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How Does Diabetes Affect Life Insurance Rates?

March 22, 2022
Our goal is to educate and advise on life insurance options, so you can feel confident in making the right choice, whether that’s through Quotacy or somewhere else. To ensure we provide accurate and trustworthy information, our writers follow strict editorial standards.

It may be more difficult for individuals with diabetes to get life insurance, but it’s not impossible. There is life insurance for diabetics and Quotacy can help.

We understand the importance of protecting your family from a financial struggle in the event of an unexpected death. As a broker, we have access to many different insurance companies and will work with you to help you get affordable life insurance coverage.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes for diabetics

Key Takeaways

Having diabetes will affect your life insurance pricing, but it doesn’t have to mean that you can’t get approved for a policy. Not all life insurance companies evaluate health conditions in the same way. For example, the way companies view A1C levels can vary. Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes or a history of gestational diabetes, Quotacy can shop the market and help you get life insurance.

Getting Life Insurance for Diabetics

We want to set realistic expectations upfront. It’s easy to get life insurance quotes online, but these quotes will not reflect true pricing if you have diabetes.

Online quoting tools are excellent pricing estimators for people who don’t have any medical conditions, but diabetes needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. The underwriter at the insurance company you apply to will look back in your medical records to see how well your diabetes has been controlled, what medications you take, your blood sugar and A1C readings.

Quotacy is the best place to find life insurance if you have diabetes. Why? Because as a broker, we have access to products from many different life insurance companies. The more options you have, the easier it is to find affordable life insurance coverage.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, formerly called juvenile-onset or insulin dependent (IDDM), has a peak age at onset of 12 years old. It is unusual to begin after age 40.

Type 1 diabetes occurs due to beta cell destruction resulting in an insulin deficiency which must be replaced by insulin injections. Symptoms include excessive thirst, excessive urination, and weight loss.

Life insurance ratings for diabetes depends on:

  1. Age at onset
  2. Years since diagnosis
  3. Control of the diabetes
  4. Presence of complications

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes was formerly called adult-onset or noninsulin dependent (NIDDM). It occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or resists insulin.

Type 2 usually develops over the age of 30, but its incidence is increasing in children and adolescents, especially those who are obese. It’s usually not diagnosed until health complications have occurred. Many have excessive thirst or urination, but most have no symptoms.

Type 2 is initially treated with diet and exercise. If decreased calorie intake and increased exercise does not result in blood glucose control, oral medication is added. Type 2 may also require insulin in the later stages.

Risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes include older age, obesity, positive family history, and history of gestational diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is different from Type 1 and Type 2 because it is a short-term condition that can sometimes happen during pregnancy. The main reason life insurance underwriters take caution with gestational diabetes is because it can increase a woman’s likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life.

Most insurance companies will not approve life insurance coverage for a woman currently pregnant and diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Carriers also won’t offer coverage if you are currently pregnant with a history of gestational diabetes.

If you’re pregnant with a history of gestational diabetes, most companies will want to postpone offering coverage until six weeks post-delivery. The risk class they then assign to you (this determines how much coverage will cost) will vary among life insurance companies.

If you were pregnant and had gestational diabetes, apply for life insurance through Quotacy to make sure you get the best price possible. Quotacy is a life insurance broker. Brokers are able to work with multiple insurance companies and can shop your application around to be sure you’re getting the best policy for your needs and budget.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes

It’s impossible to plan out every scenario in life, but consider purchasing life insurance ahead of your pregnancy. Planning beforehand will give you the most favorable pricing and plan options.

Simply check out the quoting tool for an estimate on a term life insurance policy. You do not even have to give out your personal contact information.

How Diabetes Affects How Much Life Insurance Costs

Life insurance carriers all follow a different set of underwriting guidelines. This means that each carrier will rate a certain condition differently and life insurance costs will vary from one company to the next. While one company may decide to give an applicant a Preferred Plus rating for a certain condition, another company may offer only Standard.

This is where we can help you. We have relationships with many of the best life insurance carriers and know the idiosyncrasies of each. Once we know your unique situation, we will shop your case at the appropriate carriers to help you get the best possible coverage.

Underwriting diabetes is a complex process. The underwriters assign credits and debits to each applicant to determine the overall risk classification.

It begins with assessing basic debits for diabetes for age of onset and the type of diabetes. Then additional credits or debits are assigned for:

  • blood sugar control
  • coronary artery disease (CAD) risk factors such as LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • C-reactive protein (CRP)
  • HDL (good) cholesterol
  • weight
  • blood pressure
  • microalbumin (a microalbumin test is used to detect early signs of kidney damage.)

Diabetes ratings increase with younger ages, longer times since onset, poor control, and complications. These would merit debits added onto the basic rating. Meanwhile, credits would be added if the condition is well-managed.

After the underwriters review the complete application and all the records that go along with it, they then decide what risk class to offer. Your risk class determines the cost of your life insurance. If an applicant is too high risk to insure, the insurance company may choose to decline or postpone the application.

Most applicants who live with diabetes will end up being “table rated.” The table rating system typically means that your pricing for life insurance will be the Standard price plus 25 percent for every step down the table you are, Tables A-J or 1-10 depending on which format the insurance company uses.

Example: As you can see from the chart below, if one company rates you as a Table 5 and another company rates you as a Table E, you would be equal in the eyes of the two insurance companies. One just chooses to use numbers and the other uses letters.

Table Rating (alphabetical) Table Rating (numerical) Pricing
A 1 Standard + 25%
B 2 Standard + 50%
C 3 Standard + 75%
D 4 Standard + 100%
E 5 Standard + 125%
F 6 Standard + 150%
G 7 Standard + 175%
H 8 Standard + 200%
I 9 Standard + 225%
J 10 Standard + 250%

Let’s take a look at some real-life examples (names have been changed).

Case Study #1

Jane Doe is 30 years old, a non-smoker, and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 4 years old.

She visits her doctor every 6 months and her diabetes is controlled by insulin – 70 units per day. She monitors her own blood sugar and the most recent reading was 112.  Her most recent HbA1c level (glycated hemoglobin) was 7.4. She has not experienced any chest pain or coronary artery disease, protein in urine, neuropathy, retinopathy, abnormal ECG, overweight, elevated lipids, kidney disease, black out spells, or hypertension. She does not have any other major health problems.

She applies for a $250,000 20-year policy and tells her agent she would prefer a term policy, but will consider a permanent policy.

Life Insurance Company Approve/Decline/Postpone Tentative Offer* Estimated Cost
A Approve Term Policy Table H Non-Tobacco $72/month
B Approve Term Policy Table 10 Non-Tobacco $84/month
C Approve Permanent Policy; Decline Term Policy Table 8 Non-Tobacco $720/month
D Decline N/A N/A

Insurance Company A offers Jane Table H non-tobacco. This means that if the Standard premium cost is $24/month, Jane would instead have to pay $72/month (24 + 200%).

Insurance Company B offers Jane Table 10 non-tobacco. This means that Jane would be paying $84/month (24 + 250%).

Insurance Company C offers Jane Table 8 non-tobacco, but only for a permanent policy. They opt to decline offering a term policy. A permanent policy averages to be about 10 times more expensive than a comparable term policy, so here Jane would be paying $720/month.

Insurance Company D decides to decline Jane’s application altogether. They would prefer to not accept the risks.

Case Study #2

John Doe is a 54 year old male, a non-smoker, and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when he was 49.

He visits his doctor every 6 months and his diabetes is controlled by daily medication. He monitors his own blood sugar and the most recent reading was 116. His most recent HbA1c level was 6.2. Other issues are elevated lipids, but controlled by medication, and history of kidney stones.

He applies for a $500,000 20-year term policy.

Life Insurance Company Approve/Decline/Postpone Tentative Offer* Estimated Cost
A Approve Standard Plus to Standard Non-Tobacco $135 – $150/month
B Approve Standard Non-Tobacco $150/month
C Approve Table 2 $225/month
D Approve Table C $263/month

Insurance Company A offers John Standard to Standard Plus (depending on full review of his medical records.) Taking John’s age into consideration, we can estimate his Standard to Standard Plus premiums to be in the range of $135 – $150 monthly.

Insurance Company B offers John a possible standard non-tobacco rating, as long as there have been no kidney stone attacks within the past year and no other complications.

Insurance Company C offers John Table 2. With $150 being his estimated Standard monthly cost, we calculate 150 + 50% to equal an estimated $225 monthly premium payment.

Insurance Company D offers John Table C. To calculate a monthly premium estimate we take 150 + 75% to equal approximately $263.

*We say “Tentative Offer” because during these underwriting studies, the life insurance carriers come back to us with an idea of what they can offer our client. The company takes an overview look at the client to give a tentative offer. They still need to do a full review of the application and all records before confirming any premium costs and rating classifications.

If there is evidence that your condition is well-managed, your chances for coverage are much higher. If you have other health conditions in addition to diabetes, coverage will be more challenging to obtain, but, again, the more information we have the better. We have relationships with many insurance carriers and will work hard to find you coverage.

» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator

When you apply for life insurance, you will undergo a simple medical exam. The exam will include:

  • Weight and height measurements
  • Pulse and blood pressure check
  • Urine sample
  • Blood sample

For diabetics specifically, try your best to keep your A1C levels below 8.1 for your life insurance medical exam. This will help the underwriters see your diabetes diagnosis in a more favorable light.

Along with the information from your application and questionnaire forms, the medical exam results and possible medical records help the life insurance underwriters determine how much life insurance coverage they can offer you and at what price. Premiums may be higher than that of non-diabetics because the insurance companies consider insuring people with diabetes a higher risk.

See what you’d pay for life insurance

Comparison shop prices on custom coverage amounts from the nation’s top carriers with Quotacy.

Being Diagnosed with Diabetes After Purchasing Life Insurance

If you already bought a life insurance policy and were diagnosed with diabetes afterwards, then you do not have to worry. 

Changes in your health will not affect your policy as long as it is already inforce, or “active”. This is one of the many reasons why it is wise to buy life insurance sooner rather than later.

The situation changes, however, if you bought a non-portable policy through your group plan with your employer. Should you leave that company, your policy would end and you would need to apply elsewhere. Your diabetes diagnosis would then be taken into consideration. 

Because most employer-sponsored life insurance policies are only valid as long as you are employed there, it is a good idea to look into purchasing an individual life insurance policy outside of your group plan.

A benefit to working with Quotacy is that we work with multiple A-rated life insurance companies. As you can see from the above examples, shopping your application around to more than one insurance company can only help you.

Quotacy has years of experience getting clients life insurance coverage, including diabetics. Our in-house underwriter has worked in many carrier home offices, knows how to navigate each individual’s health history, and knows which life insurance company would be the best option for your individual case. If you are ready to buy life insurance coverage, get a term life insurance quote now and let’s start the process.

If you have any questions regarding underwriting diabetes, feel free to contact us or jot us a message in the Comment section below. If you are looking to get an idea on the cost of life insurance if you have diabetes, it costs nothing to run a quote and apply online. You will have a dedicated Quotacy agent shop your case with our top-rated life insurance companies to ensure you receive the best possible price.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes

Watch the Diabetes and Life Insurance Video


  1. Mike David

    Diabetes is more of an inconvenience than anything. It’s annoying and I wish it would go away but the type I have (type 1) is permanent and cannot be treated by diet and exercise. Even though it’s an inconvenience it doesn’t really stop me from doing anything I just have to check my blood sugar and press a few buttons on my pump and I’m on my way but still I really wish I could sit down with a tub of icing and eat it all in one sitting or dance for three hours straight without stopping to check my blood sugar.

  2. Mike David

    If you suffer from Diabetes insurers will want to know exactly how you control your condition, and you will probably be asked to undergo a medical before you will be offered cover. You will also need to provide comprehensive details of any treatment through your GP or specialist consultant.

    Although insurers will be prepared to offer cover to diabetics, not all of them will, as some consider the risks of a claim to be too great.

    However, your chances of being accepted for cover will be higher if there is plenty of evidence that your condition is being well managed.

    This will usually involve sending insurers your medical reports and they may even request blood sugar readings. If they aren’t happy that you’ve sent enough evidence, they may reject your application for life insurance.

    Once you’ve had an application refused, you’re likely to find it much harder to get a policy elsewhere, as you will have to declare you’ve already been turned down for cover, so make sure you choose which insurer you’re going to apply to very carefully.


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