Updated: November 04, 2019

Life Insurance and Mental Health Issues

If you are living with a mental health condition, you may need professional advice about your life insurance needs. Find out whether to get it in our guide

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Pete Mugleston

Author: Pete Mugleston - Mortgage Expert

Updated: November 04, 2019

There’s no doubt attitudes towards mental health issues are changing for the better. Over two-thirds of people in the UK now feel more comfortable discussing this topic than they did just five years ago.

Until recently, it’s quite likely someone who has suffered from a mental illness may have shied away from applying for life insurance on the assumption that their application would have been declined.

The good news is life insurance companies are now much better equipped to provide cover for people with mental health problems or who may have been diagnosed with this type of illness at some point in their life.

This article looks at how life insurance can be implemented whilst taking account of your mental health history and you’ll find the following topics covered below…

If you’re struggling with mental health problems, finding the strength to talk to someone is never easy but there is help available. You can visit Mind for more information and support, or if you need immediate assistance, call the NHS using the number 111.

Does life insurance cover mental illness?

If you suffer from a mental illness it’s still possible to get life insurance. However, it’s important to make sure you tell you insurer of your mental health condition at the time of taking out your policy. Failure to do so could result in a later payout being declined.

The Equality Act of 2010 defines mental health as a disability which causes long-term adverse effects on your normal day-to-day activity. It also states that it is unlawful for UK insurers to discriminate on the grounds of disability unless this condition makes you a greater insurance risk.

This means the assumption that you can’t get life insurance because of your mental health record is incorrect.

What it also means is that a mental health illness, such as those listed below could be viewed by an insurer as a pre-existing condition:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-natal depression
  • PTSD
  • Addiction

They would, therefore, need to be assessed on that basis. An insurer will need to delve deeper in order to appropriately evaluate the level of risk involved.

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How difficult is it to get life insurance for someone who is mentally ill?

To assess the level of risk involved, the insurer will ask a number of additional medical questions relating to your condition.

More specifically they would want to know:

  • The date of diagnosis
  • How severe your symptoms are
  • Details of how the condition has been treated (including any in-patient treatment)
  • How the condition affects, or has affected, your typical daily activities (time away from work)
  • What medication you’re currently taking or have taken in the past

Some insurance providers may only ask for details covering the last five years, a few may ask for information over a longer period of time.

On the basis of the information an insurer receives they can then reach a conclusion, in line with their internal risk assessment criteria, as to whether your life insurance application is approved on standard terms, if your premium is to be increased as a result of your condition, or if an exclusion for your condition will be applied.

It’s possible that the application may be declined if the symptoms and effects of your mental illness are considered too severe for the provider to accept within the terms of their own guidelines.

It’s important never to feel embarrassed about discussing such issues with insurers or advisors who are experts in dealing with these matters and are expected to treat a pre-existing mental health condition in exactly the same way as a physical ailment.

What’s absolutely vital is that full disclosure is given at the point of application. Any information not provided at this stage could ultimately lead to a claim being declared invalid.

Getting life cover if you suffer from a pre-existing mental health condition is not as simple or straightforward as it may be for someone who has previously had no adverse medical history (whether physical or mental).

Each insurer will adopt a different approach, based on their own internal criteria, which means they could all reach different conclusions based on the information you provide.

This is why you shouldn’t go to a money comparison site and pick the cheapest quote available.

If you suffer from a mental health condition and would like to consider applying for life insurance it is strongly recommended to use the services of a professional advisor to help you find the most appropriate solution for your specific circumstances.

This is where we can help. Get in touch and we can arrange for one of the advisors we work with to speak with you directly.

Can you be denied life insurance because of depression?

It is possible that a life insurance application could be declined for people with depression. However, it really depends upon the severity of your condition and how an insurer assesses your medical history.

The good news is, each insurer will reach a decision based on their own internal risk criteria, so if one provider declines an application that doesn’t automatically mean others will.

Does depression affect the amount of life insurance cover I can get?

It doesn’t really affect the amount of cover you can get but more in terms of how much you’ll pay for it. The exception is if you’re applying for a very large policy, i.e. a sum assured in the millions. This outcome could differ depending upon the provider.

If you’re looking for a life insurance policy and you currently suffer with a depression-related illness, make an enquiry and we can arrange for an expert to get in touch and discuss the options available to you.

If I suffer from anxiety can I still apply for life insurance?

Yes, of course, you can. There’s no reason for you not to submit a life insurance application because you suffer from anxiety. An insurer will treat this in the same way they would all other pre-existing medical conditions.

All you need to do is make sure you disclose all of the information you have on your medical history in relation to your condition so the insurer can reach a clear conclusion of what cover they may be able to provide.

The best way to find the right solution and insurer who can cater for this type of condition is to use a professional advisor. If you give us a call on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry we can arrange for a specialist to get in touch.

How could bipolar disorder affect a life insurance application?

The degree to which a life insurance application could be affected for people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, as with all other pre-existing medical conditions, really depends upon the severity of the illness and how well you have responded to treatment.

There are, effectively, four possible outcomes:

  • Your condition is assessed as low risk and is accepted on standard terms.
  • The insurer increases your policy premium in line with their assessment of the risk posed by your condition.
  • The insurer accepts your application but adds an exclusion that they will not pay out on claims for certain conditions.
  • The insurer declines your application after concluding that the severity of your condition poses a too greater risk for the type of insurance policy you have applied for.

If you’re interested in taking out a life insurance policy and you have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, make an enquiry and we can arrange for an expert to get in touch and help you find the most appropriate provider for your personal circumstances.

Can you get life insurance if you have PTSD?

Yes, it’s certainly possible. Each insurer assesses all applications where a pre-existing medical condition has been disclosed (both physical and mental) on a case-by-case basis.

Some of the typical symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include insomnia, flashbacks, aggression and self-harm.

The success of a life insurance application for someone who suffers with this type of mental illness depends on a number of factors, mainly how recent and the severity of these symptoms, the length of time since diagnosis and how you’ve responded to treatment.

Depending on the outcome of an insurer’s risk assessment, your application could be accepted on standard terms, incur an increase on the policy premium accepted on non-standard terms or, if considered too high risk, it could be declined.

Speak to a life insurance expert

Whilst there’s no guarantee that a life insurance application will always be accepted for those of us with a mental illness, anymore than someone who has a pre-existing health condition, there are now lots of providers in the UK who are well placed to offer cover to people with this type of ailment.

The advisors we work with can help you find the best type of cover that suits your personal circumstances.

All advice is free and any information is always given in the strictest confidence. Call us on 0808 189 0463 or make an enquiry to get started.

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 higher-risk life insurance. Ask us a question and we'll get the best expert to help.

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Pete Mugleston

Pete Mugleston

Mortgage Expert

About the author

Pete, an expert in all things mortgages, cut his teeth right in the middle of the credit crunch. With plenty of people needing help and few mortgage providers lending, Pete found great success in going the extra mile to find mortgages for people whom many others considered lost causes. The experience he gained, coupled with his love of helping people reach their goals, led him to establish Online Mortgage Advisor, with one clear vision – to help as many customers as possible get the right advice, regardless of need or background.

Pete’s presence in the industry as the ‘go-to’ for specialist finance continues to grow, and he is regularly cited in and writes for both local and national press, as well as trade publications, with a regular column in Mortgage Introducer and being the exclusive mortgage expert for LOVEMoney. Pete also writes for OMA of course!

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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