As one of the almost 2.5-million Canadians with diabetes, you may have hit some stumbling blocks or even brick walls on your search for insurance for any kind. Getting life insurance when you are diabetic can be a little less straight-forward than for those without it. But, it is possible to obtain life insurance with the condition, and maybe less expensive than you assumed.
Jump to the following sections of this article:
- Why does diabetes affect life insurance rates?
- Can I get life insurance if I have diabetes?
- How can I get a lower insurance premium when I have diabetes?
- What sort of questions do insurance companies ask diabetics?
- Where can diabetics get life insurance?
- Individuals with diabetes have several options for life insurance in Canada
- Life insurance availability will depend on age, duration, stability of treatment and absence of complications
- If you are older and your diabetes is well-maintained, then several fully underwritten products will be available
- No medical life insurance options are easier, faster and more flexible, albeit at higher premiums
Why does diabetes affect insurance rates?
Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body uses and produces insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas.
As you no doubt know – there are multiple types of diabetes:
- Type-1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, is an auto-immune disorder. For Type-1 diabetics, their pancreas no longer produces insulin, a hormone that helps your body convert sugar to the energy you need. You need to administer synthetic insulin to cover for the food you eat.
- Type-2 diabetics produce insulin but their body does not use or recognize it correctly. They can deal with the condition through oral medication or diet. Type-2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in Canada, with approx 90% of diabetics living with Type-2.
- Gestational diabetes is a temporary form of diabetes associated with pregnancy. The body cannot produce an adequate amount of insulin, leading to an increase in the amount of blood sugar. In most cases, gestational diabetes goes away post-pregnancy.
So why would diabetes affect insurance rates? Well, the stress of constantly fluctuating blood sugar levels puts stress on your internal organs like your heart and kidneys. The added stress means they are prone to failure in your older years, and thus insuring your life takes on this added risk and an added cost.
More specifically, Type-1 insulin-dependent diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood and puts a lifetime of stress on one’s body. This is why insurance rates for Type-1 diabetics are higher.
Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in individuals after the age of 40, and its effects can be quickly remedied by diet; organ stress is not as great of a factor in medical underwriting.
Gestational diabetes does not usually affect insurance rates, as most expecting mothers opt to do any medical underwriting before or after their pregnancy.
Can I get life insurance if I have diabetes?
Diabetics in Canada have many options when it comes to life insurance coverage. Diabetics who are in good health, with consistent medication levels, and who keep their blood sugar levels in control can qualify for standard, medically underwritten life insurance. In medically underwritten life insurance, the insurance company will arrange for a blood test and likely request for a physician’s report to evaluate and grant approval for a life insurance policy. This process may provide more monetary coverage (a higher death benefit) for a lower premium, than no medical life insurance.
Much like anyone with an underlying health condition, no medical life insurance is another choice for diabetics. No medical life insurance is life insurance which is issued without the insured having to undergo a medical test. It usually has the added advantage of a simpler and faster issuance process.
Can I get life insurance if I have type 1 diabetes?
There are life insurance options for those with type 1 diabetes. The availability of life insurance options depends on the age of the applicant, duration of the disease, and degree of control. Traditional life Insurance companies that require lab results will also seek a doctor’s statement to establish stability of the treatment and the condition. In most cases, life insurance companies may apply a rating (higher premium) when approving life insurance for those with type 1 diabetes.
No medical questionnaire-based options make for an easier and faster process in such cases, albeit they offer insurance at higher premiums. For no medical questionnaires, the focus is primarily on the age of the insured, the stability of the medication, and the risk of complications. If you are older, with no change in your insulin dependence in the last 12 months and no associated complications, one can easily get no medical life insurance.
Can I get life insurance if I have type-2 diabetes?
Yes, those with type-2 diabetes can get life insurance in Canada with the possibility of standard, competitive pricing. Life insurance companies are usually more accommodating when offering life insurance to those with type 2 diabetes. Traditional insurance companies may even consider granting standard regular-health pricing to someone who is:
- Above the age of 50
- Undergoes regular medical check-up with a physician or specialist
- Is treated with oral medications that have not been increased in the past 12 months
- Follows a diet
- And has no diabetes-associated complications
There are also several no medical options, for those that may not be able to get standard pricing or those that may want easier and faster access to life insurance. Most no medical life insurance questionnaires contain a few questions that seek to assess how long you have had type 2 diabetes, whether your medications have changed recently, and whether you have any complications associated with this type of diabetes. Based on simple binary questionnaires, your eligibility for life insurance with diabetes can be established fairly quickly.
How can I get a lower insurance premium when I have diabetes?
As hinted at above, those with diabetes can get a better insurance rating if they keep their blood sugar levels under tight control. Typically, that would mean a hemoglobin A1C result between 6-7. Once your blood sugar levels surpass those numbers, you may be looking at a higher rating, which will increase the cost of your premium.
Other factors like high blood pressure, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, and proteinuria can also affect your rating. While one of these issues may affect any diabetic as they age, if you have tight control and show no symptoms of them at the moment, it may be an opportune time to apply for life insurance as a diabetic.
What sort of questions do insurance companies ask diabetics?
Just like any other applicant, an insurance provider will ask you questions about your health to evaluate your risk when you apply for life insurance. When you disclose to your insurance broker that you are diabetic, they will have specific questions about the disease when calculating how to price your coverage. These questions are aimed at assessing the duration and stability of diabetes and the risks of any complications.
They will include:
- Details about your family doctor or endocrinologist
- When you were first diagnosed with diabetes
- What medications or treatment your diabetes requires (Whether you are insulin-dependent, or control your blood sugar levels through oral medication or diet)
- How often you check your blood sugar levels and the results of your most recent hemoglobin a1c blood test
- Any other health conditions you have that are or may be related to your diabetes (like heart disease or high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, kidney function, neurological problems, diabetic comas, or diabetic retinopathy)
- Your family doctor may be asked to provide an Attending Physician’s Report with details about the state of your health
Yes. Read more about your life insurance options when your application has been declined.
Where can diabetics get life insurance?
As experienced, licensed insurance brokers, the PolicyAdvisor team has helped many diabetics in Canada get no medical and medically underwritten life insurance. We work with the best life insurance companies in Canada to shop for the best provider for your needs. If you have any questions at all about how life insurance works for diabetics, or want to chat about what you can do to make sure you apply for the right kind of coverage, schedule a free consultation with one of our experts and we’ll make sure you have all the facts about online life insurance for diabetes.