I’m diabetic. Should I take my job’s supplemental life insurance?

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Q. I just got a new job and one of the benefits is life insurance, but not as much as my last job so I need more. I can also buy an additional two years worth my salary, but only the first $25,000 comes without a medical test. I have diabetes and I’m a little — not a lot — overweight. How can I decide if it’s worth taking the medical or if I should consider getting insurance on the outside?
— Considering

A. Congratulations on your new job.

When you have a life change, it’s a great time to evaluate your life insurance needs.

It’s important to understand the underwriting rules for supplemental life insurance available through an employer, said Ed Gaelick, a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant with PSI Consultants in Glen Rock.

Group-sponsored life insurance will typically have some guaranteed issue amount, and any amount above it will be subject to proving good health, Gaelick said.

That could mean a health questionnaire, lab work for blood and urine or more, depending on the amounts desired, he said.

“A diabetic is definitely more likely to have some underwriting challenges and all companies will factor in build — height and weight — with a diabetic,” Gaelick said.

So the question is whether or not you can do better going through your company or through the open market.

“My bet is the open market since you’d have access to dozens of companies compared to the one insurance company your employer uses for their group life program,” he said. “Either way, you’ll need an exam, but it increases your odds to get a better rate by shopping.”

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This story was originally published on April 26, 2022.

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