The question often comes up, “why is type 2 diabetes a big deal when a person is trying to buy life insurance”? After all, you take your medicine and keep your blood sugar down and, well, what’s the problem?

The truth is that if all it involved was taking your medicine, diabetes wouldn’t really be a big concern to life insurance underwriters. The problem comes because treating diabetes is more intensive than just taking medication. It also involves, done properly, regular and frequent monitoring, more trips to the doctor than we might normally do, and almost an obsession with educating yourself about and fighting the disease. If that commitment to the battle is not present, type 2 diabetes can lead, in fact is likely to lead, to other health complications.

It is diabetes and the potential complications combined that lead life insurance companies to take a careful, thoughtful look before committing to low rates. Low rates are possible and even fairly common, but only for those who are taking their diabetes seriously and doing all they can to avoid the complications that can occur.

The concerns of the underwriter are the same complications that the American Diabetes Association points to as the concerns in the larger picture. Those include an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. There is little denying the mortality risk involved with those issues. For a diabetic who already has had a heart attack or been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, there is a compounding of that mortality risk.

Another big issue is kidney disease. Out of control diabetes can damage the kidney’s ability to filter out waste products. Too much damage can lead to kidney failure. Again, an issue that is a readily apparent mortality risk.

Other issues can include neuropathy, or nerve damage, eysight problems even leading to blindness, and quite often depression.

An understanding of the risk factors that life insurance underwriters look at when working for someone with diabetes is the role of a good independent life insurance agent. Many agents will yell uninsurable and run for the door if you mention diabetes. A good agent will just start asking questions.

Be prepared. Know your medical history. Know what your hbA1c level is. If you don’t know right now, call your doctor and ask. It was on your last full blood workup. Make your doctor explain what it is and what it means in your life. Know you medications. Know your blood pressure averages. If you’ve had any kind of cardiac workup since you were diagnosed with diabetes, get a copy of it. Start keeping all of your lab results, a copy of notes from each doctor visit. Be a wealth of knowledge when you talk to an agent about life insurance quotes.

There are plenty of bad things that can happen if you let your diabetes get out of control. The good news is, you can keep it in control and stay healthy and live long and get good rates on life insurance.

This post is somewhat dated. Life insurance underwriting is changing and evolving continually. For more updated information check out some of the key word links. If you have a specific question or topic you need information for do a search. If you don’t find the answers you need contact me and we’ll make sure you get the information that is important to you.