What is the best life insurance for a diabetic?
Diabetes is a chronic health condition caused by improper regulation of insulin, the hormone that breaks down glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Left untreated, it can cause a slew of complications, including cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, and blindness. These complications can shorten the lifespans of people with uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes, making them more difficult to insure.
According to statistics compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 34 million Americans had diabetes in 2018. Approximately 1 in 5 of them didn’t know it.
Fortunately, while diabetes is a significant health challenge, it’s not necessarily a dealbreaker for life insurance companies. It’s possible to find affordable, reliable life insurance coverage if you have diabetes — and some companies have well-deserved reputations as particularly friendly to diabetics.
The Best Life Insurance Companies for Diabetics
These are the best life insurance companies for diabetic policyholders. Each does at least one thing really well, and our “best overall” pick provides the best value for the greatest number of policyholders.
Pay close attention to the types of life insurance offered by each provider. Some offer a range of policy types — term life insurance, whole life insurance, and other types of permanent life insurance coverage — but others focus on one or two types only.
Best Overall: John Hancock Aspire With Vitality
John Hancock’s Aspire product is one of the few life insurance policies designed specifically for people with diabetics. It offers a wealth of diabetic-friendly benefits:
- Up to 25% savings off the cost of your insurance
- Virtual consultations with diabetes experts from Onduo, a John Hancock partner
- Free blood glucose meters and testing supplies from Onduo
- Optional personal health coaching from Onduo
- Variable discounts on healthy foods, fitness devices, and even travel
- Complimentary three-year Amazon Halo subscription — a tool to help you understand and improve your health and reach your personal health goals
For best results, pair Aspire with John Hancock’s Vitality rider, an optional add-on available to every Aspire client. The free version, Vitality GO, offers:
- Additional savings on healthy food purchases
- Opportunities to earn prizes from partner retailers, including Amazon
- Discounts on fitness devices and healthy lifestyle gear
- Free fitness webinars and content
Upgrade to Vitality PLUS for $2 per month and get:
- An Apple Watch for as little as $25 plus tax when you meet exercise goals
- Complimentary Fitbit device if you choose not to get Amazon Halo
- Complimentary one-year Amazon Prime membership
- Complimentary subscription to Headspace, a meditation and mindfulness app
Best for Type 1 Diabetes: Mutual of Omaha
Mutual of Omaha offers two life insurance products for people with diabetes: a whole life insurance guaranteed issue policy for older adults and a term life insurance simplified issue policy for young and middle-aged adults.
Neither requires a medical exam as a condition of underwriting, although the simplified issue policy does take information about your health history into consideration. For this reason, it’s not ideal for Type 1 diabetics, who may be denied coverage due to their preexisting condition — even if their diabetes is well-controlled.
Fortunately, if you have Type 1 diabetes, you don’t have to worry about your guaranteed issue life insurance application being denied. If you’re between the ages of 45 and 85 (50 and 75 in New York State), you’ll qualify for up to $25,000 in guaranteed issue coverage regardless of your health status or medical history.
- Fully medically underwritten term life insurance available, although diabetes may impact eligibility and premiums
- A+ financial strength rating from A.M. Best
- High customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power
- All-online application process for guaranteed issue coverage
Best for Diabetes With Complications: Prudential
Prudential is a strong choice for diabetics who’ve suffered health complications as a result of their condition, such as kidney damage, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
This is partly thanks to Prudential’s BenefitAccess rider, an optional policy add-on (for an extra cost) that allows policyholders to tap death benefits while they’re still living. Unlike a standard accelerated death benefit rider, BenefitAccess doesn’t require a terminal illness diagnosis — many chronic health issues qualify as well.
Prudential’s underwriting process is also unusually lenient for people with chronic health conditions. For diabetics, that includes:
- Coverage for both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics
- No minimum age of diagnosis — a benefit for people with early-onset Type 2 diabetes
- No-exam coverage up to $500,000, although diagnosed diabetes may impact eligibility and premiums
- Choose from multiple permanent life insurance options: variable universal life, indexed universal life, and standard universal life with a cash value component
- Term life insurance policies with terms up to 30 years
- Online claims-filing process
Best for Gestational Diabetes: Banner Life
Banner Life is known for competitive rates and unusually long terms — up to 40 years. Less well known is its lenient approach to gestational diabetes, a temporary condition that many life insurance companies treat as semi-permanent.
If you recently developed diabetes during pregnancy, you can qualify for a favorable health rating from Banner Life — up to Standard Plus. That translates to a significant reduction in premiums over someone with a Standard rating, the usual fate for people who’ve recently had gestational diabetes.
- Favorable rates for people with other chronic health conditions
- Get up to $1 million in term coverage
- Term policies underwritten for applicants as old as 75
- Multiple riders, including accelerated death benefit and child protection — up to $10,000 in death benefits for children up to their 25th birthday with no medical exam required
Best for Older Adults With Diabetes: Protective Life
Protective Life appeals to older adults with diabetes because it offers a strong term-to-permanent conversion option.
If you qualify for term life insurance when you’re young and relatively healthy but develop Type 2 diabetes before your policy expires, you may be able to convert to lifelong coverage without canceling your policy and reapplying. That’s good because canceling and reapplying brings the certainty of higher premiums and could result in an outright denial of coverage.
- Guaranteed insurability rider allows you to purchase more coverage without another medical exam
- Favorable rates for diabetics who aren’t insulin-dependent
- Terms range as long as 40 years — good for older diabetics
- Coverage amounts range from $100,000 to $50 million
Best for Younger Adults With Diabetes: Assurity
Unlike most competitors, Assurity has no minimum age for diabetes diagnosis. In other words, your application for life insurance won’t be denied simply because you developed diabetes early in life — and in this case, “early” means before age 40 or even age 50, depending on the insurer.
This is good news not just for Type 1 diabetics, who typically develop the condition in childhood, but for people with gestational and early-onset Type 2 diabetes as well. Plus, a no-cost accelerated death benefits rider allows you to tap your death benefit if your diabetes results in a terminal diagnosis.
- Up to $500,000 in no-exam coverage, although diabetes may affect eligibility and premiums
- Term-to-permanent conversion option that ensures continuous coverage into old age
- Coverage available for applicants up to age 85, depending on the policy type
- Apply and buy through an Assurity agent
Best for Term Life Coverage: Ethos
Although Ethos offers whole life coverage options, it really shines on the term life front, and its personalized underwriting process is a boon for people with well-controlled diabetes.
Ethos considers applicants on a case-by-case basis. In other words, if you’re otherwise healthy, tobacco-free, and haven’t developed any diabetes complications, you can qualify for an attractively priced term life policy here.
- 100% online application process that doesn’t require a medical exam, even if you have diabetes
- Term policies up to $1.5 million
- Same-day coverage if you’re approved
- Option to work with a noncommissioned agent or buy direct
Methodology: How We Select the Best Life Insurance for Diabetics
We considered several important factors as we built this list of the best life insurance companies for people with diabetes. Each of these factors relates to the overall accessibility, cost, and choice of life insurance for people with Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Types of Life Insurance Available
Some life insurance companies specialize in term life coverage. Others specialize in permanent life insurance, such as whole life and universal life. Still others do both types quite well.
Because diabetics need to work a bit harder to find affordable life insurance that suits their needs, we’re fans of life insurance companies that offer a wide range of coverage options. However, we recognize that some companies prefer one type or the other, so we don’t automatically exclude term-only providers.
Risk Rating for People With Diabetes
This is a somewhat technical but very important consideration for diabetics seeking life insurance coverage. Because your insurance risk rating (or health rating) directly influences your life insurance premiums, it’s a key determinant of a policy’s potential cost — and therefore whether that policy makes sense for you at all.
The best life insurance companies for diabetics are forgiving on this point. Diabetes doesn’t automatically mean “high risk” — if the condition is well-controlled and hasn’t caused serious health complications, diabetes-friendly insurers don’t give it undue weight.
Medical Exam Requirement
A life insurance medical exam is inconvenient and stressful under the best of circumstances. If you have a preexisting health condition like diabetes, it can be extremely nerve-wracking. You’d be forgiven for trying to avoid it entirely.
Some diabetes-friendly insurance companies let you do just that. A no-exam policy won’t give you as much coverage as a policy that does require an exam, but your heirs can still anticipate a healthy death benefit and you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with life insurance coverage.
Relative Risk of Different Types of Diabetes
What we call diabetes is actually several related but different medical conditions. The big ones are Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes (diabetes mellitus), and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes presents early on, usually during childhood, and generally persists throughout adulthood. Type 2 diabetes sets in later in life, often in middle or old age. Gestational diabetes occurs during and sometimes following pregnancy and is usually temporary, although lingering gestational diabetes can affect your life insurance rates and coverage if it’s present when you apply.
We’re fans of life insurance companies that accommodate all three major types of diabetes and don’t have policies that effectively discriminate against people with one type or another. For example, companies that exclude applicants with early-onset diabetes put people with Type 1 diabetes at a disadvantage, while companies that look back five years when considering diabetes in applicants’ health history adversely impact people who’ve since recovered from gestational diabetes.
Special Features for People With Diabetes
A few life insurance companies offer policies designed specifically for people with diabetes, such as John Hancock’s Aspire. Some also offer special riders or feature packages for people with diabetes, such as John Hancock’s Vitality rider, which you can pair with an Aspire policy.
We’re fans of life insurers that go the extra mile to make diabetics feel welcome while helping them live healthier, fuller lives.
Diabetic-Friendly Life Insurance FAQs
You have questions about life insurance for people with diabetes. We have answers.
Can You Get Life Insurance If You Have Diabetes?
Diabetes is a preexisting medical condition that can shorten your lifespan if it’s not properly controlled. Fortunately, it’s not a dealbreaker for life insurance companies. You can still get life insurance if you have diabetes — in some cases, even if it’s not well-controlled.
That said, you’ll need to shop around a bit more than some other folks. Every life insurance company treats diabetics differently, and some may deny coverage altogether.
How Much Does Life Insurance Cost When You Have Diabetes?
This depends on how great a risk the life insurance company thinks you pose.
Some companies are fairly forgiving. If your diabetes is well-controlled, they might assign you a Standard or even Standard Plus health rating, putting you in a more favorable risk category than the typical tobacco user.
Others see diabetes as a greater risk, particularly if it arises early in life (Type 1 or early-onset Type 2) or isn’t well-controlled. This is why it’s important to shop around — although, as a rule, you should expect to pay more for life insurance if you have diabetes.
Do All Life Insurance Companies Require a Medical Exam for Diabetics?
If you need a substantial amount of life insurance — over $500,000 or $1 million, depending on the company — you should expect to get a medical exam as a condition of coverage.
For smaller term life policies, your insurer might not require a medical exam. And if you’re applying for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, you definitely won’t need a medical exam. However, guaranteed issue policies are usually small — no more than $50,000 to $100,000 in coverage, if that.
How Much Life Insurance Can You Get If You Have Diabetes?
There’s no hard coverage amount limit when it comes to life insurance for diabetics. If you’d prefer not to get a medical exam, you’ll be bound by the upper limit of your chosen insurer’s no-exam coverage option. And if underwriters consider your diabetes to be a significant health risk — perhaps because it’s not well-controlled or has already caused health complications — you may find yourself unable to get as much coverage as you’d hoped.
How to Choose the Best Diabetic-Friendly Life Insurance Policy
First, consider your life insurance goals. If you’re a younger person looking for a 20- or 30-year term policy that gets you past your expected student loan and mortgage payoff dates, your menu of choices will be very different than if you’re a retiree seeking a guaranteed issue policy that bears the brunt of your final expenses.
Next, consider what the insurers you’re considering can do for diabetic applicants. Will they waive the medical exam requirement if you apply for a lower death benefit? Do they discount the health risk of well-controlled diabetes, putting you in a more favorable premium range? Do they offer special benefits or features for people with diabetes?
Finally, consider the relative cost and benefit of the policies you’re considering. Just like any other life insurance applicant, you want to pay as little as possible for a reasonable amount of coverage.