Considering buying life insurance as a diabetic? Three cheers for planning ahead! Life insurance is important for the financial security of your beneficiaries (and your own peace of mind).
As you may know, however, life insurance companies analyze risk very closely. An insurance candidate with a chronic health condition like diabetes may have a tough time finding coverage. And getting affordable coverage is another struggle. The higher your statistical risk of early death, the higher the premiums you’re expected to pay.
Fortunately, insurers are realizing they need to provide reasonably priced coverage for diabetics if they want to stay competitive in the marketplace. Diabetes is a common condition; in 2015, 10% of the United States population reported a diagnosis of Type One, Type Two, or gestational diabetes. The numbers have only climbed since then.
I’ve rounded up some of the best companies for diabetics seeking life insurance. Everyone’s case is different, but I’m confident you’ll find an option on my list that works for you.
Overview of the best life insurance companies for diabetics
Company Best for
Policygenius Comparing quotes
Ethos Customized policies
Fabric Organizing family finances
Ladder Fast rate comparison
Health IQ Low risk/otherwise healthy
LeapLife Flexible options
Prudential High risk/multiple health conditions
Protective No exam
American Nation (ANICO) Low prices
When you start comparison shopping for policies, Policygenius should be your first stop. They’re an independent insurance broker that compares providers; they don’t sell insurance themselves. This means they can give you tailored recommendations without bias.
A lot of health variables are in play if you’re diabetic, and Policygenius takes most of them into account when giving you quotes.
Policygenius doesn’t give info for every provider out there, so you may need to do additional research. It was tricky to find a policy that would cover both Type One and extra health complications.
Ethos creates a policy tailored to your own situation, with no physical exam required. You can get a quote in a matter of minutes simply by providing your age, whether you’re a smoker, and whether your health is average, great, or excellent.
Combining that basic information with data analytics, Ethos provides a quote for life insurance. Policies below $1 million start at just a dollar a day, providing more insurance for your money than competing companies.
For diabetics, the best thing about Ethos is that policy decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. No matter how you answer the initial question about your health, the Ethos team will gather more information and consider all factors, including your finances and your age.
Designed for the life planning needs of parents, Fabric is another insurer that doesn’t require a medical exam to qualify. It gets around that by asking general questions about your lifestyle, health, and whether you have children. Your policy will be based on the information you provide.
Fabric divides its users into five classes, ranging from Ultra Select to Tobacco User. The midrange plan is Select, which covers those who lead a low-risk lifestyle and are in good health. If you’re in acceptable health, you’ll qualify for the Standard plan, which applies to those who don’t use tobacco products and lead a moderate-risk lifestyle.
In addition to life insurance, Fabric also provides free wills and the “Family Vault,” which puts all your information in one place. If something happens, family members can access all the important details about your finances here.
Ladder sells term life policies with coverage up to $1 million. And they’ll let you increase or decrease coverage in the future if your needs change.
For instance, you may choose to purchase less coverage as you save more money over time. Especially if you have fluctuating health needs, this can be a huge cash-saver.
They’re also super quick with providing quotes. And they have some of the best customer service out there.
Unlike other companies on this list, Ladder doesn’t have plans designed for diabetics. You’ll probably have to take a medical exam before qualifying for coverage.
Health IQ boasts they rate applicants on health literacy and overall lifestyle, not just current health. They even have a life insurance plan geared towards diabetics who make smart lifestyle choices like regular exercise. Right now the plan is designed for Type Two, but the company plans to extend its offerings to Type One in the future.
Since Health IQ determines rates partially based on fitness stats their process is pretty tracking-heavy. If you prefer not to have your activity and fitness level monitored, a more hands-off policy might be better.
Another independent broker, LeapLife is the company to check out if you have multiple health issues and want to compare your options side by side. They extend coverage options to anyone between 18 and 75 who’s lived for more than two years in the United States. Like Policygenius, they’ll take your information and match you with a company that meets your needs.
They also offer competitive customized provisions or “riders” including a chronic illness rider, which provides a steady income if you need long-term care in the future, and a “waiver of premium” rider which exempts you from premium payments if you contract a serious illness or complication.
Though LeapLife will do its best to match you to a policy, they don’t provide coverage themselves.
Prudential is one of the most highly recommended life insurers for diabetics – especially those with Type 1, high A1C levels, or additional health complications. They don’t shy away from high-risk applicants. Their approach is case-by-case, and they’ll consider the specifics of your condition closely and tailor the plan to your needs.
If your diabetes is well-managed you may even score a Preferred rate, unheard of with other carriers. Even if you’re dependent on insulin you can still get a policy, though your rates may be higher.
Prudential does have higher prices than some other options. Young diabetic candidates in otherwise excellent health might find cheaper coverage with another carrier.
Protective is another great choice for high-risk candidates. Their no-exam or “guaranteed issue” policies are marketed to those who worry an exam might disqualify them from coverage. The company is known for its fast underwriting process if you don’t want to wait weeks for coverage.
As a bonus Protective believes everyone should be able to get life insurance, and they’ve rolled out offerings designed for policyholders with diabetes who commit to a healthy lifestyle.
Though the company has competitive pricing, I wasn’t able to easily find provisional quotes on Policygenius for complex diabetes conditions under Protective.
American National (ANICO)
ANICO insures more diabetics than any other company in the United States, so their experts are likely to know the condition well. Their policies also fall on the less expensive side, even if you choose the no-exam option.
To get the best rates, you’ll still probably need to be relatively healthy. ANICO doesn’t seem to have the range of options for different conditions that Protective and Policygenius offer, though – so make sure you pay attention to that when looking for a policy.
Summary of the best life insurance companies for diabetics
|Company||Diabetes-specific policies||Exam required||Best for diabetes type|
|Policygenius||No||N/A||Type 1, type 2|
|Ethos||No||No||Type 1, type 2|
|Fabric||No||No||Type 1, type 2|
|Health IQ||Yes||Yes||Type 2|
|LeapLife||No||N/A||Type 1, type 2|
|Prudential||Yes||Yes||Type 1, type 2|
|American National (ANICO)||No||No||Type 2|
How I came up with this list
I highlighted companies with reputations for offering coverage to candidates others might turn down. No life insurance policy is one-size-fits-all, especially for people with ongoing health concerns. A lot of insurers on this list – like Health IQ and Prudential – do their best to look at the big picture when determining a price.
Though these picks offer a wide range of monthly rates, none of them represent an outrageous cost.
Range of options
These companies offer a variety of term life policy time spans, whether you want to be covered for five, 20, or even 50 years. And I looked for places offering extra perks, like better rates for healthy lifestyle habits, or Ladder’s option to increase or decrease coverage as you age.
I looked for reputable companies with A or A+ financial stability ratings from credit rating agency A.M. Best. And I avoided insurers who received poor reviews from watchdog organizations.
Types of life insurance available to diabetics
Life insurance companies want to avoid giving payouts on their policies as long as possible. So they’re on the lookout for any condition that will increase an applicant’s likelihood of early mortality. These factors include age, gender, family history of certain medical conditions, high-risk habits like smoking, and more. Chronic health issues like diabetes are high on the list.
For you, this means two things: You won’t have as many companies to choose from, since some won’t provide insurance to high-risk candidates. And you’ll pay a higher premium – the monthly or annual amount you kick in to keep your policy active – than policyholders without diabetes.
Life insurance rates fall into the following categories:
- Preferred Plus and Preferred – Low rates for low-risk candidates in good health. Diabetics usually won’t qualify for these rates.
- Standard Plus and Standard – For candidates in decent health with a few factors that keep them from getting the Preferred rates.
It’s possible for diabetics to score a Standard rate (the “average” health rating most people qualify for). You’ve got a good shot if:
- Your diabetes is Type 2 (considered lower risk than Type 1).
- Your condition is well-managed.
- Your health is otherwise good.
Some diabetics may be eligible for a Standard Plus rate, but it’s often reserved for those who are diagnosed late in life – think after age 50.
Substandard or Table Rating
For the highest-risk candidates who pay the highest premiums. Type 1 diabetics and those with other health complications will probably be looking at this rate. Table Ratings use a scale of one through eight – from Table One (the cheapest option at only 25% above standard rates) to Table Eight (up to 200% above standard rates). Your table category might vary depending on your insurer and the specifics of your condition.
Potential policyholder Prudential Protective Mutual Of Omaha
38-year-old with Type 2 $97 $56 $76
38-year-old with Type 1 $113 No quote available $107
28-year-old with Type 2 $95 No quote available $77
28-year-old with Type 2 gestational diabetes $79 $42 $62
28-year-old with Type 2, not currently undergoing treatment $95 No quote available $77
The one factor that noticeably raised my rates was having Type 1 diabetes as opposed to Type 2. Type 1 diabetics are considered a higher risk for a few reasons. They’re most often diagnosed in childhood, while Type 2 diabetics tend to get the diagnosis as adults. Type 2 diabetes is also far more common.
Gestational diabetes, a temporary condition that affects people during pregnancy, didn’t impact my rates much compared to standard Type 2.
What factors affect your potential rates?
Keep in mind insurers look at two main variables when they assess risk for a diabetic:
How long have you been diagnosed with diabetes? Has your condition led to other mild or serious health complications? A short-lived case of gestational diabetes will be treated as a lower risk than a decades-ago diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes.
If you’re currently under the care of a doctor and managing your symptoms well, you’ll qualify for much better rates. Insurance providers want a sense of how diabetes will impact your health in the future, and they’ll be more optimistic if your condition appears to be under control.
Insurers will also look at these factors:
- Age – The younger you are, the less you’ll pay. This is why I recommend buying life insurance as soon as possible.
- Gender – Women pay less than men across the board, since women are statistically likely to live longer.
- Tobacco use – Nonsmokers pay a lot less than smokers.
- Family health history – If you have a family history of diabetes, or other conditions like cancer or heart disease, you’re considered a higher risk.
- Type of diabetes – Type 1 diabetics will pay more than Type 2 diabetics.
- Date of diagnosis – The longer you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, the more you’ll pay.
- A1C levels – You’re probably more of an expert in A1C levels than you want to be if you’ve had diabetes for a while, but here’s the rundown: lower A1C levels (below 7.0) won’t raise your rates. Levels from 7.0 to 7.9 will bump your rates up a little. Levels of 8.0 or higher will raise your premiums significantly. Insurers will probably look at your average A1C reading over a 12-month period.
- Overall health – Nonsmokers, people with no other major health conditions, and those who generally take care of themselves with diet and exercise may get better rates.
- Treatment plan – Regular doctor visits, keeping up with any medications, and self-monitoring on a regular basis are all points in your column. Insurers may want to know if your condition has been stable for the past six to 12 months.
How can diabetics get the best possible rates?
Unfortunately, many rate-raising factors are out of your control, but some aren’t. Following a treatment plan to the letter including taking prescribed medications, starting a regular treatment plan if you don’t have one, quitting or reducing smoking if you’re a smoker…these are all good places to start.
What insurers really want to see is that you’re taking active steps to control your diabetes through medication, insulin, healthy lifestyle habits, or whatever plan you and your physicians decide will work best. You don’t have to be in perfect health to get a good rate, especially with some of the more flexible companies on our list like Prudential and LeapLife.
Especially if you have Type 1, you can take some actions to potentially lower your premiums:
- Work with a diabetes specialist to control your condition.
- Get the blood pumping with a regular exercise routine if you’re physically able.
- Opt for a policy with a medical exam. The more info insurance companies have about your health, the more likely they are to make a competitive offer.
What can you expect during your medical exam?
When you apply for life insurance you’ll answer a ton of questions about your health history. Respond honestly to all of them. You may also need to provide health records from your physician.
The next step before you purchase a policy is a medical exam so insurers can get all the facts about your health.
Your doctor might want to know:
- Your average blood pressure reading.
- Your average cholesterol reading.
- Your average A1C reading.
- Your age at diagnosis.
- Your history of other diabetes-related health conditions, if any.
- Your exercise routine, if any.
- Your overall dietary habits.
- Your current medications and dosages, including any insulin use.
- Your weight and BMI (body mass index.)
Do you need a medical exam to purchase a policy?
No-medical-exam policies for life insurance, or policies without medical underwriting, do exist. In general, I don’t recommend them – they tend to be far more expensive with less comprehensive coverage than other policies.
But it’s also important that you to have as many options as possible. And if you’ve been living with diabetes for years, you’ve probably been to your fair share of doctors already. You may be able to rattle off your health stats in your sleep. A policy with a lower threshold for acceptance and a focus on overall health might end up being the best fit.
You can also get coverage much more quickly than you might with an exam-dependent policy (think hours rather than weeks or months).
Several companies on this list stand out for offering competitive policies without a required medical exam for candidates. You’ll still need to answer basic questions about your health and maybe provide supplemental medical records.
No-exam policies generally don’t exceed $500,000 worth of coverage, so if you need more, you might want to opt for the exam.
What if you’re prediabetic?
People with prediabetes, or an increased risk of developing diabetes in the future, can qualify for non-diabetic life insurance rates if they’re not currently being treated with medication and a doctor is monitoring their condition.
Insurance companies will consider you diabetic if you’re on medication or insulin, even for pre-diabetes. As always, it’s best to be honest on your application.
Diabetics can get life insurance at an affordable price. A solid treatment plan and smart lifestyle decisions make you an even better candidate for competitive insurance, even with hard-to-insure conditions like Type 1.
Do some shopping around, be prepared with your medical records, and be honest about your health info, and you’re likely to find a policy that works.