July 20, 2019

Life Insurance for Diabetics

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Diabetes won't automatically disqualify you for life insurance. You may even pay less than you might think. Read on to learn more about affordable life insurance for those with diabetes.

More than 30 million U.S adults are living with diabetes, and 84.1 million people are diagnosed with pre-diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That's nearly 10% of the U.S. population.

Those with diabetes have several affordable life insurance options—especially if you have it under control and lead a healthy lifestyle.

Can I Get Life Insurance as a Diabetic?

Compared to someone who does not have diabetes, you'll likely pay more for life insurance. Why?

Premiums depend on the risk you pose to the life insurance company. If you die before the term ends, you aren't paying off the full price of the insurance policy.

Since diabetes comes with a variety of health complications, you automatically have an increased risk. However, your premiums can vary significantly depending on:

  • How well you control you diabetes
  • How reliably you take medications
  • Other diabetes-related risk factors you present

Keep reading to learn what else you need to know about life insurance for diabetics.

Some insurance policies require you to complete a physical medical exam as part of the underwriting process. But there are policy options that let you skip the exam. Usually, avoiding the exam will mean higher rates. Keep reading to learn your best options.

What You Need to Know Before Applying

Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for life insurance for a diabetic.

Getting Approved May Be Harder
Diabetes doesn't rule you out for life insurance. But you have a lower chance of being approved (or paying more for coverage) if you:

  • Do not take your medications or lead a healthy lifestyle

  • Have additional contributing health risks like coronary heart disease, obesity, or uncontrolled high blood pressure.

  • Smoke

  • Were diagnosed at a young age

If any of these apply, you may want to consider a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. You will pay a significant monthly premium with this policy, however.

The Underwriting Process Is the Same
Underwriters determine how likely you are to die before your policy term is complete. The older and/or unhealthier you are, the higher your risk. This means you'll pay higher premiums.

But diabetics are subject to the same process as anyone else applying for a life insurance policy. Underwriters will want to know several factors that will be used to determine the cost and eligibility of your insurance.

FactorPrice Effect
AgeThe younger you are, the less you are going to pay.
SexTypically women pay less than men.
HealthThe healthier you are, the less you'll pay.
Smoking habitsSmokers will pay more than non-smokers.
HobbiesRiskier hobbies/occupations increase prices.
Family's Health HistoryCan indicate genetic concerns, and increase the price.
Medical RecordsConfirms answers to any questions about health.
Prescription Drug HistoryPaints a picture of your medical situation.

Expect Extra Questions During Underwriting
As a diabetic, be prepared for them to also look at a few additional factors.

  • When you were diagnosed
    Generally, the longer you've had diabetes, the higher your risk is. If you were diagnosed as a child, your premiums will be higher than if you were diagnosed as an adult.

    Interestingly, if you were diagnosed over the age of 50, you may qualify for even better premiums.

  • Type of diabetes you have
    You are more likely to qualify for a lower premium if you have type 2 diabetes. There are a few reasons for this:
    • Type 2 is more common, as more than 90% of those with diabetes have type 2.

    • It's usually seen as more manageable.

    • Type 1 is more commonly diagnosed in children, which as mentioned previously, can affect your risk and premium rates.

    Apply for a policy either before you get pregnant, as soon as you can when you find out you're pregnant, or after the pregnancy.

    During your term, you may be diagnosed with gestational diabetes. This typically goes away after you have the baby. But underwriters have to take into account your current health, and they would have to consider this the same as they would type 1 or 2.

  • Severity of your diabetes.
    The underwriter will look at your A1c levels to help judge how severe your diabetes is.

A1C LevelEffect on Rates
6.0–6.9It will likely have a minimal effect on your rates.
7.0–7.9Will raise your rates somewhat. But they will still be affordable.
8.0 or higherWill classify you as much riskier and your premiums will be higher.

  • Diabetes-related conditions.
    Underwriters will look out for other diabetes-related conditions that could affect your overall health and risk factors. This can include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, and proteinuria.

  • How well you treat and have your diabetes under control
    Following the doctor-recommended treatment is one of the most important factors on your life insurance application.

    Generally, life insurance companies like to see that you've had your diabetes under control for 6–12 months. Someone who can show they are following their treatment plan is rated more favorably.

    You'll almost always get a better rate if you:

    • Go to your doctor appointments
    • Lead a healthy lifestyle
    • Take medications as prescribed

Other Questions Typically Asked:
  • Do you have a history of controlling your diabetes?
  • What is your average blood pressure reading?
  • What is your average cholesterol reading?
  • What is the diet you follow on a regular basis?
  • What type of exercise do you participate in and how often?

What Are My Policy Options if I'm Diabetic?

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You may find it helpful to work with an independent life insurance agent to determine what type of policy and company best fits your needs.

Always consider what your needs are now and will be in the future, your budget, and your long-term goals when shopping for life insurance. Ask yourself:

  • Do you want coverage only while you raise children?

  • Do you have significant loan debt and a co-signer you want to provide for if you die?

  • Do you want to leave an inheritance to beneficiaries when you're gone?

Here is a summary of three of the most popular policy types for diabetics.


Term life insurance is the most popular type of policy, largely because it costs less than other types of life insurance and it's temporary. But it provides coverage for the years in your life when you need it most. Term policies are typically simpler than other options.

You should consider term life insurance if you only need insurance coverage to replace your income over a certain period of time, like when you are raising children or have an outstanding mortgage or other debts.

Most terms are for 10, 20, or 30 years, though some companies offer 5-, 15-, and 25-year terms. Premiums are guaranteed for the life of the term, and the death benefit is paid to the beneficiary (non-taxable) upon your death.

If your term ends and you are still alive, you can either renew the policy on an annual basis, or if you no longer need coverage, you let the policy expire and continue without insurance coverage.

There are different types of term insurance and riders you can add on for additional coverage, so talking to a life insurance agent or company can help you decide what you need.

How Can I Get Affordable Diabetic Life Insurance?
Your best bet is to find life insurance companies that specialize in high-risk or special risk factors, such as diabetes. You may also want to look into companies that offer "clinical underwriting," which looks at your overall health, not just your specific risk factors.

Remember, having your diabetes under control plays a big part in the price you'll pay. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I eat healthily?
  • Do I exercise?
  • Do I take medications and have regular doctor appointments as necessary?
  • Do I have a healthy body weight and BMI?
  • Do I have appropriate glucose or A1c levels?


Permanent policies often are more expensive than term life. The main permanent life insurance option is whole life insurance, but universal life insurance is an option. Both options are available for diabetics.

You should consider a whole life policy if you want to provide an inheritance to your heirs or money for estate taxes, or you have lifelong dependents such as a child with special needs.

The three main guarantees to a whole life policy include:

  • Cash value growth
  • Death benefit
  • Level premiums for life

The cash value growth, which is unique to permanent life insurance, involves taking a part of your premium and putting it into a "side" account that accumulates interest and grows in value. This is considered an investment, and the cash value will grow over time.

You can normally access the cash value through time via withdrawals or loans. But this often comes with fees or other contingencies, so you should read your policy carefully before doing so.

Guaranteed Issue

This is probably your most expensive choice. It's also your most guaranteed option. If your diabetes is not under control or you have other risk factors that will affect your premiums, you may want to consider guaranteed issue.

With guaranteed issue, you typically are not required to take a medical exam.

Underwriting is more lenient, and you're guaranteed approval. This type of policy was designed for people with serious health conditions, or those who are elderly.

Along with very high premiums (averaging $50–$600+ per month depending on your age), the death benefits are generally very low (average around $10,000–$20,000). You have the policy as long as you pay premiums, but depending on how long you have the policy, the amount you pay could be more than the death benefit.

Guaranteed issue policies are extremely costly. You should only look at guaranteed issue if you have exhausted other options. Other non-medically underwritten options do exist. Keep reading to learn more about them.

Can I Get Diabetic Life Insurance Without a Medical Exam?

Read on to learn about the procedures for each type.

Medically Underwritten Policies
For these policies, you must answer medical questions and take an exam in order to be approved. This ensures the insurance company understands all of the risk they are taking on by insuring you, so you are more likely to be approved and have a lower monthly premium.

Non-Medically Underwritten Policies
You do not have to take a medical exam and, in most cases, don't have to answer health questions for this type of policy. The insurance company is taking on more risk by knowing less about your health, so your monthly premiums are higher.

This option could be beneficial if you are older or in less-than-ideal health and therefore less likely to be approved for a traditional policy.

Some term life insurance policies also offer no-medical exam options. Your ability to get a policy without taking a medical exam will vary from company to company.

Typically, you'll have an easier time finding a no-exam option if you have type 2 diabetes instead of type 1. Even if you can get life insurance without a medical exam, you are still required to answer health questions and perhaps give access to your medical records.

Some carriers require you to complete a specific diabetic questionnaire if you opt for a no-exam policy so they can better asses your risk.

Most insurance companies place a two-year hold period on policies, which protects them from people being dishonest on their application. If you die before the two-year hold period is up, your beneficiaries will not receive the death benefit payout.

The company can perform an investigation into your medical health history and cancel your policy if they find you falsified answers. Technically, this is considered fraud - you could be subject to legal consequences or fines.

The Best Life Insurance Companies for People with Diabetes

Here's a list of some of the top life insurance companies for people with diabetes.

CompanyBest ForMinimum AgeMaximum Face Value
Mutual of OmahaType 1 or Type 250$250,000
American NationalType 250$250,000
PrudentialType 1 or Type 2Varies$250,000
Banner LifeType 2Varies, but generally age 50$550,000
United Home LifeType 1 or Type 2Varies$50,000
ProtectiveType 2Varies$10 million
North American Co.Type 2, must be ages 40-6040$2 million

Key Features of Top Life Insurance Companies

Mutual of Omaha

  • A+ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • No-exam options
  • Particularly popular for final expense insurance for diabetics
  • Generally affordable

American National

  • A financial rating from A.M. Best
  • No-exam options
  • Insures more diabetics than almost any one in U.S.
  • Variety of policy options


  • A+ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • Assesses diabetic conditions on case-by-case basis.
  • Flexible health underwriting.

Banner Life

  • A+ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • Underwriting specifically for diabetics
  • Best "high-risk" life insurance coverage
  • Typically have higher premiums

United Home Life

  • A- financial rating from A.M. Best
  • No-medical exams
  • Guaranteed coverage
  • Term and whole options, even for insulin-dependents


  • A+ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • Relatively fast underwriting

North American Co.

  • A+ financial rating from A.M. Best
  • No-exam options
  • Living benefits allow policyholder to access death benefit when needed.

Bottom Line

There are many companies that offer underwriting for diabetics. While your rates may be higher because of your increased risk, there are a variety of factors that are taken into consideration when determining your premiums.

Whether you are considering a term, permanent, or guaranteed issue policy, keep in mind your rate will depend on:

  • The type of diabetes you have
  • When you were diagnosed
  • Your general health
  • Your diet and exercise
  • Whether or not you take medications as prescribed

The insurance company will have access to your medical records, allow you to answer questions during a health interview or medical exam, and have a thorough understanding of all factors that go into your condition.

Do your research to learn which company may be best for you. As long as your diabetes is under control, monitored, and treated properly, purchasing a life insurance policy is possible, and even easy.

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