Life Insurance for Diabetics

Life Insurance for Diabetics

29 Apr 2022

In the UK, more than 4.9 million people [1] have diabetes, with a further 13.6 million people [2] now at increased risk of type 2 diabetes. To top this off, there are also nearly another million people living with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can have a huge impact on a person’s life - from learning to manage the condition daily to completely changing long term plans for the future. It can make you feel excluded from, or unable to access many things, but insurance doesn’t have to be one of them.  Whilst your condition may make your search for the right kind of insurance cover a little trickier, it doesn’t have to be impossible. Here at LifeSearch, we believe that everyone should have access to life protection insurance. We know that many people with pre-existing conditions feel like they might be priced out or excluded from buying things like life insurance - but that doesn’t have to be the case.  So, how does life insurance for diabetics work?

Life insurance when you have diabetes

Understanding illnesses can go a long way to helping the insurance industry become accessible to people with those illnesses. With an estimated 415 million people [3] living with diabetes worldwide, our understanding of this condition grows more and more over time. 

Diabetes is a serious health condition that affects the way the body produces or uses insulin. Insulin is made in the pancreas, and then used by the body to make the sugar in the blood into energy in cells. If the body can’t produce or properly use insulin, blood sugar levels soar sky high. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause complications or other illnesses. 

If you have type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin. This is usually diagnosed in children and young adults but it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to survive. 

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body either doesn’t use or make insulin efficiently. This type of diabetes can be developed at any age, but it mostly shows up in older people. This is the most common type of diabetes. 

Gestational diabetes only occurs in pregnant women, and it usually goes away after the baby is born. However, it does put the woman at greater risk of type 2 diabetes later in life. 

Now, if you’ve got diabetes then you may be thinking ‘well, I know all this… how does it affect me getting insurance?’ 

Well, it’s true that people with pre-existing conditions often have a harder time getting life insurance, but we don’t live in the 1950s anymore. These days, having a pre-existing condition doesn’t automatically rule out the chance of you getting a life insurance policy. Many conditions - including diabetes - may make finding a policy slightly trickier, but it won’t be impossible. 

People with diabetes are likely to face more difficulties if they suffer from complications of diabetes. For example, more than 700 people [4] with diabetes die prematurely every week, and one in six people [5] in a hospital bed have diabetes. If your diabetes is severe enough to have you frequently in and out of hospital, you may struggle a little more to find cover. When you’re shopping around for a policy, you’ll be asked about the type of diabetes you have and any potential complications. Your diagnosis and the complications you may have will determine how much you have to shop around and the options that are available to you. However, in most cases, people with diabetes can still get life insurance, but they should expect potentially higher premiums. 

Let us break it down for you in more detail.

Getting life insurance with diabetes

If you haven’t picked up what we’re laying down yet: yes, it’s definitely possible to get life insurance. even if you have diabetes.  You have to remember though that every person and every policy is different. Many people with diabetes shopping around for life insurance will find that their premiums are loaded to reflect the risk they represent to the insurer. So, if you have very severe diabetes with many complications, your policy is likely to be more expensive than someone with diabetes that doesn’t affect their day to day lives too much.  However, there are many factors that insurers take into account, like: 
  • Age of diagnosis
  • Medications
  • Most recent HbA1c reading
  • BMI
  • Existing diabetic complication (like retinopathy, neuropathy and nephropathy)

Then there are the things that would come into consideration even if you didn’t have diabetes, like:

  • Lifestyle
  • Age
  • Your health - and things that impact your health like smoking status
  • Your job and your hobbies

All of the above can have an effect on the amount you’ll need to pay in premiums, but there are two things likely to affect your premiums more than anything else: 

  • The type of diabetes you have
  • The type of insurance you're looking for (e.g. term life insurance or whole of life insurance).

Let’s go into more detail on the three points above. 

Life Insurance for type 1 diabetes

Approximately 400,000 people [6] in the UK have type 1 diabetes. Whilst type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2, it’s becoming more and more common worldwide [7], with around 10% of the UK’s population [8] diagnosed with it. It might not be super common, but 400,000 people is still a lot! 

Type 1 becoming more and more common obviously isn’t great, but it does mean that most insurers are likely to have written policies for type 1 diabetics. However, type 1 diabetes can be more difficult to control than type 2. So will you be able to get life insurance with type 1 diabetes? 

The answer is… maybe. Life insurance policies are evaluated on a case by case and insurer by insurer basis. You might have a friend with type 1 diabetes who gets approved for life insurance with no issues, and another friend who can’t seem to find a policy they can afford. This will be because of all the variable factors listed above. 

When it comes to being evaluated based on your diabetes type, you’ll have an easier time if you’ve developed type 1 diabetes more recently, as it will have had less time to impact your body and overall health. However, with most people being diagnosed with type 1 whilst they’re children or teens (which makes them higher risk to the insurer), you can expect that having type 1 diabetes does mean facing higher premiums. 

You should also be prepared to face a medical exam and potentially a diabetes questionnaire. Whilst this process can make buying life insurance take longer, it also could help you get lower rates.

Life insurance for type 2 diabetics 

By contrast, life insurance for type 2 diabetics (and for those with gestational diabetes) is usually more straightforward. Type 2 diabetes - despite being much more common - usually rears its head later in life. This means it has less time to affect the body. If this is true for you, and you have learned how to manage your condition well with good diet and exercise, you’re much more likely to qualify for affordable rates. 

However, even with type 2 diabetes, if you experience complications or you’re insulin dependent then you may find your insurance options more limited, and premiums more pricey. 

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, going through an experienced broker, like us here at LifeSearch, will help you understand what is out there for you. We can help you understand the options available, as well as helping you make sure your cover, well, covers you! 

Term life insurance vs whole of life insurance for diabetics 

Another thing to consider is whether you want life insurance to cover you for a certain time period, or for your whole life. 

Term life insurance policies last for a pre-agreed amount of time. You set this time period when you buy your policy. Many people choose to buy a policy that will last until their mortgage is paid off or their children leave home, so that their loved ones will be financially protected if they pass away during this time. Because it only covers you for a certain chunk of time, it tends to be the cheaper option. So, if you’re struggling to find affordable cover with diabetes, consider term life insurance. 

Whole of life insurance does what it says on the tin - covers you for your whole life. You’re guaranteed a pay out (provided that you were honest when you bought your policy and the way you died is covered within your policy) so this type of policy tends to be the more expensive option. If you have pre-existing conditions, you may find that this type of cover is very pricey for you. However, it’s about finding cover that works for you! 

If you want cover that protects you against getting sick or needing time off rather than against dying, then critical illness cover or income protection could suit you. Check out our Advice Centre to read more about these types of cover.  

If all these options are making your head spin, give us a call or drop us a line here at LifeSearch, and we can help you figure out what your options are. 

Denied life insurance because of diabetes

If you’ve been denied life insurance because of your diabetes, don’t despair! You may have been declined from one provider, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t cover out there for you. However, to avoid a lengthy and disappointing process, going through a broker can help. They can point you towards insurers with strong underwriting for your condition, and help you apply for life insurance with the best chance of success. 

If you’re still worried, then you could consider some factors that make it harder for diabetics to be approved for insurance. For instance, if you’re a diabetic with HbA1c readings over 10% (85.8 mmol/mol) [9] then you’re more likely to be rejected. Other factors could include: 

  • Heavy smoking or drinking
  • Heart conditions or a history of heart attacks
  • High BMI
  • Other diabetes complications

Taking action to manage your condition, cut down on unhealthy habits and improve your health could make the difference between getting cover and being declined. 

Affordable life insurance for diabetes

If you’ve read this far, you might be thinking that there’s no way you’ll be able to afford insurance premiums with diabetes - but this doesn’t have to be the case!  In 2017, with the help of organizations designed to further research into diabetes, the insurance industry introduced several life insurance products designed to make life insurance cheaper for sufferers [10]. These policies offered up to a 65% discount on premiums [11].

For example, a 40 year old non-smoker with type 2 diabetes bought a term life insurance policy (covering them for 30 years and £250,000) with a monthly premium of £37.09. This is £18.03 cheaper per month than the other cheapest option. Over 30 years, that’s a saving of over £6000. 

This is why it’s vital to shop around - and if you’re struggling, talk with the experts. 

How can LifeSearch help? 

Letting the experts help you can make the difference between getting life insurance and not getting life insurance. But the help they can give you doesn’t stop there - they can save you money as well, and help you make sure you’re covered exactly the way you want to be covered. 

That’s our mission here at LifeSearch - to make sure everyone can access life insurance in the way they need. We’ve been at it since the 90s, protecting families and the lives they live.  Since then, we’ve protected more than 700,000 families by insuring more than one million lives. 

We’re recognised for being the UK’s biggest and best life protection policy broker - but that doesn’t mean we’re resting on our laurels! We’re here to support you every step of the way whilst you buy your protection policy. If you’re a diabetic and you’re struggling to find a policy that suits you, get advice and a quote from us today. We’ll help guide you and answer all your questions, so that you can find the best cover for your situation. 

And once you’ve found a policy, our work doesn’t stop there!  We’re one of the few independent advisors that run a free, full-time claims desk so that we’re literally always in your corner, no matter what. We’re always here to give advice, answer questions, and help you out at every part of the process - whether you’re just starting to think about buying or you’re making a claim. 

We know that untangling the complexities of insurance and your own circumstances can feel tricky at best and downright mind-bending at worst, so give us a shout and we’ll do it together.

 

References

[1] https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/position-statements-reports/statistics
[2] https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/position-statements-reports/statistics
[3] https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-prevalence.html#:~:text=World%20diabetes%20prevalence,with%20diabetes%20worldwide%20by%202040
[4] https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/position-statements-reports/statistics 
[5] https://www.diabetes.org.uk/professionals/position-statements-reports/statistics 
[6] https://jdrf.org.uk/information-support/about-type-1-diabetes/facts-and-figures/
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7146037/#:~:text=The%20results%20of%20meta%2Danalysis,are%20increasing%20in%20the%20world.
[8] https://beyondtype1.org/type-1-diabetes-statistics/#:~:text=Out%20of%203.7%20million%20people,translates%20to%20about%20400%2C000%20people.
[9] [10] [11] https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetic-life-insurance.html

 

 

 


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