Many people with ADHD wonder if they can get life insurance, and if the cost of a policy will be affordable. Getting life insurance coverage with ADHD is common, but you should know in advance what to expect, and the best way to submit your application.
Understanding what underwriters are looking for, and what questions they will ask, can help you prepare for this process.
Read on for the best tips and tricks for getting life insurance coverage with ADHD.
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Although many people think of ADHD as being a childhood condition, a large number of kids with ADHD continue to experience symptoms through adolescence and adulthood.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately eight percent of the U.S. population with ADHD experiences lifetime prevalence of the disorder.
No one is exactly sure what causes ADHD, but the symptoms develop from a breakdown in function in parts of the brain which are responsible for things like motor control of the body and emotional regulation.
Research shows this functional breakdown in the brain happens during early childhood development. Children usually develop ADHD between the ages of three and seven.
Symptoms of ADHD in adults are similar to those in children, but manifest themselves in adult situations.
An adult with ADHD may:
- Have difficulty finishing projects at home
- Have trouble focusing at work
- Frequently lose items like car keys
- Feel restless all the time
- Talk too much in group settings or in meetings
- Interrupt people or finish their sentences
- Feel overly impatient when waiting in line
Adults with ADHD are more likely to have mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, and even bipolar disorder. The combination of a mental health disorder and ADHD can make it difficult for someone to function on a daily basis, including trouble holding down a job or maintaining a household.
Instances of suicide are not uncommon for people who suffer from ADHD and another mental health condition.
Doctors diagnose ADHD based on mental health evaluations, medical history, and the patient’s report of symptoms. Not all doctors will ask the same questions or come to the same conclusions, which can make it hard for a life insurance company to get a clear picture of an applicant’s situation.
Treatments for ADHD include different types of prescription medications, behavioral counseling, and support groups.
Many people respond well to taking medications, and are able to focus and be less hyperactive. Unfortunately, prescription drugs often have side effects insurance companies are cautious of, such as mood swings, new or increased depression or anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Keeping your condition under control is important for many reasons, including if you’re considering applying for life insurance.
Although there are general guidelines for diagnosing ADHD, doctors and mental health professionals do not have a clear-cut way to determine if someone has the condition, or how severe the condition is.
For this reason, a life insurance underwriter is likely to ask questions like:
- How long have you experienced ADHD symptoms?
- When were you diagnosed?
- How severe is your condition?
- What medications do you take?
- Have you had other treatments or therapies?
- Have you ever been hospitalized due to ADHD?
- Have you had suicidal tendencies or attempted suicide?
- Are you taking any anxiety medications?
- What is your employment history?
As you can see, an underwriter will want to know about all aspects of your life, including your ability to keep a job.
You should be as honest as possible about your condition during the application process, especially if you have your ADHD under control.
Providing extra details about your lifestyle and how you manage your ADHD, can help you to get a better health class rating and lower premiums.
Some people with ADHD have received a Preferred health class rating.
These are usually the individuals who have mild ADHD, which is under control with a low-dose prescription medication. They also have no history of mental illness, are in excellent overall health, and maintain an active work and social life. With a Preferred health class rating, you will have the most competitive (affordable) premiums.
Most people with ADHD are able to qualify for a Standard Plus or Standard health class rating.
These are individuals who have moderate ADHD and take prescription drugs, but need a higher dosage than the previous group mentioned. They see their doctor regularly, do not have a history of mental illness, are in good health, and maintain a healthy work/life balance.
Standard Plus premiums will be less expensive than those of a Standard rating, but both ratings fall into an average, affordable premium range.
Some people with ADHD have more trouble keeping their condition under control, even with medications. They either need to take very high doses of medications, or they have a history of mental illness, making their ADHD a higher risk to a life insurance company. These applicants usually receive a Sub-Standard rating, which results in higher premiums.
It is unlikely your application will be declined unless:
- you have a serious mental health condition in addition to ADHD
- you have attempted suicide
- you have another serious health condition which makes you a high-risk applicant
Life with ADHD is difficult enough; why make it harder by going through the life insurance process without someone to guide you?
Since every insurance company is different, it is in your best interest to work with an independent life insurance agent who knows about getting people with ADHD insured.
They can help you get the best rate and coverage possible, and show you how life insurance with ADHD can be obtained without the hassle or extra costs.
With their experience, you will be well prepared to apply to a life insurance company who won’t hold your condition against you.