Shopping for life insurance can be an intimidating process, especially when it comes to the medical evaluation. Part of that exam will likely have questions about your mental health — including any history of anxiety and depression. But having either likely won’t get you denied outright, and if it’s well-managed you may not see a difference in rates.
How is depression assessed by insurance companies?
Should you be eligible for coverage, insurers may draw up different life insurance terms for you based on company policy. If you’re considered low-risk — which usually applies to people with a mild history of depression, one or no medications and no hospitalizations — you’ll likely be able to get a policy at a competitive rate.
If you’re considered medium risk, you may have to pay a higher premium or agree to a shorter term. High-risk applicants can be denied insurance, particularly if there are other health risks involved.
Counseling services for people suffering from depression
Crisi Services Canada. Call 1-833-456-4566 at any time, 24/7 year-round, if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis. Visit www.crisisservicescanada.ca to find resources to help if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or you’re struggling with a suicidal loss.
Taking out insurance if you have a history of depression requires:
Compliance. If you’ve been prescribed medication or therapy, you’re more likely to be approved if you can show you’ve been following your doctor’s orders. A history of noncompliance can result in a denied application.
Complete medical record. Your insurance company will want to know what medications you’ve tried, how many medications you’re currently on, whether you’ve ever been hospitalized and whether you’ve experienced physical side effects from depression or been diagnosed with an associated illness.
Honesty. It’s important that you disclose anything that might impact your insurance policy. Failure to disclose such details might lead to your beneficiary having their claim denied.
What type of questions will my insurer ask?
Be prepared to answer these questions:
What are your symptoms of depression?
Is there a history of depression in your family?
Have you been diagnosed with any other mental illness?
When did you first experience symptoms and did they happen as a result of something specific?
How many episodes of depression do you experience and how long do they typically last?
Have you been hospitalized as a result of depression?
Have you received treatment for this condition? If so, what type?
Are you still receiving treatment? If not, what was the last date of treatment?
Have depression symptoms forced you to take time off work or impacted your ability to perform work duties?
Have you contemplated or attempted suicide?
Compare life insurance providers
As doctors learn more about depression, insurers are becoming more knowledgeable and it’s becoming easier to get coverage at a decent rate. Shop around and compare life insurance companies to find one that offers a policy in line with your budget and your needs.
Frequently asked questions
If you’re denied, you may have more luck with a different insurer. Each insurer has unique underwriting guidelines, which means that a different company may consider you a lower risk.
You can also wait before applying again. If you were recently diagnosed, had a change in medication or were hospitalized in the past year, you’ll be more likely to be accepted if you wait at least a year before reapplying.
If you don’t pay your premiums or you didn’t disclose important information to your insurer — such as a diagnosis not included in your paperwork — the claim can be denied.
Some insurers also exclude suicide from coverage.
It largely depends on the individual life insurance company. Some insurance companies may treat it the same as other forms of depression — largely because not as much research on postpartum depression is available. Others may not factor it in at all.
You may find it helpful to work with an independent agent or insurance broker to find the best company for your needs at a good rate, especially if you’ve experienced postpartum depression.
Dawn Daniels is an assistant publisher with Finder, based out of Oregon. Her background includes editing more than 40 published books, including Financial Fitness: 21 Easy Exercises to Get Your Personal Finances in Shape Fast by Dr. Vi Scott. In her spare time, Dawn enjoys hiking ridiculous distances and collapsing in exhaustion.
How likely would you be to recommend finder to a friend or colleague?
Very UnlikelyExtremely Likely
Thank you for your feedback.
Our goal is to create the best possible product, and your thoughts, ideas and suggestions play a major role in helping us identify opportunities to improve.
finder.com is an independent comparison platform and information service that aims to provide you with the tools you need to make better decisions. While we are independent, the offers that appear on this site are from companies from which finder.com receives compensation. We may receive compensation from our partners for placement of their products or services. We may also receive compensation if you click on certain links posted on our site. While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn't influence our assessment of those products. Please don't interpret the order in which products appear on our Site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. finder.com compares a wide range of products, providers and services but we don't provide information on all available products, providers or services. Please appreciate that there may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.