Type 1 Diabetes & Life Insurance

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Type 1 Diabetes & Life InsuranceBeing diagnosed with diabetes type 1 can bring a mixture of relief and worry; relief that you finally have an answer to why you feel the way that you do, and worry about what the future may hold. Here at Cura, we listen to you and how the diabetes effects your life, and then we find an insurer to match you.

Things we need to know:

  • When were you diagnosed with diabetes?
  • What is your latest HbA1C reading?
  • Do you have high blood pressure? What is the reading?
  • Do you have high cholesterol? What is the reading?
  • Do you have any complications e.g. diabetic neuropathy?

Life Insurance for those with diabetes is often possible to arrange. If you have no other major health complications it is often possible for some insurance providers to fully underwrite your application at the time of submission. Should you have other medical complications or if your HbA1c reading is quite high, then insurers will likely contact your GP for a full assessment of your health. Whilst this will delay the start date of your policy it will ensure that the insurance provider issues terms for your policy, based upon their full understanding of your health. GP reports are a standard practice with Life Insurance applications and are nothing to be concerned about, you will not be charged for the report and you can ask to see a copy of the report before it is sent to the company.

As a type 1 diabetic you are likely to receive a premium increase on your Life Insurance, the increase will depend on the length of diagnosis, HbA1c readings and any other health factors. If you have not had the condition for a long time and your HbA1c readings are good you may get accepted with a low premium increase. If however you have been diagnosed for a long time or have high readings your plan may be accepted with a higher premium. If you are young and a non-smoker the overall cost for insurance is still likely to be low compared to the sum assured on the policy. When you apply for your Life Insurance you should have your latest HbA1c reading to hand (taken with the last 6 months) in order for the insurance provider to be able to underwrite your application.

Unfortunately Critical Illness Cover on the standard insurance market is not available to type 1 diabetics. Some providers have now started to consider cover for well controlled type 2 diabetics and we hope that this will soon follow for type 1 diabetics in the future.

For the time being type 1 diabetics can access specialist critical illness cover, but it is important that you aware that any claim relating to diabetes will be excluded from the policy. We would suggest that you speak to an adviser who is familiar with these policies, so that they can explain to you exactly what you are and are not covered for. 

Income Protection for type 1 diabetics is available with a few insurers, but acceptance criteria is quite strict. Insurers will want to see that your diabetes is well controlled with no complications, it will also be favourable if you were diagnosed in adulthood but this is not essential. There are options to have your condition excluded but there are providers who can, in good conditions, offer cover with a price increase instead.

If you cannot get a long term income protection policy, it may be worthwhile looking into an Accident, Sickness and Unemployment policy. These policies are designed to provide a monthly income replacement for 12-24 months if you are unable to work due to ill health, long term disability or redundancy. The beauty of these products is that they are not medically underwritten at the point of application, so you can have the policy at the same rates as non-diabetics. But you will find that there will be an exclusion on the policy for any claims related to your diabetes. 

Are you planning on going abroad? It is important that you know what your travel insurance covers you for, when it comes to your diabetes. Take a look at our travel insurance page for more details here.

CuraVision – The ABCs – Mr D – Type 1 Diabetes – Video Transcript

Hi and welcome to the CuraVision ABCs. I’m Kathryn and I want to chat to you about David who came to us because he needed some financial protection after just taking out a mortgage with his partner. So, David and his partner, he was in his late 30s, and he just took out a £226,000 mortgage, over 29 years. And he wanted to know that if anything happened to him, that his partner would be taken care of financially. 

The reason that David came and chatted to us is because he is a type 1 diabetic. So, overall, obviously yes he had the diabetes, but his health was really good he had really, really good BMI, he wasn’t having any complications like neuropathy or any hypos. So, from an insurance point of view, those were kind of things that tend to be flags, in a sense insurance-wise and he wasn’t sort of like, bringing any of those flags to the application. So that was really, really positive. 

His latest HbA1c had been 8.8. David had wanted to look at life and critical illness cover and what we ended up doing was presenting him with a number of options. And ultimately David decided to go with the life insurance because when it comes to diabetes and critical illness cover, there are, sometimes the policies can be very, very small, the amount of conditions that you can have and there’s some that you can only access in certain situations, depending upon your employment and things like that. And, for David, it just didn’t really fit with his circumstances at this time. 

So, what we were able to do, was arrange for him life insurance, and it was decreasing life insurance, to match his mortgage of £226,000 over 29 years and it came to a monthly premium of £35.

What is Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood. If left untreated, it can cause a rapid decline in health, over days or weeks, due to the pancreas no longer producing insulin. This is likely caused by a mixture of genetic factors and an autoimmune deficiency where the body produces antibodies that attack cells within the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin is an essential part of the body’s functioning as it controls the absorption of glucose/sugar within the blood to cells that can alter it into energy.

Type 1 diabetes is treated by a change in diet, regular exercise, daily blood sugar monitors and several insulin injections a day. Type 1 diabetics who stick to a strict daily regimen of injections, diet and exercise can lead full and healthy lives. A primary concern that comes with the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is the uncertainty and worry that comes with the diagnosis of such a serious illness at a young age. However on a positive having to change lifestyle behaviours at a young age can be far easier than having to adapt later in life.

Also: Diabetes mellitus type 1, juvenile early-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes

Linked with: Type 2 diabetes, kidney failure, atheroma, circulation problems, nerve damage, dehydration and hypoglycaemia

Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have diabetes include:

  • Additional medical treatments – daily blood sugar monitors, yearly flu jabs and pneumoccocal vaccinations are recommended
  • Anxiety and low mood
  • Difficulty adjusting to new exercise routines
  • Discomfort from daily injections
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • Eye disorders such as retinopathy
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased appetite
  • Kidney problems
  • Loss of limbs if poorly controlled
  • Restricted diet
  • Skin problems – dry, slow healing and
  • Acarbose (Glucobay)
  • Actrapid
  • GlucaGen / Glucagon
  • Glucose anhydrous
  • Humalog / Insulin lispro
  • Humalog Mix / Insulin lispro / Insulin lispro protamine
  • Humulin I
  • Humulin M3
  • Humulin S
  • Insulatard
  • Insulin aspart / Insulin aspart protamine / Novomix 30
  • Insulin aspart / NovoRapid
  • Insulin detemir / Levemir
  • Insulin Glargine (Lantus)
  • Insulin glulisine (Apidra)
  • Insulin isophane bovine (Hypurin Bovine Isophane)
  • Insulin isophane human (Insuman Basal)
  • Insulin isophane human / Insulin soluble human (Insuman Comb, Mixtard)
  • Insulin isophane porcine (Hypurin Porcine Isophane)
  • Insulin isophane porcine / Insulin soluble porcine (Hypurin Porcine, Pork Mixtard)
  • Insulin protamine zinc bovine (Hypurin Bovine Protamine Zinc)
  • Insulin soluble bovine (Hypurin Bovine Neutral)
  • Insulin soluble human (Insuman Rapid)
  • Insulin soluble porcine (Hypurin Porcine Neutral, Pork Actrapid)
  • Insulin zinc suspension mixed bovine (Hypurin Bovine Lente)
  • Lipitor
  • Lisinopril
  • Losartan / Cozaar

Common Questions

Yes you can. Depending upon your personal circumstances you may be able to arrange life insurance on the standard market, if not you can place your application with a specialist insurer. We regularly arrange insurance for people who have diabetes and other complications such as heart attacks, its all about knowing which insurer is right for you. Even if you have been refused life insurance before, come to us and we can get you cover in place.

That depends. When you have type 1 diabetes it is likely that a standard insurer with a standard life insurance product will offer you a policy at a higher premium, than a non-diabetic. There are some policies out there, known as managed life policies, that can offer diabetics life insurance at a cheaper premium, but it is still higher than what a non-diabetic will pay. With a managed life policy you can reduce your premiums by living healthily and recording your exercise and fitness levels with the insurer. These policies can be fantastic, but do consider if you can maintain the level of exercise needed to keep your premiums low, because they can go up if you don’t.

Don’t worry there are a couple of options you can look at. It could be that the insurer you have spoken to has decided that your diabetes is outside of their acceptance criteria They may think that your HbA1C is too high, or that your medications have recently changed, or that you’ve recently lapsed into a diabetic coma, there are a number of reasons why you may have been declined life insurance. The important thing is to know that different insurers have different acceptance criteria. It may be that you applied for life insurance with the wrong insurer for you. There are also specialist insurers that you can apply to for life insurance, if you continue to have no joy on the standard market.

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Type 1 Diabetes & Life Insurance

Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd

Author
This page was written by Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd, an award-winning insurance adviser. To read more about Kathryn please see her bio here

Type 1 Diabetes & Life Insurance

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