‘Can I get life insurance if I have diabetes?’ is a question which plagues millions of diabetes patients in India. The instances of diabetes have worsened with time in India. According to a health study conducted on World health Day 2017, it was found that India is among the top 3 countries, along with china and USA, to have a high diabetic population. The count of diabetic patients has risen drastically from 11.9 million in 1980 to 64.5 million in recent years. The chance of a male or female likely to have diabetes has nearly doubled in the past few years, thanks to changes in dietary patterns and unhealthy eating habits.
When it comes to life insurance and diabetes, there are many questions which beg answering. Would they be eligible to get life insurance? What questions can the insurer possibly ask before deciding to offer cover? How much will the cover cost? Do I have to undergo a medical examination? And many more. But rest assured, it is not impossible for diabetic patients to get a life insurance plan. In fact, it is not very difficult either. If your diabetes is under control, it will be far easier for you to get the kind of coverage you need at affordable rates too. Here we answer some commonly asked questions regarding life insurance for diabetics.
Will I Be Eligible For Life Insurance If I Am Diabetic?
When it comes to diabetes, there are different types – Type 1 and type 2. Now, if anyone is suffering from whether of these two types of diabetes, they can get life insurance. However, this becomes easier if the patient’s diabetes has been under control for a minimum of 6 to 12 months. Diabetic patients who are dependent on insulin can also get life insurance with ease. However, those diabetes patients who have kept a check on their diabetes but may have some additional health risks such as obesity, high blood pressure which is not restrained, a coronary heart disease or smoke, may or may not get approved for life insurance, depending on the level of risk they are associated with. Also, those individuals whose diabetes is progressing and not kept in check, may not be approved for a life insurance policy.
What Questions Can You Expect The Insurer To Ask:
If you have diabetes and are looking to get life insurance, be prepared to answer plenty of questions which your insurer will have for you. When an insurer is reviewing the application of a diabetic patient, their primary aim will be to understand the current medical condition of the patient and whether or not the patient is taking all necessary measures to keep the disease in check. For this purpose, they are likely to ask some of these question.
When/what age were you diagnosed with diabetes?
When it comes to diabetes, the age at which you were diagnosed can make a tremendous difference. The earlier you were diagnosed, the worse it is as the disease has had a longer time to cause damage. Similarly, the later in life you have been diagnosed, your chances of getting insurance improve significantly. The typical age which differentiates an early diagnosis from a late one is 40 years. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes at a later stage in life (typically after 40 years), and do not have any other health risk, then it is not likely to have much effect on your insurance quote.
What was the diagnosis/the type of diabetes? What is the course of the disease?
There are two types of diabetes which affects a person. Type 1 which is medically known as Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) or Juvenile-Onset Diabetes, and Type 2 which is Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) or Adult-Onset Diabetes. If you have Type 2 diabetes, you are likely to get far better quotes on a life insurance policy, than if you are diagnosed with Type 1. This is because, Type 2 diabetes manifests at a later stage in life and may be easier to keep in check with oral medicine and insulin, as compared to Type 1 diabetes which is detected earlier in life and requires far more stringent medical attention.
What is your A1c level?
Any number below 7.5 is considered to be a healthy A1c level. But, a diabetes patient with an A1c level of up to 8.5 may also be able to apply for life insurance. The ideal level to have is 7.
What is your usual fasting blood sugar level?
The ideal blood sugar level for a normal person is 140. However, insurance providers will also allow people with blood sugar level of up to 180, to apply for a life insurance plan. Some insurers will also consider the patient’s fructosamine levels which is essentially the patient’s blood sugar levels for the past 2 to 3. The ideal level is to be between 1.5 and 2.5.
What treatment are you undergoing?
When it comes to applying for life insurance as a diabetes patient, the treatment you are taking may not have much of an impact on your chances of getting a policy. If your diabetes is easily controllable with the help of a controlled diet and exercise, or with the help of oral drugs and not insulin, it is a good sign, which insurers may take favourably. What really matters to an insurer is whether or not the treatment you’re taking is giving results.
What medication are you taking?
As mentioned before, diabetes which is easily controllable with the help of proper exercise, diet and oral drugs, is considered to be a good sign. Insurers also prefer patients who are able to control their diabetes with the help of oral medication and pills over those who have to take insulin to keep it in check. However, depending on their medical condition besides diabetes, a person may or may not be approved for insurance.
Is the medication/treatment working?
One of the most important things which the insurer will want to know is whether or not the treatment or medication that you’re taking for diabetes is working or not. If you’ve got the diabetes in check, it is viewed favourably. Insurers will determine that by asking for your A1c level (ideally be in the range of 6 – 7), your fasting blood glucose level (ideally under 100). These two determinants, along with the age at which you were diagnosed, are some of the most important factors influencing the approval or rejection of your life insurance application.
How often do you visit your doctor?
Like mentioned above, the most important consideration for an insurer reviewing the application of a diabetic patient is whether or not the patient is able to keep the disease in check. In addition to your treatment and medication effects, it is equally important for the insurer to know that you are visiting your physician regularly. If you are visiting twice a year, it may work in your favour. If you’re visiting every quarter, then it indicates that you are actively involved in keeping the disease in check.
Do you have any other health problems?
In addition to having diabetes, the insurer will also require to know about any other medical complications that you may be suffering from. If you have contracted any other diseases such as a heart or kidney disease, it will influence the quote which you get for the plan. The additional medical conditions that you suffer from will automatically drive up your risk factor with the insurer. If you do not have any complications along with diabetes, it indicates that you have successfully kept the disease in check, and this will be viewed favourably.
In addition to the above questions, some other questions which an insurer might ask you are:
- If you are or aren’t a tobacco user
- Whether you smoke or not. If you do, then how often.
- Your height and weight.
- Your occupation and income.
- Your marital status
- Your general health and medical history.
- Your family’s general health and medical history.
Will I Have To Pay More For Life Insurance?
When it comes to premiums for life insurance, a diabetic patient is more likely to shell out more in premiums as compared to someone who doesn’t have any medical condition. For a diabetic applicant, the quote that they get will depend on the level of risk that the insurer associates with you. This risk rating is provided on the basis of a number of factors such as the age at which you were diagnosed, your you’re your family’s medical history, whether or not you have any other health risks, your weight and height, your medical history, the type of diabetes that you are affected by, the medication/treatment that you are taking to keep it in control, whether or not the same is helping to keep the disease in check, your A1c/glucose/blood sugar levels.
Like mentioned above, Type 2 diabetes is considered the lesser evil out of Type 1 and Type 2. Therefore, premium rates for patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes will be lower than those for Type 1 patients. However, the most important factor that insurers consider is whether or not the patient is able to keep the disease under control and with what measures. Premiums for people who have been diagnosed with the disease at a later age will usually be relatively more affordable.
Do I or Don’t I Need To Give a Medical Exam?
While you may not have to give a medical exam to apply for a life insurance plan, you may have to fill in a questionnaire. Normally, those with Type 2 diabetes will not have to undergo a medical exam. However, if you do have to give a medical exam, it is best to be truthful about your condition. Life insurance contracts come with a 2-year contestability period which means that the insurer can annul your contract if they find any discrepancy in the details that you have provided them. Similarly, they may also forfeit the benefit payment to your nominee if you pass away during the contestability period and are found to have provided false information on your examination or questionnaire.