Life Insurance for Diabetics

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If you’re looking for life insurance with diabetes this guide should help to explain the process when trying to obtain over, and provide some tips along the way.
The good news is that it is possible to get a number of personal insurances if you have diabetes but it really does depend on whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, the severity of the condition and whether there are any other medical issues to consider.


Guide to Insurance for Diabetics

Life Insurance

It is usually possible to gain cover if you have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes but it is likely insurers will increase the monthly premium charged to reflect a higher level of risk

Critical Illness Cover

A very small number of insurers would consider offering critical illness cover to those with very well controlled Type 2 diabetes with either a premium loading or exclusion

Income Protection

It may be possible to obtain cover with a very small number of insurers if you have well controlled Type 2 diabetes, with insurers either increasing the premiums or placing an exclusion on the plan

It’s very important to note that insurers can take very different stances on diabetics life insurance, with some insurers declining outright and others increasing monthly premiums by very differing amounts.

Rather than applying to a whole number of insurers it is much better to speak to one of our independent insurance advisers, who can speak to the insurers on your behalf and get a indication of which insurer is likely to offer you the most favourable terms.


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What is Diabetes?

Figures from charity Diabetes UK show that the number of people with the condition is rising. The charity states that are some 3.5 million people with diabetes in the UK. What’s more, they state that there are over half a million people with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes. Around 10 per cent of all diabetics have Type 1.

Both types mean there is higher than usual blood sugar levels. Type 1 is often diagnosed in childhood and is when the pancreas does not produce any insulin – it is not associated with being overweight and is treated with injected insulin.

Type 2 is usually diagnosed in people aged over 30 and who are overweight, often with high blood pressure and raised cholesterol. It occurs as the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. It is usually treated with tablets to lower glucose production and sometimes insulin – it may be possible to come off medication if a strict diet is followed.

So, how does diabetes impact on buying protection insurance, such as life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection? Certainly it can be harder to obtain cover and premiums may be higher or the policy would exclude diabetes and related conditions.

Life Insurance for Diabetics

Life insurance can be vital if you were to die and your dependents would need financial support. The sum payable can be used to pay off a mortgage and any debts as well as towards ongoing towards living expenses.

For those with the condition, diabetic life insurance is readily available but premiums are likely to be higher than those without the condition. The cost should come down however, if you can show the condition is carefully managed.

What insurers need to know

An insurer will want to know how you control the condition and you may need to answer some detailed medical questions and provide details of the specialist treatment obtained. It very much depends on how long you have had the condition and how it is managed – if there are relatively few concerns then there may simply be a request that your GP provides a ‘diabetic questionnaire’ rather than a full medical report (which the insurer will request directly with your GP with your permission).

There may also be a request for blood sugar readings – the HbA1c test measures blood glucose levels. Other information required will be on weight, smoker status, alcohol units per week and any other health conditions.

Some insurers are more willing to provide life cover for diabetics and this is why it can be important to take advice. Once you have had an application declined it can be harder to obtain a policy elsewhere as you usually need to disclose whether you have been turned down in the past.

Your Drewberry adviser will be able to gather medical information specific to you and speak to the insurers on your behalf to establish which insurer is likely to offer you the most cost effective life cover.

Did you have cover before diagnosis?

If you already have life insurance and you took this out before your diabetes diagnosis, then your life cover will remain in place and your diagnosis will have no impact on the cover or premiums charged by the insurer (policies are ‘underwritten’ at the point of application and the insurer accepts the risk from that point on).

What about workplace schemes?

Many people also have life insurance through work, which can be known as ‘death in service’. You should check if you have cover and if so how much cover you have. Most death in service schemes cover from 1 to 4 times annul earnings, depending on the employer, so the level of cover may not be sufficient for your needs but can provide a cost-effective base.

If your employer offers life cover through a voluntary employee benefits scheme, this may be worth considering as it is often the case that no medical information will need to be provided. For larger employers in particular insurers tend not to ask about the circumstances of individual members, meaning that employees with serious health issues can often get cover through work even if they would have been declined for an individual policy.

Remember that if you leave the company, the cover will end, so many advisers advocate taking out additional cover privately as it may not be possible to get life insurance with diabetes in the future if your condition deteriorates significantly or another serious condition is suffered.


Critical Illness Cover for Diabetics

Critical illness Cover pays out a lump sum – typically to cover a mortgage and to provide funds for living expenses – if a specified ‘critical illness condition’ is contracted. As the name suggests, these are serious conditions such as cancer, heart attack or stroke (it often doesn’t cover minor cases of these conditions so check the definition wording in the policy terms, or speak to an adviser).


Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetic
To date, critical illness insurance is not available if you have Type 1 diabetes (accurate as of June 2016 but check with us as guidelines tend to loosen over time). However, it may be possible to take out cover in some cases for those with very well-controlled Type 2 diabetes with no complications.


Increase in Premiums
Depending on the insurer, if cover is accepted the premiums will increase significantly (it is possible they can more than double) or the insurer will place a fairly extensive exclusion on the plan for diabetes and related conditions (see the example below in the income protection section).


Speak to an Expert
Again, speaking to a specialist can help. Your Drewberry adviser will be able to speak to the medial underwriters at each insurer on your behalf to see if critical illness cover can be obtained and, if so, on what terms.


Income Protection for Diabetics

Income Protection can be an extremely valuable form of insurance, since it provides a replacement salary if you are unable to work through illness or injury. The cover pays around 60% of an existing salary, with monthly payments often starting when the employer’s sick pay stops.

It is generally very difficult to obtain income protection on an individual basis for those with diabetes. However, Drewberry has been able to arrange income protection for a number of clients with Type 2 diabetes through a very small number of insurers who are willing to consider offering cover for very well controlled cases.

Exclusions: “Diabetes and any complication related to this condition, including heart disease, kidney disease, neuropathy/nerve damage, eye problems or circulatory conditions, its underlying cause, treatment/side effects, investigations, complications and associated conditions.”

If an exclusion is placed on the policy for diabetes then naturally you would still be able to claim for other non-related conditions, for example, an non-linked cancers and accidents that impacts on work.

If you’re lucky enough to have an employer that has set up an income protection scheme through work then this could be the most comprehensive and cost-effective means of getting cover.


Payment Protection Insurance Warning

When researching your protection options you may come across Payment Protection Insurance, also known as Accident and Sickness Insurance. These pay out for around 12 months typically and can be used to cover mortgage payments or credit card debts.

Great care needs to be taken with these plans if you have a chronic medical condition such as diabetes. The reason being that these plans tend to exclude pre-existing conditions automatically rather than gathering the information in advance at application stage and letting you know if cover can be provided and if so on what terms.

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