How I Got Life Insurance With Type 1 Diabetes
In my mid twenties I started thinking about my goals such as purchasing land, building my dream house and getting married. As with all of my important choices in life, I did my due diligence into the requirements to qualify for a mortgage. Qualifying for buying land or a car is a breeze. However, when it comes to a mortgage it’s another ball game. Amidst my in depth research and analysis of interest rates and payback periods, I discovered something interesting. I must have life insurance in order to get a mortgage. I must have contacted at least 6 lending institutions and they all reiterated this fact. No life insurance, no mortgage. I decided to submit an application for a policy to get the ball rolling and this is where the journey started.
I was Rejected for Life Insurance Because of my Type 1 Diabetes
Most people would say of course you were rejected. You have diabetes. However, it was my fault that I was rejected for the life insurance policy. Christmas had just passed and I had not had my HBA1C checked in a couple months. Like most individuals, I over indulged a little too much over the holidays.
I went to the insurance company’s doctor for a couple of mandatory tests. These included HBA1C, Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, HIV and a couple others which I cannot pronounce. A couple days later I received a letter from the insurance company stating that I have been declined and I should consult my doctor. Upon my next doctor’s visit my HBA1C was revealed to be 8.4%. No wonder I was rejected. Some may say 8.4% is not extremely bad but when it comes to managing diabetes, striving for perfect numbers is the way to go. Always remember that insurance companies do not want to take on any extra risks or liabilities. A person with type 1 diabetes is just that in their eyes. In order to pass the requirements for insurance, all your test results must emulate that of a healthy person without diabetes.
Although I was turned down the first time I was still determined to get my life insurance policy. Being denied was also a wake up call concerning my health and my diabetes management. Over the next couple of months I became obsessed with my blood sugar levels and general health.
I nailed these 5 health factors to increase my chances.
1. HBA1C 7% or below
The number one factor in my opinion is your HBA1C level. This is an average of your blood glucose levels for approximately 3 months. Having a high blood sugar level over an extended period of time can negatively affect your HBA1C levels and your health. Therefore, make sure that your blood glucose levels are constantly within the normal range (5.5 mmol/L to 7 mmol/L) as much as possible. I re-looked my opinion of what a high blood sugar is. I considered anything 11 mmol/L or over high. However, I now look at a blood sugar reading of 8 mmol/L as high. I was able to get my HBA1C down to 7% when I resubmitted my test results to the insurance company.
2. Perfect blood pressure
Often as diabetics we concentrate primarily on blood sugar levels. However, we also have to monitor our other readings. Make sure that your blood pressure reading is perfect, because high readings can lead to complications and adverse effects with the heart. A good blood pressure reading for most individuals is less than 120/80 (120 over 80). Before you take your blood pressure, it is recommended to avoid caffeine, cigarettes (you should not be smoking at all), and exercise for at least 30 minutes prior to the test. Due to my frequent exercise regime and diet my blood pressure is always perfect now.
3. Increase good cholesterol and decrease bad cholesterol and triglycerides
The total cholesterol level is the overall amount of cholesterol found in the blood. It consists of low-density lipoproteins (LDL), also known as bad cholesterol, which is the cholesterol that blocks the blood vessels and increases risk of heart disease. It also consists of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), the good cholesterol that helps protect you from heart disease. The higher your HDL, the better. There is also the triglycerides count. This is another type of fat that can build up in the body. High levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL raise the risk for heart disease. Once again, proper diet and exercise will assist in having healthy cholesterol levels.
4. Decrease body fat percentage
If you are a couple pounds overweight I highly recommend losing as much body fat as possible to get you out of the overweight zone. The more body fat you lose the higher the likely hood that all the other factors previously mentioned will be improved. Remember the main goal. Emulate a healthy person without diabetes as much as possible. The more overweight you are the more complications and health issues you are susceptible to. Therefore, the insurance company will not want to take on this risk. I was not overweight but losing a couple pounds surely benefited me.
5. Check for and treat kidney issues if possible
Get a urine protein test (microalbumin or urine microalbumin to creatinine ratio) and a blood test (urea and creatinine) done. Changes in the urine test occur before abnormalities in the blood test occur. This is why excess proteins in the urine is the earliest sign that can be easily detected that there might be a problem with the kidneys. The kidneys are extremely import to everyday functions of the body. They are often damaged in persons with poor control of diabetes and usually leads to dialysis treatment. If kidney issues are detected early enough it is possible to reverse them. Any indication of kidney disease will set off red flags for insurance institutions.
Once you have good overall health with no complications and great test results there is no reason why you should be turned down for a life insurance policy. However, you may have to pay a little more than a person without diabetes. Once you indicate to the agent that you have diabetes you will be required to have a physical and specific tests done.
You need to have a plan. Have all of your tests done with your doctor before making the appointment with the insurance agent. Once all of your test results are great you can proceed with your appointment. Leave nothing to chance. If any results are slightly higher than normal, work on them as soon as possible. Ask your doctor for the best treatment for the issue and get it under control. Have the tests repeated after a month or so (time varies according to issue) and once there is improvement you can proceed with your insurance application.
Unfortunately there is no guarantee that you will get a policy even with the best of health. It is ultimately up to the insurance company. However, being as healthy as possible will definitely improve your chances.
After I corrected all of my health issues I was confident that I would be granted a policy. After resubmitting my medical results with my application I was asked to submit several other test results. I felt quit annoyed having to visit my doctor yet again. However, I was sure the results of this other test would also be quite good. After the final submissions I received a call about 2 weeks later from my agent. It was great news. I was granted my policy and the manager also wanted to congratulate me on having such great test results with type 1 diabetes.