What is the Canadian Diabetes Association’s position on insurance for people living with diabetes?

The Canadian Diabetes Association believes that people with diabetes should be able to obtain insurance coverage of all types at a reasonable cost.

Read the CDA's full position statement on insurance, including background and rationale.

Do I have to tell my insurance company that I have diabetes?

Yes. The insurance act of every province and territory specifically requires an applicant for insurance to disclose every fact within the person’s knowledge that is relevant to an application for insurance.  A failure to disclose your diabetes could render the contract voidable by the insurer.  

Once life or disability insurance has been issued, you do not need to report any subsequent changes in health unless you apply for increased policy benefits.

How will my applications for insurance be affected?

Most people with diabetes find it more difficult to obtain or renew at an affordable cost insurance of all types: vehicle, mortgage, term/life and travel.

Most insurers take into account the type and severity of diabetes when considering applications.  The insurance company attaches a medical rating to the policy based on the type of diabetes, the length of time since diagnoses, how well the disease is managed and the presence or absence of complications.  This rating then determines the price of the policy offered.  In some cases, an insurer may determine the risk is too high to offer insurance coverage.

What is a pre-existing medical condition?

It is any medical condition that you had before applying for insurance. Most insurance policies will not cover any claims related to the pre-existing condition. 

How does diabetes as a pre-existing condition affect my insurance?

When applying for life or health insurance, an individual’s health information may be used to decide whether to offer or deny coverage and to decide what premium rate to set for the policy.  Travel insurance policies will cover most pre-existing conditions, with the insurance company determining the level of benefits and price based on the medical information provided.

For tips on travel, health and life insurance and diabetes, read about Diabetes & Insurance.

How will my insurance claims be affected with diabetes as a pre-existing condition?

Unless a policy explicitly indicates that it includes coverage for issues related to a pre-existing condition, most policies will not cover any claims related to diabetes or its complications.

How can people with diabetes find insurance for health, life and mortgage?

Inquire with an insurance broker.  Once an insurance broker collects necessary medical information, it will seek out insurance available in the marketplace. 

My application for insurance was denied because of diabetes. Is this discrimination?

Usually not. The insurer’s position is that they will assess individuals on the basis of “risk classification,” so applications from people living with diabetes are treated the same.  In order to save costs, many insurers decide whether to cover someone, and at what cost, according to the industry’s risk-selection practices.    

Can an employer deny health insurance coverage because of diabetes?

Generally, employee health insurance plans will provide coverage for your pre-existing condition, except under specific circumstances in the group plan. Therefore, you will not be denied health coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

However, most group plans will require and review the health information from an employee’s later additions of family members to the plan and may deny coverage if a pre-existing condition is present.