In this article I’m going to be discussing mental health and how it might impact on your Life Insurance policy; what conditions are covered? How are your premiums going to be affected?….and how easy is it to get cover in the first place?
One in four adults will experience mental illness at some point in their lives, and fortunately in recent times it has become a topic which people are much more willing to discuss – in particular how it affects their day-to-day-lives.
With that in mind it’s no wonder that many people are openly asking how it will affect their Life Insurance applications, and whether it’s possible to get insurance if you suffer from anxiety or depression? How about panic attacks or conditions such as bi-polar? And what about for those who may have attempted suicide?
Sobering questions, and the short answer is ‘yes’, although there will be some factors that your insurer will wish to consider. Let’s take a closer look.
What Is A Mental Health Condition?
‘Mental health condition’ is a broad term that describes a condition which has an impact on our emotional well-being, psychological behaviour, and mood. It includes things such as depression, anxiety, and stress – common conditions that we may all be affected by from time to time; and rarer conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
Different mental health conditions will impact differently on your Life Insurance application depending on factors such as how severe and how recent the condition was. For example, a past case of mental illness is going to have much less impact than something a condition you are currently living with day-to-day.
The good news is that it is possible to get Life Insurance cover for a wide range of mental health conditions including:
- Panic attacks
- After self-harm
- After suicide attempt
Let’s just lump those first three together for a second. Anxiety, depression and stress are among the most common mental health conditions, and it is likely that you will be asked the same questions on your policy application when it comes to all three.
In addition to the standard medical questions that apply when you are taking out Life Insurance you might also be asked:
- If you have any ongoing symptoms
- The dates and details of severe attacks/symptoms
- Details of any time you have had off work in the last 12 months because of your condition
- Details and dates of any treatment such as medication or therapy
- Details of any self-harm or suicide attempts
- Details and dates of any hospital admissions
So How Will My Answers Affect My Premiums?
Basically there are four possible outcomes if you apply for Life Insurance and have a history of, or an ongoing mental illness:
- You Will Be Accepted With No Increase To Your Premiums – This is the most likely outcome for those who list anxiety, stress or depression as a mental health condition
- You Will Be Accepted With An Increase To Your Premiums – This is often referred to as a ‘rating’
- You Application Will Be Postponed – Basically this means that the insurance company is going to say no to insuring you right now, but may well change their minds in the future.
- You Will Be Declined – No explanation needed
So, under what circumstances might your Life Insurance application be postponed or declined?
- If you have been admitted to hospital more than twice because of your condition
- If you have been admitted to hospital due to your condition in the last 12 months
- If you have attempted suicide or have self-harmed in the last 5 years
- If you have attempted suicide or self-harmed more than once in the last 10 years
It’s worth noting that these are not universal rules in the world of insurance and being declined by one provider doesn’t mean that you won’t find cover elsewhere.
And What About Rarer Mental Health Conditions?
I mentioned at the beginning of the article, there are rarer mental health conditions such as bi-polar and schizophrenia, and the good news is you will still be able to get Life Insurance cover if you suffer from those, but you may be looking at higher premiums than those who suffer from stress, anxiety or depression.
This is simply because it is considered more of a chronic and specified illness.
So The Insurer Will Need To Speak To My Doctor Then?
No, not necessarily. As with any type of illness covered by your Life Insurance the problems only really occur if you haven’t disclosed all the necessary information on your application form. If you are able to give clear information on dates and medication, then the insurance company will make their decision based on the information you provide.
Does A Life Insurance Policy Cover Suicide?
A delicate subject matter, but largely yes. However, most insurance policies will have a clause excluding any claims due to suicide within the first 12 months of taking out the policy.
If you would like to get a quote, or if you have any further questions, we recommend speaking to a qualified advisor first, me or someone from my team would be more than happy to help, and our advice is FREE.
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