Diabetes and Life Insurance

This guide will answer your questions on how suffering from diabetes affects the cost of life insurance.

Does having diabetes mean I can’t get life insurance?

Diabetes is clearly a serious medical condition, but even as a sufferer you should still be able to get life insurance. 

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Premiums will be higher than for non-diabetics, as people with diabetes will be considered a higher risk for insurance companies. But, provided you compare quotes from a panel of leading insurers, you shouldn’t have to pay well over the odds – especially if you can demonstrate your condition is carefully controlled.

The impact of diabetes

There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Both conditions involve the sufferer having higher-than-usual blood sugar levels, but there are several differences between the two.  

Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in childhood and isn’t associated with excess body weight. It is treated with insulin injections or an insulin pump, and cannot be controlled without insulin.

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

Type 2 diabetes, however, is usually diagnosed in people who are aged 30 or over, and is often linked to excess body weight and high blood pressure and/ or cholesterol levels.  It is usually treated with tablets, although it may be possible to come off diabetes medication if the condition is carefully controlled, and a strict diet is followed.

If diabetes is not controlled carefully, the repercussions can be serious. It can have an impact on blood circulation, so any injuries to the patient’s hands and feet may not heal properly and, in a worst case scenario, could turn septic or gangrenous.

Other possible complications of diabetes include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, neuropathy (nerve damage) and retinopathy (eye disease), so it’s important to maintain careful control of the illness and attend all diabetic screening appointments.

Diabetes and life insurance

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.

The importance of providing correct and accurate information

If you have diabetes, it’s vital to provide insurers with as much information about your condition and individual circumstances. Even though it might seem easier to miss out certain details, particularly if you think they are likely to further increase your premium, this could come back to bite you in the event of a claim, as any pay-out to your family could be refused. 

You will therefore need to inform insurers not only about your diabetes, but also whether you are a smoker or a non-smoker, how many units of alcohol you drink each week, together with your weight and other medical details. 

If you don’t provide the correct facts, your policy could be invalidated, which could prove financially devastating to loved ones in the event of your death.

Pre-existing life policies

If you bought life insurance before being diagnosed with diabetes, then the good news is that that you will be able to keep that policy on the same terms even though your health situation has changed.

Remember that, if you have bought your policy through a group plan with your company, then should you leave your job the policy will end, and you will need to apply for new cover elsewhere. 

This is likely to prove much more expensive, as you will have to declare any pre-existing conditions. 

In some cases you may be allowed to continue to hold the same policy, in which case you should do so, as your premiums would be loaded for your diabetes if you started afresh with another policy. 

If you are joining another employer, it might be worth applying for cover through your new company, as insurers tend not to take the circumstances of individual members of group schemes into account.

Compare quotes

It’s always a good idea to compare quotes from a range of different providers to ensure you’ve tracked down the best deal to suit your needs. 

Remember, even though finding cover as a diabetic is likely to be more difficult than if you didn’t have a health condition, there are insurers who will be prepared to cover you, providing peace of mind that any dependents will be looked after financially if you are no longer around.

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