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.
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.
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.