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Diabetes and life insurance

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Qualifying for life insurance with diabetes

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If you are reading this article, then you are fully aware of the effects that being diabetic can have on all facets of your life.  Finding life insurance for our clients with diabetes is an increasingly common request.  At any given time, we have someone in underwriting who is diabetic so we're familiar with navigating the life insurance market in such a situation.  Let's take a look at the life insurance market has it pertains to diabetics.

The first consideration as with all life insurance shoppers is whether term or whole life works better.  The simple answer is that whole life insurance, when rated up, for diabetes will just be too expensive or not provide enough protection.  This is true even for people in the best of health but the effect is magnified since we will likely be "rated up" which life insurance parlance for incurring a rate increase.  Just how much can we expect?

We'll try to keep the industry jargon to a minimum or better yet, explain what you can expect in layman's terms.  First, a quick lay of the rates landscape.

When you run a quote, you are typically shown the best rates.  This usually goes under the heading of Preferred so some version of that.   Each carrier is slightly different but there's usually about 3-4 levels below this.  These levels are slightly higher in cost and are determined by various health issues or histories.  It's very difficult if not impossible to get these Preferred rating tiers if we have diabetes.    So what can we expect?

For Type 1 Diabetes, a Table rating is mandatory.  This is the rating below the top tiers mentioned above.  Keep in mind that this is usually the best case.  This assumes we're in good health on other fronts. 

Type 2 diabetes with good control is standard pricing (effectively tier 2/3 pricing under term life- non preferred)

Type 2 diabetes with tobacco use drops you down to table rating again

Type 2 diabetes with proteinuria is typically an auto-decline.

What does all this mean in terms of real money?  Let's say we start at Preferred Plus.  The increase in cost to Preferred might be 25%.  A further drop from Preferred to Standard Plus might increase the cost another 30%.  The increase from Standard Plus to Standard might increase the cost another 10%.  And finally, the drop from Standard to Table Rate 1-A would result in a further increase of about 20%.  Keep in mind these are not guarantees...just guidelines. 

A quick take on the math means that you can expect to pay about double with Type 1 Diabetes (assuming good health).  Type 2 with good control is probably 80% higher than the best rate you'll find quoted.  Type 2 with tobacco or other corresponding health issues will likely double your rate again.  When you run your term life quote, keep this in mind. 

Are there certain carriers that make sense for people with health issues including diabetes?   Also, do certain type of plans (such as non-medical exam or hybrid plans) make sense?  Based on our experience, one good approach might be the Hybrid term life insurance plans.  These plans allow you to qualify fairly quickly for Accidental and Death life insurance coverage and then expand this out with a para-medical exam during a certain period of time.  We also have some carriers that might be more flexible in case of diabetes.  Ultimately, this is the kind of situation where a generic life insurance quote will not suffice.  You will need to experience and subtlety of a life insurance agent to help you find the best fit and more importantly, avoid the frustration and lost time of applying for life insurance plans that will ultimately not work out.  Keep in mind that the quote given at any website (including ours) is just a quote. 

The actual final offer is what really matters and we can help you find the best offer.  Contact us with your particular situation so we can help you navigate the market.  



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