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Depression and life insurance

A history of mental illness can affect your life insurance rates — but not always.

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 to find resources to help if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or you’re struggling with a suicidal loss.
  • Find regional and national resources for those struggling with depression.

Applying for life insurance with depression

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

1 - 3 of 3
Name Product Types of Insurance Coverage Range Issue Ages Medical Exam Required Province Availability
PolicyMe Life Insurance
Term Life, Critical Illness
$100,000 - $5,000,000
18 - 75
Get fast and affordable term life insurance. Personalize your policy details and get an estimate price within seconds. No phone call, meeting or paperwork required. Get an instant decision.
RBC Life Insurance
Term Life
$50,000 - $1,000,000
18 - 70
Select from two unique RBC term life insurance plans to get flexible and affordable coverage that suits your lifestyle and budget. Get a free quote through Walnut.
Whole Life, Term Life, Universal, No Medical
$25,000 - $25,000,000
18 - 75
PolicyAdvisor is a digital life insurance brokerage that has partnerships with 20 insurers in Canada.

Bottom line

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.

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