Many people assume that you cannot get life insurance with diabetes but the truth is that you can. However, diabetes can make it a challenge to get coverage at affordable rates. Diabetes comes with a number of health conditions that are seen as high-risk by insurance companies. This means qualifying for coverage is hard and if you do, then you’ll most likely have to pay a higher premium for the added risk.
What has diabetes got to do with life insurance?
The CDC or Center for Disease Control has an approximate figure of at least a 100 million American adults suffering from diabetes and pre-diabetes. Diabetes is a growing concern in the United States with numbers rising every day.
Diabetes is a condition that can devastate lives by not only reducing life spans but also reducing the quality of lives of those suffering from it. It comes with complex treatment plans that continue for a lifetime. These complications make it difficult for diabetics to get life insurance.
When diabetes becomes serious and out of control, it can lead to a number of other health risks like cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney damage, loss of vision, etc. Yes, it can be managed with a treatment plan consisting of injections, oral medication and diet and exercise. However, diabetics are still prone to more risks than non-diabetics.
Diabetes becomes an important aspect that life insurance companies consider while qualifying applicants, especially when it isn’t under control and well managed. In fact, thousands of people every year are declined by insurance providers due to having a form of diabetes.
If you’re seeking a diabetic life insurance coverage to financially secure your family, read along to understand how insurance companies see diabetes and what steps you can take to qualify for insurance at reasonable premium rates.
Why is it harder to qualify for life insurance as a diabetic?
Diabetes comes with a number of different types of health risks, all of which are known to reduce the lifespan of an individual. The following are some of these problematic conditions:
Even one of these conditions can significantly increase the mortality of a diabetic. Unfortunately, this is the reason why insurance companies make it so difficult to qualify diabetics for insurance with a decent rating.
In the insurance underwriting process, a number of risk factors are studies including the height, weight, gender, current health status, medical and family history, smoking status and other lifestyle factors.
When an application shows up with diabetes, it automatically raises concern and is considered a higher risk when compared to a non-diabetic who may have an otherwise similar health history. However, diabetes management is also a huge matter of consideration. If you can prove that you’ve kept your diabetes under control over time, then you’re more likely to qualify for coverage and get better rates.
Does the diabetes type also impact life insurance?
Yes, the type of diabetes you have affects your life span differently so insurers see them differently.
Type 1 diabetes
This is the type of diabetes that comes with early diagnosis in children which is why it’s also called juvenile diabetes. While it can be controlled with oral medication and insulin injections, it is considered the highest risk in diabetics because of its early diagnosis. Life insurance with type 1 diabetes means you’ll pay higher premiums compared to a non-diabetic person.
Type 2 diabetes
Most diabetics suffering from type 2 diabetes are diagnosed after 50 years of age and it’s the most common type of diabetes. Its management includes medication and lifestyle changes and is considered a lower risk for insurers than type 2 diabetes because of its late diagnosis. If you live with Type 2 diabetes there’s a really good chance that you may be approved at Standard ratings. This means no extra rates for living with Type 2 diabetes.
This is a temporary diabetes type that occurs due to hormonal changes during pregnancy only and it subsides post pregnancy. Because of its temporary nature, gestational diabetes is considered as the least risky type by insurance companies. Most people with Gestational diabetes can obtain Preferred ratings without going through too much hassle.
What are the best life insurance options for diabetes?
Because of the complications associated with diabetes, it’s best to go for insurance companies that have specially designed plans with specific underwriting guidelines for diabetics.
It’s also a good idea to consider term life insurance as opposed to permanent life insurance policies like whole and universal life insurance because the former tend to be cheaper as they cover you only for a set period of time or term. This can really help make life insurance affordable. You can always convert a term policy to a form of permanent life insurance in the future.
Additionally, you could get a lower death benefit amount to reduce your current expenses on premium. A lower death benefit means there’s less risk on the insurance company so you may get a more affordable premium.
While it might be important to reduce your out-of-pocket expense on premiums, it’s also crucial to get sufficient coverage to financially secure your loved ones. You’ll need to balance the cost of premium and amount of coverage so that you can manage your current finances while also securing your family’s future adequately.
For many applicants, it may be a wise decision to look into non-medical exam options. These types of applications usually don’t require any review of medical records either. Rather companies will do a review of your prescription drug history, as well as doing background reports like a Medical Information Bureau review.
Can you take steps to increase insurability as a diabetic?
As a diabetic, one of the most important things to do before applying for insurance is to get your diabetes under control and reduce the other risk factors associated with it. This may mean a number of things like losing weight so your BMI is within the recommended range, managing blood sugar levels, quitting smoking and exercising to keep cholesterol levels in check. Minimizing the impact of the different health risks can reduce your risk on the insurance company and help you get a better health rating.
Diabetes control by following your physician’s prescription can also help qualify for insurance. Prove to the underwriters that your A1C levels are in check. Your diabetes management plan may include administering insulin injections, taking oral medication and following up regularly with your physician. Follow these steps strictly if you want to get life insurance approval and to increase your future insurability.
Why is it important to compare quotes from different insurers?
It’s essential to do some comparison shopping to check the different rates offered by different companies. Each insurer has their own processes and underwriting guidelines for qualification – some companies may be stricter than others. A no medical exam life insurance policy could also be considered but only after checking the premium rates and comparing them with those that require a medical exam. We’ll also inform you that specific policies may offer a discount if you’re willing to share your Fitbit data with the insurance company.
Taking time to do the research and checking the different rates and parameters will ensure that you get the best coverage while paying the least premium rates. Vin Agarwal of Diabetes 365 tells us “Every insurance company has their own set of underwriting guidelines. One company might rate you 50% higher for having Diabetes, while another will gladly accept you without charging you higher premiums. It’s extremely important to work with agents who are knowledgeable of the diabetes life insurance market place to insure that you’re qualifying for the best policies.”
Bottom line for diabetics
The bottom line is to remember that having diabetes does not eliminate your chances of getting life insurance to secure your loved ones. However, it does come with a number of challenges and your best bet is to manage your diabetes well by following your health care provider’s prescription to improve insurability. Also, spend adequate time with your financial consultant and research on the different policy options so that you get the best coverage at the most affordable rates.
If you’ve been declined for coverage in the past, don’t give up. Life insurance companies are evolving over time. Or perhaps your overall health has improved since you last applied for coverage. Life insurance is an extremely important financial product, so don’t think having diabetes means you will not qualify for a policy.
Matt Schmidt is the co-founder of Diabetes Life Solutions and has been working with the Diabetes community for over 17 years now. Over this time frame he’s helped out thousands of people secure life insurance coverage with Diabetes. He’s been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Simple Dollar, GoBanking Rates, MSN, Insurancenews.net, and Yahoo Finance.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes