Getting Life Insurance with Diabetes

May 6, 2017
You may find that getting life insurance with diabetes is not always easy.

Unless you can understand what exactly these underwriters are looking for, you’ll have trouble finding affordable coverage that meets your needs. But if you know the various categories that insurance companies use to assess your risk, you can work to reduce your lifestyle risk factors, lower your premiums and improve your coverage.

Here’s what you need to know about life insurance for people with Type I and Type II diabetes.

Underwriting Decisions: Lifestyle and Health Factors Underwriters Consider Relevant in Assessing Diabetics for Life Insurance.

When getting life insurance with diabetes, underwriters don’t just consider your diabetes when making a coverage decision – they look at your whole life. When your underwriter is assessing your risk level, there are certain health and demographic factors that will either increase or decrease your premiums – or possible make you ineligible for coverage. These include things like your current age, the age at which you first contracted diabetes and the kind of medication you take.

Your underwriter may determine that you are ineligible for coverage if you are extremely young, if you diabetes is uncontrolled or poorly controlled, or if you’ve ever had problems with your blood pressure or cholesterol. You may also be less likely to get coverage if you have trouble complying with medication schedules and follow-up appointments. If you’ve ever been hospitalized or taken to the emergency room for diabetes-related problems, if you’re a habitual smoker, or if you have a co-morbid medical condition like vision problems, kidney disease, a history of strokes or obesity.

Higher Premium Ratings: How Age, Disease Onset, Type of Diabetes and Level of Control Impact Your Premiums.

If you receive a coverage offer, you’ll also be given a ‘rating’. This rating is a percentage of standard premiums that you’ll be expected to pay given your risk profile. Premium ratings depend on factors like age, onset, type of diabetes, duration of diabetes and level of control over symptoms.

Insurance premium ratings are calculated as a percentage of the standard coverage premium that you’ll be expected to pay. When it comes to insurance ratings, a lower rating is better. Generally speaking, younger diabetics will see higher ratings than older diabetics. For instance, a 55-year-old man who has had Type II diabetes since he was 52 would be rated at 150% if his diabetes is well controlled. This same man would see a 200% rating if he had well-controlled diabetes for 17 years. That means the longer you’ve had diabetes, the higher your rating is and the larger a premium you’ll be expected to pay. You’ll also see a higher rating if your diabetes is poorly controlled.

The type of diabetes you have also affects your premiums. People with Type I diabetes will typically pay higher premiums than the general population. People with Type II diabetes can sometimes qualify for standard or even preferred rates, depending on how well their diabetes is controlled.

Gestational Diabetes: Standard Rates Are Available if the Mother Recovers.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. As a pregnancy progresses, the growing baby’s nutritional needs result in the mother’s blood sugar increasing. Gestational diabetes develops when the mother’s body cannot produce enough insulin to counteract this rising blood sugar.

Gestational diabetes is not harmful to mother or child as long as it is under control and it can be managed with proper treatment. A healthy diet, a normal weight gain, regular physical activity and blood glucose monitoring can help you to treat or prevent gestational diabetes. In some cases, insulin therapy may be necessary to maintain a safe blood sugar level.

For insurance purposes, gestational diabetes is considered a risk factor. Different insurers will treat this factor differently. Some will simply offer coverage at a higher premium, while others will decline coverage entirely. The third option that many insurers are pursuing is delaying processing of the application until after the mother gives birth. A woman with gestational diabetes would be eligible for standard coverage rates if, after childbirth, her blood sugar levels return to normal and she recovers from the condition.

Want to Lower Your Life Insurance Premiums? Keep Your Diabetes Under Control

Getting life insurance with diabetes is possible, you can still get reasonable coverage terms and reasonable premiums if you can prove to an insurance company that you’re doing everything in your power to control your symptoms. This includes regularly taking insulin if it’s been prescribed to you. You can also keep your diabetes under control with diet and exercise.

If you diabetes is linked to obesity, restricting you food intake to less than 1,100 kcal/day can help you to lose weight and decrease your fasting blood glucose level, according to a 2007 study published in Clinical Diabetes. Talk to your doctor about changing your diet. A high-protein diet can decrease your fasting glucose levels, as meats and other protein-based foods do not raise your blood sugar.

One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013 found that Mediterranean diets improved blood glucose control.

You’ll also want to get regular exercise. Lack of regular physical activity is associated with worse treatment outcomes for diabetes patients and is as strong a risk factor for death as smoking. And according to the Canadian Diabetes Association, regular exercise can control diabetes just as well as glucose-lowering medication – with fewer side effects. Aerobic exercise and strength training are particularly effective at treating diabetes symptoms.

Aerobic exercise improves blood flow and cholesterol levels and helps your body to make better use of insulin. Strength training increases your insulin sensitivity and lowers your blood sugar. And when you’re in great shape, your insurance provider will view you as less of a risk – which equals a drop in your life insurance premiums or possibly better coverage.

Questions You Can Expect The Insurance Company to Ask When Getting Life Insurance for Diabetes.

When you meet with your insurance agent, you can expect to answer a number of questions about your life, your health, and your diabetes. Your agent will ask you about your Body Mass Index – you may see higher premiums if it’s over 30. You might also be asked about your blood pressure, cholesterol, eye and kidney health and how often you see a physician.

You can also expect to answer questions about how much insulin you take and when, whether you’ve ever had an insulin reaction or experienced a diabetic coma, if you ever stop treatment for any reason and how often you test your blood sugar.

Finally, you may be asked to provide the results of your three most recent blood sugar tests, in order for your insurance provider to understand how well controlled your diabetes is. The answers to these questions will determine your coverage eligibility, which is why if your diabetes isn’t under control right now, you may want to get it under control prior to applying for life insurance.

Getting life insurance with Diabetes can be a challenge. Having diabetes can impact your coverage terms, increase your premiums, or – if your diabetes isn’t under control – make you ineligible for coverage.

Having said all that, the Canadian market offers guaranteed issue, simple issue and fully underwritten options so we’ll be able to get you something good.

Use our instant quote form to submit an inquiry and give us some background on your diabetes in the comments section… we’ll be in touch and provide a custom quote.

Or call us at 1.888.498.5288

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