Individuals with a history of depression or severe mental health concerns can often access both life and critical illness insurance without too much trouble unless they are at the more severe end of the spectrum. Rates will vary from one insurer to another which is where we can add value for clients in accessing the most cost-effective options.
Some insurers will be able to offer cover based upon the submitted application if sufficient information can be provided, others may wish to write to your GP or require a medical screening.
Insurers typically look at the fuller picture with relation to mental health and will want to understand the circumstances that lead to an episode. Depression that is linked to a life event such as a bereavement, a marital breakdown etc can be easier to underwrite at times. For conditions such as bi-polar your current circumstances also are important to understand. For example, having a full time job or being in a stable family environment are examples of factors that help to support any applications.
Life cover can normally be written at standard rates if there is no history of self-harm or hospital treatment. If you have a history of suicide attempts and severe depression, cover can still be found but on occasion the premium will be higher. There are specialist insurers that exist that can, on occasion, write life cover for clients with a complex mental health history by placing an exclusion upon suicide.
What we need to know
Information that is useful to have to hand when looking at life insurance includes:
• When was your depression/mental health condition diagnosed?
• What medications are you taking?
• Was this related to a life event?
• Have you had time off work?
• Have you any history of self-harm/suicide attempts?
• Have you been diagnosed with any conditions such as bi-polar, PTSD, schizophrenia?
• Have you had to spend any time in hospital/psychiatric care?
We’d love to help you find the right protection for you.
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Barbara came to us and explained that 15 years ago she’d been diagnosed with severe acute mental illness due to ante- and post-natal depression. During this time she had spent two years in psychiatric care and had made over a dozen attempts to end her life. Since recovering she has been relatively symptom free, is in a stable relationship and has a full-time job. Despite her history we searched the market and found an insurer that would cover Barbara. Even better it was with standard rates and had no exclusions.
James was diagnosed with bi-polar seven years ago after one single episode. James is now married with a full-time job and has had no time off work in the past four years. His bi-polar condition is now controlled with a anticonvulsant medication. He is a smoker and drinks a relatively high amount of alcohol (30 units a week). When James tried to apply for life and critical illness cover online his application had been postponed by the insurer. We were able to find him cover with a +50% rating above normal premiums which he was very pleased with.
*Names changed for privacy