Does type 1 diabetes affect life insurance? Short answer: yes. But if you are a type 1 diabetic, you are still an excellent candidate for life insurance. There are, however, a few factors to consider before applying for life insurance to make the process as seamless as possible.
Type 1 Diabetes and Life Insurance: Why Insurers Hesitate to Issue Policies
Any type of diabetes can easily spiral out of control if those diagnosed aren’t proactive in caring for themselves. Those affected must be consistently tracking their insulin and making the commitment to a long-term healthy lifestyle. If steps aren’t taken to control the disease early and often, the consequences could include heart problems, kidney failure, loss of limbs, blindness and death. To that end, an estimated 65 percent of people with diabetes will die of a heart attack or stroke.
Insurance companies know this, and it’s why many consider a type 1 diabetic for life insurance a greater risk than the average person. For that reason, depending on when you were diagnosed and the current state of your health, you could be looking at higher rates than those with type 2 diabetes.
A life insurance primer for type 1 diabetics
The biggest difference between a type 1 diabetic and a non-diabetic looking for life insurance lies in the details. Underwriters spend extra time digging through your medical history because of your added risk. Before you apply, knowing what types of insurance are available and how your premiums are determined will help you be more prepared for both the application process and the questions from the carrier.
Term, Permanent or Other: Your Best Choice for Life Insurance as a Type 1 Diabetic
The first choice you’ll need to make is the type of insurance you want to invest in: term or permanent. Term life insurance is the more flexible of the two. With term, you pick the length of time you are covered and your deductible stays flat for the length of the plan. Permanent life insurance, on the other hand, offers coverage for life. Depending on the type of permanent plan you choose, premiums could remain level but will still be higher than those offered for term.
In general, term life insurance premiums are cheaper than permanent. For type 1 diabetics, term is going to be a better option because of the significantly lower premiums and added flexibility of coverage.
There is alway a third option: a guaranteed-issue policy. The advantages of this choice are that you don’t have to submit a medical exam along with your claim and it will be issued immediately. The downside? Insurers assume you are a high-risk candidate and, as a result, you’ll be charged a much higher premium.
Your Life Insurance Class Designation Explained
Like all other applicants, people with type 1 diabetes looking for life insurance will be assigned a classification that determines their risk level and the premium they’ll pay as a result. The six major ratings are preferred select or preferred; standard plus or standard; preferred smoker or standard smoker.
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2010) CG CG 95 Chest pain of recent onset: assessment and diagnosis of recent chest pain or discomfort of suspected cardiac origin. London: NICE. Available from www.nice.org.uk/CG95.
What Insurers are Looking for When Considering a Type 1 Diabetic
How does your class designation and the type of insurance tie into your options as a type 1 diabetic? Well, you already know that term policies are going to be more budget friendly than permanent ones, and you have a good idea of your risk level from the insurer’s eyes. But the information above should let you know one other, very important fact: though it can be difficult to get a favorable rate price for life insurance with type 1 diabetes, it’s not at all impossible.
Preparing for your life insurance application
Life insurance companies are looking for diabetics who have control over their diagnosis. They want to know when you were diagnosed, what specifically the diagnosis was, and the age of diagnosis. Be prepared to provide:
The overall course of the disease. Have answers to these questions:
- Where there any complications along the way?
- If so, what were they and how often did they happen?
- What was the treatment?
- What was the result?
- How is your health now?
- What is the likelihood of this happening again?
- Your history of glucose control
- This includes average blood sugar and HbA1c levels
- Compliance with medical advice
- Are you on insulin? Are you taking it as prescribed?
- Are you on any other medications? What are they and how long have you been taking them?
Have doctors prescribed a diet or exercise plan to deal with weight issues? Are you follow those instructions?
- Whether you are a tobacco user
In general, A1C levels below 6, superb medical documentation, and a proof of working diet regime can get you a standard plus rate with certain carriers.
High Blood Pressure That’s Not Under Control
If you are an insulin dependent diabetic, getting a term life insurance might be more challenging. You should inquire with your broker on the best course of action.
Your broker will help you prepare a cover letter to show the insurer that you are and always have been proactive when it comes to your health. Diabetics may not get life insurance if they have other health conditions like coronary heart disease, are smokers, are obese or have uncontrolled high blood pressure. Talk with your broker on the best course of action. If you have your diabetes under control you might be able to obtain more favorable rates.
Working with the right life insurance broker can make all the difference. He will help you pick insurance carriers that specialize in high risk or specialized factors. Type 1 diabetes falls under that umbrella. Bottom line: when you are preparing your application for life insurance, be honest with your broker on the state of your health and leave no stone unturned. The insurance company will review your medical records and if they find out that you intentionally omitted essential information concerning your health situation, they might drop you. In some cases it might void your policy. In any case it pays off to be truthful on your application. The more detailed information the company has on your condition, the more informed decision they can make.
Finding life insurance when you are type 1 diabetic is a challenging but doable process.