Diabetes Life Insurance

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Underwriting Insight and Answers to Your Diabetes Life Insurance Questions

It’s all about control….the better your control is over diabetes, the better the price will be from life insurance companies that specialize in impaired risk life insurance underwriting.

While there are many life insurance companies available in the U.S., realistically there are only a handful that do a good job underwriting diabetes histories.

At LifeInsuranceAdvisors.com, our diabetes and endocrine life insurance knowledge, experience and expertise will match you to the best life insurance companies based on your unique diabetes history, whether you have Type 1, Type 2 or Gestational Diabetes.

What Do Life Insurance Underwriters Look for When Underwriting Diabetes?

Life insurance underwriters review your complete medical history, including medical records from your doctor.  Life insurance underwriters want to know the following:

  • What Type of Diabetes Do You Have?
  • How Old Were You When Diagnosed with Diabetes?
  • What Type of Treatment Do You Receive to Control Diabetes?
  • What is Your History of Diabetes Control?  HbA1c, Fasting Blood Glucose, Protein, Microalbumin/Creatinine, etc.
  • What are your average blood pressure and cholesterol readings?
  • Do You Follow Your Doctor’s Orders?
  • Do You Visit Doctor on Regular Basis?
  • Do You Have Any Diabetes Health Related Complications?
  • Do You Have Any Other Health Problems?
  • What Are Your Diet and Exercise Habits Like?

American Diabetes Association – Is a great resource for diabetes information.

Life Insurance Prices for Type 1 Diabetes vs. Type 2 Diabetes

In general, life insurance prices for Type 1 Diabetes will be more expensive than for Type 2 Diabetes, but keep in mind that there are exceptions to this as ultimately the pricing will be based on diabetes control.  More specific details may be found below.

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A Quick Note About Gestational Diabetes

We receive many requests from women who have had gestational diabetes.  The general rule when it comes to underwriting gestational diabetes is that if your lab results return to normal levels after pregnancy, it is a minor issue at best with life insurance underwriters.  If diabetes symptoms continue after pregnancy, underwriting rates would more closely follow the underwriting for someone who has Type 2 diabetes.

How Does Diabetes Control Affect Life Insurance Underwriting?

The number of life insurance companies available to you depends on your diabetes control.  Better control means better rates and a greater number of life insurance companies to choose from.

What Lab Tests Do Life Insurance Underwriters Look at When Determining Diabetes Control?


HbgA1c is an indicator of diabetes control over a 3 month period of time and is the single most important lab result that underwriters look at. While each company has its own guidelines, the following provides a guideline as to how HbgA1c is viewed.

  • Less Than 7 is considered to be Optimal Control
  • 7.1 – 8.5 is considered to be Average Control
  • 8.6 – 10.0 is considered to be Poor Control
  • Greater Than 10 is considered to be Uncontrolled Diabetes
Estimated Average Glucose – eAG

The American Diabetes Association has been promoting the estimated Average Glucose – eAG reading as it provides a similar understanding of long term control as the HbA1c reading, but is less confusing as the eAG numbers closely resemble blood glucose readings….look for future developments on eAG.

Fasting Blood Glucose

Fasting blood glucose gives a snapshot of current diabetes control.  A fasting blood glucose greater than 125 mg/dl is an indicator of diabetes.  If the fasting blood glucose is between 110 – 125 mg/dl is considered to be impaired fasting glucose.


Fructosamine provides underwriters with an indication of blood sugar control over a 3 week period of time.  Less than 1.9 mg/dl is considered to be good, less than 1.7 mg/dl is considered to be excellent.

Fructosamine testing is not as widely used as HbgA1c testing by life insurance companies.

Urine Microalbumin/Creatinine Ratio

The Urine Microalbumin/Creatinine ratio, aka ACR test may provide an indication of kidney related problems.  Life insurance underwriters are looking for a Urine Microalbumin/Creatinine ratio of 0 – 0.010 mg/mg…basically this number should be a zero on lab testing.

How Does Diabetes Compliance Affect Life Insurance Underwriting?

As part of the overall underwriting process, life insurance companies will obtain your medical records from your doctor.  In addition to looking at lab results, life insurance underwriters want to see that you are compliant with your doctor’s orders.

Are you taking your medications in accordance to how they were prescribed to you?

Do you visit your doctor on a regular basis for follow-ups?

If you stop taking your medications or do not visit your physician when you are supposed to, life insurance underwriters will penalize you by charging higher rates or by declining you.

If you are discontinuing medications based on your physician’s advice that will not affect your rates unless your lab results are abnormal.

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Do Other Health Issues Affect Diabetes Life Insurance Rates?

Whenever other health issues are present, underwriters will look at those conditions to determine if they are caused by diabetes, create additional underwriting complications, or present other areas of concern.

Cardiac related health issues are a primary concern in diabetes life insurance underwriting.  When heart issues and diabetes are present, life insurance underwriting becomes much more complicated, and will result in higher pricing and a greater number of declines depending on the severity of both conditions.

Kidney health problems are a great concern for underwriters, especially when diabetes is present.  If you have a history of lab results with protein in urine, underwriters will be looking more closely for potential kidney health issues.

Retinopathy & Neuropathy – Severe problems with either will increase life insurance rates, or may be cause for a decline, but the majority of retinopathy and neuropathy related issues are covered.

Insulin Shock/Diabetic Coma – If you have experienced insulin shock or a diabetic coma, the availability of life insurance will depend on when it happened, what caused the insulin shock/diabetic coma, and how much time has passed since this occurred.

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Diabetes Life Insurance Underwriting FAQs

We put together some of the most commonly asked questions we receive from consumers about diabetes life insurance underwriting

I was just diagnosed with diabetes, can I buy life insurance today?

While it may be possible to obtain life insurance now with a guaranteed issue type of life insurance policy, most traditional life insurance companies will want to see a period of time with diabetes control before considering life insurance.  In most cases, that period of time is about 6 months, although sometimes it’s longer and in some cases it may be shorter than 6 months.

I was declined for life insurance due to my HbgA1c test on my paramed exam…What do I do now?

It happens, especially with type 2 diabetes where the insured isn’t aware of their diabetes until they go through lab tests as part of a life insurance exam.  The first thing to do is to request a copy of the lab results from the life insurance company.  Once available, you will need to visit your doctor with the results, and your doctor will probably want to do a work-up.

If it turns out that you have diabetes, it will take some time with your doctor to gain control, begin medications, etc..before shopping for life insurance again.  We usually recommend that we being working with you about 3 months after diagnosis in order to begin the process of learning about your history, medications, etc…prior to applying again for life insurance.

If one company offers me a Table 2 ratings, will all companies offer the same rate class?

Definitely not!  Each life insurance company has its own set of guidelines, and some companies do a better job underwriting diabetes than other companies.  Let us know who you applied to and we’ll let you know if other more favorable options exist for you.

How Often Can I Re-Shop for a better life insurance deal?

You may shop for life insurance coverage as often as you like….For many of our clients, they come to us after having worked with another agent. You may feel that the existing life insurance you have may not be the best price available…you may be right.

There is no obligation or pressure with our life insurance service.  We’ll tell you during our conversation if we think it’s possible to do better than what you currently have…If we think it’s possible, we’ll go through underwriting and upon approval you may accept the new policy if better and cancel the old.  If it turns out that your old policy offers the best pricing, simply keep it.

What else can I do to improve my chances?

Improving your health, taking medications and following doctors orders are the best things that you can do.  If you are not currently exercising, begin a routine under your doctor’s supervision.  Weight loss and improved fitness will help with underwriters.

If you smoke, quit….Smoking and diabetes is a huge concern as both contribute to the hardening of your arteries, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

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Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Sometimes traditional life insurance is not available due to health problems or maybe due to the policy need being small.  In those cases, a guaranteed issue life insurance policy may be the best option.  These policies tend to be expensive.  In many cases, it makes sense to first shop for a traditional life insurance policy, and then switch to guaranteed issue life insurance policies if no other options exist.

It may make sense to look at this type of policy now, and once you have the diabetes under control for some time, we can look at replacing the guaranteed issue policy with a lower priced fully underwritten policy.

No Medical Exam Life Insurance for Diabetics

No medical exam life insurance products are available and may be worth considering if you are looking for convenience or do not want to give a blood and urine sample.

Keep in mind that the price will be more expensive for no medical life insurance than a traditional fully underwritten life insurance policy.  Some people may wrongly think that only a no medical life insurance policy will be available, but if you take care of yourself and have control of your diabetes, many fully underwritten life insurance policies are available.

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 At LifeInsuranceAdvisors.com, our service is a no pressure, no obligation life insurance service. 

We’ll give you the information you need to make an informed decision about your life insurance.

Please call us today at Toll Free (800) 909-2040 if you have questions.  Thank you