If you have diabetes, it can be natural to wonder whether you can get life insurance. The reality is that you typically can get a life insurance policy if your diabetes is well-controlled. But you may pay higher rates than others for the same policy.

People with poorly controlled diabetes may qualify for a guaranteed issue policy that requires no medical exam, but these policies typically offer low death benefit amounts and may be expensive. Here are some things to know about life insurance for diabetics.

Pros & cons of life insurance with no medical exam

While most life insurance policies take your health into account, there are some policies that do not. These are known as guaranteed issued policies, which may be an option if you have diabetes and are struggling to find insurance elsewhere. Typically, there is a standard waiting period when purchasing the policy. During that waiting period, if the policyholder dies, premiums will be returned but the death benefit will not pay out.

There are several advantages of guaranteed issue life insurance:

  • Medical history does not impact acceptance or premium rates

  • Premium is determined by age (the earlier you get a policy, the lower your premiums can be)

Disadvantages of life insurance policies that don’t require medical exams include:

  • Premiums are higher than standard life insurance policies

  • Benefits are lower than standard life insurance policies, with lower maximum death benefits

  • If you die before the waiting period ends, the premiums are returned but no death benefit is paid

How Type 1 diabetes impacts life insurance rates & premiums

Type 1 diabetes, which always requires treatment with insulin, is much less common than Type 2 diabetes, and Type 1 is generally more severe. Type 1 diabetes is also usually diagnosed at a younger age than Type 2.

The longer you’ve had diabetes and the more severe it is, the less likely you are to be approved for life insurance coverage.

Even if you’re approved, your rates would likely be higher than they would be for someone who has had diabetes for a shorter time. This means that someone with Type 1 diabetes will likely have a harder time finding affordable coverage, if they’re approved for coverage at all, than someone with Type 2 diabetes.

How Type 2 diabetes impacts life insurance rates & premiums

Type 2 diabetes is much more common than Type 1 diabetes, is usually milder and is typically diagnosed at a later age.

These factors mean that premiums for someone with well-controlled Type 2 diabetes will usually be lower than premiums would be for a Type 1 diabetes patient. However, a person with Type 2 diabetes will still typically pay higher premiums than someone at the same age who doesn’t have diabetes.

How management of your diabetes can improve life insurance rates

Life insurance rates are determined by the amount of risk you pose for the life insurance company. If you have a condition that is likely to cause you to die prematurely, your rates will be higher than someone expected to live a normal lifespan, and you may not be approved for life insurance at all.

If your diabetes is well-controlled, either through the use of medication or with improved diet and exercise, your life insurance rates may be less than the rates for someone with poorly managed diabetes. Managing your diabetes well might be the difference between being approved or denied for a policy.

How to find the right life insurance when you have diabetes

If you’re thinking about life insurance and you have diabetes, your best bet is to obtain a policy as soon as possible. Your rates will be based on your health today, and they won’t rise if your health worsens in the future. Talk to your doctor to plan ways to keep your diabetes under control as you prepare for any required insurance exams.

Another option for someone with diabetes is group life insurance through your employer. Many employers offer group life insurance policies as an employee benefit, and having diabetes or another medical condition doesn't affect eligibility or rates for a group policy. While the benefit may be lower than what you typically would need, it still aids in your financial plan.

A financial advisor can help you choose the life insurance policy that works best for both your financial plan and your medical situation.

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