Life Insurance and Mental Health

It can often be very difficult to know how certain conditions affect your prospects for life insurance.

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It can often be very difficult to know how certain conditions affect your prospects for life insurance. Now more than ever, we recognise that our physical and mental health are just as important as each other. How, then, does the state of your mental health affect the life insurance options available to you?

The only simple answer is that it depends on your particular situation. Those with mild conditions, such as mild depression or anxiety, will very rarely be excluded from standard cover on the basis of these conditions.

The rates of widespread mental illness have increased at alarming rates over the last few decades, so it is reassuring for you to know that these conditions do not exclude you from life insurance cover. What insurers are interested in is side effects you’ve suffered as a result of these conditions.

How mental health affects life insurance

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Obviously, the term ‘mental health’ is an umbrella term describing a great range of different conditions and illnesses. Discussing how mental health affects which life insurance policies you will be approved for is not as simple as other conditions.

In general, the most common mental health problems do not, in themselves, affect your life insurance prospects. Most of the time, people with conditions like depression, anxiety, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder can be covered at standard rates.

What providers will wish to know is any history of serious side effects and symptoms that might pose a potential risk to your life.

What providers will wish to know is any history of serious side effects and symptoms that might pose a potential risk to your life. For example, if you have a history of self-harm or attempted suicide, this may affect your ability to be adequately covered.

In more serious cases of mental health trouble, securing standard cover may prove difficult. Severe depression, severe bipolar disorder or schizophrenia may make it very difficult to obtain standard cover. But that doesn’t mean cover is not available to you. Certain providers will decline your application, but others will be willing to have your policy manually underwritten. Your premiums will likely be higher, but you can still be covered.

High risk and pre-existing conditions

Many mental health issues fall under the umbrella of pre-existing conditions, and policy providers may consider your policy higher than average risk. Most mental health conditions will not come under this definition, and so it’s not something you need to worry about.

Again, though, in more serious cases, your mental health conditions will deem you as a high risk. Your premiums may be higher and many mainstream providers may turn you down for cover.

In any case, however mild your condition, when you take your initial assessment for the policy, you need to fully disclose any history of mental health concerns. However mild they are, if you have been formally diagnosed at any point in your life, that will be in your medical record. If you fail to disclose certain details, it could make your policy invalid and your loved ones will not receive the pay-out.

When deciding how best to secure life insurance when suffering from mental health problems, the first thing you need to establish is what you would want that life insurance to cover.

Why life insurance?

We compare plans from the leading life insurance providers

Before deciding on a life insurance policy, it’s best to make sure that you know what expenses would need to be covered if you were not around. For most people, the biggest one is likely to be the mortgage, but other expenses to consider include childcare, funeral costs, and whether you would like to leave an inheritance.

Which policy is best for me?

You can take out life insurance in several ways. The best life insurance for mental health and mental health related problems will depend on your specific circumstances, but you should always carefully compare different providers. If your condition is severe enough that you cannot get accepted on standard terms, you may need to seek out a specialist insurer.

Once you have found an attractive provider, you can then take out several different kinds of life insurance. The most common is term life insurance, which covers you over a specified period of time. This can be either level-term or decreasing term, meaning that the pay-out lump sum either remains fixed or decreases over the course of the policy.

You can also take out whole of life policies, which you pay into for the rest of your life and which always pay out to your loved ones. These policies are suited to people in good health later in life, as they provide a guaranteed pay out. However, these policies typically have more expensive monthly premiums, and if you pay into them for too long you can end up paying more in than you get back.

Over 50s plans guarantee acceptance regardless of your medical history, and so if you have a history of depression resulting in self-harm or attempted suicide which is making it difficult for you to get accepted on a standard policy, this may work for you. These policies usually have pay-outs capped at £25,000, as well as a waiting period of up to two years at the start of the policy during which time you will not receive a pay-out on your death.

Comparing mental health life insurance

The most important thing for you in looking for a life insurance policy is to be sure to compare as many providers as you can. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may have fewer providers available to you as an option, but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carefully consider the choices you do have.

There are many insurance brokers, such as LifeSearch, who will handle this process for you, and they provide an invaluable service. If you have specialised needs, such as severe mental health conditions, they will be able to factor this into their comparisons and provide the best option for you.

Mental health troubles may be more prominent in the modern world, but ways of managing these problems are, too. You are not alone in your struggle, and securing adequate life insurance cover does not have to be difficult.