Heidi works with top-rated life insurance carriers to bring her clients the highest quality protection at the most competitive prices. She is a wife, mom, and former school teacher, specializing in helping families. As parents, it's our responsibility to ensure our family is financially sound, regardless of what life brings. Her goal is to make the process of obtaining life insurance as simp...

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Written by Heidi Mertlich
Licensed Life Insurance Agent Heidi Mertlich

Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2022

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Diabetes is incredibly common in the United States. Consider the statistics:

30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, have diabetes. Approximately 1.25 million American children and adults have type 1 diabetes. – American Diabetes Association

While advances in treatment and prevention continue, those of us with the medical condition can attest that it’s difficult to live with.

American actor, Tom Hanks, jokingly described his experience with being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes:

I went to the doctor and he said, ‘you know those high blood pressure levels you’ve been dealing with since you were 36? Well you’ve graduated, you’ve got Type 2 Diabetes, young man. – Tom Hanks, appearing on the David Letterman Show

No doubt, diabetes, whether it’s type 1 or type 2, adds a layer of complication to your life.

Just how much does diabetes affect your ability to get life insurance?

Here’s the great news Diabetics get accepted for life insurance more than you think.

More good news – Many diabetics choose to purchase no exam life insurance.

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7 Reasons Diabetics Should Buy No Exam Life Insurance

1. No Needles Or Nurses

For those of us with diabetes, one less poke may not seem like a big deal. However, skipping the hassle of the entire medical underwriting process often means the difference between purchasing life insurance and putting it off.

Let’s take a closer look at what the no exam life insurance application process looks like.

While each life insurance carrier is different, you can generally expect the following.

A no exam life insurance application typically includes:

  • Phone interview, including questions about:
    • Your diabetes (type, A1C levels, treatments, degree of control, age of onset, complications)
    • Medical history
    • Close family members’ medical history
    • Lifestyle
    • Occupation
  • Database checks:
    • Pharmacy database
    • Driving record
    • Medical Information Bureau (MIB) – a database of previous insurance applications
    • Attending Physician Statement (APS) – a report from your doctor is sometimes ordered

What a no exam life insurance application does not include:

  • Medical underwriting. This means you skip:
    • Blood draw
    • Urine sample
    • Blood pressure readings
    • Height/weight measurements
    • Meeting in person with a paramedic

As time goes on, an increasing number of life insurance carriers are offering no exam life insurance. The streamlined, simplified process appeals to many applicants.

With the aid of technology, we will see a shift from fully underwritten (think medical exam) life insurance to no exam life insurance in many instances.

2. Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetics Can Be Approved

Let’s break down what it looks like for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to purchase no exam life insurance.

For those seeking a non-med policy with gestational diabetes, you may not have an option unless it’s very early on in the pregnancy; chances are, you’ll need to wait until after you deliver.

Type 1

To be blunt, it’s harder to secure a no-exam policy with type 1 diabetes.

Here’s why:

  • Type 1 is often diagnosed at a younger age
  • There is no cure for type 1 diabetes
  • Life insurance companies view type 1 as riskier
    • If you were to miss an insulin dosage or if your pump malfunctioned, your blood sugar could rise to dangerous levels, quickly
  • It’s likely that underwriters will place type 1 diabetics in a rated health class (this means your premiums will be higher)

Don’t let that scare you off. Even with type 1 diabetes, there are no exam life insurance carriers who will approve type 1 diabetics due to the associated health risks.

What you need to know:

  1. Currently, type 1 diabetics can purchase larger no exam policies (about $500,000)
    • Your age, health, and degree of control of your diabetes impacts what policy you qualify for
    • Your age of onset of type 1 diabetes impacts what policy you qualify for (typically diagnosis occurring before age 30 is a concern)
    • Your medical records may be reviewed, often taking weeks to complete
  2. Smaller policies are also available, for about $50,000 or less
    • Underwriting process is simpler for smaller policy amounts
    • Medical records are not automatically ordered

Important – Even if there isn’t a good no exam life insurance fit for your type 1 diabetes, there are still plenty of common types of life insurance options to choose from.

Type 2

Type 2 diabetics will find it easier to be approved for no exam life insurance.

Here’s why:

  • Type 2 is often diagnosed at a later age
  • Diet and exercise can reverse type 2 diabetes
  • Underwriters (that’s who evaluates an applicant’s risk) view type 2 diabetes more favorably

What you need to know:

  • Type 2 diabetics can purchase larger no exam policies (about $500,000)
    • Like type 1, your age, health, and degree of control of your diabetes impacts what policy you qualify for
    • If your type 2 diabetes is well-controlled and you are in good health, it’s possible to have quick life insurance approval
    • Generally, underwriters want to see your type 2 diabetes diagnosed after age 40
    • Your medical records may be ordered/reviewed
  • Smaller policies are also available, for $50,000 or less
    • The underwriting process is simpler for smaller policy amounts
    • Medical records are not automatically ordered

3. Quick Approval Is Possible If You Are In A Hurry

Some diabetic-friendly no exam life insurance carriers approve your application just about instantly.

If you are in need of life insurance in a hurry (let’s say you need to secure a business loan or have a court order for life insurance), a quick turnaround time is crucial.

Carriers who offer instant approval life insurance with diabetes require:

  • You have not been declined for life insurance elsewhere
  • You do not have serious health complications

4. Term Life Insurance Is Available

As the name implies, term life insurance coverage lasts for a set amount of time. For example, typical term lengths include 10, 15, 20 and 30 years.

There are a number of diabetic-friendly, no exam, term life insurance options available.

In general, carriers will look for the following to approve your term life application:

  1. You are between the ages of 18 – 65
  2. Typically, diagnosis occurred after age 30 for type 1 diabetes
  3. Typically, diagnosis occurred after age 40 for type 2 diabetes

Note – Underwriters will also look for evidence of demonstrated control of your diabetes.

Ideally, your diabetes should be categorized as mild to moderate.

If your diabetes is severe, or if you are experiencing multiple health complications, we may want to consider Graded Benefit life insurance (policy sizes are smaller and there’s a waiting period before full benefits kick in).

Also note – If you are over age 65, there are a number of senior life insurance options to consider.

5. Whole Life Insurance is Available

Whole life insurance is permanent life insurance. Your policy will not expire (as long as you pay your premiums).

Policy sizes are modest for whole life insurance. For example, amounts usually cap around $50,000.

Underwriters will want to see that you don’t have serious health complications.

Coverage can be available immediately. This means that, as soon as you make your first premium payment, your coverage begins. Be careful to understand the specifics of your whole life policy, as some carriers require a waiting period of a couple of years.

6. Rates Are Often Affordable

Your no exam premium rates will cost more compared to a similar fully underwritten policy. However, often the cost is still affordable, and the added convenience makes no exam worthwhile for many of us.

The keyword is similar – Underwriting diabetes, as you know by now, is tricky. There are a number of factors that influence the health rating assigned by the life insurance company, and consequently, the premium amount you pay.

Similar no exam and fully underwritten policies can be comparable.

And, if you’re not entirely confident on the degree of control of your diabetes, it’s possible your health rating will be better with a no exam application. Remember, there’s less scrutiny with no exam life insurance.

  • A1C levels
  • Insulin use
  • Height/weight
  • Other health complications

To speak to health ratings a little more, there are some general rules most carriers adhere to:

  1. Type 2 diabetics need to be diagnosed later in life (typically after age 60), and have their diabetes controlled through diet and exercise, for the best health rating diabetics can qualify for
  2. Type 1 diabetics need to be diagnosed usually after age 30 to be approved for no exam life insurance
  3. Type 1 diabetics will receive a table rating (this means your premiums will cost more)

7. You Have Options

You’ll want to collaborate with an independent agent to learn about specific policy features and riders.

What we mean is – No two life insurance carriers are created equally. In order to verify you’re getting the best policy to fit your needs, consider the following:

  • Policy length – Is your life insurance for a length (say 20 years) that is long enough to protect the financial needs of your loved ones?
  • Policy amount – Do you have enough life insurance to cover your financial obligations? (Keep in mind that some life insurance is better than no life insurance.)
    • Mortgage
    • Debts and loans
    • Tuition for children or grandchildren
    • Donations
  • Convertibility – Can your term policy be converted into a permanent (or another type) of policy?
  • Riders – Does your policy include riders that can help you during a difficult time? For example:
    • Accidental Death Benefit
    • Accelerated Death Benefit
    • Children’s Rider
    • Waiver of Premium

Pros and Cons Of No Exam Life Insurance For Diabetics


  • No needles, nurses, or liquid samples
  • Faster application turnaround time (some with instant decisions)
  • Simpler underwriting
  • term and whole life policies available
  • type 1 and type 2 diabetics can be approved


  • Higher cost (sometimes only a little higher)
  • Coverage caps, especially after age 65
  • Exercise caution on the type of policy you purchase – some have a waiting period for full coverage

*Policy features are subject to change. Availability can vary by state.

Bottom Line

Keep in mind that no exam life insurance will cost more, albeit slightly in many instances.

Additionally, if you are diabetic, and haven’t maintained regular follow-ups with your physician, no exam life insurance may be an excellent route to go.

In order to purchase the best life insurance plan you qualify for with diabetes, do two things:

  1. Partner Up – This is the most important. You need an expert independent agent to collaborate with. An independent agent is not bound to a particular life insurance company. That way, your best interest is at heart and you will have access to all the top non-med life insurance carriers.
  2. Prepare – Be ready to communicate effectively during the application process. This means writing down information about your medical history, medications, and lifestyle so that your answers are readily available.