Yes and no, it could be difficult getting life insurance if you suffer from depression, but it really depends on a variety of factors.
Life insurance is designed to pay out a cash lump sum to your family after you pass away. The price you pay for your cover (the premium) is determined by the likelihood of your family making a claim.
Statistically, people with depression are more likely to have physical health problems, more likely to live an unhealthy lifestyle and are also at higher risk of suicide; thus a claim could be more likely.
For this reason, insurers are more cautious about offering cover to individuals with depression and may charge a higher premium. But this shouldn’t put you off arranging life insurance, as insurers will also carefully consider your unique circumstances before making a decision.
Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms, making it important to review every application on a case-by-case basis.
Your age, physical health and whether you smoke are also key considerations to be taken into account to work out the cost of your premiums. 1 in 4 UK adults struggle with their mental health each year and the impact of the Covid pandemic has increased the prevalence of mental health issues. The pandemic has also increased the number of people wanting to secure life insurance to protect their loved ones should the worst happen.
With these in mind, insurers are very much used to providing affordable cover for those suffering from depression.
Why take out life insurance?
Life insurance provides a vital financial safety net for your family should you no longer be around to provide.
The pay out from a policy could help to replace your income and be used by your family to cover:
- Mortgage or rent payments
- Childcare expenses (average cost of childcare £263 a week)
- Household bills (council tax, electricity, gas, water, etc)
- Everyday living costs (travel, food, drink, clothing etc)
- Your funeral costs (average cost of a funeral £4,187 in UK)
What challenges may you face?
As someone with depression, you may question if your condition could get in your way of securing life insurance. You may also wonder if you can get the cover you need at a price that won’t break the bank.
Fortunately, it’s very possible to secure life insurance if you have a pre-existing mental health condition, but sometimes it can be tricky depending on your circumstances.
Reassured, an award-winning specialist life insurance broker, covers some of the challenges you may face when arranging life insurance:
Answering questions about your condition
When arranging life insurance, you’ll need to answer some questions about your general health and wellbeing. When you disclose that you have depression, these questions will become more specific to your condition.
An insurer will need to know things like:
- When you were diagnosed
- Whether you’ve had any time off work due to your depression
- Whether you’re taking any medication
- Whether you’ve had professional help
- Any instances of self-harm or suicide
Understandably, these questions can seem personal and may make you feel uncomfortable. However, the purpose of finding out this information is so the insurer can accurately assess your application. This enables them to provide you with the correct cover.
It’s vital that you’re fully honest about your all aspects of your condition to ensure that your policy is valid. Not being truthful during your application or withholding key information is known as non-disclosure.
Your premiums could be more expensive
As mentioned, life insurance premiums are calculated based on the likelihood of a claim. Insurers look at a variety of factors to assess the level risk, including your age, health, smoking status and weight.
The presence of a mental health condition could indicate that a claim is more likely. As a result, insurers may charge you a higher premium to mitigate the greater risk.
That being said, individuals who suffer from depression can still get life insurance at the standard rate. Especially those who’re young, don’t smoke and have good physical health. As a result, it is usually best to secure cover as young as possible, locking in a low premium for an extended term.
You may need to grant access to your medical records
Depending on the severity of your depression, an insurer may request to see a full medical report from your GP for more information before offering you cover. This is likely to happen if the following events have occurred in the past:
- Attempted suicide
- Suicidal thoughts
- Time off work
An insurer will need permission from you before they can access your medical records. Your application would be delayed until the records are received and have been reviewed by the insurer.
If you’ve not experience any of the events above, and your depression is mild and managed well, then you shouldn’t have a problem being accepted for cover straight away.
You could be declined, (but it’s unlikely)
Most of the time, people with depression can secure life insurance. But there’s a chance you could be declined if you have severe depression and pose too much of a risk to the insurer.
Your application is likely to be refused (or postponed) in the following instances:
- Your depression was diagnosed recently
- If you have attempted to commit suicide more than once or recently attempted suicide
- You were recently hospitalised or had time off work due to depression
- You have other medical conditions which are linked to your depression
If the above applies to you, then you may want to wait until your symptoms have improved before applying for life insurance.
If you’ve been declined in the past, and your depression is now well-managed, it could be worth reapplying.
Finding the right life insurance provider
Some life insurance providers are better than others for people who suffer from depression. This is because every insurer assesses risk differently and employs various underwriting processes. Some are also less prepared to cover pre-existing medical conditions, including depression.
It can be a challenge to find the right life insurance provider for you and your circumstances. Filling in multiple application forms and gathering quotes can also be a time-consuming activity.
Thankfully, there are ways around this problem. You could enlist the help of a specialist FCA regulated broker to do the hard work for you.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.