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Life insurance for diabetics

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A life insurance policy can provide the peace of mind that your loved ones would be financially secure if you or your spouse were to pass away. Since preexisting health conditions can affect your policy options or ability to obtain coverage, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics who are considering a life insurance policy may have a unique set of considerations when it comes to choosing a policy.

As a diabetic, your policy options depend on your specific condition and how well you manage it, and many diabetics qualify for different types of life insurance policies. Research can help you decide what type of policy is right for you and what insurance companies are best for policyholders with diabetes.

Can people with diabetes get life insurance?

There is life insurance coverage available for diabetics. However, the specifics of your diagnosis and condition primarily impact how much you will pay in premiums and what type of coverage you qualify for. If your diabetes is well-managed and you are otherwise healthy, your premium may not be that much higher than it would for someone without diabetes. Typically, the more severe your condition, the more you will pay for your coverage.

Life insurance companies determine your premium based on life expectancy. As a result, policyholders with chronic health conditions like diabetes may pay higher rates because there is a greater chance of an earlier or sudden death. In cases where diabetes is not well-managed, diabetics may be denied for common life insurance policies such as term life and permanent life. In this case, the individual may want to consider a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, which does not require the applicant to complete a medical exam. However, keep in mind that guaranteed life premiums are likely to be much more costly than other types of life policies.

What types of life insurance are available for diabetics?

There is no specific type of life insurance that is better for or more widely available to people with diabetes. Generally, diabetics can get the same types of life insurance coverage as those who do not have this condition, so the policy type that is best is the one that meets your financial goals.

That said, consumers with diabetes will likely pay more for life insurance, which makes cost an important factor. If your life insurance requires a medical exam, the results could also affect how much insurance you can buy. Poor medical exam results could mean a company will cap how much coverage it is willing to provide.

Is there any type of specialized life insurance for diabetics?

Life insurance companies don’t generally offer a life insurance policy specifically designed for diabetics, but with research and the help of an insurance agent or financial adviser, it is typically possible for diabetics to find policies that address their individual financial concerns. If your diabetes is advanced, you may need to consider policies that do not require a medical exam, such as a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

What factors affect diabetics looking for life insurance?

Several factors can play a role when it comes to underwriting diabetics for life insurance. Some of these factors include:

Type of diabetes

Consumers with Type 2 diabetes might have an easier time qualifying for life insurance than those with Type 1 diabetes. Most insurance companies consider Type 1 diabetes riskier than Type 2, because Type 2 diabetes can usually be managed through healthy lifestyle changes. On the other hand, Type 1 typically requires frequent blood sugar monitoring and insulin therapy. If you have Type 1 diabetes, you will likely pay higher premiums for the same amount of coverage.

Disease manageability

If your diabetes is well-controlled by lifestyle changes, you will probably pay lower premiums than if you have to take medication. If you are dependent on insulin, you will also likely pay higher rates. However, if you have Type 2 diabetes, certain lifestyle changes can typically help you manage your condition. Type 2 diabetics can typically manage their condition through eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, exercising frequently and limiting stress.

Other health concerns

If you have other significant health conditions in addition to diabetes, like high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, history of drug abuse or are taking other medications, you may find it challenging to qualify for life insurance. A guaranteed issue policy could be the best option in such cases, although your premium will likely be higher than if you were to qualify for a policy requiring a medical exam. Guaranteed life premiums are typically higher than other plans since the insurance company is shouldering the risk of insuring someone without knowing their full medical history.

Best life insurance companies for diabetics

The best life insurance companies Bankrate has evaluated offer life insurance coverage to individuals with all kinds of medical histories, including those with diabetes. Some offer coverage or limits that may address specific financial concerns held by those with diabetes, while others may only offer diabetics guaranteed issue policies with no underwriting requirements. Below are a few major insurance companies that diabetics may want to explore for policy options.

Keep in mind that finding the best life insurance for you and your medical condition will be dependent on the coverage you require and type of policy you want. It’s helpful to explore all your options and compare before settling on the right life policy for you.

Life insurance company Do they offer policies to diabetics?* Is medical underwriting required?
AIG Yes No
Mutual of Omaha Yes No
Nationwide Yes Yes
Prudential Yes Yes

*Please note that your actual eligibility for policies from these companies may depend on certain factors related to your diabetes or could be dependent upon a medical exam. Just because a company offers policies to people with diabetes does not guarantee you will be approved for a policy. 

AIG

AIG offers a suite of life insurance products, including guaranteed issue whole life policies, which do not require a medical exam. Depending on your diabetes type and how well it is managed, you may also qualify for universal or term life coverage from AIG. On the downside, AIG received one of the lowest scores for customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Individual Life Insurance Study. However, AIG is fiscally solid and is rated A (Excellent) by AM Best for its financial strength, which is a critical measure of a life insurer’s ability to pay death benefits.

Learn more: AIG Insurance review

Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha offers several types of life insurance, including term, whole and universal life. Guaranteed issue policies are available, which could make finding life insurance coverage easier for those with advanced diabetes. However, Mutual of Omaha is limited in availability as it only writes policies in 35 states.

Learn more: Mutual of Omaha Insurance review

Nationwide

Nationwide offers a variety of life insurance products, including term, whole and universal life for those with Type 2 diabetes. However, it typically does not provide coverage for those with Type 1 diabetes. In addition, medical underwriting is required for all life insurance policies, so Nationwide may not be a viable option for diabetics that need a no-exam policy. Nationwide is a full-lines insurer, offering policyholders an opportunity to reap significant premium savings by bundling their life insurance with another policy, such as home or auto.

Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review

Prudential

Both term and whole life policies are available from Prudential, the third-largest U.S. life/annuity insurer according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I). The company also offers numerous digital life insurance resources. Additionally, Prudential requires medical underwriting, so it may not be an option for those with more advanced diabetes.

Learn more: Prudential Insurance review

What happens to existing policies if I am diagnosed with diabetes?

If you receive a diagnosis of diabetes after you have purchased a permanent life insurance policy, you do not need to worry about a termination of coverage. For permanent policies like whole life and universal life, this means you are covered for the rest of your life at the pre-diagnoses rates as long as your premiums are paid on time.

If you have a term policy, your payments will remain the same until the end of your term, usually five, 10, 20 or 30 years. At the end of your term, you might choose to let the policy lapse or convert your policy to a permanent policy before the expiration date or maximum age dictated by the policy. Converting your policy with some companies may allow policyholders to bypass the medical exam and use their health rating from their initial application.

If you want to renew the policy or switch to a new life insurance company, your health will be re-evaluated and your new rates will reflect your diagnosis. If your diabetes is severe, you could be denied the ability to renew your policy and may need to look into a guaranteed issue policy.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best life insurance company?

The best life insurance company will depend on your individual rating factors, including your specific health conditions, the type of policy you want, the coverage amount you are looking for and what optional riders or endorsements you may want to add. Just like with home insurance and auto insurance, the best life insurance company is different for everyone. Getting quotes from several companies might help you find a carrier and policy type that best fits your needs.

It is important to note that since life insurance companies can change their underwriting guidelines, the best company now might not be the best company for you in the future. Once you choose an insurance company, it may be helpful or necessary to re-evaluate your options later, especially if choosing a new term policy or considering converting to a whole life insurance policy.

What if my health improves after being diagnosed with diabetes?

Health improvements or changes to mortality tables may affect how insurers price your policy. If your health condition has significantly improved, it may be an ideal time to shop around for a new life insurance policy at a better rate, but it won’t impact the established premium of an existing policy.

Why is life insurance more expensive for people with diabetes?

Like all insurance policies, life insurance premiums are based on underwriting risk. Having diabetes can put you at a greater risk for developing heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage and other conditions, so life insurance companies charge more to compensate for the risk of having to pay a life insurance claim. This is also why your premium will depend on the severity of your diabetes (either Type 1 or Type 2) and how well it is managed.

Written by
Lizzie Nealon
Insurance Contributor
Lizzie Nealon is an insurance contributor for Bankrate and enjoys making home, auto and life insurance digestible for readers so they can prepare for the future.
Edited by
Insurance Editor
Reviewed by
Director of corporate communications, Insurance Information Institute