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What to know about depression, anxiety disorder and life insurance

Having depression or an anxiety disorder should not stop you from considering term life insurance. Here are tips for navigating the application process.

As if life with mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, wasn’t difficult enough, getting life insurance with anxiety or depression can seem overwhelming, too. Life insurance companies factor illnesses of all types into their underwriting process, potentially leaving those seeking coverage with higher premiums on their insurance policy.

If you have anxiety or depression, or some other mental illness or health condition, you might have wondered if it would have an adverse effect on your ability to secure life insurance coverage to put a financial safety net in place for the ones you love most.

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 anxiety or depression, or any other illness (mental and/ or physical) that could potentially impact coverage from life insurance companies. 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 anxiety or depression.

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. This is true if you have anxiety or depression, or another mental illness or physical illness — or if you don’t.

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 symptoms and conditions.)

Simply put, if you don’t disclose your mental health history (even moderate depression), 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. And that’s a fate worse than paying higher premiums, as someone with anxiety or depression (or another mental illness) might have to do.

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 or depression without additional complications or symptoms, or mild to moderate depression, might not impact your underwriting class. (Refresher: An underwriting class is a group of individuals who share certain characteristics that affect their rates.)

However, if anxiety or depression (or another mental illness) impacts school or work, or if you have had frequent medication changes, you may end up paying a higher premium. In very serious 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 illness and associated 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 the normal range.

And as with anyone else, general health advice for those with anxiety or depression 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.

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 success 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.

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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.

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About Louis Wilson

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.

Read more by Louis Wilson

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html

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