Type 1 Diabetes and Life Insurance

The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown but research is ongoing. Most commonly, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Diabetes monitoring and an insulin syringe

Insulin is a hormone that enables the body’s cells to convert glucose in the bloodstream into energy. When the body doesn’t produce sufficient insulin, glucose accumulates in the blood. Over time this starves the cells and causes high blood sugar (HbA1c) levels.

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) condition so there is no known cure. The condition can be managed, usually by daily insulin injections, and diabetes sufferers can lead a relatively normal life. It’s estimated that almost 5 million people in the UK have diabetes. Around 10% of those people have type 1.

Symptoms Of Type 1 Diabetes

Generally type 1 diabetes symptoms will develop quickly in children – sometimes in a matter of a few days or hours. In adults symptoms can take longer to appear, sometimes over a period of a few days or weeks.

The main symptoms are:

  • A tingling sensation or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Unexplained loss of weight
  • Feeling more hungry than normal
  • Increased thirst
  • Needing to pee more often than normal
  • Blurred eyesight
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Slow healing sores
  • Patches or areas of darkened skin (most commonly around the neck or armpits)

If you or your child have one or more of these symptoms you should seek a diagnosis from your GP. Experiencing some of these symptoms doesn’t mean for certain that you have type 1 diabetes. Early detection means that treatment can be initiated to mitigate the risk of diabetes complications developing in the future.

A doctor with a stethoscope

Can You Get Life Insurance With Type 1 Diabetes?

Life insurance can be secured for people with all types of diabetes including type 1.

Diabetes is viewed as a relatively complex condition by underwriters. Despite this, type 1 diabetes life insurance cover is available through most leading UK insurers and premiums can be reasonable. At The Insurance Surgery, our team of experts know exactly which insurers to approach for your personal circumstances. We will find you the most comprehensive cover at the most competitive price.

Underwriting for type 1 diabetes life insurance is calculated based on various factors. A medical report would usually be required from your GP to confirm your blood sugar readings and history of diabetes. Underwriters use this information to ascertain how severe the condition is and the level of risk associated with it.

The main information that’s usually needed includes:

  • Body weight and height
  • Blood sugar (HbA1c) readings
  • Any diabetes-related complications (for example nephropathy, retinopathy or neuropathy)
  • Any medication you take (usually insulin for type 1 diabetics)
  • Cholesterol and blood pressure readings
  • When you were diagnosed with diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes life insurance is obtainable through most leading UK life insurance companies. Sufferers of type 1 diabetes are usually diagnosed relatively early in life which is looked upon favourably by underwriters.

How Does Type 1 Diabetes Affect Your Life Insurance Premium?

There can be a significant variance in loadings for type 1 diabetes life insurance. Loadings vary from insurer to insurer and depending on the severity of the condition. Consequently, there can also be a significant disparity in premiums.

A doctor completing a life insurance application

The Insurance Surgery are a leading insurance broker for people with type 1 diabetes and all pre-existing medical conditions. With over 2 decades of experience, we know the best life insurance providers to approach for your individual circumstances. This enables us to find comprehensive cover at the best prices.

So it is likely you will pay an increased premium for type 1 diabetes life cover. But The Insurance Surgery will do the hard work and search the whole market to find you the best price.

What Can I Do To Help Lower My Premium?

The below lifestyle changes can dramatically improve your overall health, wellbeing and happiness as well possibly reduce your life insurance premium.

Stop Smoking

Smoking is very bad for you even if you have no health issues. For diabetics it massively increases the risk of complications. Type 1 diabetes and smoking both increase the chance of heart disease developing; when combined the risk increases greatly.

Smoking also increases the chances of many other diabetes-related complications developing including neuropathy, nephropathy and retinopathy.

Cigarettes in an ash tray

Stopping smoking is one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall health and wellbeing. It can also significantly improve the health of your bank balance!

Reduce Your Body Weight

There’s an increased risk of complications developing in people with diabetes and a high body mass index (BMI). This increases risk for insurers and can result in a higher premium.

Making healthy food choices and taking regular exercise are key lifestyle changes. Getting your BMI into a normal range will mean an increased quality of life and longer life expectancy. This is recognised by insurers and can possibly result in a lower life insurance premium.

Lower Your Blood Pressure & Cholesterol Levels

If you have good cardiovascular health the risk to insurers is less. Taking steps to ensure your cholesterol and blood pressure are within normal ranges is therefore important.

Aim to eat foods that don’t contain trans and saturated fats and eat more fibre.

Adopt an active lifestyle and take regular exercise. Even a couple of hours of aerobic activity each week can contribute to lower cholesterol.

Lifestyle changes such as these are recognised by insurers and can reduce your type 1 diabetes life insurance premium.

Keep Your Insurer Updated

Informing your insurer how you’re managing your diabetes is important. Letting them know the changes you’ve made to better manage your diabetes can mean you pay a lower premium.

The Insurance Surgery are type 1 diabetes life insurance experts and can review your cover based on your current circumstances. We will provide regular reviews of your cover and consider any lifestyle changes you’ve made that can improve your condition. Positive lifestyle changes can often help to reduce your monthly premium.

A man making a phone call

A policy review will also take into account other life events. For example, you may have taken out a new mortgage or had a new addition to the family.

Manage Your Alcohol Consumption

Drinking is a part of life for many people. There’s no reason that has to change if you have type 1 diabetes. Taking the below precautions can help manage your condition whilst drinking:

  • Monitor your blood sugar (HbA1c) levels regularly
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach – eating carb-based foods before drinking can help prevent low blood sugar levels
  • Avoid sugary drinks such as fruit ciders
  • Carry some snacks
  • Drink water after you finish drinking and re-check your blood sugar

How The Insurance Surgery Can Help You

The Insurance Surgery is one of the UK’s leading specialist life insurance brokers. We have over 20 years’ experience helping secure life insurance for people with type 1 diabetes.

Your circumstances are assessed individually. This allows us to identify which insurance providers will offer the most competitive premium and cover for you. We understand that every case is different.

This is why 70% of people who have been declined for life insurance elsewhere get accepted through us.

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