What anyone with depression or an anxiety disorder should know about life insurance

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If you have depression, an anxiety disorder, or some other mental health condition, you might have wondered if that disorder would have an adverse effect on your ability to secure a financial safety net for the ones you love most when applying for a life insurance policy. We understand your concern – the process of applying for life insurance can seem confusing and intimidating if you’ve never gone through it before. Doubly so if you are someone with a disorder that could potentially impact coverage. That’s why we spoke to a few key members of the Haven Life team to get their tips on navigating the life insurance experience for people with depression or anxiety disorder.

Get your insurance policy as soon as you can

With life insurance in general, the sooner you apply, if approved, the sooner you could be covered, and your monthly rate will likely be lower because you’re younger and inherently more healthy. Also, it goes without saying, but life is unpredictable. And something like term life insurance is not one of the tasks from your “to do list” that you’ll want to put off.

Disclose your full medical history

As with any other type of health concern, a mental health disorder should be disclosed as part of your term life insurance process. (This includes the diagnosis and all medication used to treat conditions.) Simply put, if you don’t disclose your mental health history, it could impact whether your claim is paid if you pass away. In other words, your insurer might not pay out your benefits if you die during your term if you applied under false pretenses.

A failure to disclose your full history can also delay your coverage decision. If an undisclosed diagnosis is discovered during the underwriting process, that can lead to ordering additional medical records, which obviously requires additional time.

Don’t worry (too much) about your rates

In many cases, anxiety without additional complications or mild depression won’t impact your underwriting class. (Refresher: An underwriting class is a group of individuals who share certain characteristics that affect their rates.) However, if depression or anxiety impacts school or work, or if you have had frequent medication changes, you may end up paying a higher premium. In severe cases, you may not be eligible for traditional coverage. Though, again, not disclosing your condition would lead to an even worse situation, in which you pay for insurance but your beneficiaries may not end up receiving the benefits.

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Take care of yourself

When it comes to mental health disorders, make sure you are getting the care you need. Your overall health history is underwritten during the life insurance process. Therefore, you should make sure you are compliant with your doctor’s recommendations and treatment for any health conditions, and try to keep your blood pressure and lab values within normal range.

And as with anyone else, general health advice still applies: Don’t smoke, keep your weight in check, get enough sleep, take your vitamins, etc. But really, that’s good advice for any situation.

Prepare for your life insurance medical exam

Having to take a medical exam is not indicative of your health rating. If you have to take a medical exam, it’s usually a good idea to do some basic prep work. That will include fasting overnight and laying off the caffeine the morning of. That’s why it’s usually a good idea to try and schedule your exam for early in the day.

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Don’t assume you can’t be covered

To put all of the above another way: Depression and anxiety should not prevent you from applying for life insurance. Be honest, keep expectations in check and don’t be afraid to ask questions (from, say, a certain super-friendly-and-helpful customer support team). Whether you opt to explore an online life insurance agency or a specialized broker, the life insurance application experience might be far easier than you think.

Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide array of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men’s fashion and grooming, and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children.

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC15DTC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. Not all riders are available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is 0K71922 and in Arkansas, 100139527.

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