Term Life Insurance for Diabetics Explained

Term Life Insurance for Diabetics Explained

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About 29% of Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes, according to Diabetes Canada’s Backgrounder Report. This report has shown the prevalence of diabetes in Canada and how many people live with the condition each day. This information about diabetes leads to questions like: is term life insurance possible for someone with diabetes? And if so, what is the best term life insurance for diabetics?

While having diabetes will not completely bar you from getting life insurance, it may limit you. Also, there is a good chance your rates will be higher for a policy. But if you can get your diabetes under control, you’ll have the option for more affordable premiums.

Why life insurance companies take diabetes into consideration

Life insurance is based on the risk a potential client represents for a provider to take on. Any past or present medical issues or family history of medical complications can make you risker for an insurer. Diabetes is a medical condition that life insurance companies will consider when you apply for a plan.

Diabetes is the result of too much blood sugar and your body. When you have diabetes, your body cannot produce enough insulin to allow the blood sugar in your bloodstream to access your body’s cells. This condition can lead to other health issues in life, including stroke and heart disease. It is because of the risks diabetes poses that insurers raise premiums and limit options for people with the condition.

The main factors life insurance companies look into

The age of the applicant

The younger you are, the cheaper your rates. Since younger people are generally less likely to develop a medical condition, life insurance companies provide more affordable rates to younger people. If you have diabetes, insurers will look into how long you’ve had the condition. The longer you’ve lived with diabetes, the more expensive your coverage is when you apply.

The type of diabetes the applicant has

When you apply for a plan with diabetes, the life insurance company will need to know which type you have.

    • Type 1 diabetes. This form of diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction that destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. This form of diabetes is more uncommon and can lead to more severe health conditions. People with type 1 diabetes will often face higher rates when applying for life insurance. 
    • Type 2 diabetes. This form of diabetes is much more common in Canada and often develops after the age of 45. Type 2 diabetes can be more easily managed with a healthy lifestyle. Since this condition is more manageable and less risky than type 1, people with type 2 diabetes will likely get more affordable rates. 
    • Gestaitional diabetes. This form of diabetes typically forms in pregnant women who’ve never had diabetes. Insurers will consider this form of the condition as well when applying for a policy. It may be better to apply for coverage before or after becoming pregnant to avoid facing higher premiums. 
    • Prediabetes. With prediabetes, people will have higher than normal blood sugar levels but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Since this can lead to type 2 diabetes and other health issues, applying as a prediabetic could result in high premiums.

The steps you are taking to manage your diabetes

If you can show you are taking positive steps to manage your diabetes, you will get a better rate. Follow any procedures laid out by your doctor, eat healthily, and get plenty of exercise.

Your health history

Aside from your diabetes, life insurance providers will also look into your family’s health history and any other medical conditions or habits you may have, including:

    • High cholesterol.
    • High blood pressure. 
    • Heart disease in you and your family.
    • Alcohol use.
    • Drug use.

The right coverage for diabetes

When it comes to purchasing life insurance, people with diabetes still have options available to them. It can all depend on whether you want temporary or permanent coverage and if you are willing to undergo a medical exam.

Simplified and guaranteed life insurance

Many people with more severe diabetes often choose a simplified or guaranteed plan. These options provide a simple way to qualify for coverage. Both policy types do not require a medical exam to apply. 

Simplified issue life insurance only requires a short health questionnaire to help determine your premiums. Guaranteed issue life insurance, on the other hand, has no medical or questionnaire requirements. As the name suggests, your acceptance is guaranteed when you apply for a policy.

These plan types typically offer smaller coverage amounts and higher premiums because of the no medical exam requirements.

Term life insurance coverage

Term life insurance is an excellent option if you have your diabetes under control and only want coverage for a set period. These plans typically provide coverage for 10, 20, or 30 years.

Medical exams and health questionnaires are required when you apply for traditional term coverage, so you must be confident in your diabetes management before you apply.

Permanent life insurance 

A permanent life insurance policy is for you if you require lifelong coverage and want higher benefit amounts. These policy types offer financial coverage as well as cash value savings options. The cash value benefits allow people to borrow from their policy for loans or use the cash savings for premium payments.

These policies are the most expensive on the market, but they offer the highest benefit amounts and coverage options. 

Group life insurance

Those with diabetes can also get coverage through their employer. Most workplaces offer employee life insurance plans that have no medical exams requirements. Unfortunately, these plans will typically only provide smaller coverage amounts. 

If you have dependents, a group plan may not offer enough coverage. In that case, you should consider getting additional financial protection.

Life insurance riders

Riders are additional coverage options that you can add to a policy. The most common ones that people with diabetes choose are:

  • Critical illness rider - allows you to use some of your plan’s death benefit to help with costs after being diagnosed with a critical illness.
  • Waiver of premium rider - if you cannot work due to a disability, the waiver of premium rider will stop premium payments for a period of time.
  • Term conversion rider - if you have a term plan with this rider, you can convert the plan to a permanent policy.

Questions insurers may ask about your diabetes

Insurers may ask questions about your diabetes when you apply for a policy. These qualifying questions can include:

  • What form of diabetes do you have?
  • How long have you had diabetes?
  • Do you exercise regularly?
  • How is your diet?
  • Are you taking insulin?
  • When did you last visit your doctor?
  • Do you have diabetes-related health issues?
  • Have you been diagnosed with any other serious medical conditions?
  • Do you monitor your own glucose levels?

We always recommend having as many medical documents about your condition on hand when applying for life insurance. Insurance companies will often ask to see any paperwork with regards to your treatments and prescriptions. 

The best ways to lower your life insurance rates

If you have diabetes or any other pre-existing condition, here are some helpful tips to lower your premiums:

  • Manages your diabetes - by taking care of yourself through exercise and proper diet, you can increase your chances of getting more affordable coverage.
  • Shop the market - don’t limit yourself to one life insurance provider when making a decision. Take some time to see other options available to you and compare them before making a purchase.
  • Look for companies that specialize in no medical options - for an easy way to get the coverage you and your family deserve, look for no medical life insurance specialists. These companies will have experience helping people with pre-existing conditions get life insurance.

Simplified no medical life insurance coverage

At Termlite, we specialize in no medical term life insurance plans. We’ve helped thousands of Canadians find affordable and accessible coverage. There are no medical exams, no mountains of paperwork to complete and no need to meet face-to-face with advisors with our plans. For a free no-obligation quote and to discover your plan options, please complete our short quote form now.


Written by: Adam Bianco

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