Can I get life insurance with a mental health problem?
One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem at some point, according to Mind.
The charity campaigns for better awareness of issues that those with a mental health problem face every day.
One such issue is whether or not those people will be able to take out life insurance because of their condition.
Insurance options are often limited for those with pre-existing health conditions. Typically we tend to think of these as more physical problems such as cancers, diabetes or epilepsy but mental health problems are just as common.
Thankfully these days there is a lot more awareness about mental health problems and how diverse they can be. Insurers are starting to include details on these, and how these can impact your insurance policy.
A mental health problem will still be considered as a risk, however in many cases, you will still be able to get standard cover.
Why are mental health problems considered a risk?
With life cover, the main factor that the insurance provider takes into consideration is the risk of death.
In terms of mental health, suicide is clearly the main concern.
You may think that suicide isn’t covered by a life insurance policy, but this is in fact false. Most insurers will pay out for death by suicide as long as 12-24 months have passed since the policy began. This helps to avoid any fraudulent claims.
As well as the risk of suicide, there is also correlation between poor mental health and the management of other health issues. Drug or alcohol misuse is also a problem.
What issues do my insurers need to know about?
Typically, insurers will be looking at conditions such as stress, post-natal depression, eating disorders, addictions as well as the most common forms of mental health problem, depression and anxiety.
The information that insurers need to know will differ between providers. You’ll typically be asked about diagnosis, symptoms and any treatment you are undergoing.
Some insurers may only be concerned with mental health problems occurring in the last five years. If you have experienced any episodes prior to this and things are now under control you may not even need to disclose this information at all.
How will my disclosure affect my insurance policy?
If you have a history of mental illness, particularly in the last couple of years, then your insurer may see you as a higher risk.
In most cases, you will still be able to get cover. However your premium may well increase to cover that risk.
With serious instances of mental health problems such as multiple suicide attempts or history of psychiatric treatment then there is the possibility that the insurer will decline your policy.
If in doubt, it’s worth speaking to a life insurance specialist before applying for insurance.
As long as you disclose all the necessary information, they’ll be able to work out which cover is likely to be best for you and your circumstances. Whilst choosing the cheapest policy will save you money in the short term, it may not always be the best option. An insurance adviser will help you to look over all the finer details of the policy to make sure that it is suitable and that there are no exclusions based around mental health.
I don’t like to talk about my condition, will this affect my claim?
With greater awareness around mental health, there is becoming less of a stigma around these conditions. Some people, however, are still unwilling to open up about their problems.
As with all insurance applications, it is really important to be open and honest about your health. One of the most common reasons that insurance claims are declined is due to non-disclosure. For example, omitting to tell your provider that you are taking medication or have undergone treatment.
Insurance providers deal with medical conditions all the time – both physical and mental. So there’s no need to feel embarrassed about disclosing any problems. Having a mental health problem doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get insurance. However if you don’t tell someone, this could be the difference between an accepted claim or a declined one.
Speak to a life insurance specialist today to discuss your cover requirements in detail and find cover that’s right for you.
The above post is intended to be informative but does not constitute advice – financial, legal or otherwise. Any opinions given are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of So Smart Protect or So Smart Financial Services.