Living with post traumatic stress disorder (commonly called PTSD) can be difficult for individuals and their families. Even for people who have their PTSD under control, concerns about relapsing symptoms in the future can be preoccupying.
We understand PTSD sufferers have concerns about the future, including whether or not they will qualify for life insurance. It is common to assume your life insurance application would be denied based on a PTSD diagnosis.
Life insurance after a diagnosis for PTSD is possible, though, and we have experience in helping individuals just like you. We know which life insurance companies consider PTSD to be a high risk condition, and we can help you prepare your application for a higher rate of success.
How to get Approved For Life Insurance With PTSD
According to data accumulated by PTSD United, approximately 44.7 million Americans have or are struggling with PTSD. Posttraumatic stress disorder is most often associated with veterans or active military personnel, but it can affect anyone who has been involved in a scary or stressful event.
These events include, but are not limited to:
- Combat Experience
- Terrorist Attacks
- Abuse or Assault
- Traumatic Accidents
- Natural Disasters
- Sudden or Major Loss
Research shows fear and stress trigger a range of reactions and emotions in the body, commonly known as “fight-or-flight” responses. Many people recover quickly from the initial symptoms they experience, but some people continue to have symptoms for months or years, resulting in PTSD diagnosis.
A doctor’s diagnosis of PTSD will include asking very detailed questions about the event or situation you have experienced, and detailed information about the symptoms you are having.
Everyone experiences PTSD differently, but common symptoms include:
- Flashbacks of the trauma/event, which may trigger physical symptoms like sweating, increased heartbeat, a rush of adrenaline
- Nightmares or vivid dreams
- Negative or frightening thoughts and emotions
These symptoms can be triggered by small, commonplace things like a word, song, object, or situation; anything which reminds the person of the traumatic event. These easy triggers make it difficult for some PTSD patients to maintain a typical lifestyle, like holding a job and being a contributing member of a family. It is often hard for PTSD sufferers to even be around other people.
People with PTSD are prone to developing anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, alcohol and drug problems, and suicidal tendencies. Each of those conditions are considered high risk to a life insurance company, so an underwriter will want to rule out any of those behaviors or disorders in order to provide you with coverage.
PTSD can be treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. For some people, it takes months or years to recover from PTSD symptoms, and they may need medication or counseling to maintain long-term control over the condition. The sooner you seek help for your PTSD, the sooner you can begin to lead a normal life again, and qualify for life insurance.
The Application Process for Someone With PTSD
Some people find it scary and embarrassing to disclose their PTSD on a life insurance application, but it is essential to be honest about your condition when you apply. You will be required to undergo a medical exam, and possibly a psychological examination, which will uncover any medications or conditions you have.
Questions you can expect the life insurance underwriter to ask include:
- When were you diagnosed?
- How severe is your condition?
- Have you been hospitalized for PTSD?
- Do you take medications/what are they?
- Have you attempted suicide?
- Do you see your doctor, psychologist, or counselor regularly?
An underwriter is looking for proof your condition is under control and you are under the care of a medical professional. The more detailed your medical history and doctor’s records, the better your chances for receiving a good health class rating.
The underwriter will also want to assess your lifestyle, including your employment history since the traumatic event, your level of physical activity, and whether or not you use alcohol or tobacco. Being employed, social, active, and “clean” of alcohol and drugs will get you the best health class rating.
Ratings You Could Expect
If you have been diagnosed with mild PTSD, are controlling your condition with medication or counseling, and you have not been hospitalized recently, you can expect to receive a Standard health class rating. This rating also assumes you are in generally good health overall, and you don’t smoke.
If you have been hospitalized for your PTSD recently (within 12-24 months), or you require substantial medication to control your condition, you can expect a Mild Sub-Standard or Sub-Standard health class rating. You’ll be considered an impaired risk to a life insurance company, but if you continue to keep your condition under control and you are not hospitalized again, your rating could be adjusted and your premiums decreased.
Individuals who experience severe PTSD symptoms and frequent hospitalizations may have difficulty being approved for life insurance by the majority of companies. If you fall into this category, you should work with an experienced life insurance agent like us before applying to any one company.
As an experienced agent, we can help you determine your best possible outcomes and help you apply to the right companies first.
Everyone’s post traumatic stress disorder is different. For some people, it can be controlled well with medication; for others, it can be quite debilitating, regardless of medications or counseling. Since everyone is different, life insurance companies will review applications on a case-by-case basis.
If you do your part to keep your PTSD symptoms under control, follow your doctor’s treatment plan, and steer clear of drugs and alcohol, you should be able to secure life insurance coverage for PTSD.
We encourage you to contact us today for help in finding the best life insurance policy for your specific condition. We will use our knowledge and experience to guide you through the life insurance application process and explain the options available to you.