Replacing Your Employer-Sponsored Life Insurance: For People with Type 1 Diabetes

By James Tobin, CFP®

Critical Takeaways

  • Everybody can get approved for some coverage
  • Term rates are generally table 4-6 in the best of circumstances (rare)
  • Simplified issue and Guaranteed issue are common alternatives with type 1 diabetes cases

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Expert Review Of  Life Insurance with type 1 diabetes

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Reviewed by

Jim Tobin, CFP®

Why you can have confidence in this review

At Workers Bequest Life Insurance, we value our editorial independence. We keep our reviews strictly factual so you can use them to make informed decisions. Life insurance carriers referred to on this site do not approve reviews. 

Can I Be Approved For Life Insurance With Type 1 Diabetes?

Every applicant for life insurance with Type 1 Diabetes can be approved for a policy.

However, the type of policy that can be approved, and the rates charged, will depend on the amount of insulin required, how well it's controlled,  and your overall health.

Because the underwriting standards are different for each type of policy, upgrading your Employer-Sponsored life Insurance plan will require a review of the several life insurance options with high cholesterol as broken in three sections in this article: (click button to go directly to section).

Best Price

Strict Underwriting

More Expensive

Easy Underwriting

Most Expensive

No Underwriting

What Information Will  Life Insurance Companies Want To Know?

In order to underwrite your application life insurance carriers will need to know the symptoms that you  have experienced, the treatment undergone, including prescription drugs used, and any medical follow up. 

With a couple of caveats, obtaining offers for term life insurance with type 1 diabetes is the same as with any other health condition.

The primary caveats for life insurance with type 1 diabetes are that no exam or so called "non-med" policies will not be available for traditional term insurance and an attending physician's statement (APS) will  surely be requested.

The APS will likely slow the process as doctors are in no hurry to respond to requests from life insurance companies.

Much the same as the information that underwriting will require, the information that you will need to provide to an agent  in order to get the most accurate quote is as follows:

  • Date of Diagnosis (your corresponding age)
  • Treatments Undergone (i.e. insulin required)
  • Dates of Treatments      (A1C and insulin history)
  • Severity & Frequency of Symptoms (hospitalizations and prolonged work absences)
  • Any Other Health Issues

Will I Need To Take An Exam For Type 1 Diabetes Life Insurance?

In order to get the best term rates possible you will need to take an exam. Even well controlled cases of type 1 diabetes will  not be eligible for no-exam underwriting for traditional term policies.

Without the no exam option, you will be required to take a para-medical exam. The exam is usually a 15-20 minute meeting with a  nurse. Your exam will consist of a blood draw, a urine sample, and height and weight recorded.

The medical exam is discussed in detail here.

How Much Will My Life Insurance Cost And How Exactly Are My Rates Affected By My Type 1  Diabetes?

The rates you pay for term insurance are dependent on the underwriting class you are graded by the carrier. Type 1 diabetes applications are generally going to be rated as table 2 (rare) or lower. This issue is discussed using rating guides and  pricing samples.  Sample pricing for simplified issue and  guaranteed issue policies is provided in the corresponding links.

The difficult part of term life insurance with type 1 diabetes is finding the best deal. This is because different carriers have differing appetites for certain kinds of risks. As a result navigating this process is not as easy as using a quote tool or  sample rates.  This is discussed in greater detail in the case study.

How Accurate Are The Quotes I Get From Your Quote Tool? 

The quotes you receive from the quote tool on this site are 100% accurate for the information inputted. That is to say, if you get the rate class correct- your rate will be correct. The problem with online tools is that people generally think they are inn better or worse shape than is reality.   

If you are unsure about rate class you should choose a range and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Alternatively, you can fill out the customized quote form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.

How Can I Improve My Underwriting Rating And Lower My Life Insurance Cost?

The most effective ways to improve your life insurance rating are to use an agent that has access to the companies that will view you most favorably and to take care of your health. 

See Why to use Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with Type 1 Diabetes to better understand the reason to use an independent agent.

As far as lifestyle goes, if you take diet and exercise seriously along with limiting alcohol and quitting smoking (if you smoke), it should be reflected in your blood markers. 

If you have a auto immune medical condition like high cholesterol, documenting compliance with medical advise and any medications is very important. Obtaining Having a physicians letter stating that you have been compliant and improving is helpful.

Do these things and you can't help but improve your health and your life insurance rating.  

What Are The Best Life Insurance Companies For Type 1 Diabetes?

Life insurance companies have differing appetites for specific risks. These appetites are reflected in underwriting and ultimately pricing. Simplified issue carriers will be state dependent and  one of the better known term carriers for dealing with type 1 diabetes is Prudential. 

However, risk appetite can, and does, change and the only way to guarantee the best possible deal is to work with an experienced independent agent. see the case study here to get a clear understanding.

What Is The Application Process For Life Insurance With type 1 Diabetes?

Regardless of your pre existing condition, the application process is largely the same. The life insurance application process is an eight step process that includes choosing your terms, picking a carrier, submitting to the exam,  and signing documents (digital signatures accepted). The entire 8 step process is laid out for you here

Traditional Term Life Insurance With Type 1 Diabetes.

While standard rates are not possible with type 1 diabetes, the severity of the health rating, and corresponding price, can vary significantly. 

Therefore, it's important that you use an agent that is experienced with diabetes cases, and has access to the carriers most likely to be receptive.

The process of obtaining a term life insurance offer with type 1 diabetes is similar to seeking  life insurance after a heart attack,  Sleep Apnea or AFib and many other specific conditions.

Terms Lengths

Primarily, term life insurance is available for lengths ranging from 5 years to 30 years with 20-year terms being the most popular. Term policies usually have a minimum face amount of $50000, and the policies terminate at the end of the term period or can be renewed annually at a vastly increased rate.

Likely Underwriting Classification With Type 1 Diabetes

Applications for life insurance with type 1 diabetes are evaluated on a case by case basis. As such, your story matters. That is to say two people with the same age and underlying condition may get  different offers from the same carrier based on the time elapsed since the event and patient compliance.

Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are the best estimates based on experience. Note that the standard and higher categories are not available with type 1 diabetes.

Best Case - If over age 35 and type 1 is  diagnosed after age 5, with Hba1c readings below 7, and a maximum daily use of 25 ml of insulin, applicants with symptoms are under excellent control with no hospitalizations, have a possibility for a table 3-5 rating. 

Mid Case - If your type 1 diabetes is more challenging despite good compliance or cases where the applicant is under 35  a heavier substandard rate will apply. Table 6/F -8/H is likely.*

To learn about how table ratings work click here.

Severe Case - If your Type 1 diabetes issues are severe and you, have been hospitalized, require >50 ml of insulin  and/or you have additional medical conditions, you will not be eligible for traditional term insurance. Skip to Simplified life insurance options.

while expensive this may still be a very good outcome for your circumstances

Decline - Type 2 diabetes is commonly declined for traditional coverage  If this is the case you may be eligible for a smaller face amount policy. These policies are referred to as Guaranteed issue or simplified issue. If you have been declined please contact us.

Case Study: Pricing Term Life Insurance With Type 1 Diabetes

Please see the case study below . it will show why it is in your interest to have as many options as possible available when shopping for life insurance with type 1 diabetes or any other impairment.

 Male Age: 46

$250000 20 Year Term

Tobacco: No

Well controlled type 1 diabetes, diagnosed age 11

Hba1c <7, 25 ml insulin daily 

This looks like a best case scenario would be table 4 depending on the insurers appetite for a type 1  risk. Let's take a look at the rates.

  • Table 4 
  • Table 6/F 
  • Table 8/H

Life Insurance Company

Monthly Payment

$ 57.60

$ 64.36

$ 68.41

 $ 70.35

$ 96.90

This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available, illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates Principle is more than 10% more expensive than Banner.

On it's face this seems like a pretty straight forward choice and if underwriting grades between carriers is the same, it really can be that simple.

This type of easy price comparison is particularly helpful  for younger people in good health and shows why you want to use an independent Agent.

For people who suffer from type 1 diabetes or any other serious diagnosis, it gets much more complicated.

Because life insurers manage their appetite for specific risks by being more lenient or more stringent with underwriting grades, you need to know which company will grade you a table 4 risk and which ones will grade you as table 6-8.

In the case above Banner is best in either case. But, if your Agent can't use Banner, Principal is likely to be the best deal because the more competitively priced carriers will likely rate the risk table 6-8 while Principal might well go table4.

This is something you can't know by simply looking at the lowest price. In this case using an independent agent could save you both time and money. Remember saving 30 a month on a 20 year policy is $7200 over the life of the contract.

That's  $7200 that would be better left in your wallet!.

Next Step

We are glad you did the necessary efforts to check out for a better upgrade of your Employer Sponsored Life Insurance Plan and finally decided on Workers Bequest. We are committed to a totally transparent process (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like), and making the application process as painless as possible.

Simply give us a call or contact us via email and we can get you started. If you have any questions, We'd also like to hear them.

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