Life insurance is a powerful tool. It’s a means of ensuring that your loved ones are taken care of even after you’re gone. Considering how fast-paced the modern world is, if one breadwinner of the family passes, it’s a big deal. However, getting a life insurance policy isn’t a cakewalk either.
This is even more true if you have pre-existing conditions. Can you apply for a life insurance policy if you have a mental health condition, and how can you get it done?
Pre Existing conditions have always been a hurdle when it comes to life insurance or even health insurance policies. Depending on the condition, people often faced higher rates or were declined altogether. The thing is, a massive number of non-elderly people have a pre-existing condition these days. While it does make the process of getting life insurance trickier, a pre-existing condition shouldn’t be a reason not to get a policy.
What’s the situation regarding mental health conditions?
Mental health conditions are a grey area in the sense that some of them aren’t as obvious as others. However, having a mental health problem does count as a preexisting condition. As such, it needs to be disclosed to the insurer.
Failing to do so brings all the usual repercussions. Your insurer could very easily contest your policy or even make it void in case they somehow find out that you’ve had a condition you didn’t disclose.
What counts as a mental health condition
One of the issues regarding mental health problems is the fact that they range from mild to rather severe issues. Depression, for example, is a disorder that would count as a preexisting condition. Self-harm, bipolar disorder, and many others do too.
If you’re suspecting that you’re suffering from any form of mental health disorder, make sure to get yourself diagnosed before you take out a policy. In case you’re wondering how much your condition could affect the rates, most places will allow you to get an instant quote for life insurance immediately. In this case, you can get an estimate right away and know exactly what you’re in for.
Applying for life insurance
The process of applying for life insurance differs from carrier to carrier. However, most of them will have the same or similar procedure when it comes to disclosing a pre-existing condition. You will most likely need to provide your carrier with the following:
- Official diagnosis
- Known symptoms and how often you experience them
- Contact details for the physician in charge of treatment
- The current state of your condition
This info, although fairly thorough, will allow the carrier to formulate a life insurance policy offer. Granted, not all carriers will be lenient towards someone who is dealing with mental health issues.
The reality of the matter is that you might run into closed doors. Shopping for life insurance is hard as it is. Adding a pre-existing condition of any kind only makes things harder. That being said, almost 20% of adults in the US suffer from some sort of mental illness. No insurance company can afford to exclude such a massive portion of the population from their client pool.
How to find life insurance while having a mental health condition?
The process of shopping for an insurance policy is the same. All you need to do is disclose your condition and prepare yourself to be declined a few times. Fortunately, there are insurance carriers who deal specifically with clients who suffer from mental health problems.
Once again, it’s imperative that you’re honest when filing an application. In most cases, whether or not you’ll be offered a policy will depend more on how you’re dealing with your issues rather than the condition itself. At least that’s the case with less severe conditions.
If you’ve been depressed and diagnosed with depression, you’ll be far more likely to get a decent quote if you’ve been working on your depression a few years prior to applying for insurance.
Your carrier is mostly interested in figuring out if you’ll be liable or not. By providing all the insurance information and showing that you’ve been handling your condition, you might even find yourself paying a regular rate for your insurance.
Medical exams are part and parcel of the life/health insurance world. To get a policy, your provider might ask you to take a medical exam. Depending on the provider, such an exam could include a mental health checkup.
Choosing not to disclose your condition could lead to an awkward situation during this part of the process. Sometimes it will be your physician performing the exam, but oftentimes it’s a professional psychiatrist who will run the exam.
The matter of timing
Timing is important when applying for life insurance with a preexisting mental health issue. If you’ve just been diagnosed, it’s probably not a good idea to go shopping for life insurance policies. Depending on your condition, you might be too much of a liability for most carriers.
Instead, it’s much better to seek treatment and spend some time working on yourself. Give it a few months or even a year until you’re fully familiarized with your condition and have it under control.
Going to a carrier and asking for a quote with a track record of successful treatment for your condition might set you up for standard rates. If the agent sees that you’ve been successfully dealing with your condition and that you’ve minimized the symptoms through treatment, they will be more likely to give you a quote that’s not outrageous.
Life insurance matters
Life insurance is important. It represents a safety net for your loved ones and those you care about the most. Even though suffering a mental illness could make it harder to get life insurance, you should still consider finding a plan that works for you.
At the end of the day, having a life insurance plan could also greatly reduce the stress you’re experiencing during difficult times. Buy yourself the peace of mind and ensure that your loved ones are protected even in the worst-case scenario.
Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being.