Diabetes and Life Insurance Risk

As with any disease along with any chronic or treatable illness, getting life insurance really all boils down to one thing for life insurance companies: risk. While there are different forms of diabetes, Type 1 diabetes is considered a much higher risk than Type 2. Type 1, only affecting around 5% of all diabetics, is seen as less manageable and less responsive to medication and insulin, even to diet and exercise, than the more common Type 2.

Due to hormonal changes, pregnant women may experience Gestational Diabetes, generally a temporary condition that is alleviated following childbirth. However, even after childbirth, some women can develop Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetics may have an easier time qualifying for a life insurance policy. Yet irrespective of your type, how well your body responds to treatment, the length of time you’ve had diabetes, your family history, and other factors will determine your qualification and rates.

Key Factors to Getting Coverage

According to the CDC, there are more than 100 millions of Americans living with diabetes as of 2015. As with any other health issue, getting life insurance with diabetes is more involved and the insurer will want to see that your diabetes is well-controlled and properly managed.

Here are a few key factors life insurance companies look at when insuring diabetics.

Insulin Dependency

If you are controlling your blood glucose levels with exercise and healthy eating, you may qualify for more favorable rates than those who are insulin-dependent.

Blood Sugars

Having a stable glucose level measurements shows that your diabetes is well-managed and may make it easier to get life insurance coverage. During your life insurance application, a medical exam will be scheduled in which a lab test will be performed to gauge the level of sugar in your blood (also known as A1c levels). Your A1c levels, along with your medical records, may be used by the insurance carrier to underwrite and price your policy.

As a general rule of thumb, if your A1c levels are below 9.0, there is a good chance you may qualify for a well-priced life insurance policy.

Diagnosis Age

How long you’ve been living with diabetes also plays a role in pricing your life insurance policy. For recently diagnosed diabetes, life insurance companies view you as less stable and may price your policy higher than somebody who’s been living with diabetes for years.

Type of Life Insurance Coverage

All of the above key factors are used when securing term or whole life insurance coverage. There are also life insurance plans that do not require a medical exam or well-controlled diabetes. If you need insurance coverage today but don’t think you’ll pass the health related portion of the application, you can get a simplified or guaranteed issue policy such as Accidental Death life insurance. For term life insurance coverage, here are our top 3 carriers.

#1 Prudential

This life insurance carrier is commonly ranked at the top of the list for sufferers of diabetes. Prudential takes a very close look at the condition and treatment of the diabetic and makes determinations on a case by case basis. Meaning, Prudential doesn’t use broad strokes when determining whether a diabetic applicant will be approved or denied coverage or place them in a single category with predetermined rates. Instead, Prudential will determine, during the underwriting process, exactly the type of policy and rate class for which you qualify.

If your diabetes is under excellent control and has been so for 6 to 12 months, you’ll likely qualify for a standard or possibly select rate policy. However, you can still get a policy even if you are insulin dependent. Some extreme, uncontrolled cases of diabetes will be denied coverage but with Prudential, it’s far less likely.

Financial security is tantamount to a life insurance company paying your full premiums. A.M. Best, Fitch, Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s are agencies that assess and rate the financial integrity of life insurers. A life insurance company rated as “A” would indicate excellent creditworthiness (the company’s ability to pay out on claims or repay creditors) and a rating of “C” or “D” would be indicative of weak creditworthiness and possibly avoided.

Prudential boasts:

  • A.M. Best rating of A+
  • Standard & Poor’s of AA-
  • Established in 1875 – well respected and trusted
  • Favorable underwriting for diabetics
  • Health standard flexibility

#2 Protective

Another well-established company making great products in the life insurance industry is Protective. Established in 1907, Protective has recently launched new offerings for diabetics managing their Type 2 diabetes with a focus on client’s living and maintaining a healthy lifestyle while providing extremely affordable policies. Protective promotes and rewards healthy life choices for diabetics.

Protective, like Prudential, enjoys top financial ratings:

  • A.M. Best rating of A+
  • S&P rating of AA-
  • Fitch rating of AA-
  • Moody’s rating of A1

Protective is also known for a fast underwriting process to quickly get you on your way to coverage.

#3 Pacific Life

Another life insurance company serving individuals and businesses for over 150 years and yet, have you heard of them? Even if you haven’t, Pacific Life innovates with contemporary policies like, Living Needs Benefit, covering chronic illness, allowing policy holders access to death benefits for both medical or non-medical expenses. This bodes well for diabetics and can be a great relief. For Type 2 over 50 years of age with good control, Pacific Life offers highly competitive rates.

As for financial ratings, you know your policy will be paid:

  • A.M. Best rating of A+
  • Fitch rating of A+
  • Moody’s rating of A1
  • Standard & Poor’s rating of AA-

Honorable Mention

John Hancock takes an honorable mention. John Hancock has partnered with One Drop to offer John Hancock Vitality which allows customers access to One Drop’s diabetes management mobile app and diabetes-specific content. Like Protective, Hancock also provides incentives for diabetic policyholders making healthy lifestyle decisions like maintaining a low carbohydrate and low sugar diet and engaging in regular exercise.

Each of these life insurance companies has something unique to offer diabetics who are controlling and managing their diabetes. However, because the CDC assesses the death rate as 50% higher for adults with diabetes than for adults without, you can expect your insurance premiums to be higher. As mentioned earlier, during the underwriting process, be transparent about your diabetes, where you are in your treatment, and about your family history.

For diabetics, finding the right policy with the right carrier is important. We have life insurance experts available to answer questions, guide you through the process to obtain a quote, and match you with a policy perfectly suited to your needs.