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Review by Sarah on 26th January 2018
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Hi. Today, I want to chat to you about mental health and how that can be viewed by insurers. The first thing that you need to consider when you have a mental health issue and, just like myself, I've had anxiety issues and a couple of bouts of agyrophobia, make sure that you're comfortable with the person that you're speaking to. If it's an insurance broker, if it's an insurer, you need to feel confident that you're being listened to properly and that everything being said is being treated with the utmost confidence and empathy.
When it comes to conditions such as stress, whether that's work related stress or anxiety or depression, with a lot of insurers you can get on the standard market, it can often be normal terms, and that's generally depending upon whether or not you're on medication or not, the strength of the medication, any treatment that you're having, when the diagnosis of the condition was and how your symptoms are currently. In a sense, how you're managing your every day to day life at the moment with the condition. Then when you start to get to more, what the insurers class as more permanent or severer mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder, that's when again you can look on the standard market, but you may want to start being more specific as to which insurers you put your application with, because some are better for different mental health conditions.
It is probable, I think, you're going to get some kind of loading on the policy, which means in general some kind of premium increase to offset what the insurers see as the additional risk for you having that mental health condition. Then when, again, you go onto the even more severe conditions such as schizophrenia or psychosis, then again the insurer is going to be looking at again probably loadings to the policy in the form of premium increases. Dependent upon the policies that you're looking at, you may be looking if it's life insurance, critical illness, income protection, on the critical illness or the income protection side of things, you may be looking at some exclusions to the claims based upon what your mental health condition is.
As I said, the insurers most want to know the medications that you're on, how often you take them, the dosages, whether or not you've had an inpatient treatment at a hospital, and the insurers are of course going to want to know if there has been any suicide attempts or any self harm. Now, if there have been suicide or self harm attempts, don't worry. There are policies that are available. On the standard market, you can get policies, it just depends on how often the self harm occurred, or how many suicide attempts there have been, and how long the timeframe has been since they occurred, and again, how your health is right at this moment in time. If there's been recent health issues, such as recent suicide attempts or recent self harm, or any recent severe changes to your mental health, then it may be that you look at a policy that comes with some exclusions such as a suicide exclusion, because suicide is generally included on a lot of life insurance policies after the first twelve months of it being in place.
It may end up being that you maybe have that excluded from the policy, or that you want to have a look at a policy that's known as - excuse the insurance jargon - but is known as non-medically underwritten life insurance. Which basically means that your mental health history will have no bearing on the application process or the acceptance terms, but there are restrictions to the policy. Whilst they are fantastic, and they really are fantastic, you need to know the exclusions, you need to know exactly what you are and aren't covered for, so ideally do speak to somebody who is familiar with these policies and can explain the ins and outs to you.
As I say, the main thing is that you feel confident in what you are buying. The last thing you need on top of any mental health issues is any kind of stress that these policies aren't exactly what you're expecting. I would suggest that you chat with somebody, and as I say, just feel confident that you are getting what you want.
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