Mental health disorders can affect your life insurance application—find out how
There are a lot of complicated things out there that leave us with questions. Like magnets—how exactly *do* they work? And the fact that I wrote this in the past, but you’re reading it in the present. Trippy stuff.
But you know what isn’t as complicated as you might think? Getting life insurance with mental health problems! Aw yeah! But having a mental health disorder such as anxiety or depression shouldn’t stop you from getting life insurance. These conditions can affect your application however. So what’s the deal? Can I get life insurance if I have depression? And can you be denied life insurance for anxiety reasons? Let’s break it down, Wyshbox-style.
The Wyshbox Blog
- What are anxiety and depression disorders?
- Life insurance with mental health problems
- Can I get life insurance if I have anxiety?
- Next steps
What are anxiety and depression disorders?
Mental health can be a tricky thing. And when it comes to things like anxiety and depression, life insurance may seem like another complication. But before we get into all that, we have to establish what anxiety and depression disorders are and what they are not.
What is anxiety?
There is a difference between the general feeling of anxiety and anxiety disorders. An anxiety disorder is defined as an intense, excessive, and persistent sense of worry about everyday situations. Symptoms of an anxiety disorder can include things like:
- Difficulty controlling worry
- Feeling nervous, restless, or tired
- Breathing rapidly (i.e., hyperventilation)
- Trouble concentrating on anything except the worry
- Gastrointestinal problems
What is depression?
Officially speaking, depression is a mood disorder that causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. More than just feeling sad, depression can affect how you think, feel, and behave. And it can affect your day-to-day life. Symptoms of depression can include:
- Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- Irritability, frustration, or even outbursts
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Tiredness and lack of energy
- Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movements
What to do if you suspect you suffer from anxiety or depression?
If you believe you suffer from either or both disorders, there are steps you can take. If your symptoms are interfering with your day-to-day life, such as family obligations or work, you might want to seek professional help.
If you don’t feel ready to speak with a healthcare professional, then talking with friends may be a good step in the right direction. If you avoid speaking with your loved ones about your state of mind, you may run the risk of socially isolating yourself. Social isolation can bring on its own set of health problems, if you’re not careful.
Life insurance with mental health problems
When you apply for life insurance, companies want to assess your level of risk. To do this, they use a process called underwriting to take a snapshot of you as a person. Companies look at a number of factors including your personal and family medical history, occupation, hobbies, and even your driving record.
When looking at your personal medical history, companies typically do take a look at mental health as well. Why? Well, mental health is physical health, so to speak. Issues such as anxiety and depression can have adverse effects on our overall physical health. In addition, disorders such as anxiety and depression can point to other serious physical health problems you may or may not be aware of.
How do companies figure this out? They’ll ask you some questions about your condition to get a better picture. For example, you may be asked:
- When was your most recent episode?
- Are you taking any medications?
- Age at time of diagnosis?
- Any suicidal thoughts or instances of self-harm?
- Have you taken days off from work due to your condition?
Can I get life insurance if I have anxiety?
The overall answer is yes, you can. Depending on how you answer the questions above, you can expect a couple of potential outcomes. For example, you may just be offered coverage with no increase to your premiums. Or you might receive a lower class rating, which could mean higher monthly costs.
If you’ve experienced a recent episode, but are seeking help, companies may postpone your application until you’re in a better place, mentally and physically. If your condition is severe enough, you may be denied coverage altogether. Even if you’re accepted for a policy, it’s still smart to shop around and compare companies to see which ones will work best for you and your needs.
Next steps for those who want life insurance with mental problems
If you suspect you have either anxiety or depression but aren’t sure, it’s important to speak with someone. Whether that be a loved one or a healthcare professional, it’s essential to take steps towards bettering your own health.
If you have been diagnosed and are looking for a life insurance policy, start shopping around. Do your research to see which companies would work best for you and your loved ones. Not every company is the same. And not every company will view your anxiety and/or depression in the same way. So do your research and be honest—both about your conditions and with yourself about what exactly you need.