Best life insurance for those with a history of mental health
Receiving a mental health diagnosis can cause many people to worry about their chances of finding a life insurance company that will provide coverage. Although your medical history may be a factor used to determine your eligibility and premium, having a mental health condition does not automatically mean that you will be denied coverage.
In fact, many factors are used to determine your eligibility, such as home insurance and auto insurance. If you have a history of mental health and are looking for life coverage, it may take a little more time and documentation, but you could still be approved with an affordable rate. Just like other health issues, how you manage your condition and its severity is key to securing a life insurance policy.
What is considered a mental health problem?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a mental health condition is one that “affects a person’s thinking, feeling, behavior or mood”. People with mental illness can often feel alone, but 50% of lifetime mental health problems are present by age 14 and 75% by age 24.
Being diagnosed and treated for any of the following mental health conditions could affect life insurance:
- Anxiety disorders
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
- Dissociative disorders
- Eating disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Schizoaffective disorder
The impact of mental health on life insurance
When shopping for life insurance, part of the underwriting process is assessing your mental and physical health. This is done first by answering specific questions about the application. Although the format of the questions varies by company, you can expect questions such as:
- When were you diagnosed with your mental health problem?
- How severe is your mental health diagnosis (mild to severe)?
- Have you been hospitalized for this in the past 12 months?
- How frequent are your episodes and when was the last one?
- Do your symptoms affect your ability to perform tasks of daily living?
- Do you currently have a treatment plan and are you following it?
Certain mental health conditions that have a higher likelihood of suicide such as severe anxiety or depression, schizophrenia and OCD, may result in higher premiums than other mental illnesses.
Consulting a mental health professional can help increase your chances of being approved for life insurance at a better rate, especially if you are following the treatment plan, have not been hospitalized recently, and have a consistent work history. .
Guaranteed issue life insurance
If your mental health diagnosis causes you to be denied coverage, you have another option. Guaranteed issue life insurance is a type of whole life insurance that generally does not require health questions or a medical exam.
You will need to answer a few basic personal questions, which are no different from the basic form for standard life insurance. With a guaranteed issue policy, you will most likely get instant approval and can keep the policy for as long as you pay the premiums.
Not all companies offer guaranteed issue life insurance and most coverage caps at $25,000 or $50,000. Since guaranteed issue is whole life insurance, it is often more expensive. And because there is no health assessment, rates for this type of coverage can be the most expensive as it is high risk.
What if I lie about my mental health diagnosis?
You should never lie about anything on the application, including a mental health diagnosis. Life insurance underwriters use databases such as the Medical Information Bureau (MIB) to confirm the medical history information you have provided. If you are found to have lied on the application, this is considered insurance fraud and could have serious consequences. The lie is also leaked to the MIB, which can be found by other insurance companies if you apply for coverage in the future.
Most life insurance policies, including term life insurance, have a two-year suicide clause. This clause is in place to prevent people from purchasing life insurance with the intent to commit suicide and to protect their family’s income. Companies also include a contestability clause for the first two or three years of the policy.
This clause allows the company to investigate any claims in the event of death for misrepresentation. If they find that you lied on the application, your beneficiary may not receive your death benefit. They may get the premiums paid into the policy until you die, but lose the death benefit you paid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a person with bipolar disorder buy life insurance?
Yes, you can get life insurance with bipolar disorder. You will need to answer a few additional health questions specific to your mental health condition, including whether your condition is under control and for how long. Underwriters also consider factors such as hospitalization history, treatment plan, and occupational and social functioning to determine if you are approved and at what rate.
What’s stopping you from buying life insurance?
There are several things that can cause life insurance denial. Lying on the application, not meeting age or health requirements, having a pre-existing condition like cancer or heart disease, being a high-risk driver, and even asking for too much insurance can disqualify you for coverage.
Can you be denied life insurance for anxiety?
Yes, if your anxiety is not well managed and is affecting your ability to participate in life and hold a job, you may be denied life insurance. However, if you follow your doctor’s treatment plan and manage your anxiety appropriately, you should qualify for life insurance. If you’re otherwise healthy, you might even qualify for some of the best life insurance rates, depending on the company and its underwriting guidelines.
How do insurance companies know if you have a pre-existing condition?
When you apply for life insurance, you must sign the application in order for it to be reviewed for coverage. When you sign the application, you consent to your medical records being reviewed by underwriters, unless you choose a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. Even if you apply for coverage without a medical exam, your doctor’s records and your MIB profile will still be checked before an offer of coverage is extended by the company.
Can I get life insurance if I have PTSD?
A person diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, can probably get life insurance approved. As with other mental health issues, an underwriter will review your medical history and the answers to the health questions on your application.