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Life Insurance for People With Diabetes

I Have Diabetes. Now What?

Diabetes is a concern to life insurance companies. Diabetes can lead to a number of serious problems such as coronary heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, kidney disease, renal disease, and even blindness. The most important piece of information underwriters want to see is the results from your glycohemoglobin HbA1C test, also called the A1C test. They will also need to know your age at diagnosis, how often you have medical checkups, whether there have ever been any complications, and whether there have ever been any abnormal lab results, such as protein in your urine. These factors are all used to gauge your level of diabetic control and the better your level of control, the better rating you can expect to receive. Make sure you allow plenty of time for the insurance company to review your records and be prepared to pay higher rates than you would pay as a healthy individual. 

Diabetes' Effect on Insurance Rates

The most critical data for evaluating your expected rating for life insurance, as mentioned above, is the results from your A1C test. Below is a rough outline of what rating to expect based on your A1C test. Keep in mind that some of the other factors mentioned above, as well as lifestyle habits and your level of personal health, will all serve to either increase or decrease your rating. 


Expected Rating

A1C reading 6-7; onset over age 60


A1C reading 6-7; onset under age 60

Standard through Table 2

A1C reading 8-9

Table 2 through Table 6 depending primarily on age of onset (older is better)

A1C reading 10-11

Table 6 through Table 12

A1C reading 12+

Table 12 or Postponed to Postpone to Decline 

Uncontrolled high blood pressure, nicotine use, high levels of bad cholesterol, evidence of kidney disease, low levels of good cholesterol, heart disease, excessive alcohol use, a history of strokes, infrequent medical evaluations, vision problems, neurological problems, and/or other vascular disease

Table 12 or Decline

Infrequent medical checkups (less than once a year); poor disease management


More Information on Diabetes

Diabetes is an incurable, chronic disease where the pancreas produces inadequate amounts of the hormone insulin. As a result, this leaves glucose in the blood system and deprives cells of energy. Those who develop diabetes before the age of 40 usually experience major symptoms and are quickly diagnosed. Those who develop diabetes after age 40 usually do so gradually and do not experience any serious symptoms. Often times, for diabetic after age 40, the disease is first diagnosed during the exam performed as a part of the life insurance application. Diabetes can either be "Type 1" also called "Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus" (IDDM) or "Type 2" also called "Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus" (NIDDM). The first is sometimes called "juvenile" diabetes and the second is sometimes called "adult onset" diabetes. 

Diabetics who are dependent on insulin often inject insulin multiple times per day or even wear an insulin pump in order to control the disease by supplying the hormone continuously. Being dependent on insulin is the more severe of the two types of diabetes since it usually starts earlier in life and has a larger impact on decreasing life expectancy. The more common form of diabetes is NIDDM, which can usually be controlled with exercise, weight loss, a special diet, and medications. 

Important Things to Know for Those with Diabetes

What are some of the issues that interest underwriters?

  • When was your diabetes first diagnosed?

  • What type of diabetes do you have?

  • Do you visit an eye doctor on a regular basis?

  • What are the results of your kidney function tests?

  • Do you have a loss of sensation in your hands or feet?

  • How often do you have medical checkups? 

What can I do to help the underwriting process?

The life insurance will want to review all your medical history, so it is important that you include all contact information for personal physicians, treating medical facilities, etc. Also, if you feel that you have great lifestyle habits, good health, and you control your diabetes well, or anything else that contributes to lessen the risks associated with diabetes, feel free to include a cover letter explaining anything that may not be readily apparent in your medical history.

Complete the following form, or call us toll-free at 888-854-7526 if you would like to speak with someone or get more information.

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