Updated: August 05, 2019

Critical Illness Cover for Mental Health

Does critical illness protection cover mental health issues? In this article we'll look at which policies cover mental health issues, and how to choose the most relevant policy

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Richard Angliss

Author: Richard Angliss - Finance Expert

Updated: August 05, 2019

When considering buying critical illness protection, most people think about the possibilities of being diagnosed with a condition such as cancera heart attack, or stroke. What many forget to consider is that a decline of mental health can be just as debilitating as any other illness or disability.

There are many medical conditions that can be affected by your mental health including anorexia, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and each one can affect an individual at a varying level of severity.

While some may have access to professional help that enables them to recover or cope, others are not so fortunate. This can leave many unable to work and in serious financial stress.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, you can seek help. Discussing your mental health isn’t necessarily easy, however, there are always listening ears available.

Visit Mind for more information and support, or if you need immediate assistance, call NHS 111 on 111.

Does critical illness insurance cover mental health?

Despite an increase of 2.4% for sick days caused by mental health issues, many critical illness insurers do not include mental health illnesses within their policy.

Valuing mental health in the same way that we value physical health is high on the UK Government’s mental health agenda, yet many of those facing a deterioration in their mental or emotional state still face issues when trying to find critical illness protection.

You may find that a handful of insurers are willing to provide financial protection for mental health sufferers, however, it’s likely that only very specific conditions are included.

Most critical illness insurers only pay out in instances of permanent or life-threatening illnesses and, because many people still classify mental health as ‘manageable or curable’, it can be difficult to make a successful claim.

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Does critical illness cover depression?

Not usually. Most insurers do not consider mental health conditions to be critical illnesses.

Although the number of people with mental health issues such as depression has not changed significantly in recent years, worries about money as well as triggers that remind people of traumatic experiences can make it harder for people to manage at work.

One product that can cover you in the event of a depression-related work absence is income protection insurance.

Make an enquiry and one of the experts we work with with will help you find a provider who is willing to offer the most favourable deals under these circumstances.

If you have a mental health condition and are struggling with your bills, read this article from Citizen’s Advice on how to get help with your finances.

Making a claim for mental health

With the help of an insurance professional who has experience in finding critical illness supplemental insurance, it may be possible to find financial protection.

Upon making a claim, your insurance company may ask for evidence of your mental health diagnosis. This can be provided in the form of a doctor’s note which might include information about your symptoms, medication and psychological state.

Below are a list of questions that your insurance company may also ask you if you decide to make a claim.

  • What is your mental health condition?
  • When were you diagnosed?
  • Do you take medication to stabilise your mental health?
  • Have you tried any therapies?
  • Have you seen a counsellor, psychiatrist or community mental health team?
  • Have you ever tried to self harm or commit suicide?
  • Have you stayed in hospital as an inpatient due to your mental health?
  • Have you required any time off work for this and if so, how long?

The above questions can seem intrusive but in order to make a successful claim on your critical illness cover for a mental illness, it is important that the information you provide is accurate and full discloses the full extent of your condition.

How can I find critical illness insurance that covers mental health?

It’s important to remember that although it can be hard to find critical illness cover for mental health, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is impossible.

Work with a critical illness insurance expert

A good thing about working with an insurance advisor is that they’ll most likely already know which companies are worth your time.

They’ll have access to a database with all of the relevant information that can help you decide where to turn. This will include details about:

  • The illnesses they provide cover for and to what extent
  • The average payout for a claim
  • How often they pay out for a claim
  • Their customer service
  • The price of their premiums

As well as this, working with an insurance professional can help you avoid any clauses that could prevent you from receiving a payout.

The advisors we work with can identify any terms and conditions that you should be aware of if you decide to proceed and can explain to you how each one could affect your ability to make a claim.

To find a critical illness insurer that covers mental health issues as well as any other diseases that you may be worried about, talk to an expert.

Are there any alternatives?

With such a limited choice of critical illness insurers that cover mental illness, it can be beneficial to consider other alternatives.

Income protection insurance

One of these could be income protection and, while it doesn’t pay out a lump sum like critical illness cover does, it can still provide a financial safety net through periods where you are unable to work.

The good news is that the amount of income protection providers that include mental illnesses within their policy tends to be higher than the amount of critical illness cover insurers.

Like any financial decision, it can be helpful to seek the advice of a professional. The advisors we work with have access to a vast range of insurance providers and can compare the costs of each provider as well as the amount of over they could be expected to insure you for.

Speak to an advisor to discuss your options and to learn more about income protection for mental health.

Mental health and money management

In addition to seeking an insurance product which allows for mental health conditions, you may want to consider saving in the event that you need a nest egg during a lapse in your mental health.

Mental Health and Money Advice is a charitable organisation that provides information, advice and support on how to manage your money, welfare options, tips on getting support and tools to help you plan budgets and hit savings targets.

Read their article on managing money for an easy to follow, step-by-step breakdown.

Talk to an expert

Before you agree to sign any critical illness insurance agreement, always seek professional advice.

An unsuccessful claim for critical illness insurance because of mental health can be detrimental, especially if you are severely unwell and are reliant on a payout to cover your mortgage, bills or other expenses.

It can be a real weight off your mind to know that your insurer will pay out in the event that you need to make a claim, so have a professional thoroughly examine your contract. .

Call us on 0808 189 0463 or fill out an enquiry form to ask us more about critical illness cover for mental illnesses. The advice provided by the experts we work with is always confidential and there is absolutely no obligation to proceed with an insurance contract.

Ask a quick question

We can help! We know everyone's circumstances are different, that's why we work with brokers who are experts in critical illness cover. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Richard Angliss

Richard Angliss

Finance Expert

About the author

Richard Angliss has made a career in financial services which stretches over 40 years.

His early career was spent learning about the various financial products and applying them to prudent advice, working for one of the largest life assurance and investment firms. After that he joined the financial services arm of a very well-known firm providing independent advice to their 8 million customers.

For the last 20 years he has been involved in building software solutions that help Advisers and clients work together to achieve good financial outcomes and helping to set up three independent advisory firms. He also has written many articles for financial services publications and provided commentary for newspaper journalists.

At an early stage in his career he realised the great satisfaction that comes with being able to help people achieve their goals and protect their families. “Regulation of financial services has hugely impacted on ensuring people get appropriate advice. The issue these days is access to that advice and just as importantly regular reviews to make sure that everything stays on track”.

With the growing development of online resources such as Online Money Advisor he sees a great future for people to access advice to make their pension and investment work harder for them.  Plus, of course, to ensure they have insurance products in place that will be required when unforeseen events happen.

He knows getting that balance right is crucial to prudent financial planning and the wellbeing of individuals and their families.

FCA Disclaimer

*Based on our research, the content contained in this article is accurate as of the most recent time of writing. Lender criteria and policies change regularly so speak to one of the advisors we work with to confirm the most accurate up to date information. The information on the site is not tailored advice to each individual reader, and as such does not constitute financial advice. All advisors working with us are fully qualified to provide mortgage advice and work only for firms that are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. They will offer any advice specific to you and your needs.

Some types of buy to let mortgages are not regulated by the FCA. Think carefully before securing other debts against your home. As a mortgage is secured against your home, it may be repossessed if you do not keep up with repayments on your mortgage. Equity released from your home will also be secured against it.

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