Mental Health and Wellbeing Money

Will Having Depression Affect My Life Insurance?

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No one likes to think about leaving loved ones behind, but it’s very important to organise financial protection for a worst-case scenario, especially if you have young children who rely on you.

Life insurance provides reassuring peace of mind that your nearest and dearest can remain in the family home and cover future family living costs if you are no longer around.

When having mental or physical health issues, it’s an assumption that your life insurance will be more expensive, but this is not always the case.

Having a mental health condition, such as depression, is more common than you may think. According to Mind (a mental health support organisation) 1 in 4 people in the UK suffer with their mental health each year.

But does this impact the cost of products such as a life insurance policy?

In the below article created by leading life insurance broker, Reassured, your key questions will be answered about what to expect when applying for life insurance when you have depression.

Can I secure life insurance with depression?

Most likely yes. With depression being so common, it is highly likely that you will be able to secure a life insurance policy to protect your family. Every insurer is different, but your eligibility and the cost of your premiums will depend on the severity of your condition. Because every insurer has a different underwriting process it is important to compare multiple quotes to secure your lowest premium.

The table below shows the possible outcomes of your life insurance application based on the severity of your depression:

Recent change of circumstances If you have recently been diagnosed or your symptoms have recently worsened, it could potentially be more of a struggle to secure cover. You may have your application postponed or declined until your condition stabilises. 
Severe depression (potentially hospitalised due to your condition)Your premium might be increased and depending on past events, insurers may request to see a medical report from your GP (with your permission). 
Mild or well-managed depressionYou could be offered cover at the standard rate (this means no increases to your monthly premium based on your mental health) or perhaps a slight increase.

Do you have to tell insurers about a mental health condition?

Yes, you must inform a life insurance provider of any mental or physical condition that you have. If you fail to tell the insurer about your condition then this is called non-disclosure and this could invalidate your policy, preventing a pay out when you pass away.

During a standard life insurance application, you’ll be asked about your own medical history, as well as your family’s. You will also be asked personal questions about your age, smoking status, weight, occupation and lifestyle. 

When disclosing information regarding your depression, you may be asked these additional questions:

  • When were you diagnosed with depression?
  • Have you had any time off work due to depression?
  • How frequent and severe are your symptoms?
  • Have you had suicidal thoughts?
  • What treatment are you receiving? (Prescribed medication, therapy, support group)
  • Has your condition led you to self-harm, attempted suicide or be admitted to hospital?
  • If yes, how long since the last occurrence and have you received any help?
  • Do you suffer from any other mental health conditions?

Although it can feel very personal to answer questions regarding your mental health, it is important to be open and honest with the insurer as this will determine your premium costs and final pay out amount. 

Life insurance agents talk to many people every day, all with different personal circumstances. You should be made to feel at ease when looking to secure a policy, with no judgement, as their main objective is to help you find suitable cover.

A man with a worried expression on his face looking at his laptop.
Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Will life insurance cost more with depression?

As previously mentioned, it will depend on the severity of your current mental health when taking out your policy. If your condition is mild or well-managed, then you shouldn’t be charged a higher premium.

However, there are other factors that can affect your premium prices.

For example:

  • Smoking 
  • Heavy alcohol consumption 
  • Obesity (a high BMI)
  • High risk occupations (working from heights or with dangerous equipment)
  • Lifestyle/ hobbies that are deemed high risk (water sports, sky diving etc)
  • Other pre-existing health conditions.

Leading a healthy lifestyle (for example, regular exercise and not smoking) can help improve your mental and physical health and reduce the cost of your life insurance premiums.

Can insurers check your medical records?

Not without your permission. If an insurer requires more information about your mental health, then they may request a medical report from your GP, but only if you agree to this.

It’s unlikely for them to ask for a medical report unless you’ve had a history of self-harming, suicidal thoughts, or hospitalisation due to your depression.

Policy options

There are many different options of life insurance, but here are the most popular options:

Over 50sTerm (Level & decreasing)Whole of life 
– Provides cover for the rest of your life and guaranteed pay out- Guaranteed acceptance (usually 50 – 80 or 85 with some insurers)- No medical questions- Pay out usually lower than other types of policies (between £10,000 – £25,000 depending on the insurer)  – Provides cover for a set term (usually up to 40 years)- Pays out if you pass away during the policy term- Choose if your cover amount remains the same or decreases in the term- Medical information required- Usually the cheapest type of policy– Provides cover for the rest of your life and pays out when you pass away- Medical information required- Typically the most expensive option 

Over 50s is a great option for those who are over 50 and are struggling with depression as no medical questions are required, acceptance is guaranteed and premiums are affordable.

An older man kissing an older woman on the cheek. In the background is the sea.
Photo by Esther Ann on Unsplash

Getting life insurance with depression

There is a strong possibility that you will be able to secure yourself a policy to protect your loved ones. Your depression should not prevent you from finding a suitable and affordable life insurance plan.

You can find a policy by using a few different methods; using a comparison website, doing personal research, going directly to an insurer (agent) or using a life insurance broker. It may be an easier process if you use a broker or agent as they can assist you on your application and answer any questions you may have.

While it may seem daunting applying for life insurance with depression, using a specialist fee-free broker can be helpful as they can compare quotes from different types of insurers to help you find those that are most lenient for applicants who have depression. If you need financial protection for your loved ones, then it’s worth shopping around to find the right policy.

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Will Having Depression Affect My Life Insurance?

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