Updated August 30, 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.

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Nearly 10% of the U.S. population is living with diabetes or pre-diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you have diabetes, there are several affordable life insurance options—especially if you have the disease 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.

Does type 2 diabetes affect life insurance?
Type 2 diabetes shouldn't exclude you from life insurance coverage, assuming the disease is under control. But you will likely pay higher premiums depending on your overall health and any related complications. Read on to learn more.

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
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.

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.

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.

But Expect Extra Questions
Underwriters will review a few additional factors like:

  • Age you were diagnosed
    Generally, the longer you've had diabetes, the higher your risk. Interestingly, if you were diagnosed over the age of 50, you may qualify for even better premiums.

  • Type of diabetes
    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, accounting for more than 90% of diabetes cases.

    • 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.

  • Whether the disease is under control
    Generally, life insurance companies like to see that your diabetes has been stable for 6–12 months. Showing that you are following a doctor-prescribed treatment plan will also help. That includes:
    • Going to regular appointments
    • Leading a healthy lifestyle
    • Taking medications as prescribed

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

A1C LevelEffect on Rates
6.0–6.9Minimal effect on your rates
7.0–7.9Higher rates but still affordable
8.0 or higherMuch riskier with higher premiums

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

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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Always consider your needs now and in the future 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?

Read on for a summary of the three most popular policy types for diabetics.

Can I Get Diabetic Life Insurance Without a Medical Exam?
You may have several options for non-medically underwritten policies. But you'll pay more since the insurer takes on more risk by knowing less about your health.

Typically, you'll have an easier time finding a no-exam option if you have type 2 rather than type 1 diabetes. 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 will require you to complete a specific diabetic questionnaire if you opt for a no-exam policy so they can better asses your risk. Read on to learn more about policies that don't require an exam.


The most popular type of coverage, term life insurance costs less because it's temporary. Most terms are for 10, 20, or 30 years, though some companies offer 5-, 15-, and 25-year terms.

The premiums are guaranteed for the life of the term, and the death benefit is paid to the beneficiary (non-taxable) upon your death.

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.

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.

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. 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.

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.

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.

Apply for a policy either 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 take into account your current health. That means they consider your condition no different than type 1 or 2 diabetes.

Guaranteed Issue

This type of policy requires no medical exam and you are guaranteed approval. However, it's also the most expensive option.

Guaranteed Issue was designed for people with serious health conditions, or those who are elderly.

Premiums averaging $50–$600+ per month with low death benefits (usually between $10,000–$20,000).

You can keep 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 and should be seen as a last resort. Consider other options that don't require medical exams, including:
  • Simplified issue universal life
  • Graded death benefit whole life
  • Group term or whole life
  • Final expense life insurance

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.

Consider working with an independent life insurance agent to determine what type of policy and company best fits your needs.

How Long Can You Live with Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes can shorten your lifespan by about 10 years, according to a 2010 study from the U.K. But doctors stress that many factors impact how the disease affects you. These include:

  • When you are diagnosed
  • Any possible related (or unrelated) health issues
  • Your general health

The best way to increase your life expectancy is through a well balanced diet, regular exercise and careful monitoring of your blood sugar.

Bottom Line

If kept under control, diabetes should not prevent you from securing life insurance coverage. However, you may face higher than average premiums.

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 policy and 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.

Write to Caitlyn Callahan at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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