If you’re among the more than 26 million American adults with diabetes, you typically can buy life insurance, particularly if the disease is under control. However, coverage will likely come at a steeper price than coverage for someone without diabetes.
Still, having a life insurance policy can ensure that your loved ones have a secure financial future so life insurance is a worthwhile consideration even if you have a pre-existing condition.
Life insurance options for diabetics
Several life insurance options are available for people with Type1 or Type 2 diabetes, according to Fidelity Life.
- If you have Type 1 diabetes, your pancreas produces little to no insulin, a hormone that controls glucose levels in your blood. Type 1 diabetes also is known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes.
- With Type 2 diabetes, the most common kind of the disease, your body fails to properly regulate insulin. Type 2 diabetes is also known as adult-onset diabetes.
People who have mild or moderate diabetes often can purchase term life insurance or permanent life insurance, according to Fidelity Life.
Term life insurance for diabetics
Term life insurance usually is the least expensive type of life insurance. It guarantees your rates won’t change during the term of the policy, such as 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. The payout from a term life policy can replace your income during prime working years and help your family pay off debts.
Permanent life insurance for diabetics
Permanent life insurance costs more than term life insurance. Permanent life insurance, such as whole life insurance or universal life insurance, provides a death benefit to beneficiaries when you die and also can provide the opportunity to build cash value within the policy. You can use the cash value to supplement retirement income or to pay medical bills. Permanent life insurance lasts your entire life—as long as you pay the premiums required.
Guaranteed issue life insurance
With guaranteed issue life insurance you can’t be rejected for coverage and there’s no medical exam. If severe diabetes would prevent you from buying a traditional policy, guaranteed issue life insurance could be a last-resort option.
Another consideration: Guaranteed issue policies have graded death benefits. If you pass away within the first couple years of the policy, your beneficiaries don’t get the full death benefit. Instead, they get a sum that equals the premiums you paid, with some interest.
Before you purchase this type of policy, work with a life insurance agent to see if you really would be declined for other policies. Guaranteed issue life insurance is typically expensive for the amount of coverage you get.
Group life insurance
It’s also worth maximizing any group life insurance you have through your employer. This type of life insurance covers all employees as a group, but none of the employees are required to divulge their medical history. Death benefits are typically low for group life insurance, often a year’s salary or a flat-dollar sum. If you can buy more without having to prove “insurability,” maximize this coverage.
How much is life insurance for diabetics?
Life insurance cost for Type 1 diabetes
Someone with Type 1 diabetes will likely find it tough to qualify for life insurance, much less find inexpensive coverage, says life insurance and wealth consultant Guy Baker, founder and managing director of the Wealth Teams Alliance wealth advisory firm. In part, that’s because someone with Type 1 diabetes must always control the disease with shots or pills.
Your life insurance cost will depend on your age, blood sugar levels, diet, exercise, medication and whether your diabetes is affecting other organs, among other factors.
Life insurance cost for Type 2 diabetes
Meanwhile, someone with Type 2 diabetes “is much more likely to be insurable,” Baker says. Why? Generally speaking, it’s easier to manage Type 2 diabetes than Type 1, in part because people with Type 2 diabetes are still producing insulin.
While you may be able to find life insurance, brace yourself for the quotes. A study by Policygenius found that having Type 2 diabetes “significantly impacts” the cost of life insurance. In addition, younger applicants with Type 2 diabetes will see bigger increases in quotes than older applicants.
For example, Policygenius found that for a 20-year term life insurance policy:
- A 25-year-old female with Type 2 diabetes pays 215% more than her non-diabetic counterpart.
- A 55-year-old female with Type 2 diabetes pays 68% more than her non-diabetic counterpart.
Questions for diabetics buying life insurance
Having diabetes will likely boost the cost of life insurance for life insurance buyers, but you might be able to find more affordable coverage if you otherwise are healthy and you don’t smoke. You may pay less for a life insurance policy if you keep up regular visits with the doctor who’s treating your diabetes, stay on track with medications and maintain a healthy weight.
Other factors that a life insurer will consider when you apply for coverage include your age, medical history and family’s medical history.
When it comes to your diabetes, a life insurance company may ask questions about:
- When you were initially diagnosed.
- How you control your diabetes. For instance, do you manage it primarily through diet and exercise? Or do you take insulin or other medication? Or do you control it through a combination of methods?
- What are your A1C levels are. An A1C blood test measures your blood sugar levels for the past three months.
- What your most recent blood glucose levels are.
- Whether you’ve had severe complications from diabetes, such as an amputation or a hospital stay.
While diabetes can’t be cured, properly controlling the disease and leading a healthy lifestyle can improve your odds of qualifying for reasonably priced life insurance.