Life Insurance for People with Depression
Three million Australians live with anxiety or depression. Repeat: three million.
While depression is common, life insurers don’t view it as such. Diagnosed depression in your medical history can sometimes mean your life insurance provider will deny you coverage or charge you more money.
Getting Life Insurance With Depression
Getting life insurance with depression isn’t as easy as you might think. A lot of people get blindsided by the reality when they first apply for life insurance.
Unfortunately, insurers lump “mental disorders” into one basket. This means that depression, anxiety, and other conditions that most people consider “mild” don’t go under the life insurer’s radar as such.
Some insurers include depression—no matter how mild or distant your suffering may be—in the same category as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Life insurers consider depression, anxiety, and similar forms of mental disorders as a risk, similar to any other physical health risk you could have. In some cases, this means they won’t cover you at all.
This trend is especially troubling when you consider the fact that a lot of people suffer from short-term, treatable depression.
You could have visited a psychiatrist once or twice when you were going through a dark period in your life. Women who suffer from postpartum depression have frequent stories of seeking help, only to get denied term life insurance or income protection years down the road.
Have You Been Diagnosed?
Many people with depression don’t seek treatment. The struggles of getting life insurance with depression just adds another reason to avoid visiting a psychologist or other mental health professional.
This concern is understandable, but shouldn’t be a deterrent to you seeking treatment. Treating your depression is the only way to bring yourself out of it, regardless of depression and life insurance consideration.
In fact, your application may be in better standing if you seek treatment for your depression. In a worst-case scenario, life insurers can deny claims on the grounds that you lied on your application regarding depression and life insurance.
Showing that you sought mental health treatment will allow you to put the period of depression behind you, and let your insurer know as much.
A Brighter Future
The Mental Health Council of Australia is working with insurers to fix the issue of depression and life insurance. They know that getting life insurance with depression is more tumultuous than it should be, and are trying to address the problem.
More recently, insurance underwriters are beginning to distinguish short stints of depression in the past from long-term mental health problems. They still want to reduce their risk, but now have more questions for applicants than in the past.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Whether or not you disclose your history of depression on your life insurance application, your insurer is likely to find out the truth. We always recommend complete honesty in these circumstances, since insurers have access to a wide range of medical history forms and may ask you to complete a medical exam.
Since there has been a bit of progress when it comes to depression and life insurance, underwriters are asking more questions. Here are some of the questions you can expect to encounter when you’re getting life insurance with depression:
- What is your official diagnosis?
- When were you first diagnosed with depression?
- Have you ever sought treatment for depression?
- What treatment did you seek?
- Have you ever been prescribed medication to fight depression?
- Did you ever visit a psychologist for depression?
- If you are not currently seeking treatment, when did the treatment end?
- When was the last time you had an episode of depression?
- Do other members of your family suffer from depression?
- Have you ever attempted or thought about attempting suicide?
Applying for Life Insurance
You should always be as honest as possible with your insurer, but thoughtful at the same time. You will want to give your insurer the impression that you are seeking treatment, or that the depression is behind you.
It’s essential that you follow your doctor’s instructions and tell the insurer as much as you can when you apply. Seeking successful treatment for depression is one of the ways to ensure that the provider accepts your application.
Honesty is important for all medical conditions when applying for life insurance. It’s unfortunate that a bout of depression in the past can follow you throughout your life, but there are ways to ensure you get the best life insurance coverage – even with depression in your medical history.
Comparing Life Cover
Since depression is such a common mental health problem in Australia and across the world, the future is looking brighter for getting life insurance with depression.
Different insurers have different methods of processing your application, though, and some will be more accepting of depression than others.
For this reason, it’s essential to compare life cover before you make a decision on who to insure with. Use our free comparison tool to find a suitable policy at the best price for you.