Obtaining life insurance with Type 1 diabetes is a daunting task but not impossible to accomplish. Let me open with some brutal facts: First, you must be over the age of 18 years before you apply for life coverage. Second, you will not be eligible for a preferred or standard rate. You will most likely be rated between Table 2 to Table 8 which is 50% to 200% more than the standard price depending on the age of diagnosis, compliance level, and complications if any.
Unlike Type 2 diabetes that is primarily poor lifestyle choices which typically manifests later in life and can be managed through diet, exercise, or oral medications, Type 1 diabetes can only be maintained through insulin shots or pumps which drastically increases your risk for other health issues and complications.
My point: Getting life insurance with well-managed Type 2 diabetes is a lot simpler than applying while you have Type 1. Since you present an elevated risk to the insurers, most will deny your application for coverage the second they hear the word “insulin”. You need a broker on your side to make sure you apply to the right company who views you in the best possible light.
In this post, I will go over the questions the underwriter will ask, the rates you can expect to receive, and the chances for approval for those who seek life insurance with Type 1 diabetes.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes, is an autoimmune disorder that destroys the cells in the pancreas which limits the production of insulin to support the body’s energy. It’s normally diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults, but it can occur at any age.
Insulin is a hormone required to allow sugar into the cells to produce energy. Without it, sugar can’t get to the cells and builds up in the bloodstream. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause many complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure to name a few.
What Are the Insurance Companies Looking for When Insuring Individuals with Type 1 Diabetes?
As an insurance broker, I always explain to my clients the reason I ask them particular questions related to their health, lifestyle, medication usage, and hobbies (all relevant to life insurance) along with how the company’s underwriter perceives risk.
Not only is it the right process to assess one’s ability to obtain coverage, but it also helps me to select the best company from dozens and place them with the one who has the best chance to approve at the lowest possible rate. Each health condition entails a different set of questions you’ll need to answer to be considered for coverage.
Here are the four topics you’ll need to address before you can be deemed suitable for coverage:
1. Date of First Diagnosis
Age at onset is the first and most crucial question in deciding your chances for approval. Simply put, if you seek life insurance with Type 1 diabetes and you are between the ages of 0 to 17, you will not be eligible for coverage. You’ll need to be over the age of 18 to apply.
The older you are when it was first diagnosed, the less time since onset, the better rates you can get. Without going off topic too much, there are many studies to validate concerns about developing chronic health conditions later in life for individuals who were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes earlier instead of later in life.
One research suggests that individuals diagnosed before the age of 10 have a 30-times higher risk of serious cardiovascular outcomes like a heart attack.
2. Years Since Diagnosis
This is another significant factor in estimating your risk to the insurer and calculating your rates. The longer you have been living with diabetes, the higher your prices will be.
The apparent reason is the longer you have lived with the ailment, the higher the chances for complications to occur such as heart attack, stroke, or vision loss, which may lead to early death and force the insurance company to pay claims. Life expectancy for people with Type 1 diabetes is approximately 12 years less on average than the rest of the general population.
The insurance underwriters are well-informed pros in statistics, studies, and company’s guidelines and will surely take this under consideration when concluding your application for coverage.
See also rates class qualification on the next section below to determine your rates based on your age.
3. How Do You Control Your Type 1 Diabetes?
Managing your Type 1 diabetes is another vital element in deciding your underwriting’s outcome. With proper care, many individuals with Type 1 diabetes can live a long and healthy life, which poses less risk to the insurance company and therefore lower prices for your life insurance policy.
Here are the two factors the underwriter would want to know more about:
- A1C levels: The easiest way to find out how well your diabetes is controlled is by looking at your A1C test result. The A1C test result reflects your blood sugar level for the last two to three months by measuring what percentage of your protein in red blood cells is coated with sugar. It also helps establish your baseline A1C level and further monitor your diabetes treatment plan. Nonetheless, the higher the A1C level, the poorer the blood sugar control is. The underwriter is looking for A1C levels of 7% or under. Anytime it’s over 8%, your application will most likely be rejected.
- Doctor compliance: Be vigilant about following up with your doctor appointments. Those who aren’t present an additional health risk an insurer isn’t interested in taking. If you don’t follow your endocrinologist, you will be denied coverage—simply put. This, of course, should be the least of your worries, because your life is at stake here. Anytime there is a change in medication, dosage, complications, or different test results, make sure everything is documented accurately. The underwriter will order an attending physician statement to estimate your risk further.
4. Have You Had Any Complications?
Living with Type 1 diabetes is extremely challenging. Your body doesn’t produce insulin, and your job is to manage your blood sugar by injections or insulin shots before various activities such as eating, sleeping, and even working out.
Keep in mind that any time there are any complications as a result of your diabetes, you will be denied coverage and may need to consider guaranteed issue plans.
Here are a few of the complications Type 1 diabetes can cause:
- Nerve damage
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- Vision loss
What Rate Class Can I Qualify for If I Have Type 1 Diabetes?
As a broker, I work with more than 50 insurers but only aware of four companies who will consider individuals with Type 1 diabetes. My point is: You need someone on your side before you attempt to apply for life insurance.
Below is an estimation of the average prices you may qualify for, provided Type 1 diabetes is your only health condition, you have no complications, and you are compliance with your doctor’s orders. As you can tell, table ratings increase with younger ages, longer times since onset, poor control, or complications.
- Ages 0–17: Declined
- Ages 18–34: Table E–G (125%–200% over the standard rate)
- Ages 35–49: Table D–F (100%–125% over the standard rate)
- Ages 50–65: Table C–E (75%–125% over the standard rate)
- Ages 50–65: Table C–E (75%–125% over the standard rate)
- Age 66+: Table B–D (50%–100% over the standard rate)
What Other Questions Will the Underwriter Ask?
Here are a few other questions you will need to answer:
- Current age
- State of residence
- Height and weight
- Income and liabilities
- High-risk hobbies (if any)
- Current and past health history
- Family history
- Foreign travel
- Smoking habits
- Alcohol habits
- Driving history
- Criminal history
- Prescription usage
Life Insurance with Sample Monthly Rates
40-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
40-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
50-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
50-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
60-Year-Old Male Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
60-Year-Old Female Nonsmoker on a 20-Year Term
To sum this up, buying life insurance with Type 1 diabetes proves to be difficult and expensive, to say the least. Moreover, there are fewer companies from which to choose, which makes it even more frustrating.
To determine whether you need life insurance, ask yourself these two questions:
- Will your loved ones suffer financially if you were no longer able to provide?
- Do you care about it?
If you answered yes to both questions, then you need to buy life insurance. We at Effortless Insurance can help you do that by presenting all your options and help you choose the best company for your Type 1 diabetes.