As many as half of all Americans are diabetic, pre-diabetic, or insulin resistant. And, these numbers are increasing. But, for life insurance companies, this can present a lot of concerns. When a person seeks life insurance with diabetes or pre-diabetes, there are long term risks the insurance carrier has to account for.
How much so? Let’s discuss diabetes a little further first, so we can discuss it in greater detail.
Diabetes is a health concern affecting over 26 million Americans today. Diabetes is essentially the body not correctly making energy out of sugar, or glucose. Glucose is a result of the body’s breakdown of carbohydrates, which accounts for a large portion of the energy the body needs to function. But, in order for this energy to be taken to the blood stream, a hormone called insulin is needed, a process started in the pancreas.
Diabetics have a malfunctioning of this process of conversion due to an improper amount of insulin, or a lack of it completely. There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Only 5-10% of diabetics have type 1, which is tied more closely to a genetic malfunction, where as much as 90-95% of diabetics are type 2 resulting primarily from not staying active or growing obese.
Symptoms can include but are not limited to:
As a result of the disorder and the symptoms involved with it, life insurance can be much harder to obtain, and may cost significantly higher, depending on how severe the diabetes has become. A person with type 1 is considerably harder to insure than someone with type 2. While the type 2 can be controlled with daily activity, diet and close monitoring, type 1 requires injection of insulin and more complex treatment. The name of the game is, in either case, control. The more control you have over your diabetes, the better odds you have for not only obtaining life insurance, but keeping in better health as well.
The insurance company who is underwriting your application is going to ask you a series of detailed questions when applying to find out your class risk. They are:
The lower you A1C levels, the better.
Depending on the provider you’re applying through, a 6 or 7 is usually the max allowed before ratings are increased rapidly. If you suffer from any of the above listed symptoms and your number exceeds 8 or 9, you will probably have a difficult time getting life insurance from a normal medical underwriting procedure.
Even if you use prescriptions to treat diabetes, consistent numbers help your rates.
You can be declined.
It is especially difficult to obtain life insurance as type 1, although if all other health factors are normal, it’s not impossible. As a type 2, you’re much more likely to be able to get life insurance, but you will also be declined if you have other health issues, don’t take proper care of yourself, or have other considerations (such as driver record, etc).
The longer someone has had diabetes, the greater chance they will be declined because of the system failures which are a result of diabetes.
There are some companies who offer a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. While these policies offer a chance to obtain life insurance, the cost can be extremely prohibitive, but may be the only available life insurance with diabetes. Keep in mind they are also limited in the amount of death benefit they will offer as well.
Your best bet is to talk to an independent life insurance agent, like us, who is familiar with these types of issues. They can be overcome, but the underwriting process can be intense as the insurance company has to quantify it’s overall risk profile for you. Apply sooner than later to give yourself the best chances to keep premiums down.