Life Insurance Approval With Type 2 Diabetes 

By James Tobin 

Underwriting  Takeaways

diabetes life insurance
  • Rate Impact Minor To Significant
  •  Pricing  Based On Time Since Diagnosis,  A1C Control , Any Complications  And  Overall Health
  • Standard Plus Ratings Possible, Table Ratings Common


Whole Life

No Exam


LIHD  Difficulty Rating

If you are looking for life insurance with type 2 diabetes, you have come to the right place.

As a life insurance professional and someone who has to be cautious with sugar levels, I decided that this latest  post for the Life Insurance Help Desk site would be about obtaining life insurance with type 2 diabetes.

With the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in full swing, life insurance carriers are trying to adapt to demand. The result is rapidly changing underwriting standards for a disease that was once insurable only by final expense carriers.

Carriers for life insurance with type 2 diabetes, will want to know as much as they can about the risk they are being asked to insure. This is no different than how the carriers deal with any other pre-existing condition like high blood pressure and depression, or lifestyle choices like smoking or scuba diving.

The purpose of this article is to provide all the information needed to get the best possible deal on life insurance with type 2 diabetes.

If you already know more than you care to think about when it comes to type ll diabetes, you can use the quick navigation tool to skip around f this article.

What Carriers Will Take Into Consideration for Life Insurance with Type 2 Diabetes

Underwriters for life insurance with type 2 diabetes will generally be concerned with a few basicl questions

  • Do you fit into the usual risk factors for type II diabetes
  • What are/were your type II diabetes symptoms
  • What was the Diagnosis & Treatment
  • What is the aftercare (follow up & compliance)
  • What is your health like apart from the type II diabetes 

While the outline above is general in form , the questions will require specific answers. These answers will be gathered from your application, a telephone interview, the Medical Information Bureau, a Script Check, and an Attending Physicians Statement (APS).

Lets look at the general areas of inquiry one at a time.

Do you "fit" into the usual risk factors for type 2  diabetes

Because diabetes is an epidemic, other than scrutinizing weight and alcohol use, underwriting for life insurance with type 2 diabetes will not view this as a factor.

The reason it matters with most conditions is that underwriters are more comfortable with making offers when an applicant fits into a common pattern. If the condition doesn't fit, there as a real possibility that something else is at play. When this is the case, underwriters will try to allay their fears by taking a harder look at the file.

What are/were your symptoms

Underwriting for life insurance with type 2 diabetes will want to know the symptoms you had (if any) and how long you had them before the diagnosis.

Excessive weight is the most common predicate for insulin resistance and ultimately type 2 diabetes.  

The common symptoms of type II diabetes are 

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination. 
  • Increased hunger. 
  • Weight loss. 
  • Fatigue. 
  • Blurred vision. 
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections. 
  • Areas of darkened skin.

source:  Mayo Clinic 

Key Take Aways

  • Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from diabetes.
  • one in four people who suffer from diabetes are unaware of the condition. 
  • High blood sugar can cause severe health complications
  • Warning sign include increased urination, blurred vision, fatigue ,and slow healing of cuts. 

Your Diagnosis and Treatments

Life insurance underwriters for type 2 diabetes will want to know the date of first diagnosis and of any subsequent major flare-ups. Underwriting will also want to know what medications you have been prescribed for type II diabetes.

The Cleveland Clinic has posted thee following numbers as being indicative of type ll diabetes.





Fasting Glucose Test

Less than 100


126 or higher

random Glucose test

Less than 140


200 or higher

A1C Test

less than 5.6%


6.5% or higher

The common treatments for type ll diabetes can be broken into two,distinct but often complimentary,  methods. 

  • Pharmaceutical
  • Lifestyle (follow up)

The most common oral medications are:

  • Sulfonylureas- medications used to stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin. These drugs have been used sine the 1950's.
  • Biguanides- These drugs help  lower the amount of glucose produced  by your liver.  This drug is commonly known as Metformin.
  • Meglitinides- these drugs also work to stimulate the release of insulin. 
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors- these drugs are used to block the breakdown of starch in the body.
  • SGLT2 Inhibitors- This new class of drug works to stimulate the kidneys to reabsorb glucose and eliminate it through urination. the trade name for this drug is Invokana. 
  • Bile Acid Sequestrants- These drugs are primarily to lower LDL cholesterol. However, they have been effective at lowering blood glucose.
  • Source : American Diabetes Association

While information that is "foggy" will be taken from your medical records, knowing the dates of diagnosis and treatments is necessary to get an accurate quote for life insurance with type 2 diabetes..

Your Follow Up Care

Life insurance underwriters will want to see that you have been compliant with prescription medication and any follow up requirements including doctors appointments.

Lifestyle changes are almost uniformally recommended for type ll diabetes patients. Not surprisingly, the most common recommendations center around diet and exercise. 

 The Mayo Clinic suggest that eat better, move more, and lose weight.

Sounds simple eh?

 Specifically, the advice is to avoid fatty foods and eat more vegetables and whole grains.

Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day.

Your Over all Health (and related conditions)

While any application for life insurance will take into consideration your overall health including conditions like high cholesterol and gout, underwriters for life insurance with type 2 diabetes  will specifically look for certain related conditions.

Among the related conditions of special concern to underwriters are:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. With diabetes, the risk of cardio-vascular diseases increases in dramatic fashion. Arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, heart attack, and  stroke, are significantly heightened risks. 
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy).  The tingling, numb, or burning sensations in the extremities. This condition usually begins in the toes. 
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy). High blood sugar can lead to the disruption of the kidney filtering system. At it's worst it leads to kidney failure.
  • Eye damage. Retinopathy  causes damage to blood vessels that can lead to blindness.
  • Foot damage. The aforementioned  nueropathy  can cause foot injuries to go untreated, resulting in serious infections. 
  • Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.

Key Take Aways

  • Inactivity, obesity and the bodily distribution of fat are the most recognized risk factors for type ll diabetes.
  • Type ll diabetes contributes to cardio vascular and kidney diseases, nerve ,eye,and hearing impairments.  
  • A1C Hemoglobin test results of 6.5 or higher denote diabetes. 

Obtaining life Insurance with Type 2 Diabetes

With a couple of tweaks, the process of obtaining life insurance with type 2 diabetes is the same as any other condition regardless of health.

The primary caveats with type 2 diabetes are that no exam or so called “non-med” policies may not be available at the best prices and an attending physician's statement (APS) will likely  be requested.

The APS will  slow the process as doctors are seldom in a hurry to respond to requests from life insurance companies.

The information that you will be required to provide in order to get the most accurate quote is as follows:

  1. Date of Diagnosis

  2. Treatments Undergone (w/ evidence of follow up)

  3. Blood glucose and A1C levels
  4. Other Health Issues

Key Take Aways

  • Lifestyle changes are encouraged by doctors and rewarded by underwriters.
  • your application will likely trigger an attending Physicians Statement (APS). This will slow things down unless you ask for the doctors help.
  • Having dates of treatment and accurate blood sugar histories is an important part of getting an accurate quote.

Possible Underwriting Ratings for Life Insurance with Type 2 Diabetes

Because Life insurance applications are evaluated on a case by case basis, your story (and cover letter) matters.

That is to say two people with the same age and condition may get vastly different offers from the same carrier based on age of diagnosis and patient compliance.

Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are the best estimates based on experience.

Best Case – If type ll diabetes is under  is under excellent control- A1C currently  under  6.5  some cases have a  strong chance for a standard rating  rating even if using oral medications . Simply use the quote tool on the right for a quote.

Mid Case –If your diabetes is under good control  A1C under 7 but not quite to the standards shown above you  will still likely get you standard rates as long as you are over age 45. This assumes there are no other health concerns.

To learn about how table ratings work click here.

Tough case – If your diabetes is not under good  (A1C over 8) but is being actively treated you may receive a substandard offer in the range table 2/B to table 4/D depending on the severity of the case.

* while expensive this is still a very good outcome for the circumstances

Decline– For a severe case where type ll diabetes is  not under control and there has been no effort exhibited to do so, to you may be 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.

Why you Should Use an Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with Type 2 Diabetes

Now you already understand that your story matters, and that two people in similar situations can get very different offers from the same carrier.

What you might not know is that different insurance companies will also treat each case differently.

For example SBLI may have more of an appetite for the risk that type 2 diabetes presents than say Assurity.  In this case the underwriting grade will reflect this increased appetite.

So, if your Agent only represented one carrier and you found out later that that you could have gotten a rate 35% or 45% better, how would you feel?

You’d probably be angry either at the agent or likely both. So it’s important that your Agent represent multiple carriers.

Most good independent agents will have access to over 50 carriers. This ensures the best chance at the best rate.

Note that if he doesn’t have access to alternatives , he may not be interested in telling you.

Key Take Aways

  • Access to more carriers will result in better pricing.
  • It may be worth paying slightly more if there is a strong permanent conversion product.
  • Only independent brokers have the freedom to offer the best deal at all times.

Case Study Pricing Life Insurance with Type 2 Diabetes

So, I have been spilling digital ink about the importance of using an independent Agent and you're probably thinking that I sound a bit self serving. 

You are right, I am. However, what I am saying is also the (provable) truth.

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 ll Diabetes or any other impairment.

Gender: Male Age: 50

$250000 20 Year Term

Tobacco: No

Fairly well controlled Diabetes (type ll)

A1C of 7.3

Oral medication Metformin 500mg

This looks like a standard case that might get a better rating with one or two carriers. depending on the insurers appetite for a diabetes risk. Let’s take a look at the rates.

  • Standard
  • Table 2/B
  • Table 4/D


Enter your text here...


lincoln financial



sbli express



This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates Prudential is 20% more expensive than Lincoln.

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 kind of easy price shopping is particularly useful for younger folks in good health and demonstrates why you want to use an independent Agent.

For people who suffer from type 2 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 preferred plus risk and which ones will grade you as standard.

In the case above Prudential (the most expensive standard rate) is likely to be the best deal because the more competitively priced carriers will likely rate the risk Table 2 while Pru might well go Standard

This is something you can’t know by simply looking at the lowest price. In this hypothetical using an independent agent could save you 50% (the difference between Prudential @ Standard and Lincoln @ Table 2 ($170.29)

Your Next Step

Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate quote possible, it’s time to gather the information and speak to an independent Agent (raising my hand).

Simply give us a call or shoot an email over and we can get you started.

We are committed to totally transparent pricing (we’ll even share our computer screen with you if you’d like), and making the application process as painless as possible.

Thank you for reading about life insurance with type 2 diabetes, if you have any questions, we’d like to hear them.

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Fast Fact About Type 2  Diabetes

According to the National Institutes of Health, about 29 million people or 9 % of the U.S population is diabetic.

Type ll diabetes represents 95% of all sufferers, and one in four people suffering from type ll diabetes are unaware of their condition.

 One in four adults over the age of 65 is a type ll diabetic.

Obesity, age,  physical inactivity and race all play a factor in the onset of diabetes. 

Some of the more famous people who have suffered from type ll diabetes are: actor Tom Hanks, celebrity chef Paula Dean, basketball great Earl Monroe, actress Halle Berry, and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

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James Tobin, CFP

Jim Tobin is the owner of Life Insurance Help Desk, a Fairfield County, CT. life insurance agency. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook. Over the past 10 years, Jim has used his CFP-financial planning designation to help individuals with their life insurance needs. In addition to working with life insurance clients, Jim teaches ESL classes in his spare time. He resides with his beautiful wife Nicole and the 3 cats that rule their lives..