Because depression and anxiety affect so many Americans, they don’t necessarily put you in the high risk category for obtaining life insurance, though it may depend on your specific circumstances.
Life insurance companies look at statistics when determining your risk of mortality, because many medical conditions shorten your lifespan. Anxiety and depression don’t necessarily increase your possibility of dying any earlier, though certain cases can affect a person’s ability to think clearly and safely.
We’ll provide you with everything you need to know to find the best life insurance company to apply to with an anxiety or depression diagnosis.
Table of Contents
Depression and anxiety are mental health disorders, characterized by a range of psychological and physiological symptoms.
Some symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Thoughts of suicide
Depression symptoms can also manifest themselves physiologically in the form of:
- Loss of appetite
- Cognitive impairment.
People with anxiety disorder experience symptoms like:
Many sufferers of anxiety also report physiological symptoms similar to heart attack, like shortness of breath, dizziness, and tightness in the chest.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance reports approximately 17.3 million adults in the U.S. deal with major depression each year. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 40 million U.S. adults are affected by anxiety disorders.
Many people who suffer from depression are also diagnosed with anxiety.
Depression can be associated with other medical conditions, too. People with serious illnesses, like cancer, may become depressed.
In fact, one-quarter of people with cancer have dealt with depression since their diagnosis. People who already have heart problems may be at an increased risk of cardiac arrest if they are stressed or depressed.
However statistics show minor depression and anxiety don’t necessarily directly decrease your lifespan.
According to the CDC, about 13% of American adults take antidepressants. However, only about half of those individuals were suffering from severe depression.
The cases where depression or anxiety lead to loss of life are usually during times of erratic behavior, or in the case of suicide.
Life insurance underwriters take risk into consideration when determining the amount of coverage and premium costs individuals can be approved for.
The more risk you pose, the higher the price will be. Although anxiety and depression are treatable, many people go undiagnosed, and unknowns can raise prices, too.
If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, disclosing it on your life insurance application is the best course of action.
Hiding your medical history is inadvisable and may prevent you from obtaining a payout in some circumstances. Revealing the details about your medical status can actually help the underwriter give you the best possible price.
If your mental health condition is well managed and monitored by a health professional, your insurance rating should be relatively good.
To determine your rating your agent may ask you questions similar to the following:
- What condition were you diagnosed with?
- At what age were you diagnosed?
- How long before your diagnosis did you have symptoms?
- Do you take medications for your symptoms (like antidepressants)?
- Do you have any other medical conditions?
- What types of treatments have you undergone?
- Have you been hospitalized for your condition?
- Has your mental illness affected your job or family life?
- How often do you meet with a health professional?
When you do go to the doctor or mental health professional, keep a record of everything you discuss. Document any medications you take and how they affect your symptoms.
Taking medication for anxiety or depression typically lets the insurance underwriter know you are in control of your condition. If you’re on medication, it can actually improve your rating, so long as there is a history of consistent dose and regimen.
If you continually change medications or dosages, it can appear as though you and your doctor are still trying to stabilize the prescription’s effects.
However, depression or anxiety may be an indicator of another medical problem. If this is the case, you will be required to answer further questions about your medical status.
Preferred or Preferred Plus
This is the rating assigned to people in otherwise excellent health.
If your symptoms occurred several years ago and your condition is well managed, you may fall in this category if you have absolutely no other health problems.
Many people with anxiety and depression fall into this category. The standard rating is often given to people with average health, and is the rate where most consumers get approved.
People who fall into this category usually pay about 50% more than people in the Standard category.
If you were diagnosed more than a year ago and your symptoms are continuing to worsen, you will usually fall in this category or in the Medium Substandard category, which falls below this one.
Cases where the long-term effects of your condition are still cloudy can result in Substandard rates, too.
If you have been experiencing physiological symptoms of anxiety or depression, such as fatigue or loss of appetite, you may be rated as Severe Substandard.
This is because people in this category may be at a higher risk of committing suicide or developing a cardiovascular problem.
People in the Severe Substandard category usually pay 150% more than those in the Standard category.
When it comes to life insurance for anxiety or depression, there are no generalized rules. Everyone has a different experience with mental illness.
Getting life insurance depends largely on your health in other areas and your ability to manage your mental health.
Using an independent agent or agency, like us, helps you compare different policies and find the best rates among them.
Independent agents have access to more life insurance companies than captive agents, who work for just one. They have more flexibility to look into all of your options, and shop your rate for you.
We will ask the right questions to help you get the right coverage at the lowest cost.