One of the often asked questions on diabetes forums and blogs is if a person with type one diabetes can get life insurance at all, and if so can it be done at reasonable rates.

I recently posted a checklist of criteria that underwriters want to see in order to approve someone with type 1 diabetes. Remember, from an underwriting standpoint, it is not the diabetes but the plethora of collateral health issues that can come along later, especially when the diabetes is only moderately well controlled or poorly controlled.

The criteria for approval are very straightforward.

1. If adult onset, more than a year since diagnosis and A1c’s consistently below 7.
2. If juvenile onset, current age above 30 and A1c’s consistently below 7 (last 5 years).
3. No hospitalization for diabetic emergencies or diabetes related complications.
4. Compliance with doctor recommended testing, both at home and quarterly blood workups.
5. No onset of diabetes related complications.

We just got an approval on a $1.5 million term policy for someone who read the criteria, had been declined twice before, but decided to give it another go. She was diagnosed at age 7 and has been absolutely religious about being compliant on testing, both personal and quarterly followups. As a result at age 34 her A1c has not been above 7 since early on. She has no complications and is tested quarterly for any onset of those. We laid it all out to several companies and actually had several offers. The best of those was well within her budget.

How do we get approvals where declines have been the name of the tune? We shop it. Any agent that isn’t shopping even moderate impairments is not doing the best job for you. If it was shopped to those companies that decline it just because it’s type 1 diabetes or just because it’s bipolar disorder, they would have told the agent right up front, don’t send it. When we send an application in it has already been reviewed by the underwriter and we send in their email with their tentative quote attached to the application. They don’t have to approve it, but they usually do as long as the facts of our inquiry match what’s in the medical records.

Bottom line. We don’t crunch quantity of applications here, but the applications we handle have either been declined elsewhere or are likely to be declined elsewhere. We do the best job for those that need it most.