Getting Life Insurance When You Have Type 1 Diabetes


We’ve already covered the prospect of getting life insurance with diabetes as a general topic. But today we’re going to discuss the more specific topic of getting life insurance when you have Type 1 diabetes.

From a life insurance perspective, type 1 diabetes is considered to carry a higher risk than type II diabetes. This is because Type 1 diabetes usually comes much earlier in life, and represents a more problematic condition. Proper management of the condition by the person who has it is critical in living with it. And insurance company will want to see that the person is doing just that.

What is Type 1 Diabetes and How is it Different from Type 2?

According to the American Diabetes Association, there were 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, who had diabetes in 2012. This is up from 25.8 million cases in 2010. An estimated 8.1 million of the 2012 cases are undiagnosed. Further, it is also estimated that 81 million Americans are pre-diabetic. Only about 5% of total diabetes cases are Type 1, the rest are Type 2.

Once known as juvenile diabetes, Type 1 diabetes is found in children and young adults. With Type 1 diabetes, the body, or more specifically the pancreas, does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The causes of Type 1 diabetes are unknown, and no preventative therapy is known to exist. It requires daily insulin injections in order to maintain a proper level.

With Type 2 diabetes the body become insulin resistant, and is primarily caused by a combination of lifestyle factors and genetics. Lifestyle causes include physical inactivity, obesity, stress, and excess consumption of sugar, saturated fat and white rice.

Controlling Type 1 Diabetes

Managing your Type 1 diabetes and taking control of your health are critical to living with the condition.

The basic regimen includes:

  • Multiple daily injections with insulin pens or syringes or an insulin pump
  • Regular monitoring of your condition by healthcare professionals
  • Regular exercise (stabilizes blood glucose levels)
  • Proper nutrition – understanding how different foods affect blood glucose and developing solid meal plans

Maintaining a regular treatment regimen is also a big part of what life insurance companies look for in underwriting your application.

Getting Life Insurance When You Have Type 1 Diabetes

In underwriting your application for life insurance, the company will look at:

  • Your age when the condition was diagnosed
  • How often you see a physician (should be every three to six months)
  • Your A1C level (should be 7 or lower)
  • Your fasting blood sugar level (should be no higher than 140)
  • Medications you’re on (other than insulin)
  • The existence of any complications, such as retinopathy, neuropathy, or kidney disease
  • The absence or existence of other health risks
  • If you have been hospitalized either due to the diabetes itself, or from complications

The last two points can be deciding factors. The existence of other health concerns, such as hypertension or elevated cholesterol, will indicate multiple risks from an insurance standpoint. And if you have been hospitalized due to diabetes or from complications, getting a life insurance policy will be difficult, at least one that is affordable.

If neither of those situations is evident, and you have been following a regular treatment regimen, there is a very good chance you will be able to get an affordably priced policy. If not, guaranteed issue life is a good option to take.

Beyond your own efforts to manage your condition, the single best step you can take to secure an affordably priced life insurance policy is to work with the agent who knows the best companies to place your life insurance application with.

Some companies will consider an applicant with Type I diabetes to be an automatic decline. But there others who have a more positive view of the condition, and will approve a policy at near standard rates. The key is to know who those companies are, and a good agent will.

If you have Type I diabetes, give us a call. Providing life insurance for people with health conditions is what our agency does.