We know that sometimes it isn't easy to talk about having bipolar disorder, many of our clients have a history of self harm and have been declined insurance in the past. We are here to listen to your story, understand how your health has been in the past and how it is now, to make sure that we place your insurance with an insurer that works for you.
Things we need to know:
When you apply for Life Insurance, bipolar disorder will need to be detailed to the insurer. It is possible that the insurer will want to see a report from your GP, to confirm how the bipolar disorder has affected you in the past, and how your health is right now.
Bipolar Life Insurance applications will focus upon how often you have symptoms and if there has been any recent self harm or suicide attempts. The insurer will also want to know if you have a history of alcohol or drug use. If your bipolar is well controlled, with no significant impacts on your daily living, then Life Insurance could be available. It is likely that any offer of Life Insurance that you get will come at non-standard rates, in the form of a premium increase.
Bipolar Critical Illness Cover applications will need to detail how often your symptoms are active and whether you have had any suicide attempts, or a history of alcohol and drug use. When you apply for Critical Illness Cover, bipolar disorder that is well controlled with no other significant medical history, should be available. If your Bipolar Disorder is classed as severe or there are recent episodes of self harm or substance abuse, you may need to arrange your Critical Illness Cover with a specialist insurer.
When you apply for Income Protection, bipolar disorder must be thoroughly detailed to the insurer. You will most likely find an insurer who can offer you Income Protection, if you have been diagnosed with type 2 bipolar disorder. Those with type 2 bipolar disorder may be able to secure Income Protection if the condition is well controlled, but it will likely come with a mental health exclusion. This will mean that if you are unable to work due to a mental health condition, you will not be able to make a claim. There are specialist insurers that can offer Income Protection to those with type 1 bipolar disorder, but the acceptance criteria is quite strict.
As an alternative you may wish to consider Accident, Sickness and Unemployment cover which is not medically underwritten. This means that you can have short-term (12 to 24 month) income protection regardless of your bipolar disorder. However you must be aware that whilst these policies are accepted regardless of your medical history, they will also not pay out any claim that is a result of an existing condition i.e. bipolar disorder.
Off on holiday? We think it is a good idea to speak with a specialist travel insurance broker, that can direct you towards an insurer that will be supportive of your bipolar disorder. Please visit our dedicated travel insurance page here.
What is Bipolar Disorder
There is no specific known cause for bipolar disorder though there is a general belief that it can be a result of genetics, chemical imbalance or triggered by a highly stressful event. Bipolar disorder is generally experienced in bouts of depression (extreme lows) of six months or longer and periods of mania (extreme happiness) of four months of longer. The mood swings can happen more frequently over a period of a few hours, at which point mixed bipolar episodes may be diagnosed. Cyclomthyic mood disorder is a milder form of bipolar and is often undiagnosed. Symptoms will have lasted at least two years and have a regular impact on your day to day activities for a diagnosis to be made.
Also: Manic depression, type 1, type 2, mixed bipolar episodes and cyclomthyic
Linked with: Clinical depression
Possible Effects on Lifestyle
Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have bipolar disorder include:
Medications and Treatments
Further Reading and Research
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1. I tried to commit suicide when I was younger, because I had bipolar disorder and no-one knew. As soon as I was diagnosed and given medication, I was fine. I've not hurt myself for at least 6 years now, but I've just been declined life insurance. Can you help?
Yes we can. Some insurers are cautious about giving life insurance to people with mental health conditions, throw in previous suicide attempts, and they can get even more nervous. The important thing to know, is that there are insurers out there than can give you Life Insurance. Where one insurer may decline you Life Insurance, another can offer it to you at a higher premium than the basic rate.
2. I have bipolar disorder and want income protection. I know I wont be covered for the bipolar, but I want to be insurer for any other mental health issues that could stop me working. Are there any insurances that do that?
Its not likely. When it comes to income protection, mental health conditions are one of the highest claim areas that insurers have. As you already have a mental health condition, the insurers are going to be see you as a higher risk for other mental health illnesses, and will add an exclusion to the policy. There are some income protection policies that you could look at, but the claims criteria are quite strict.
3. I am bipolar and need life insurance. What do you need to know?
A few things. We need to know when you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, what medication you take, if you have had any episodes of self harm, and how it affects your daily living. We also need to know a few other standard things like your height and weight, how much alcohol you drink, if you are smoker, etc. There are more questions that you will be asked about the bipolar disorder, but it should cause you no concern at all. It is important that you feel supported and listened to when you apply for your Life Insurance. The questions that are asked of you are there to give the insurer a general picture of your health in the past, and how you are now. If at any point you do not feel comfortable talking about your bipolar disorder, then you can simply stop. It is important that you know that there are specialist insurances that you can apply for, that will not require to talk about your bipolar disorder in detail, but you will generally find a greater value for money if you do answer the questions set by standard insurers.
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Review by Christopher on 3rd November 2017
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