-year term policy for a male applicant with a Preferred health classification versus a Standard health classification, which is more common for type 2 diabetics.

Age of applicantPreferredStandard 
25              $27.10   $38.80   
35              $30.29   $46.54   
45              $60.78   $98.66   
55              $151.22  $242.73  
65              $451.74  $702.92  

Rates are calculated for a male non-smoker in Columbus, Ohio, 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, Principal, 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 4/15/2021.

Most importantly though, you can still get life insurance coverage, especially if your blood sugar levels are well managed (as evidenced by HbA1c test results). You can also save on premiums regardless of current health conditions by paying premiums annually instead of monthly.

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

Based on insurer guidelines, type 2 diabetics typically pay less for life insurance than type 1 diabetics. Diabetes is an incurable illness, but by losing weight with a healthy diet and exercise, type 2 diabetics may be able to revert their blood sugar levels to normal, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), making them more insurable. 

Type 1 vs type 2 diabetes health classifications

As mentioned above, a Standard health classification (or sometimes higher) is possible for type 2 diabetics with minimal complications. Type 1 diabetics, however, typically don’t qualify for ratings above Substandard , which aren’t a specific rating classification like the others; instead, substandard ratings are based on a table grading system (typically coded A-J or 1-10 from highest to lowest).

 Best possible health classificationSample health classification 
Type 1                             Table 2                     Table 6-8 
Type 2                             Preferred                   Standard  

Methodology: Sample health classification is for an otherwise healthy male applicant over the age of 50 with A1C levels below 8.0. Classification information is based on data from Policygenius partner insurance companies including AIG, Banner, Brighthouse, Lincoln, Mutual of Omaha, Pacific Life, Principal, 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 4/16/2021.

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

→ Read our guide to shopping for life insurance with type 1 diabetes

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What do life insurance companies look at for type 2 diabetics?

The underwriting process includes your written application for insurance, a phone interview, and a medical exam. An Attending Physician Statement (APS) from your doctor will be requested by your insurer if you have any health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, to get a better picture of your overall health.

Specifically, if you have type 2 diabetes, underwriters will examine your:

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 information from Policygenius partner insurers in 2021.

Medications

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

Height and weight

The CDC associates a BMI within a “healthy range” as an indicator of good health. Life insurance companies use build charts and BMI charts to determine premium rates regardless of whether you have diabetes. Because type 2 diabetes can be managed by maintaining a healthy diet and weight, build charts are particularly important factors for the insurer to consider. 

Tobacco use

Smokers pay more for life insurance than non-smokers. And since smokers are 30-40% percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS), they'll see significant premium increases.

Other health issues

If you currently have or previously had other medical conditions besides type 2 diabetes, that will impact your life insurance rates. This includes a history of cancer, high blood pressure, or any other chronic health issues. 

Having type 2 diabetes might affect how much you pay for life insurance, but our agents are here to walk you through the process. By comparing rates across multiple insurance companies and working with an independent agent or broker, you can find the most affordable life insurance coverage for your loved ones.

Life insurance for type 2 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.

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

Life insurance costs more for otherwise healthy people with type 2 diabetes than otherwise healthy people without diabetes. But type 2 diabetics will typically pay less than type 1 diabetics for comparable policies.

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

Yes, if your particular symptoms are severe enough, you may be denied a policy if you have type 2 diabetes. You can reapply for life insurance later if your symptoms are better controlled, or shop around with other insurance companies.