Life Insurance Coverage for Diabetics – A Wealth of Choices

Can you get life insurance if you have diabetes? Absolutely.

Can you get the kind of insurance you want at a reasonable price? That depends.


Insurance for people with type 2 diabetes is a complex topic with as many variations as there are symptoms of the disease. Dealing with a skilled and knowledgeable provider is essential, because each insurance company has its own standards for coverage. If you apply to the wrong one and get rejected, the rejection becomes part of your medical record for all other companies to see, which can lead to further rejections that otherwise may not have happened.

That’s just one of many tricky aspects of obtaining coverage for people with diabetes. On this page, we’ll guide you through each phase of the disease and show you exactly what kind of life insurance policies you can expect, which companies provide them, and what kind of payouts they offer to your family and loved ones.

So read on. Even though you may not qualify for the same policy as a healthy person, you probably have more options than you think.

Type 2 Diabetes Controlled with Diet and Exercise

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In our culture, where TV and video constantly beckon and fast food offers an endless variety of unhealthy options, it’s all too easy to get diabetes. Heck, even the relatively buff Tom Hanks got it.

Fortunately, the first stage of the disease is manageable without medicine. As Hanks said, “You’ve just got to lose weight and exercise a lot and change everything you eat and never ever ever ever ever have any fun whatsoever.”

But it does feel good to be slim and fit, even if getting there isn’t much fun. It’s also comforting to know that you have a wide variety of reasonably priced life insurance options.

You can often get a standard-rate policy if you have a nurse come to your home and do a medical exam. If you qualify for a medical-exam plan, your rate will be much cheaper and the policy value can be higher.

If you don’t want the exam, American National, Assurity, and Sagicor will still provide coverage. Sagicore is the fastest, and can usually get you an answer on coverage within 48 hours. American National and Assurity write to your doctor to get records, which takes four to five weeks.

For no-medical-insurance providers, premiums will cost you anywhere from 10% to 50% more than standard. But for people who are in a hurry or don’t want someone asking them questions and drawing their blood, it may be worth the difference.

Type 2 Diabetes Controlled with Oral Medication

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If you’re taking oral medication for diabetes, your life insurance coverage will be determined by your risk factors, with a strong emphasis on the results of your A1C test, also known as a hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycohemoglobin test. This is the primary test for diabetes management, and it measures blood glucose levels over the previous three months.

To be eligible for standard rates, you need good A1C results, and you can’t be heavy, smoke, or show symptoms of diabetic damage such as kidney damage, circulatory problems, or eye problems.

You can still obtain coverage if you don’t meet that standard, though rates are generally 50% higher.

Policies vary considerably for this sector.

Some companies don’t like it if you’re heavy. Others cut you out if you have nerve damage. You have to look at the whole package with an emphasis on the A1C level,” said Gerry Scholz, national marketing director for True Blue and an agent with 25 years of experience. Table 1 below shows sample rates for no-exam term life insurance for those with diabetes who are controlling the disease through diet and exercise or pills.

No-Exam Term Life Insurance for Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetics

Company$250,000 – 10 year term
cost per month
(50-year-old male)
Max. Issue Age$250,000 – 20 year term
cost per month
(50-year-old male)
Max. Issue AgeMax. Issue AmountUnderwriting
Time Until
$55.9465$88.7865$250,0003 to 6 weeks
$79.2065$132.3260$350,0003 to 6 weeks
$136.1365$220.3865$399,9991 to 2 days
$150.2860$199.2860$249,9993 to 6 weeks
If you have additional risk factors, such as excessive weight, a heart condition, smoking, mental health treatment, or COPD, your likelihood for getting approved for one of these policies decreases substantially. But don’t give up.

One of Scholz’s clients was a five-foot-eight, 240-pound man with diabetes who smoked and had COPD. He wanted a policy with $350,000 of coverage as collateral for a loan. Though this man sounds like anything but a promising candidate, Scholz was able to get him the policy he wanted after an exhaustive search.

“It took me six weeks, but I got it for him,” Scholz said.

“Even if you’re not perfect, if you have diabetes controlled with oral medication, we can find you something,” Scholz added. “You may not be able to get $500,000 of coverage, but you can get $50,000.”

Another option is whole life insurance. There are dozens of companies offering no-exam whole life plans that provide immediate death benefits for people with diabetes who are not insulin-dependent. Availability and price are determined by your other risk factors (e.g., excessive weight, heart surgery within the previous two years, smoking, mental health treatment, or COPD) and how severe they are. Each company has its own criteria. Table 2 below shows some examples.

No-Exam Whole Life Insurance for Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetics

CompanyCost per month for each $10,000 of coverage
(50-year-old male)
Product NameMax. Issue AmountMax. Issue Age
$30.24Strategy Whole Life$50,00050-85
$30.70Immediate Solution$40,00030-85
$31.02Express Issue Premier$100,00020-80

Type 2 Insulin-Dependent Diabetes

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If you depend on insulin to control your diabetes, getting term life insurance is very tough, but fortunately, it’s not your only option. If you do want term, acceptance depends on your risk factors, and at this stage, you probably have a lot of them, even if you aren’t aware of it.

Obtaining term coverage requires a medical exam, and that’s usually not a good thing for those who are insulin-dependent.

“About 90 percent of the time, you’re wasting your time if you take a medical exam,” Scholz said. “They’ll almost always find risk factors, and if they do, you’re not going to get issued.”

If you are eligible, rates are lower and you can get much more coverage. But most insurers want to see an A1C level of 7.0 or less, though a few will go as high as 8.5. The best rate is about double the cost of standard insurance. Our experience has shown that Banner and American General are the best companies to work with if you try to go this route.

Another consideration if you apply for term life: the insurance company might discover risk factors you didn’t know you had, and you could be declined. Once the results of the company’s investigation are on the record, they’re available to no-exam insurers, who can use them against you. For that reason, we recommend that you get a no-medical-exam policy first. That way you’re covered no matter what, and you can always switch to a term policy later, if you qualify.

What if you don’t qualify for term, or know you couldn’t possibly?

Don’t despair. Whole life insurance without a medical exam is still available to you. It comes in two basic flavors: “immediate death benefit” plans, which provide full benefits to your loved ones upon your death no matter how long you’ve owned the policy, and “graded benefit” plans, which offer partial payments if you’ve held the policy for less than two or three years and provide full payment if you’ve held it longer.

Table 3 below shows some immediate death benefit whole life plans. To be eligible, you can’t be too heavy, have had heart surgery within the previous two years, smoke, be undergoing mental health treatment, or have COPD.

Immediate Benefit Whole Life Insurance for Insulin-Dependent Diabetics

CompanyCost per month for each $10,000 of coverage
(50-year-old male)
Product NameMax. Issue AmountMax. Issue Age
$36.70Immediate Solution$50,00045-85
$39.42Express Issue Deluxe$50,00020-80
$41.55IZ Plan$40,00040-85
SLAICO*$44.05Advantage Guard$75,00018-49

*Rates shown are for a 49-year-old individual.

Alternatively, you can apply for a graded benefit plan, which also does not require a medical exam. There are two kinds: a simple graded plan that requires you to answer health-related questions, and a “guaranteed issue” graded plan that does not have the health-question requirement.

Graded benefit plans with health questions

You’d think that graded benefit plans with health questions would be cheaper than graded plans without health questions (which are also known as guaranteed issue plans). But the added overhead of verifying health history and paying underwriters to evaluate applicants usually makes these plans more expensive.

The advantages of graded plans with health questions are that the amount of coverage can be higher, and the payout during the graded period is also usually higher. Table 4 below shows the top graded plan rates for insulin-dependent diabetics. Again, if you have multiple risk factors, you are probably not eligible for coverage, and the maximum amount of coverage can be lower at certain ages, depending on the company.

Graded Benefit Whole Life Insurance for Insulin-Dependent Diabetics

CompanyCost per month for each $10,000 of coverage
(50-year-old male)
Death Benefit
Graded Death Benefit
(amount paid for non-accidental death)
Max. Issue Age
$42.402 yearsYear 1=40% of full benefit
Year 2=75% of full benefit
$43.432 yearsYear 1=30% of full benefit
Year 2=70% of full benefit
Humana$55.792 yearsYear 1=25% of full benefit
Year 2=50% of full benefit
Year 3=75% of full benefit
SLAICO$61.982 yearsPremiums paid + 10%$25,000

Guaranteed Issue Plans (Graded Benefit Plans Without Health Questions)

Like other graded plans, guaranteed issue plans do not require a medical exam. They also offer coverage for accidental death (as opposed to death from a medical condition) from day 1. And you don’t have to answer any health-related questions to get them. Table 5 below shows some sample plans, which are not available in all states.

Guaranteed Issue Whole Life Insurance for Insulin-Dependent Diabetics

CompanyCost per month for each $10,000 of coverage
(50-year-old male)
Death Benefit
Graded Death Benefit
(amount paid for non-accidental death)
$38.412 yearsPremiums paid + 10%$25,00050-80
Vantis$40.662 yearsPremiums paid + 10%$20,00050-80
$55.762 yearsPremiums paid + 10%$25,00040-80
National Guardian Life$60.002 yearsPremiums paid + 10%$25,00040-80
Columbian Life$63.162 yearsPremiums paid + 6%$25,00025-80
$66.633 yearsPremiums paid + 6%-yr 1, 12%-yr 2, 18%-yr 3$10,00045-75

It’s possible to protect your family through some type of life insurance policy no matter what stage of type 2 diabetes you have. Whether it’s term or whole life, medical-exam or no-medical-exam, graded benefit or guaranteed issue, there’s a plan out there that’s got your name on it. It can take some time to find the right one, but the peace of mind you’ll gain is worth it.

We hope this article and the accompanying tables have given you a good grounding for getting life insurance coverage if you have diabetes. We aim to be thorough. At True Blue, we believe that the best policy decisions for you are made by you, not us.

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