Finding life insurance is much more difficult after a suicide attempt – but not impossible.
It’s also difficult to find coverage if you have a history of suicidal thoughts, even if you didn’t act on them.
Having shared such thoughts with a medical professional in the past will make it more difficult to find life insurance.
Still, there are other related factors which might influence your life insurance eligibility; mental illnesses like bipolar and schizophrenia which can often result in suicidal ideation.
That’s why a thorough understanding of how life insurance companies assess the risk of those with a history of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts is so important.
Here’s what you need to know about buying life insurance after a suicide attempt (or suicidal thoughts).
Buying Life Insurance After a Suicide Attempt: Tips To Approval
As mentioned, if you’ve tried to commit suicide in the past, you’ll have a much more difficult time finding life insurance coverage.
Suicide attempts are seen as a major risk by life insurance providers.
Because they’re often linked to mental illness like depression, those that have attempted suicide in the past have the potential to attempt it again.
In fact, most life insurance underwriters analyze suicide attempts in the same way as a medical problem.
They look at how likely the factor is to end your life prematurely.
Unfortunately, many companies will consider someone with a history of a suicide attempt too risky to insure. They consider you just too risky, even to offer a lower rating class with a higher premium.
This doesn’t mean all companies feel this way.
Some companies are more likely to insure those with a history of a suicide attempt than others!
Focus on these companies during your search. You’re most likely to receive traditional coverage from a company with a history of being lenient on suicide attempts.
Each life insurance company that you apply to will look at several main factors about you.
Chief among these are how long ago you attempted suicide, how your mental health has been since then, and what treatments you’ve taken to prevent another attempt in the future.
Another factor that underwriters will look at is outside factors that might’ve influenced your suicide attempt that are no longer present.
These include things like improperly prescribed medications that have a known history of producing suicidal tendencies.
Other Risk Factors
Not only do life insurance underwriters look at your suicide attempt itself, but they also explore other risk factors related to it.
In particular, they’ll look at your mental health to see if you have mental illnesses that often lead to suicide.
These mental illnesses include:
At the same time that these mental illnesses can increase the risk of suicide, they can also increase the risk of other risky behavior.
Life insurance companies look closely at your mental health during the underwriting process to get a better overall idea of your mental health.
The Application and Approval Process
Though the application process for life insurance varies slightly from provider to provider, it remains much the same.
You start by filling out the application. You’ll enter your personal information and then describe your overall health and lifestyle in detail.
You’ll be asked about past suicide attempts. Once the company knows that you did, in fact, try to commit suicide in the past, you’ll be asked about it in more detail.
You can expect to answer questions such as:
- When did the attempt occur?
- What led up to the attempt?
- Do you have a history of mental illness?
- What treatments or medications do you take?
As with any medical problem, you’ll be asked to supply a current medical exam alongside your application.
The medical exam helps the underwriters prove that the information you gave in the application is accurate.
The underwriter uses the information in your application and medical exam to assess your overall risk towards the company.
They then use this risk assessment to decide whether or not you qualify for coverage as well as at what rate.
Expect the life insurance application process to last about 15 to 30 minutes.
Expect to wait around 4 to 6 weeks for approval.
The results for those seeking life insurance after a suicide attempt vary wildly.
Those who have recently tried to commit suicide will be rejected outright. If your suicide occurred in the last two years, you’re probably better off looking for alternative coverage.
The same still goes for those struggling with untreated mental illness. If your mental illness isn’t treated and maintained, you’ll most likely be denied from traditional coverage.
Those with a suicide attempt which occurred years in the past and who have a proven history of treated mental illness will have a much easier time qualifying for traditional coverage.
Though there’s still always a chance of being denied, chances are that you’ll be able to eventually find coverage from a traditional provider.
That said, it’s rare you’ll receive a Preferred or Standard rate.
So, what do you do now if your application was denied?
Luckily, there are several life insurance alternatives available.
Among these is a final expense, or burial insurance, policy. You’re guaranteed to be accepted, but there are limitations.
Do Life Insurance Policies Cover Suicide?
What if someone commits suicide while they are already covered by life insurance?
Does the policy still cover that death by suicide?
The answer to that is, yes, most life insurance policies still payout the full death benefit even in the case of suicide.
The exception is if the suicide happens in the first one or two years of coverage. Most life insurance companies include a two-year exclusion clause in the contract.
If a suicide occurs in the first two years of coverage, the life insurance company doesn’t have to payout the death benefit.
Adding such an exclusion clause protects life insurance companies from people that might have purchased a policy with a plan to commit suicide in the near future.
Remember, however, that these clauses vary from company to company.
It’s important to understand the entire contract, including all the included riders and clauses, before signing.
Note that the two-year suicide clause is on most life insurance contracts, even if the provider doesn’t mention it to you before you sign.
Find the Best Life Insurance For You
Everyone deserves to find the best life insurance for themselves and their families.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done after a suicide attempt. There’s no getting around the fact life insurance companies will judge your application more harshly than those that haven’t attempted suicide in the past.
There’s still a very good chance you’ll qualify for traditional coverage if you start your research now and apply to multiple companies up front.
Your chances of finding traditional coverage skyrocket if your suicide attempt was several years in the past and you’ve made adequate steps to improve your mental health.
Yet even those that are denied from traditional coverage will still be able to find an effective life insurance alternative, even after a suicide attempt.