Applying for Life Insurance With Diabetes in Canada

Learn more about Diabetes and Life Insurance Rates. Get a quote or talk to an advisor.

Applying for Life Insurance with Diabetes in Canada

Applying for Life Insurance With Diabetes in Canada

Learn more about Diabetes and Life Insurance Rates. Get a quote or talk to an advisor.

Applying for Life Insurance With Diabetes in Canada

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.

Factors insurance companies consider when underwriting and determining rates for diabetics.
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:

  • Obesity
  • Poor blood sugar control
  • Hypertension
  • High blood lipids
  • Smoking
  • Diabetic complications (i.e., retinopathy, nephropathy)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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.

Talk to an advisor today.

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