What is the Process of Life Insurance Underwriting With Diabetes?

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Chris Riley
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Chris Riley

Chris is the Founder and CEO of USA Rx. Chris has led the USA Rx team to continue to push for further transparency and more savings options in the U.S. prescription marketplace for the Diabetes community. With COVID-19 transforming and normalizing how consumers view and use digital health, Chris led the transformation of the USA Rx brand to a digital health marketplace.

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Last Updated on November 30, 2023

If you’re purchasing life insurance for the first time, the whole process can feel a bit overwhelming – or a lot overwhelming. Especially if you have Diabetes. As you are discovering, not all life insurance companies offer life insurance to Diabetics. NOR do all companies offer the same diabetic life insurance rates.

Which policy type do you choose? What is a fair premium? What kinds of information will you be asked to provide and how will your answers affect the outcome of your application? These are all important questions to consider when applying for life insurance for diabetics.  Here at Diabetes Life Solutions, we’re here to help people with Diabetes understand what options they have for life insurance coverage.  Our job will be to take you through the entire underwriting process, and help you secure the best policy possible.

After all, these are the kinds of factors that the life insurance company will be taking into consideration while underwriting your policy. They will determine what life insurance options you’ll have, and what premiums you’ll pay as a person with Diabetes.  Some people with Diabetes will have non medical exam options, while others may have to complete a paramedical examination.  To determine your specific options, simply complete a quote request, or call us at 888-629-3064.

What Is Underwriting?

When the term Underwriting is used, it is referring to how your health profile will be handled by insurance companies. Diabetes life insurance Underwriting process is completed by a group of licensed life insurance professionals termed “underwriters”. Underwriters are responsible for assessing your potential liability to your life insurance company based upon a variety of predictive factors, and then subsequently writing your policy and determining your premium according to the determinations that were the result of their extensive and comprehensive assessment.

These underwriters are employees of a specific life insurance company. They will review a person’s Diabetes, and entire health profile, to determine what offer, if any, could be made to a Diabetic applicant. Underwriters will follow the specific guidelines that the fully underwritten life insurance companies provide, in terms of Diabetes guidelines.

Depending on your overall health and Diabetes history, an Underwriter will either approve you for life insurance coverage, or deny you for coverage. If approved, the Underwriter will assign an insurance rating to your policy. That rating will determine what your monthly or annual premiums are for underwriting diabetes life insurance.

A person with Diabetes may receive an offer that does not cost more, compared to a person who doesn’t have Diabetes. Or they may receive an offer with ‘table ratings’, where their policy will be more expensive compared to a person who does not have Diabetes. Many people with Type 2 Diabetes receive Standard or Standard Plus ratings. Or they may receive an offer with ‘table ratings’, where their policy will be more expensive compared to a person who does not have Diabetes.  Sadly, most people with Type 1 Diabetes will be placed in this category, and will pay higher life insurance premiums.

Sample life insurance ratings for Diabetics:

Preferred- this offer generally afforded to diabetics diagnosed after age 50, and who have A1C’s below 7.3, and who do not have any significant health issues. These ratings are given to people who are viewed as a ‘low’ risk to the life insurance company. Very few diabetics will qualify for this rating.

Standard- Standard ratings are often given to Type 2 Diabetics who are diagnosed after age 30, have no Diabetes complications, and have great control of their condition and A1C levels. Type 1 Diabetics may also receive a Standard rating if they were diagnosed as an adult, and their overall health profile is healthy.

Table Rated– If you were diagnosed with Diabetes as a child, struggling to control the Diabetes, or if you have complications from the Diabetes or other significant health issues, companies may apply a ‘Table Rating’. The better your health profile, the less ratings the Underwriter will assign to your life insurance policy. Common ratings range from Table A thru Table J. Each table rating will be an increase of 25% to your premium.

What are the Different Types of Underwriting for Diabetics?

When it comes to applying for life insurance with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes, you’ll have 4 different options in the level of Underwriting an insurance company will do.

+ Fully Underwritten Policies

For these types of policies, life insurance companies will ask you several detailed health, and diabetic history questions. In addition, they will require a paramedical exam. This requires an examiner to come out to your home or place of business to take your height, weight, and a blood and urine sample. Some life insurance companies may also even do a ‘credit’ check.

Your lab results will be used to help an Underwriter to determine your risk to them as an insurance company, and what possible rating they can offer. Companies will also order the last three to five years worth of Diabetes and medical records.

Your complete health profile is then reviewed, as all of this information shows an Underwriter what kind of health you are in. The better the health and Diabetes information, the better your diabetic life insurance rates will be. These types of policies may take 3 to 4 weeks in order to gain an approval.

+ Simplified Issue Policy without Medical Records

Another term for policies like these are “Non Medical Exam Life Insurance Policies for Diabetics” . Essentially meaning the policy will not require a medical exam, nor a blood and urine sample.

Life insurance companies will ask detailed health, and Diabetes related questions, to determine eligibility. In addition they will do a Medical Information Bureau and prescription background check. This background information will help companies determine your eligibility based on the life insurance underwriting process.

For the majority of non medical exam life insurance policies for diabetics, you’ll either be approved, or declined. It’s always a good idea to speak with an agent first, before applying. They can help you determine if this type of policy is ideal for you or not. Nothing is more frustrating then applying for life insurance, and being immediately declined due to taking insulin, or possibly another type of medication.

Getting an approval for this type of diabetic life insurance policy is much quicker, compared to a fully underwritten policy. Some companies can make an approval in a matter of minutes, while others may take 3 to 4 days. Once an insurance company has your health profile and background reports to review, they’ll make an underwriting decision. An actual human underwriter will use all your data to make a final decision.

We’ll also note that some companies will use Artificial Intelligence to make an underwriting decision on your application. Certain people with Type 2 Diabetes will be eligible for this type of non medical exam underwriting. A decision will literally be made within a few minutes. Companies will again use MIB, Prescription history, Lexus Nexis and Motor Vehicle Report data to determine eligibility.

While this AI underwriting process sounds exciting, there’s one flaw in our opinion. This flaw is that there’s NO human reviewing the application. If your data doesn’t meet the algorithm’s requirement, you are declined. And there’s no way to dispute the decision. Because of this, it’s extremely important to speak with us ahead of time so we can help you determine is your health profile meets

+ Simplified Issue Policy that does Require a Review of Medical Records

Similar to the previously non medical exam life insurance for diabetics policy, no medical exam is needed. However, they will order the last three to five years worth of medical records.

In addition to an Underwriter reviewing your medical records, they’ll have you complete a health questionnaire. They’ll also do a MIB and prescription drug check. Depending on the results and on the information in your medical records, the Underwriter will make an underwriting decision.

Unlike a simplified issue policy without medical records, Underwriters are able to make offers ranging from Preferred, to table rated offers. Since they are able to get a better understanding of your overall health, they may be able to offer a policy that is better priced. Or if you have a few health concerns, you may still qualify for a non medical exam policy with diabetes.

Policies like these will not be approved quickly though. Depending on your Doctor offices, it may take three to four weeks to gather the records, and another two to three days for an underwriting decision. Usually, your agent will be able to order and obtain the necessary records on your behalf.

A person who’s ideal for a policy like this is a Diabetic in good overall health, that just wouldn’t have time to complete a paramedical exam. If you fall into this category, this type of underwriting diabetes life insurance policy is perfect for you. For those who are 100% certain that all information in your medical records is favorable, this is probably a good route to take. If you are NOT so sure that your records are in good order, you may be better suited for plans that do not review your health records.

To determine if a policy like this is in your best interest, simply speak with one of our diabetic life insurance advisors. Our agents will gather some information from you, and can help determine which type of policy is best for your situation.

Please remember that everybody with Diabetes will have a different profile. Your unique health profile will help us determine which type of underwriting is appropriate.

+ Guaranteed Issue Policies

Guarantee issue, or guarantee acceptance policies work exactly how they sound. An applicant is ‘guaranteed’  to be approved. There are NO health questions, or medical underwriting for policies of this nature.

Guaranteed issue policies for diabetics can be a last resort option, for someone in poor overall health. Or for a person who has undergone treatment recently for serious health issues.

Since there is no underwriting or health information gathered, premiums for these policies are much higher. In addition, since a company does not know anything about your health, they will not pay the full death benefit, until the policy is two years old, or older.

Should you die of natural causes in the first two years, companies will pay the beneficiary all premiums paid in, plus ten percent interest. If death occurs of ‘accidental death’ at any point, the full amount of policy is paid out.

Luckily, the Diabetes community has lots of options, when it comes to the types of underwriting requirements, they will have to go thru. Our agents at Diabetes Life Solutions are happy to speak with you, and assist to determine which type of policy, is best for you.

What Types of Information are Life Insurance Companies Looking for?

Life insurance companies will all have slightly different questions they’ll ask a diabetic applicant. They want to get a clear idea, of the type of person they are considering insuring.

As an applicant, you are asked a series of in depth health and personal questions, which may include:

  • Current age
  • Your gender
  • Your height and weight
  • Age first diagnosed with Diabetes
  • Medications taking for Diabetes
  • Control of Diabetes and A1C history
  • Any use of Diabetes related technology
  • Have you ever been declined life insurance due to having Diabetes
  • The general reason for which you are purchasing a life insurance policy
  • Your marital status
  • Whether or not you have kids (and how many)
  • What you do for a living
  • How much income you generate annually
  • Any existing life insurance in place
  • Any testing or recommended surgeries not completed or scheduled
  • Whether or not you smoke or use tobacco products
  • Your alcohol consumption habits
  • Do you exercise regularly
  • Whether or not you have used or currently use recreational drugs.
  • Hobbies you engage in
  • Are you a frequent international traveler.

While many of these questions may seem irrelevant, they all contribute to the assessment of potential risk that your health and your lifestyle pose to the company. According to statistics, certain factors increase the likelihood of death, and thus increase the risk of financial loss to the company. When applying, you’ll want your agent to present your health profile in the ‘prettiest of picture’ to the insurance company. That’s where we would come in!

In other words, if you engage in thrill hobbies like, let’s say, skydiving, the company is more likely to have to pay a death benefit to your family as opposed to an applicant who enjoys painting model trains in their spare time. Work in a coal mine? Well, your occupation is going to be viewed as a liability – and it may affect your monthly premiums.  In some situations, your lifestyle or occupation would not be accepted by a specific life insurance company.  

Why do they need to know about your travel habits? Depending on where you travel to, certain countries, especially countries that are known for violence and rampant illness, present as a potential risk of financial loss to the company. Not to mention if you travel with Insulin, they are going to want to know how you store it and keep it refrigerated.

The same goes for your health. If you’re overweight and smoke, you can expect to see a hike in your life insurance premium. Thankfully, if you have diabetes, type 1 or type 2, you can work with an independent insurance agent that can work with underwriters for specific companies to help create a policy that is affordable. Working with companies that understand diabetes and what proper diabetes management can do for the disease is beneficial in finding affordable options.

While underwriting may seem like a breach of privacy in some form, it’s all in the name of business. Just as you wouldn’t invest in a new business without first assessing the market and completing the research necessary for success and a promising return on investment, an insurance company must also determine how they can comfortably maintain coverage on an individual according to the factors that best predict their financial security.  Every insurance provider will have their own underwriting questions, and application procedures.

Final Thoughts

Finding life insurance with Diabetes is challenging.  As a consumer, it would be impossible for you to know what underwriting criteria every insurance company has.  Nor should you feel like you have to take the time out of your busy schedule to study up on this. Because of this, lean on us and our expertise.  

Don’t feel overwhelmed! Simply contact us at 888-629-3064 or fill out a quote request. We are here to serve the Diabetes community, and to make the life insurance application process as easy as possible for you. Our organization only works with the most Diabetic friendly life insurance carriers, so we can provide the best possible rates to our Diabetic clients.

Since we work with several companies, we can take your health information and run them past several companies Underwriters. This allows us to locate the best possible solutions for you and your family.  In our opinion a person should not overpay for life insurance.  Especially if you’re living with Diabetes.  Don’t make the mistake of paying thousands of dollars more for coverage, and contact us today.

Matt Schmidt is a nationally licensed diabetes insurance expert. Over this time frame he's helped out over 10,000 clients secure life insurance coverage with Diabetes. He's frequently authors content to Forbes, Entrepreneur, The Simple Dollar, GoBanking Rates, MSN, Insurancenews.net, and Yahoo Finance and many more.

Matt Schmidt is also the Co-Founder of Diabetes Life Solutions and Licensed Insurance agent. He’s been working with the Diabetes community for over 18 years to find consumers the best life insurance policies.  Since 2011, he has been a qualified non-member of MDRT, the most prestigious life insurance trade organization in the USA

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