Diabetes and insurance – what you need to know

It’s not uncommon for people living with diabetes to have some difficulty when arranging insurance cover – whether it’s car insurance, travel insurance, life insurance or income protection insurance.

Diabetes falls under the title of ‘pre-existing medical condition’, which often means an insurance company will view you as a higher risk. Subsequently premiums can be more expensive for people living with diabetes, and in some cases cover can even be withheld.

As the old saying goes: ‘knowledge is power’, and that certainly applies when it comes to arranging insurance if you have diabetes. It is important to know how and why diabetes can affect insurance policies, and what you can do to get cover at the best possible price.

Below we have outlined how diabetes affects some of the most common insurance products, where you can learn more about your rights and where to find the best deals.

Car Insurance

Having diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay more for your car insurance. However, if your condition is treated with insulin you will have to inform the DVLA who will issue a restricted licence valid for one, two or three years.

If you have a restricted licence then it can affect your car insurance premiums, and this must be declared at the quoting stage – otherwise you will risk invalidating your policy.

If your diabetes is treated/managed with non-insulin based medicine or diet then you are not required to inform the DVLA and have a restricted licence, unless you have experienced a hypoglycaemic episode in the last 12 months.

As most car insurance companies no longer penalise drivers with diabetes, the best way to find a cheap quote is to shop around on online comparison sites:

Travel Insurance

At best, telling a travel insurer that you have diabetes can result in higher premiums. At worst, you may find that standard travel insurance companies are unable to provide you with full cover for your trip.

This doesn’t mean you can’t get access to good travel cover if you are a diabetic, just that you have to do a bit more shopping around.

Travel insurance is rarely too expensive, and even if you are living with diabetes you can get full cover for as little as the cost of a good holiday meal.

A lot of standard travel insurance policies will exclude cover for any pre-existing medical conditions, meaning if you had to make a claim for medical treatment costs due to your diabetes then this would not be covered.

Luckily there are now a lot of specialist travel insurance policies offering cover for people with diabetes, so you can travel with the peace of mind that any eventuality will be covered.

One thing to note is that if your travelling companions are covered on a different travel insurance policy they may not have the same cover as you when it comes to rearranging flights and accommodation.

Life Insurance

Diabetes may be a serious condition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take out a life insurance policy to protect your loved ones if the worst was to happen to you. Life insurance can be taken out to cover a certain ‘term’ e.g. to cover a mortgage, or to cover you for your whole life.

Those living with diabetes will find that some life insurance companies will simply not offer you cover, but don’t be deterred as there are plenty that will. You may have to pay a bit extra in account of your condition, but the extra costs are usually not so high as to be unaffordable.

When applying for life insurance, the insurer will want to know the following about your diabetes:

  • The date you were diagnosed
  • What type of diabetes you have (1 or 2)
  • What medication you use (metformin, insulin)
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Body Mass Index, along with waist, height and weight measurements
  • Diabetes-related ailments (nerve damage, circulatory problems)

So don’t be surprised if they ask for more details about your condition and how you manage it. You may also be asked to have a medical and provide details about any treatment you may have received from your GP in relation to your diabetes.

Your chances of being accepted for life insurance are much greater if you are able to provide plenty of evidence that your diabetes is being well-managed and looked after.

Income protection Insurance

Income protection insurance is used to offer financial protection if you are unable to work and earn money for a prolonged period of time. Most income protection claims are made when the policyholder suffers an injury or serious injury, so you may think you would be automatically excluded if you have a pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes.

People living with diabetes may have to deal with short or long term complications as a result of their condition such as eye, heart, kidney or feet problems, which could affect their ability to do their job.

While it’s true that it can be difficult to get income protection insurance if you are living with diabetes, you can find policies suitable for you if you are willing to pay a little extra.

Similar to life insurance, you will have to provide accurate and up to date information about your condition and your health, as well as undergo a medical examination. Some income protection insurers may also request regular blood tests, although if this feels too intrusive to you then shop around a bit more as there are others who do not make that a requirement.