7 Things to Know About Life Insurance and Depression 2023

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7 Things to Know About Life Insurance and Depression 20237 Things to Know About Life Insurance and Depression 2023

When it comes to arranging life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection, most insurers are going to ask questions about your mental health.

This can make applying for insurance feel quite intense, as you have no idea what someone will think about your mental health and it can sometimes make you remember things that you don’t want to.

I have had generalised anxiety disorder for many years and agoraphobia in the past too. When I first went for life insurance in 2010 I was declined due to my mental health. All I had was anxiety and it felt like a real kick in the teeth.

Fast forward to 2016 and I got my life insurance at standard terms. I have personally worked with many insurers to challenge the way that mental health is viewed.  The changes over the last 10 years have been incredible. There are still things to be worked on but we are getting there.


1. There are different ways to get life insurance

As an adviser I am bound to say that an advised route is best for you. We will listen to your circumstances, make sure that you are applying for the right insurance and search the market for you to make sure that your application goes to the right insurer for life insurance.

Not everyone feels ok with this. You might not want to speak to anyone about your depression.

We can do things like speak by email if you don’t want to talk about it, share information by secure documents if you feel comfiest this way, or we can help you to do the application on your own.

It’s also possible to apply for life insurance through different routes such as a non-advised route, direct to an insurer or through a price comparison site. Non-advised firms can help find the right insurer for you, but they won’t be able to tell you which policy is right for you.

Price comparison sites can’t tell you which insurer is going to be right for you or make sure that you are applying for the right policy. Going direct to the insurer you will also not get advice or know if they are the right ones for you until after the application.

But, whilst there can be these issues, the important thing is that you choose a route that feels right for you.


2. Some of the questions you are asked can feel quite personal

Most life insurance applications are going to go through a core set of questions and I like to prepare people as we go through them.

Me and my team ask the questions slightly differently than if you speak directly with an insurer and some other advisers. This is because we are making sure that we ask them in a way that doesn’t just throw you straight into the questions and gently moves through them.

We start off by asking:

  • When were you diagnosed with depression?
  • What medications do you take or have you taken?
  • Have you taken part in any treatments?
  • Do you still have symptoms now?
  • Does it affect your ability to work or do day to day activities?

We will then prepare you for the next set of questions that become more personal:

  • Have you ever been an inpatient due to your depression?
  • Have you ever seen a psychiatrist?
  • Have you ever been under the care of a community mental health team?

We will then prepare you for the last set of questions:

These questions can lead to some extra bits of information that we need. We ask all of this so that we can make sure that when we research the insurers we can come back to you with a clear idea of what they can offer, once we put your life insurance application with them.

There are life insurances that you can apply for that will not go into these details but they will usually have exclusions for claims relating to mental health.  You can potentially get good options through your employer for life insurance and you can read more about this here.


3. Your price might go up

It’s never nice to hear that you might pay more for something than someone else. I think it’s important to be open and clear with you, that this can happen.

There are times that life insurance will be available at normal terms, this means no price increases. This is most likely if your depression is mild and it’s not affected your ability to work.

Sometimes the price can go up. If you have needed time off work in recent years, have had suicidal thoughts, self-harmed or attempted suicide, then some insurers might increase your premiums.

Depending upon the timing of some of these symptoms, you could find that some insurers will decline your application for life insurance. Not all insurers will and that’s how our team of expert advisers standout, because we will let you know early on which insurers are right and are not right for you.


4. The insurer might want to see a report from your GP

Depending upon the symptoms that you have had, the medications and treatments that you have undertaken, you can find that insurers ask to see a report from your GP.

This is paid for by the insurer and they will only do this with your expressed permission for them to see the report. Your GP should not release any details about your medical history without your approval.

I like to suggest that you choose to see this report before it goes back to the insurer. You can then look at it to make sure that it matches what you feel is an accurate reflection of your mental health history.

GP reports can take a while. We’ve had some come back within a week, we’ve had others take over 12 months. On average we expect them to be with the insurer around 8 weeks after it’s sent to the GP.


5. Watch for exclusions!

The reason that I say watch out for exclusions is that most life insurance policies in the UK do not come with exclusions. There is an exception that I talk about in point 6 below.

With life insurance you are much more likely to get a premium increase than you an exclusion. So if you are being told there is an exclusion on life insurance policy, it is a good idea to get some advice to make sure that your policy has been set up in the right way.

There is a little extra add-on that comes with life insurance policies that you can apply for, called waiver of premium. This is an extra that basically means that if you are ill and cannot work for 26 weeks or more you won’t need to pay your premiums until you are back at work. The insurer will keep your policy active during this time.

It’s quite common to get an exclusion for mental health claims just on this waiver of premium bit, if you have had depression.


6. Most life insurance policies pay out claims related to suicide after 12 months

The exception! This is one that can confuse people because they simply can’t believe that it’s true. It is true.

Most UK life insurance policies pay out claims relating to suicide, once the policy has been active for 12 months or more. This is why insurers can sometimes be more cautious about offering life insurance to people with a significant mental health history.

I specifically help people with mental health conditions to get life insurance and this is the thing that usually surprises them the most. If you have been declined life insurance in the past due to your depression, I have found that it sometimes helps people to understand why the insurer made their decision.

It will never make the feeling of being declined ok, I do know what it feels like to personally get that decline letter, but for some people it does help.


7. There’s no best insurer

Unfortunately I can’t say to you, right you have depression the best place is Insurer X. I wish I could.

There are so many things that factor in to which is the right insurer for you. Your BMI, your occupation, your family medical history, your travel and more.

When I speak with people that have a mental health history I will usually know quite quickly a handful of providers that will probably be good, and some that I won’t approach.

To give an example, some insurers don’t ask about suicidal thoughts at all, others ask in the last 10 years, others ask have you ever had them. I’ve worked in insurance since 2010, my husband since 2005, and we have spent years working with underwriters and insurers so that we can understand the right insurer for you. 

Our award winning advisers have been trained by me to specifically give you a supportive environment to discuss your mental health and get you the life insurance that you need.

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7 Things to Know About Life Insurance and Depression 2023

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7 Things to Know About Life Insurance and Depression 2023
7 Things to Know About Life Insurance and Depression 2023
7 Things to Know About Life Insurance and Depression 2023
7 Things to Know About Life Insurance and Depression 2023
7 Things to Know About Life Insurance and Depression 2023