A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jan 11, 2017

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Don't miss these facts...

  • Diabetes Type 1 is more serious and comprises only 10 percent of those with diabetes.
  • Diabetes Type 2 is fairly common and can be controlled many times without insulin injections.
  • Insulin dependent diabetics will have a much tougher road getting life insurance.
  • Additional serious health conditions with diabetes might make you a higher risk than an insurance company can bear.
  • Your risk category directly impacts how high your premiums will be.
  • Improve your odds of getting life insurance by seeing your doctor, quitting smoking and staying in a healthy weight range.


Only 10 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes have type 1, according to the CDC. This what is known as insulin-dependent diabetes. The pancreas fails to produce the needed insulin, or the body rejects what is produced.

Those with this type of diabetes are considered high risk due to the serious complications that many experience. It can lead to blindness, amputation of lower limbs and premature death. Symptoms can be somewhat contained with regular injections of insulin.

Learn more about diabetes and life insurance below and don’t miss out on our free comparison tool above!

Diabetes Type 2

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Type 2 diabetes accounts for the remaining 90 percent of those with this disease, according to CDC statistics. This is also the most controllable. It is named adult onset diabetes because it can be brought on by poor eating habits, obesity and lack of exercise.

These are all factors in the control of the individual diagnosed. Some have to take insulin injections, others a pill and yet even more simply have to watch their diet along with increasing activity.

Upwards of 40 percent of women that experience gestational diabetes while pregnant end up with type 2 diabetes later in life.

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Getting Life Insurance With Insulin-Dependent Diabetes

It may seem tough to find life insurance if you are an insulin dependent diabetic, but there are companies willing to take a close look at your lifestyle and health history in the hopes of bringing in a new client.

It is vital to be getting treatment and make sure that your diabetes is under control. If there are numerous reports of going to the emergency room, diabetic coma or diabetes related ailments, you might be turned away from coverage.

They will look at things like:

You may have to undergo a physical in order to qualify for a policy. If you are in overall good health and it is determined that your occupation or hobbies pose no additional risk, you could end up approved quickly for a life insurance policy.

There may be limits on amount of death benefit, limits to term-only insurance, but over time you might be able to change it to a permanent life insurance policy.

Life Expectancy With Diabetes

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The most recent mortality figures by the CDC are from the end of 2014 and show that 24 out of every 100,000 people in the US die of diabetic related illness.

This makes it the 7th leading cause of death. This might not seem like a big deal to the average person, but these figures are nerve-wracking to an insurance underwriter.

It is understood that the mortality numbers are simply reflecting an average. There are a few diabetics that take care of their health, monitor their blood sugar levels and take the needed insulin.

There are others that do not and end up dying way too soon. You want to try and stay within that group that takes good care of their health. They will feel much more comfortable in insuring your life.

Other Concurrent Health Conditions That Complicate Getting Life Insurance

Diabetes types 1 and 2 can both act as a springboard for other disease and disorders to take up residence. There is a long list of complications and disease that can attack the diabetic patient and leave them debilitated and cause early death.

A few of these are:

  • Blindness
  • Limb infections and amputations
  • Cardio-pulmonary disease
  • Renal failure
  • Strokes
  • High blood pressure

The more concurrent conditions you have, the less the chances are you will find an insurance company willing to offer a policy.

You are considered too high a risk to take on. You might be eligible for some type of graded or scaled life insurance that pays a portion of the face value if you die early.

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Risk Factors and Life Insurance

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Life insurance providers are in business to make at least enough profit to pay the wages of all workers and stay operational. This means that every time they underwrite an individual they are taking a targeted risk.

The good thing is you are normally lumped in with a larger group of people. This is why group life insurance is easier and cheaper to obtain. The healthy members help detract from potential losses by unhealthy members.

An insurance company earns money by investing a portion of the premium you pay each month. They also add in the costs of operating the business.

This is all added on to the need to retain enough premium cash to pay the death benefit when needed.

You will generally be placed in one of four categories:

  • Premium preferred
  • Premium
  • Standard
  • Tobacco

Tobacco related deaths are astronomical when compared to many other leading causes and are considered lowest on the food chain. If you smoke, chances are you will be paying the highest rates.

How Risk Categories Determine Rates

Insurance companies need to feel reassured you will stay healthy and live long enough that they get all the funds through premiums needed to pay the death benefit and make a few dollars.

They would quickly find themselves out of business if they did not take health risk factors into account when giving a policy rate quote.

Each company uses a different standard, but there are some basics that can help show you what to expect in costs:

  • Premium preferredexcellent health record, young and involved in no extreme activities and sports. Best Rates
  • PremiumExcellent health, young adult to mid-fifties with no serious health history. Good Rates
  • StandardGood health, any known conditions are controlled with medications. Average – High Rates
  • TobaccoBad to poor health history, but nothing death-defying. Unstable health history, cigarette smoker or history of treatment for drug/alcohol abuse. High Rates
  • UninsurableBad health history and history of not taking care of medical problems until they are complicated and expensive. Involved in extreme sports, activities and lifestyle. Refused Policy

Term Life Insurance vs Whole Life

Knowing whether you want to find a term or whole life policy is as simple as understanding what your financial goal is.

If you want a policy that will simply protect your family financially during parts of life that are the most expensive, such as child rearing or sending them to college, term might be the better option. It will guarantee a stated death benefit for a specified period of time.

Whole life, or permanent insurance will actually build a cash value over time that can be borrowed against or saved for retirement. Both will require some medical scrutiny, so be prepared to show that you are keeping your diabetes under control.

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Improving the Odds of Getting Life Insurance With Diabetes

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There are no guarantees that you will find the perfect life insurance policy at the rate you desire, but there are a few things you can do to increase the odds in your favor:

  • If you smoke: QUIT!
  • Avoid dangerous occupations and activities
  • Keep weight in a healthy range
  • Visit your doctor on a regular basis
  • Provide proof that your blood sugar stays within normal ranges
  • Keep yourself in reasonably good overall health and condition

There are companies out there that are willing to take on a high-risk individual, but the more you can show them that you take care of your health, the better the odds are that you will land the perfect life insurance policy.

This can be a great incentive to keep yourself healthier and live a longer more productive life.

Trying to find the perfect insurance source for life coverage can be frustrating if you have a condition like diabetes.

Having an understanding of why companies shy away from certain conditions will help you formulate a plan to improve your health, which benefits you in every area of your life. Contact a life insurance specialist today and see what affordable options are available.

Don’t miss out on our free comparison tool below. Enter your zip in the box below and find the best rates for life insurance.