According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control, more than 100 million adults in the United States currently have diabetes or prediabetes, a condition that can lead to type two diabetes if left untreated (source).
Diabetes is an illness that can affect many aspects of your overall health and it puts you in the “high risk” category when it comes to acquiring life insurance.
If you suffer from diabetes or another lifelong disease, you may presume that you won’t qualify for life insurance. The good news is, that’s not the case. The bad news is that finding life insurance may be more difficult for you, and you may have to pay higher premiums than a healthy person.
If you are what’s termed a “high-risk individual,” below is the five-step process to finding the best life insurance.
1) Find a knowledgeable agent
Jason R. Tate of Jason Tate Financial Consulting in Tennessee, says, “High-risk individuals such as those with diabetes can get life insurance, but they need to work with an independent agent that can shop the coverage. Certain companies are more favorable than others with different risk condition underwriting.
Many times, a company might approve a high-risk individual with a substandard rating, which is still better than a decline. I would recommend that any high-risk individual looking to purchase life insurance seek out an experienced independent agent that knows the industry.”
The catch is that agents can charge additional fees or restrict your options to companies that offer them the highest commissions. Often, a better alternative is to use an online life insurance comparison engine. These are typically free to use and provide a large selection of life insurance policies. Click here to review a wide variety of life insurance companies, where you’ll be able to compare product details and read real user reviews.
2) Fill out a life insurance diabetes questionnaire
When you apply for life insurance, you will be asked a variety of health questions. If you are diabetic, there will be an even greater number of questions about your health, so be prepared.
Here are 12 standard questions you can expect to be asked if you’re a diabetic:
- Do you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes?
- How old were you when you were diagnosed with diabetes?
- How do you work to control your condition (i.e., diet, exercise, medication, or all of the above)?
- Can you provide proof that you’ve worked to control your diabetes?
- What is your average blood pressure?
- What is your average cholesterol?
- Do you make regular visits to your doctor or diabetic specialist?
- Are you suffering from any diabetes-related health complications?
- Do you suffer from any other health issues?
- How often do you exercise?
- What is your typical diet?
- What medications do you currently take to control your condition (if any)?
3) Organize your medical information
When applying for life insurance, you should be prepared with information for the insurance representative. Here’s what you can do before your appointment with an insurance agent:
- Make a list of your current medications, including name and dosage
- List the name, address, and phone number for all of your doctors during the past two years
- Make sure all of your follow up appointments have been completed
4) Get a medical exam
This part isn’t very fun, but it’s standard practice for almost all life insurance policies, regardless of whether or not you have diabetes. What happens during this exam?
Typically, a medical professional comes to your house. Blood is drawn, urine is collected, and blood pressure is recorded. The entire process usually takes about 30 minutes.
In some cases, more information will be needed from your doctor. And in other cases, a full physical will be required. It depends upon what the life insurance underwriters are seeking.
5) Standard, substandard, or preferred: which class are you?
Once you’ve answered the necessary questions, provided medical information, and taken the standard medical exam, the underwriters will use all of the gathered data to decide which underwriting class you belong to.
You won’t qualify for “Preferred” status if you’re diabetic. However, you may classify as “Standard” if you are in otherwise good health aside from your diabetes. Standard means you are of average health and you’ll be charged average premium rates.
If it’s been determined that your health is below average, but not poor enough to decline your application, you may be classified as “Substandard.” This means that your rates will be higher than anyone deemed “Standard.”
This is still a better option than the last resort for high-risk individuals: guaranteed life insurance.
Guaranteed life insurance: your last resort
Tate says, “If traditional policies are declined, a second option is to examine the final expense/guaranteed market as these policies are growing significantly in popularity due to less strict underwriting.”
A guaranteed life insurance policy is exactly what it sounds like: guaranteed for all. There is no medical exam required nor are there any medical questions asked.
What’s the catch? This type of policy costs significantly more than a standard life insurance policy and offers lower coverage. Also, there is typically a waiting period.
This means that, if you pass away during the initial waiting period, your beneficiaries will not get a payout.
If you are a high-risk individual, such as a diabetic, and you support a family, it’s time to start thinking about acquiring a life insurance policy.
It may be something you’ve been putting off, but getting started is easy. To find the best option for you and your family, start by reviewing and comparing life insurance companies today.
Heather Skyler writes about business, finance, family life and more. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Newsweek, Catapult, The Rumpus, BizFluent, Career Trend and more. She lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband, son, and daughter.