Life Insurance for People with Diabetes

Although getting life insurance for people with diabetes can seem tricky at first, it isn't difficult to do so at all. Find out more.

May 31, 2021

You may think that life insurance will be seriously expensive or even out of reach if you are a diabetic. But we have got some good news. Life insurance for people with diabetes is not always prohibitively expensive.

Although, you are likely to pay more than someone who is of your age and gender and does not have diabetes, if you can demonstrate that your condition is well managed, you may still be able to receive affordable rates.  

Why does diabetes matter to life insurance companies?

Form with stethoscope on top of it

Life insurers must evaluate their clients potential risk factors. Not surprisingly, any health condition that increases the risk of death — such as diabetes — is flagged as high risk. This is because the insurer will have to issue a payout to the policyholder’s beneficiary without having collected many premiums.

Diabetes is a health condition in which the body is not able to produce adequate levels of insulin or is not able to properly use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, and  helps control blood sugar levels in the body. Diabetes — especially when not well managed — increases the risk of premature death.

People with diabetes are more likely to have heart disease, stroke, and other complications. For insurers, people with diabetes fall into a high-risk category. To compensate for this high risk, insurers charge higher rates.

Here are some important statistics to demonstrate why diabetes matters to life insurers:

  • Canadians with diabetes have a higher risk of premature death than those without it in every age group
  • Among younger Canadians (aged 20 to 39 years), those with diabetes have 4.2 to 5 times higher all-cause mortality rates
  • Among Canadians aged 40 to 74 years, people with diabetes have two to three times higher all-cause mortality rates

With that said, different types of diabetes affect your life expectancy differently.

  • Type-1 diabetes – This is a chronic health condition in which the pancreas does not produce any insulin. Because of this, it is also called insulin-dependent diabetes. Since it usually is diagnosed early in life, it can put a lot of stress on vital organs over the years. Premium rates for type-1 diabetes are significantly higher than for non-diabetics.

  • Type-2 diabetes – In this condition, the body is unable to make enough insulin. It is the most common type of diabetes in Canada, with roughly 90% of people with diabetes having it. Type-2 diabetes is often milder than type 1. Though, it can still lead to major health complications. If you have type-2 diabetes, expect to pay more for life insurance than those without it.

  • Gestational diabetes – This is a temporary form of diabetes that affects pregnant women who have never had diabetes before. It usually appears during the second and third trimester and affects roughly 18% of pregnant women. Applying for life insurance when you are pregnant and have gestational diabetes may not be the best idea. That is because insurers will underwrite you as though you are a diabetic. And that would mean higher premium rates. Since this condition is only temporary, it makes sense to apply after (or before) pregnancy.

Can I get life insurance if I have diabetes?

Doctor signing a life insurance form

The answer is yes. Many providers offer life insurance for diabetics in Canada.

Like others, diabetics can apply for a traditional life insurance policy. These policies are fully underwritten. Alternatively, they can also opt for a non-medical exam life policy.

If you have diabetes, we suggest you first give traditional life insurance a try (even if you think your condition is serious). How you see your health is not necessarily how an underwriter sees it. You may well qualify for a standard policy even if you thought you would not.

Traditional life insurance policies are more affordable and flexible than no-medical policies. They also offer higher coverage amounts. So, applying for such a policy makes a lot of sense.

Traditional life policies require a medical exam. The insurer will make a decision on your application based on the results of the exam, among other things.

If you do not qualify for traditional life insurance, you can always go for a no-medical-exam life policy. You will not have to take a medical exam, though you may have to answer a few health-related questions. And in many cases, the coverage is almost guaranteed.

How do insurance companies price a policy for a diabetic?

Man signing a life insurance form

As a diabetic, several factors can impact your life insurance rate. These are:

Age at diagnosis

Generally speaking, the longer you have had this condition, the higher the cost of insurance. So, if you developed diabetes as a child, expect to pay higher premiums than someone with late-onset diabetes.

Type of diabetes

Type 2 diabetics usually get better life insurance rates than those with type 1. That is because it is considered more manageable than the latter.

Complications

A diabetic-related complication can bump up your life insurance premium. Common complications due to diabetes include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Macrovascular problems
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Diabetic retinopathy

If you have a diabetic-related complication and are not managing it well, you will have pay to more for coverage.

Severity

Insurers will look at your A1C levels to judge the severity of your diabetes. A reading between 6 and 6.9 usually is viewed favorably and has a minimal impact on the rates. A1C levels in the range of 7.0 to 7.9 may increase your premiums, but the spike is not likely to be a big one. An A1C reading of 8.0 or above may lead to a riskier classification. Consequently, you will have to pay significantly more for insurance.

Treatment and control

The type of treatment you are taking for diabetes impacts your premium rates, partly because it is an indicator of the severity of your condition. Diabetics who are managing their condition well, will get a better rating than those who are not. Likewise, people on oral diabetic medications will receive a more favorable rating than those who need insulin shots.

Regardless of the form of diabetes or its severity, you will always get better rates if you are on treatment and managing it well. A type 1 diabetic who takes daily insulin shots may have to pay less for coverage than a type 2 diabetic who is not taking any treatment.

Other medical conditions

The presence of other medical conditions, like high blood pressure, may increase the risk of premature death. As a result, you will have to pay more for coverage. Similarly, if you are diabetic and smoke, you will probably get a high-risk classification and significantly higher rate.

What sort of questions do insurance companies ask someone with diabetes?

As part of the application process, insurers ask you several health-related questions. Diabetics, however, may have to answer a few extra questions related to their medical condition.

Here are the examples of questions that insurance carriers may ask diabetics.

  • When did you receive the diagnosis?
  • How old were you when you got diagnosed?
  • What type of diabetes you have?
  • Your latest A1C reading?
  • The date of your latest A1C reading?
  • Your average A1C reading for the last 12 months?
  • How often do you take a diabetic checkup?
  • Do you take insulin? If yes, how many units a day?
  • Do you take oral medication? If yes, which ones?
  • How much do you weigh currently?
  • How much did you weigh a year ago? Has there been any change, why?
  • What is your current height?
  • What is your blood pressure?
  • Do you measure your blood sugar daily?
  • What is your average fasting blood sugar?
  • Do you have any diabetes-related complications?
  • Are you on dialysis?
  • Have you had any amputations?

What are the pros of simplified issue life insurance policy?

Simplified issue is a type of no-medical-exam life insurance. You do not have to take a medical test but must answer a few simple health questions. The insurer will make a decision to accept or reject you based on the information you provide.

Simplified issue insurance is a good option life insurance for diabetics because of the following reasons:

No medical test  

Since it takes the medical exam out of the equation, simplified issue insurance is easier to qualify.

Quick approval

The traditional life insurance policy can take up to 6 weeks for approval. If you cannot afford to wait that long, simplified issue insurance could make sense for you. You can get approved within a few days, sometimes even instantly.

More affordable than guaranteed issue insurance

Another option available to diabetics is guaranteed issue insurance. Like simplified issue, it is also a type of no-medical-exam insurance. However, you do not need to answer even health questions to qualify. All the same, simplified issue is a much better option for most diabetics since it is cheaper and offers higher coverage amounts.  

Where can people with diabetes get life insurance?

You can count on Dundas Life to help you get the optimal coverage at competitive rates. We work with leading insurers in Canada and can help you find the best life insurance for diabetics. Whether you want a traditional or no-medical-exam life insurance policy, we have got your back.

Conclusion

Getting life insurance may seem tricky if you have diabetes — but that is not necessarily so. There are plenty of insurers who offer life insurance for diabetics at affordable rates. So, do not assume that you are uninsurable. By working with an independent broker like Dundas Life, you can easily find a policy that is right for you.

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