How Does Life Insurance Work for Diabetics?


Diabetes is a chronic health condition that may affect your choices for finding and purchasing a life insurance policy. Since life insurance is an important part of providing financial protection for your family, if you have diabetes, it’s important to know that there are options available.

  • Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes can impact your ability to obtain a life insurance policy, or you may pay higher premiums or have lower coverage limits.
  • Your age and overall health will likely also be taken into consideration when you apply for life insurance.
  • There are options for life insurance that do not require a medical exam, however these policies typically have low coverage limits and can be higher in cost.

Nearly 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes. It’s a common health condition that may be managed with good health care and a healthy lifestyle. However, because it is a lifelong illness, some life insurance providers are hesitant to provide policies to people who have diabetes types 1 and 2. 

For people with a chronic condition like diabetes, finding life insurance is still important. It could be a vital part of a person’s plan to take care of their loved ones if something were to happen to them. An illness such as diabetes shouldn’t, and won’t, get in the way of taking care of your family and protecting them from financial hardship.

In this blog, we’ll let you know why medical conditions matter so much to life insurance providers and give you a primer on how diabetics can make good life insurance choices.  

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Why Does Health Matter To Life Insurance Providers? 

Insurance is a business that provides financial protection in case something goes wrong. This is how all types of insurance products work, including auto insurance, home insurance, renters insurance, and health insurance.

Insurers charge more for people with certain risk factors and sometimes refuse to insure people if it appears that future problems are inevitable for them.

In the case of life insurance, it could be difficult to get a good and affordable policy if you have a chronic illness or a recurring health problem. Health conditions that have a permanent or lifelong impact on your health are called “pre-existing conditions.” Illnesses or issues such as diabetes, cancer, asthma, and autoimmune disorders like HIV and lupus are all considered pre-existing conditions. 

What Is Life Insurance?

Life insurance is a payout that designated beneficiaries receive in the event of the policyholder’s death. This money could cover final expenses (funeral and burial) and family care or it could be left to charity. Life insurance is usually divided into permanent life insurance policies or term life insurance policies.

Getting good health and life insurance policies is a common challenge for people who have pre-existing health issues. Insurers often charge people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums or they may refuse to issue life insurance at all. This is because of the level of risk and potential expense. These eligibility factors are not classified as discrimination since they are backed by scientific statistics. 

Can Diabetics Qualify For Life Insurance?

Having a pre-existing condition like diabetes doesn’t exclude you from qualifying for life insurance. The process of finding a policy might be different for diabetics, but it is still possible to get a life insurance policy that meets your needs. 

Does Diabetes Type Matter To Life Insurance Providers?

Diabetes matters to life insurance providers mostly because it makes a difference in the type of coverage that a company wants to provide. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics are classified very differently in the world of life insurance, so it’s essential to know the difference. 

What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is an illness that affects the way that the human body regulates blood sugar or glucose. There are different types of diabetes, but all of them can lead to high blood sugar. 

Too much sugar might not seem to be a bad thing when it comes to cake and cookies, but when there’s too much sugar in your blood, it can have really serious effects.

Diabetes complications could possibly lead to blindness, heart disease, nerve damage, and other very serious health problems. Usually, blood sugar levels are naturally regulated by a hormone called insulin, but diabetics can’t naturally regulate their own blood sugar for a variety of reasons. 

Type 1 Diabetics

A diabetes diagnosis of type 1 usually shows up during childhood or adolescence. It only affects 5% of all diagnosed diabetics. It happens when the cells in the pancreas that should produce insulin are damaged or destroyed by the body.

As a result, people with type 1 diabetes don’t produce any natural insulin. They have to manage their blood sugar artificially by monitoring their blood sugar, watching their diet, and taking prescription insulin when necessary. (Insulin-dependent diabetes could potentially influence your life insurance options.)

To obtain life insurance, type 1 diabetics need to be able to prove that their diabetes is under treatment and well-controlled. This is usually done by getting a statement from a doctor or during a medical exam as part of the life insurance qualification process. Knowing your numbers like A1C levels, what medicines are being used, and how often you are monitoring your diabetes will help in this process. 

Afterward, they could sign a life insurance policy but may face higher insurance premiums and lower amounts of coverage due to the perceived financial risk that a person with diabetes presents to life insurance companies.

Type 2 Diabetics

Unlike type 1 diabetics, type 2 diabetics do produce insulin; however, their cells aren’t able to process it very well. Most type 2 diabetics are diagnosed in adulthood. Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1, and there are more treatment options for it.

Type 2 diabetes is viewed as more controllable than type 1 diabetes. It’s also much more common and affects older people. For that reason, it could be easier for type 2 diabetics to get life insurance coverage at rates more comparable to non-diabetics. 

What Other Factors Matter in Life Insurance For Diabetics?

If you are diabetic, there are a lot of health factors that may be important if you’re looking for a life insurance policy. Generally speaking, the healthier you are, the better quality of life insurance you get, regardless of whether or not you have diabetes.

Even with a chronic illness like diabetes, good health habits and maintenance could potentially make a difference in the quality of life insurance policy you apply for. 

These are some of the factors that you might be asked about as a part of your life insurance policy application.

  • Age – the younger you are when you apply for life insurance, the lower your premiums could potentially be and the more coverage you could qualify for. The age you were when you were diagnosed with diabetes also matters. The longer you’ve lived with the illness, the higher risk you pose to a life insurance company.
  • Know your numbers: Blood glucose & Glycated hemoglobin – Knowing what your A1C level is and when you last tested are important. Knowing what medicine and what actions you are taking to maintain healthy numbers and healthy blood glucose levels over time shows good health maintenance. This could potentially work in your favor when applying for a life insurance policy. 
  • Overall health management – healthy habits such as regular exercise, a good diet, good sleep habits, and other indications that you are working to stay as healthy as possible aside from diabetes are good signs for insurers.
  • Family history – if your family has a generally healthy medical history, this may possibly result in better rates or more affordable coverage.

How To Get Life Insurance for Diabetics

If you’re diabetic and want to get health insurance, it’s possible. Don’t be discouraged if life insurance providers refer to you as “higher-risk.” You could potentially still get a policy such as some of the life insurance policies described here

You need to know a few things that are specific to diabetics, though. These small details could help you make the best choices on the type of policy for you.

Types of Life Insurance

There are two types of life insurance typically available: term and permanent life. Diabetics could generally qualify for either type of policy, but it’s good to quickly review the differences between the two.

  • Term life insurance is only valid for a specific period of time, usually 10, 20, or 30 years. The insured person pays premiums for that time, and the policy is only valid for that time. If something were to happen to you after the policy expires, your family wouldn’t receive any benefits. Given this structure, term life insurance is much cheaper than other life insurance.
  • Permanent life insurance costs a lot more, but the policy covers the insured person for their entire life. As long as you pay the premiums, you and your loved ones are protected. It usually has a much larger financial benefit and an investment component, too.

Do Diabetics Need a Medical Exam To Get Life Insurance?

You may have heard that diabetics need to take a medical exam to get life insurance. That isn’t entirely true. There are a lot of life insurance companies that don’t require a medical exam to get a policy. These companies may be friendlier to diabetics and other people who have chronic illnesses. 

If you don’t need to take a medical exam for your life insurance policy, be aware that the total amount of coverage available to you might be smaller. However, if you feel uncomfortable disclosing details of your diabetes, the option to get a life insurance policy without a medical exam exists.

If you do go for an exam or complete a questionnaire as part of your life insurance application, they may want to see your A1c levels, blood sugar level, and how you take care of them.

Other conditions & factors in conjunction with diabetes could also potentially influence your life insurance rates, such as: 

  • high blood pressure
  • kidney disease
  • weight gain or loss 

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The Bottom Line 

If you have diabetes and want to set a plan in place to financially protect your family, life insurance could be a good choice. You may have heard that getting life insurance is difficult or impossible for diabetics, but that just isn’t true. 

You may need to do a little more legwork and be asked a few more questions than usual, but it’s possible to get a good life insurance policy that will protect your loved ones and give you financial peace of mind. 

If you want to compare life insurance policies across carriers and see quotes, start on Guaranteed Rate Insurance’s life insurance comparative quoting platform. Our searching gets you savings.*

*Savings, if any, vary based on the consumer’s profile and other factors. Contact your insurance agent for more information. Restrictions apply. 

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The Facts, Stats, and Impacts of Diabetes | CDC.

Type 1 vs. Type 2 Diabetes: Difference, Symptoms, and More | Healthline

What are the principal types of life insurance? | III