Most life insurance policies will require you to have some sort of medical exam before applying. The stricter life insurance policies may disqualify you if you have certain life-threatening conditions. Other life insurance policies are considered to be “guaranteed” and will approve nearly all of their applicants.
One common condition that may affect your ability to get life insurance is diabetes. According to statistics gathered in 2015, over 30.3 million Americans (9.4% of the population) had type 1 diabetes. Additionally, 84.1 million Americans displayed signs of prediabetes.
Diabetes is the seventh most common cause of death in the United States. When all else is equal, being diagnosed with diabetes can significantly shorten your life expectancy. Though many individuals with diabetes are able to live long lives, having a statistically shorter life expectancy can often increase the overall cost of life insurance.
Diabetes does not automatically disqualify you from getting life insurance
Fortunately, diabetes is not considered to be a terminal illness. If you have diabetes, it is quite possible that you will live to be a very old age. Having diabetes will not automatically disqualify you from most life insurance policies, however, it can make certain policies a bit more expensive.
Every life insurance company has a unique set of underwriting guidelines. If you are generally healthy, you might want to consider applying to a company with stricter guidelines because you will still be able to qualify for the best policies. But if you have various health hazards or engage in risky behaviours, these may increase the total cost of a policy.
Common life insurance underwriting variables include:
• Smoking habits
• Certain lifestyle risks (skiing, flying planes, etc.)
• Personal and family medical history
Each of these variables will typically increase the total premium you pay each month. For the underwriting risk factors that can change over time (for example, you quit smoking), you may be able to readjust your premiums.
Not all cases of diabetes are necessarily treated the same
Though having diabetes will likely increase the cost of owning life insurance, not everyone with diabetes will necessarily be affected in the same ways. There are numerous other variables related to the condition that might either increase or decrease your monthly costs.
• Having type 1 versus having type 2 diabetes
• The age you were first diagnosed
• Complications and other common risk factors (see section below)
Most life insurance companies want to have you as a client. Generally, they will try to evaluate your health in a relatively objective—and statistically supported—way.
Because diabetes is declared as a life insurance underwriting risk factor, most insurance companies will want to know whether or not your condition is generally under control. The state of your condition can usually be determined during an ordinary check-up with a doctor.
Some life insurance companies will offer you “credits” in exchange for avoiding certain risks. Things such as your blood sugar levels, the presence (or non-presence) of various heart conditions, cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and weight will directly affect the level of risk that is associated with your specific policy.
Some risk factors associated with diabetes cannot be directly changed. But many of these risk factors—particularly those relating to your weight—can be changed. If you are able to improve your physical fitness over time, you may be able to reapply and qualify for a less expensive life insurance policy.
Consider Applying for Guaranteed Life Insurance
As the name might imply, guaranteed life insurance is a type of insurance policy that most individuals are guaranteed to qualify for. Though the term guaranteed might be a little bit generous (there are still some reasons you will get rejected), this sort of life insurance is particularly attractive to individuals who are older or have pre-existing health conditions.
Most young and healthy people will usually overlook guaranteed life insurance because they can find more affordable policies elsewhere. But because having diabetes will likely cause you to pay more for any life insurance policy, the opportunity cost of applying for a guaranteed policy is relatively less.
Ultimately, when considering applying for life insurance with diabetes, there are several important things you will need to keep in mind. You will want to meet with a doctor and discuss the specific state of your condition. You will also want to take the time to compare the policies of different life insurance companies and see which ones are most compatible with you.
Finding the right life insurance company to meet your needs can sometimes require a little bit of work. But if you are someone who has diabetes, you shouldn’t feel as if you do not have any options. There are plenty of life insurance companies that are still willing to offer you reasonable policies for only marginally higher prices.