Life insurance is one of the most important investments you’ll purchase, and while it’s easy enough to get a quote online, the real challenge comes in finding an insurer who will actually accept your specific needs as a diabetic. As difficult as it may seem to some, it is possible to get affordable life insurance if you have diabetes, especially if you manage it well.
Do I have to inform insurance companies of Diabetes?
A common question people ask is if they have to inform their insurer that they have diabetes. You should always let your insurer know about your health conditions, especially when you’re applying for life insurance. Diabetes can be considered a pre-existing health condition, which means that it can affect whether an insurer will approve you or not. A pre-existing condition refers to any medical condition (like asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure) that you had before applying for insurance. Most insurance policies will not cover any claims related to the pre-existing condition, unless the policy explicitly states otherwise.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes after buying life insurance and the policy is issued, the insurer can’t cancel the policy or alter your rates. If you purchased a permanent life insurance policy, your premiums and coverage will stay the same even if you become diabetic.
What type of life insurance can you get if you’re diabetic?
As a diabetic, you can apply for all types of life insurance, including term life insurance, permanent life insurance. Getting approved for these products is different for each insurance company, and some products are easier to get approved for than others due to their underwriting requirements. Generally, insurance companies will have term and permanent fully underwritten products or simplified products that change how easy it is to be approved for life insurance for those with serious medical conditions.
Term Life Insurance vs Permanent Life Insurance
If you have diabetes you typically have the choice between permanent life insurance or term life insurance. Permanent life insurance gives you coverage for your entire lifetime and your premium is locked in at this rate. Term life insurance provides coverage for the duration of the term (generally 10- 30 year terms) and once it expires you can renew the term to continue receiving coverage. Renewing your coverage will likely increase your premiums, since life insurance providers will consider your age and any new health issues.
No Medical and Simplified Issue Life Insurance
No medical and simplified issue life insurance are types of policies for insurance products. These policies do not require medical exams, such as blood or urine tests, and generally only require the applicant to answer a series of medical history questions instead. Most simplified issue policies will ask if the applicant has been declined. If they have been declined, coverage may still be available, but will most likely be on a deferred basis, which means the death benefit is limited to non-accidental deaths in the first two years of the policy. Most simplified issues plans have a diabetes related question, and some only ask about insulin dependent (type 1) diabetes.
Some insurance companies will also offer Guaranteed Issue Life Acceptance insurance, which is similar to no medical life insurance. Guaranteed Issue life insurance is a type of permanent life insurance that guarantees approval, no matter how serious the condition is. There’s no questions asked about your medical history or medical exam required, so those who have difficulty getting approved can apply for these products.
How do insurers underwrite diabetes?
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed, or have been for a long time, each company’s underwriting process for clients with diabetes is different, and will affect if you are approved or not.
Medical underwriting is the examination of the applicant’s health and medical history. Fully underwritten insurance policies will typically ask for a medical exam, which includes a blood and urine test, along with some other health related questions.
Insurers will typically ask diabetics about the following factors for their medical underwriting, or application in general. These factors affect the amount of premiums you pay, or if you get approved.
Whether you have Type 1 (insulin dependent), Type 2 or gestational diabetes.
The longer you’ve had diabetes, the longer it’s impacted your body, which increases your likelihood of side effects. A later-in-life diagnosis is more favourable for lower ratings.
Contact information of your doctors, and your medical records. Some may also ask for the medical history of your family as well to further assess the risk. Other details include your current height and weight, whether you take any additional medications, and details of any other conditions you’ve had.
A1C indicates how well your diabetes is being controlled. The lower your A1C, the better. If it’s below 7.0, you’ll generally have more favourable ratings. Levels above 7.5 show less control and higher risk.
Insurers want to know if your diabetes is controlled through diet and exercise, medication, insulin or a combination. They may also want details on your current diet, exercise frequency, types of medication and doses, or number of insulin units per day. Control through diet and exercise alone is ideal, but consistent control through any method is preferable to a lack of control.
If you’ve had any diabetes-related complications or other serious medical conditions, you’ll be considered a significantly higher risk. Some diabetes-related conditions insurers will want to know about: chest pain, coronary artery disease, protein in the urine (proteinuria), neuropathy, retinopathy, abnormal ECG, obesity, elevated lipids, kidney disease, blackout spells and hypertension.
These look for high blood pressure issues, your readings for LDL cholesterol (which can cause coronary artery disease), and signs of kidney damage, which is a common side effect of diabetes.
During the application process for fully underwritten insurance or even simplified insurance, most insurers will ask about these factors when you’re applying through their questionnaire or medical exam. Insurance companies also attach a medical rating to the policy based on these factors. This rating acts as a multiplier to determine the price of the policy offered. In some cases, an insurer may determine the risk is too high to offer insurance coverage and decline an applicant.
What are the Ratings?
Ratings affect how much you pay for your premiums. You can have a better chance of getting a lower premium and closer to ‘standard’ rates if you have:
Consistently normal blood sugar
Lower than average blood pressure
Lower than average cholesterol
Your premiums will increase and lower your chances of being approved for life insurance if your health and diabetes is not managed well. Most common things that will affect your chances of being approved are:
Ratings range and vary from company to company, from 150% to sometimes 200%. Many insurance companies will decline a client because they deem a client to be too risky to insure.
What to Do If You’ve been Declined Life Insurance with Diabetes
If you’ve been declined life insurance for diabetes before, it is still possible to get life insurance. Here are two ways you can improve your chances of getting approved:
- Change the type of life insurance you’re applying for. Oftentimes, the underwriting requirements and medical tests will dictate whether you are approved or not. No medical or guaranteed life insurance are two options for those who have difficulty getting approved, because they don’t require any medical underwriting.
- Improve how you manage your diabetes. One of the factors life insurance companies consider is how well you manage your diabetes. Having a good diet with consistent exercise will help improve your favourability of being approved.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, it is possible to get life insurance as either a Type I or Type II Diabetic. Getting life insurance with diabetes isn’t hard and you have many of the same options as someone without diabetes. It is possible to get life insurance coverage without a nurse visit with either a simplified or fully guaranteed policy. If you take the fully underwritten route, this process will be similar to most underwriting processes, but will possibly require a couple of additional medical examinations, questionnaires and tests such as A1C test, and urine test. To learn more about getting life insurance with diabetes just contact one of our life insurance agents and schedule a free consultation to find out what is the best life insurance option for you.
There are many life insurance companies that will provide coverage for diabetics in Canada. The best life insurance solution for diabetics depends on several factors including: the age you were diagnosed, your hemoglobin (A1C) levels, the treatment for your diabetes diagnosis and your compliance to the treatment, and also if you are at risk of other serious medical conditions due to your diabetes. It is strongly recommended that you speak to a licensed life insurance agent to find out what life insurance policy and company would be the best for you.
It really depends on the insurance policy you want. Most underwritten life insurance policies will require you to complete a medical exam, get an attending physician statement, A1C level test, and a urine test. If you are interested in getting a no medical exam or simplified life insurance plan there are some exceptions, and you won’t be subject to an intense medical exam, but rather only a short questionnaire for a simplified plan. If you want guaranteed acceptance, go for a no medical exam policy which will only ask you a couple questions but will guarantee you life insurance coverage. If you’re not sure about the difference between these types of insurances, read our guide to guaranteed vs simplified vs fully underwritten to find out which option is right for you.
Not always, there are plenty of insurance companies that require you to fill out a diabetes questionnaire. Some life insurance companies don’t need you to fill out a diabetes questionnaire, but will rather just need additional kinds of evidence such as an attending physician statement, and several medical test results. This can be avoided if you choose to go with a no medical exam policy, you will have to fill out some questions but it will guarantee you coverage. This being said, consider if you should get no medical life insurance.
For a fully underwritten policy, yes, diabetes will affect the cost of your life insurance and even affect the application process but regardless it is still possible to get the right life insurance for you. Even a simplified, or no medical exam insurance plan will also affect your life insurance because they will be different from an underwritten policy. There are even plenty of life insurance solutions that will offer you a standard rating, this is depending on specific factors that can impact your premiums.There are a couple of solutions out there that are offered by life insurance companies which won’t strictly focus only on your diabetes, these solutions will likely be a guaranteed issue or simplified issue. Therefore, like most health conditions, it will always affect your life insurance in some way or another but even with that being said, it is possible to get insurance as a Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic.
Typically, this will depend on the insurance company and the plan you get. Working with an expert who has experience in dealing with Type I and Type II diabetics, while also having access to a broad range of solutions from multiple companies is an important factor in getting the best possible solution. Beyond that the same factors will impact life insurance premiums; age, amount of insurance, length of coverage etc.
General costs for a $100K coverage, 10 year term for a non-smoker Male diabetic:
Although the simplified rate is higher for both males and females, it is often times a quicker process, and almost always guarantees approval. In some cases it can work out cheaper than a fully underwritten policy, which may have a chance of costing more than simplified to begin with. Understanding your options and finding out what is the best life insurance policy for you is one of the advantages of working with a broker that understandings this market.
General costs for a $100K coverage, 10 year term, for a non-smoker Female diabetic:
If you are eligible for life insurance with diabetes you can still acquire coverage which can range from $25,000 to over $1 million, this just all depends on the type of life insurance plan you chose to go with. The options are by no means limited, and if you are a Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic, you can indeed get the kind of coverage you want, it just is a means of finding the right company and plan to go with. There are actually many insurance companies out there that are aware of the prevalence of diabetes in Canada and therefore have great underwritten policies and even simplified or no medical guaranteed policies for those with diabetes.
Getting life insurance for seniors who are diabetics isn’t as hard as you think, and there are a number of options as well. For example, many guaranteed life insurance policies are designed for people 50 years old and over, as they offer affordable rates, but lack a large coverage amount. In the case of underwritten policies, insurance companies actually find that diabetics over the age of 40 actually have a better chance of having a standard rating or just slightly more. This is because they find diabetics over 40 years old have better control of their diabetes and it is possible that it won’t cause other health complications. Therefore, as a senior there are still life insurance policies that will be available and affordable.
How to find the best life insurance for Diabetes
No matter how difficult it may seem, you can apply and purchase life insurance with diabetes. The key is working with an expert who knows the ins and outs of diabetic life insurance from several different companies. Working with a life insurance broker can help you find which insurer will meet your needs as a diabetic, at the best rates.
At Protect Your Wealth, we work with and compare policies and quotes from over 15 life insurance companies to ensure the best solution for you and your needs. We provide expert life insurance solutions, including no medical life insurance, term life insurance, and permanent life insurance.
Contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today. We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario, including areas such as Barrie, Kingston, and Waterdown.