Does life insurance cover mental illness?
Nowadays, it’s very possible to obtain affordable life insurance even if you suffer from mental health problems.
The prevalence of mental illness has increased dramatically over recent decades but fortunately, so has its ability to be managed.
As a result, obtaining affordable life insurance if you suffer from a mental illness has become much more achievable.
Generally speaking, the presence of mental illness alone won’t result in you being declined cover or being charged more.
However, insurers can become concerned if you’ve suffered negative side effects as a result of your pre-existing condition, such as self-harm, suicide attempts or hospitalisation.
All of these scenarios would most likely require further investigation before your application is accepted. What’s more, you could be charged increased premiums.
But for the most part, those suffering from mental illness can obtain cover on standard terms with standard premiums.
Let’s take a look at the specifics…
The cost of life insurance with mental illness
As with all life insurance, the cost of your monthly premium is calculated from the likelihood of a claim being made.
As a result, when applying for life insurance all standard factors are considered:
- Smoking status
- Family medical history
- Physical well being.
If you suffer from a mental illness, specifics of your condition will also be taken into account, including:
- Type of mental illness
- Severity of condition
- Effect on behaviour
- Management of mental illness, (medication).
Whilst most mental illnesses will have an impact on your daily life, many will not affect your life expectancy.
As a result, suffering from one of these won’t increase the cost of your premiums or affect your ability to secure cover.
Even mental illnesses which could have a negative affect on your life expectancy, as a result of self-harming and suicide attempts, may not affect your premiums or your ability to get cover if you’re managing the illness accordingly.
Undergoing a medical exam
When applying for life insurance it’s highly likely you’ll be required to provide information regarding your medical wellbeing.
Depending on your responses, an insurer may require more information via your medical records or a physical medical exam.
The less risk you pose to the insurer, the less likely your application will require further information before being approved.
The majority of mental illnesses don’t impact your life expectancy and therefore, providing information regarding your condition is likely to be sufficient.
Further information is only likely to be requested if you’ve previously self-harmed, attempted suicide or been hospitalised.
Even if you’ve suffered any of the above, additional information may not be required if sufficient time has elapsed since the incident.
Frequently the question arises as to whether or not it’s necessary to declare your mental illness when applying for life insurance.
Generally speaking, if you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness by a medical professional, evidence of this will be on your medical records.
Therefore, regardless of whether you pass away as a result of your mental illness or not, the insurer could refuse a pay out due to the non-disclosure of your condition.
According to research, approximately 1 in 4 of us in the UK will experience mental illness every year.
However, some who suffer from mental illness haven’t officially been diagnosed or received any form of professional help.
As a result, no record of their illness exists and declaring the condition is not mandatory.
To be safe, it’s always recommended to discuss your condition during the application, to ensure your policy is valid and your loved ones are not denied a claim.
What will I have to answer about my mental illness?
When applying for life insurance the most important thing to remember is that our team are not there to judge.
The more information you provide about your condition, the more it empowers us to ensure your cover is suitable and the quote is cost-effective.
Typically, you’ll be asked to provide information on the following:
- When were you diagnosed?
- Have you had any time off of work as a result of your condition?
- Are you taking any medication?
- Have you received any psychological help from a medical professional?
- Have you ever self-harmed or attempted to commit suicide?
– If yes, how long since the last occurrence and have you received any help?
These questions will help the underwriter to determine how well you manage your illness and the likelihood of a claim.
Will my application be accepted immediately?
When applying for life insurance, your application will have one of three outcomes:
- Immediate acceptance – Cover is in place
- Referral – Whilst additional information is obtained
- Declined – Insurer won’t provide cover.
Unless you have recent instances of suicide attempts or self-harm, it’s unlikely your application will be declined as a result of your mental illness alone.
For the most part, applications will be accepted immediately if no high-risk factors are identified and your condition is well managed. In this instance, you’re also not likely to pay inflated premiums.
If previous suicide attempts or self-harming have taken place, or your mental illness has resulted in time off work or hospitalisation, it’s likely your application will be referred.
Referring your application allows the insurer to obtain more in-depth information from your GP or medical records.
In order to do this, they’ll be required to obtain your permission.
Life insurance depression
Depression alone won’t impact your ability to obtain affordable life insurance.
In most cases, depression is mild or well-medicated, meaning its’ impact isn’t detrimental to the life expectancy of the individual.
However, if not treated, more severe cases can lead to self-harming and worst case potentially suicide.
As discussed, this can result in inflated premiums or declination of application.
In severe cases, depression can correlate with poor physical health, which can result in a number of fatal diseases.
Therefore, depending on the severity of your condition, inflated premiums may be instated to account for this increased risk.
Life insurance for bipolar applicants
Similar to depression, bipolar disorder can result in particularly low periods meaning the disease also correlates with poor physical health and the increased likelihood of self-harm.
As a result, inflated premiums and straight through approval will be dependent on the individual’s history and severity.
Life insurance with anxiety and panic attacks
As discussed, some mental illnesses, regardless of their severity, are unlikely to impact your life expectancy.
These include; anxiety and panic attacks.
Whilst very unpleasant to live with, they don’t danger your health and therefore, when arranging life cover, suffering from these illnesses is unlikely to impact your ability to secure a policy.
You’re also unlikely to experience inflated costs as a result of these conditions.
The exception occurs if you’ve been hospitalised due to your mental illness.
Life insurance after self-harm
Whilst not necessarily a mental illness, unfortunately self-harming is a common symptom of mental illness.
It can affect both the cost of your premium and your ability to obtain life insurance.
If you’re suffering from the will to self-harm you’re not alone; there’s expert advice and helplines available:
Life insurance after suicide attempts
As discussed, it’s possible to obtain life insurance if you’ve previously attempted suicide providing treatment was received and a reasonable amount of time has elapsed.
For further information on life insurance and suicide, visit our recent blog post.
If you’re suffering from suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone; helplines can be found below:
Critical illness cover with mental illness
It’s an unfortunate fact that many mental illnesses correlate with poor physical health.
For example, drug or alcohol use can lead to a multitude of serious illnesses.
As a result, when arranging your life insurance it may be beneficial to include critical illness cover.
This provides a lump sum pay out if you’re diagnosed with a life-changing, yet not terminal illness.
The pay out could be used to cover a lost income, fund private medical treatment or even make necessary adaptations to your home.
Terminal illness cover with mental illness
Regardless of your mental state, all life insurance policies provided through Reassured come with terminal illness cover as standard.
This means that if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness and are expected to die within 12 months you can make an early claim on your cover.
This can then be used to fund private medical treatment, allow you to make arrangements for your family’s future or simply to enjoy your final days with the ones you love.
Reassured’s impaired risk team
Regardless of what mental illness you suffer with, at Reassured we have an impaired risk team who specialise in arranging life insurance for those who may otherwise struggle.
Our specialists can put you in touch with the insurers most likely to accept your application.
We can also go through the whole process on your behalf, ensuring you feel comfortable about your cover every step of the way.
To make use of our dedicated team, simply get in touch. Arranging cost-effective protection is likely to be easier than you imagine.
Compare quotes and save yourself money
Regardless of your medical condition, premium costs can vary significantly between insurers, therefore, to ensure you get the best deal it’s essential to compare quotes.
At Reassured we can do all the hard work for you, comparing cover from a wide range of the UK’s leading insurers.
We can also help you write your life insurance in trust, avoiding 40% inheritance tax on your pay out proceeds.
And the best part is our award-winning broker service is completely free to use.