OCD & Life Insurance

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OCD & Life InsuranceObsessive compulsive disorder is a condition that affects people in many different ways. Some people overlook OCD, they see it as excessive hand washing, double-checking that doors are locked, liking items to be in a certain place. This can be true, but OCD can also be much more than that. We are here to listen to you and help guide you to the right insurer for your needs.

Things we need to know:

  • When were you diagnosed with OCD?
  • What are your symptoms?
  • How frequent are your symptoms?
  • Do you take any medication?
  • Do coping strategies help e.g. cognitive behaviour therapy?

When you apply for life insurance, obsessive compulsive disorder will need to be detailed on your application with most insurance providers. If your symptoms are quite mild, the OCD doesn’t stop you from working or carrying out regular day to day activities, then accessing life insurance should be fairly simple, most likely at normal rates.

Insurance companies get a bit more cautious when something like OCD starts to have a significant impact upon your life. As obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental health condition, it is possible that you will be asked some of the standardised questions around mental health which could involve information on whether you have seen a psychiatrist, community health team, if you have ever self-harmed or tried to attempt suicide. I know that these questions may seem like a huge leap from having OCD, but they may well pop up and it’s a good idea to know that they could be asked. It is possible that if your obsessive compulsive disorder or any related conditions cause you significant symptoms, that the insurer may choose to offer life insurance at higher premiums.

Critical illness cover pays out a cash lump sum of money, if you are diagnosed with a medical condition that is listed in the insurer’s claims set e.g. cancer, heart attack, stroke.

When you apply for critical illness cover, your OCD will be looked at in quite a similar way to life insurance. The insurer is going to want to know how much your OCD affects you. There is a big difference between the impact OCD can have on people, for some it is manageable, for others it really does affect them quite significantly. As with life insurance, mild OCD that you are able to manage well will probably see you being able to access critical illness cover at standard terms, with many insurers.

If your obsessive compulsive disorder is causing you to not be able to work, or do regular everyday tasks, then insurers may want to ask you a bit more about your health. It is possible that they may ask to see a medical report from your GP to confirm your diagnosis and how you are currently managing your health. This process happens with a lot of medical conditions and please do not find it a concern. If it does happen it is arranged by the insurer at their own expense. If your symptoms do have a significant impact upon your day to day living, the insurer you approach for critical illness cover, may increase the premiums.

 Income protection pays you a replacement of your monthly income, if you are unable to work due to ill health.

Income protection is a really flexible policy that can be built to suit your specific needs. When you apply for income protection, it is quite normal to see an exclusion placed on the policy for claims relating to the pre-existing conditions. Having OCD could lead to you having a mental health exclusion placed upon the policy. For obsessive compulsive disorder with no other related conditions, the insurer may decide that this exclusion covers any risk that they think is present and they may not increase the policy premiums. If you have multiple conditions or your OCD does affect your day to day living, it may be that the insurer decides to increase the premium, or we may need to place your application with more specialist insurers.

When you apply for income protection it is a good idea to get a policy that is on an ‘own occupation’ definition. This will mean that if you are unable to work in your current job role due to ill health, the insurer will pay a claim. Other definitions, ‘suited occupation’ and ‘any occupation’ are much broader definitions and you would need to be much more ill, to be able to make a successful claim.

After looking at the options for income protection, if you think that it doesn’t fit well with what you want, it could be worthwhile looking at a policy called Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Cover. This policy will pay out a monthly income replacement if you are unable to work due to long-term injury, disability or involuntary redundancy, for 12-24 months. These policies are not medically underwritten, which means that having OCD will have no bearing on the acceptance or price of the policy. But, it is really important to know that these policies generally exclude claims for pre-existing medical conditions.

Are you setting your sights on getting away from the hustle and bustle? It is always a good idea to make sure that you have good travel insurance in place if you are going on holiday. If you would like to get some quotations please visit our dedicated travel page here.

CuraVision The ABCs Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Video Transcript

Hi everybody. Today I want to talk about Mrs O. Olivia came to us because she’d just set up a capital repayment mortgage and wanted to put something in place, insurance wise, in case something happened to her. So that her husband and children could stay in the family home. The reason that Olivia came to us is because since early childhood she’s had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and it was something that had been with her for a very long time. She was now in her early forties. And it was something where she also at times had maybe one or two panic attacks a month. And over 10 years before she spoke to us, she also had a suicide attempt. Now Olivia was in a completely new place now as to where she had been all those years ago. She now had a family and nothing, in a sense, could have been further from her mind now. And we’re pleased to say that an insurer also felt that was very much the case. So, what we were able to do was arrange Olivia to have a £160,000 worth of decreasing life insurance over 15 years to match her mortgage. The premium was probably a bit higher than some people would expect because she was a smoker. But it came to £27 per month.

What is OCD?

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental health condition that makes someone feel that they need to repeat certain actions, an urge to have things a certain way, or fixate on specific thoughts, or something bad will happen. It can range in how much it affects someone, with some people able to manage their symptoms well, whilst others can find it hard to work and socialise. OCD can be caused by a family history of the condition, low serotonin levels, triggering life events and some personality types.

Linked with: Mental Health

Common Questions

Hi, it is lovely to hear from you. Please let me assure you in the first instance that you have not been singled out here. When an insurer asks these questions they are trying to establish just how much the OCD affects you on a day to day basis. It sounds like when you spoke to someone before that they were not particularly sensitive in how they asked these questions. When you tell an insurer that you have a mental health condition, sometimes even when you have a completely different seemingly unrelated condition, it triggers a set of questions being asked. They will cover any treatments you have tried, specialists that you have seen and more personally if the OCD has led you to want to hurt yourself. The wording of these questions can come across very bluntly if not said in the right way and I’m sorry to hear that this is what has happened to you. I appreciate that insurance and potentially more financial services may feel a bit tainted now, but if you do want to have a chat and I can go through this more with you, please let me know.


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OCD & Life Insurance

Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd

This page was written by Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd, an award-winning insurance adviser. To read more about Kathryn please see her bio here

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