Being diagnosed with depression can bring a mixture of emotions, relief that there is a name for what you are feeling, and depression that you have depression. For people with mental health conditions it can be hard to come to the realisation that you have a mental health condition, whilst you are in it, as symptoms can develop overtime without you even noticing it. We work for you to make sure that your insurance is placed with an insurer who is supportive of your health.
Things we need to know:
Many terms used to describe depression have negative tones such as 'mental health issues', 'mental health problems' and 'mental illness'. You are living with a mental health condition and it's important that the adviser you use and life insurance company that is approached for your cover, use terminology that you feel comfortable with.
Life insurance with depression can often be secured at standard terms if there is no recent self harm, suicidal thoughts, hospital admission or psychiatric treatment. You will be asked if you have depression and anxiety, any other mental health conditions, your family history and your health in general. When you have or have had depression, life insurance can often be accepted immediately by a number of insurance companies, so long as the condition is well controlled.
When you apply for life insurance, having had depression means that you will be asked questions about any significant time off work, self harm or recent psychiatric treatment. It is also likely in these circumstances that the insurer will want to see a report from your GP about your overall health and your medical history. This is a standard part of the application and underwriting process for many health conditions and please do not be concerned by it, the insurer arranges this at their own expense, only once they have your expressed permission to do so. It is possible that you may see higher premiums with the offer of cover.
Medical conditions like bipolar disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, suicide attempts and life insurance applications, are viewed more cautiously by insurers, and may result in higher premiums. These mental health conditions will likely result in the insurer wishing to see a medical report from your GP, to determine the extent that the condition has affected, or currently affects, your life. Where your depression is viewed to have a significant effect on your life, your application for life insurance may need to be placed with specialist insurers.
Our case study video of Mr B who had depression and needed Life Insurance and Income Protection, is available here.
Critical illness cover for people with depression is underwritten in the same manner as Life Insurance. If you are symptom free or symptoms are well controlled, with no recent self harm or hospital admission, then you should be able to secure critical illness cover at standard terms. If there has been hospital admissions, self harm or alcohol abuse then a higher premium is more likely.
Depression and critical illness cover applications are treated with the utmost sensitivity, but please bear in mind that you are likely to be asked about the cause of the condition and if there have been suicide attempts during the application process, so that the insurer can gain a complete picture of your health. This may feel quite intrusive, but for the moment, it is quite standard with many insurers. If you speak to an experienced adviser, that you feel comfortable with, these questions can come across much more nicely than simply reading them in a black and white form.
It is unlikely that there would be any mental health exclusions placed on critical illness cover due to depression. However if you opt to include the claimable condition Total and Permanent Disability, mental health may be excluded from this specific part of the plan.
When you apply for income protection insurance, depression must be disclosed to the insurer, so that they can determine the acceptance terms that they are willing to provide you. It is highly likely that any offer of income protection will come with exclusions on claims related to your depression, if you have had depressive symptoms within the last few years. It is possible to obtain income protection without an exclusion in some circumstance, but this would usually need to see you treatment and symptom free for a number of years.
You may decide that the terms available with income protection for people with depression are not suitable to your needs. If this is the case it is worthwhile considering accident, sickness and unemployment cover as the policy is not medically underwritten and your depression will not impact upon the policy premiums. Please be aware that your depression will be excluded from claimable conditions on this policy.
Are you planning on a holiday? We work alongside a specialist travel insurance broker who can help you to find the best policy to meet your needs. Please visit our dedicated travel insurance page for more details, here.
What is Depression
Depression is a difficult condition to understand as there are so many different triggers that can cause its onset: family history, personality traits, pregnancy, loneliness, illness, life stresses, bereavement, alcohol and drugs. Depression is diagnosed when an individual has a consistently low mood and is unable to find interest or enjoyment, within some work or social environments.
Also: Clinical depression
Linked with: Mental health conditions, postnatal depression, bipolar disorder (manic depression), seasonal affective disorder (SAD), dysthymia, Polymyalgia rheumatica, underactive pituitary gland (hypopituitarism), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Possible Effects on Lifestyle
Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have depression include:
Medications and Treatments
Further Reading and Research
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1. I was diagnosed with depression 12 years ago and my mortgage adviser has told me that I have been declined Life Insurance. I really need it, what can I do?
Don't panic. We often have people come to us, that have been told elsewhere that they have been declined/refused insurance. You would be amazed at how often it happens.
It may not be the case, but we tend to find that when this happens, that your original adviser does not have access to all the protection insurers in the UK. There could be other insurers on the standard market that could offer you Life Insurance, and if not, we have access to specialist insurers that will be able to insure you.
2. I have had depression for many years. Twelve years ago I tried to commit suicide, but I started taking anti-depressants and I have been fine since. Can I have life insurance?
Yes. You may be able to arrange life insurance on the standard protection market, but this will depend on the type of medication that you take, your symptoms and how the depression affects your daily living and work. If you find that your depression is at a severity where standard insurers cannot offer you life insurance, then there are specialist insurers that we can look at for you.
3. I was speaking with a friend and they told me that having depression and drinking alcohol isn't fabulous if you're applying for insurance. Is this true?
It depends. Honestly, some insurers are not going to like the fact that you drink and also have depression. The good news is that if you don't drink excessively, and your depression isn't severe, then you should find some options for life insurance; you may need to speak with specialist insurers to get it.
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