Shopping for Life Insurance with Diabetes

June 27, 2017

Shopping for life insurance when you have diabetes is a little like shopping for shoes when you have a bunion. It can be a challenge to find a good fit. You may have to pay a little more. But if you go where the products are designed for you, and the salespeople know how to assist you, you can find coverage at an affordable price.

What do life insurance companies look at when you have diabetes?

There are many factors that affect the cost of life insurance for persons with diabetes. Unless you are applying for guaranteed issue policies that ask no health questions (and also charge the most), it is important to share the following details so your agent can match you to the best policy for which you qualify.

  • 1) At what age you were diagnosed;
  • 2) How long you have had diabetes;
  • 3) What treatments are you taking;
  • 4) Have you had any complications (e.g. neuropathy, protein in urine, stroke);
  • 5) What was your last A1C; and
  • 6) Do you have any additional health issues?

However, these details will not help your agent find your best price if your agent does not understand diabetes. Some of these answers will require follow up questions. E.g. If you have type 2 diabetes and are on insulin, I would ask when/if you switched from oral medication to insulin. If your last A1C is high, I would ask if that is normal for you. These extra details can literally save you hundreds of dollars or even keep you from being declined.

Finally, if your agent can shop many companies, and understands how each company uses these factors to rate their applicants, you will have your greatest chance of getting the lowest price.

Exam vs No Exam Diabetic Life Insurance

Sometimes buying a policy that does not require an exam can be the best route for people with diabetes. There are a number of nonmed life insurance policies that give everyone the same reasonable rate, just as long as you can answer no to their health questions. While a question about diabetes is usually included on the application, it may only ask about your diabetic control. Therefore, a person with stable diabetes may be able to pay the same price as someone who is overweight, has gout, or is mildly depressed.

Nonmed life insurance can also be helpful for those who have erratic A1C’s, blood pressure, or weight. As long as you can answer the questions on the application (and sometimes a phone interview) to qualify, eliminating the exam eliminates that extra hurdle to being approved.

Finally, no exam life insurance may be the only option for someone with advanced kidney disease, heart disease, or circulatory disease related to their diabetes. Generally, a nonmed policy for someone with diabetic complications will be a “graded” policy, meaning that it has a 1-3 year waiting period before it will pay the full death benefit. Some of these policies are guaranteed issue, which means that you cannot be declined for health reasons. If your agent has a variety of nonmed policies like this to choose from, he/she can guide you to the one with best price AND best features.

How to get your best life insurance rate

People with diabetes don’t want to pay more than they have to for life insurance, and most are willing to do what it takes to get their lowest price. But it’s hard to know what will help, unless you are working with a knowledgeable agent. Sometimes it helps to wait a few months before you apply; sometimes it helps to apply right away. Some companies penalize you if you use insulin; others will rate you better if you take insulin to lower your A1C. If your agent doesn’t know the in’s and out’s of finding the best rate for people with diabetes, you may find yourself paying too much.

Using an agency that sells policies from multiple companies can also help you get the best life insurance rate. That way, you are charged for your unique health details, rather than have your premium based on what other people with diabetes pay. As a bonus, when you can do all your shopping from one spot, it takes away a lot of the stress of applying for life insurance.

Just like finding a comfortable pair of shoes when you have a bunion, finding an affordable life insurance policy when you have diabetes can be pure joy, and stay with you for many years to come.

- Peg Mace

Peg Mace specializes in affordable health insurance for individuals with complex medical conditions.

Contact Peg Mace at 866-866-0242 ext 914 or email

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