Depression and life insurance

Mental illness is becoming more prevalent among Americans, and could affect your ability to get coverage.

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.

A life insurance policy can help your family take care of expenses and lost income if you die unexpectedly. A history of depression can make it more difficult to get insured, but it is still possible.

Counseling services for people suffering from depression

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 800-273-8255 at any time, 24/7, if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline. Call 1-800-662-4357 at any time, 24/7, for information on mental health services. Counselors are available in both English and Spanish.

Why we like:

Compare quotes from 16 life insurance companies side by side.

  • Compare multiple providers
  • Calculate how much coverage you need
  • Get a quote in 2 minutes

Why we like: Policygenius for people with anxiety

Compare quotes from 16 life insurance companies side by side.

  • Get the coverage amount and term that's right for you.
  • Choose between term or whole life insurance.
  • Easy online application process.
Promoted

Key Facts

Depression is an increasingly common mental illness, and the CDC estimates that one in six Americans will experience depression at some point in their lives.

How mental illness is treated by insurance companies varies extensively between providers in terms of when a benefit will/won’t be paid and whether or not coverage will be provided. It can be worth speaking with an insurance consultant to help you find coverage, but generally:

  • Applicants who have had mild depression and have fully recovered for at least 1-2 years can expect standard premium rates.
  • A loading, or percentage increase in premium, may apply for serious or ongoing cases of depression.

Compare life insurance providers

Name Product Issue Ages Coverage Range Medical Exam Required State Availability
18 - 85 years old
$10,000 to $10,000,000+
Depends on provider and policy
All 50 states
Compare quotes from 16 life insurance companies side by side.
18 - 75 years old
$100,000 to $10,000,000
Yes
Get a term life insurance quote from this A+ rated company, founded in 1875. Customize your policy with additional life and disability riders.
18 - 64 years old
$100,000 to $3,000,000
No
All 50 states
Customized term life insurance policies up to $3 million, no medical exam required.
20 to 60 years old
$100,000 to $8,000,000
No
Not available in New York
Term life insurance with no policy fees and the freedom to cancel anytime. Simple application process that can get you approved for coverage instantly.
25 - 60 years old
$100,000 to $5,000,000
No
Available in all states except for Montana
Offers term life insurance with accelerated underwriting. No-exam coverage up to $1,000,000 for those who qualify.
21 - 54 years old
$50,000 to $1,000,000
No
Not available in Alaska or New York
Affordable 2-, 10- and 20-year term life insurance policies. Instant quotes and no medical exams.
18 - 80 years old
$2,000 to $10,000,000
Depends on policy
20 - 80 years old
$25,000 to $10,000,000
No
All 50 states
Quickly get a quote for coverage with this marketplace, which compares term & whole life insurance policies from 45+ carriers.
20 - 85 years old
$100,000 to $1,000,000
Depends on policy
All 50 states
Get a term or whole life insurance quote from Fidelity Life - starting as low as $15/day.
eCoverage
eCoverage
25 - 83 years old
$25,000 to $1,000,000
Depends on policy
Get a term life quote from eCoverage - starting at as low as $15 per month.

Compare up to 4 providers

Life insurance vs. critical illness insurance

There are two different types of insurance that are often grouped together under the umbrella term of “life insurance.” Actual life insurance pays out a lump sum when you die. Critical illness insurance, which can be purchased independently or added on to a life insurance policy, pays out a lump sum if you’re diagnosed with a serious medical condition.

Depression is often not covered on critical illness insurance policies, meaning the policy won’t pay out if you become seriously depressed and are unable to work. Some insurers argue that it’s easy to fake and difficult to define and diagnose definitively. To find out if you’re covered, you’ll need to read your policy.

While people with depression can often qualify for a life insurance policy, many insurers will list suicide as an exclusion, meaning they aren’t required to pay out the benefit if the policyholder committed suicide.

How is depression assessed by insurance companies?

Should you be eligible for cover, insurance providers will generally draw up different life insurance terms for you based on their company policy. If you’re considered low-risk which usually applies to people with a mild history of depression, one or no medication and no hospitalizations — you’ll 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.

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 that you’ve been following your doctor’s orders. A history of noncompliance is likely to 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 ineligibility during claim time.

What type of questions will my insurer ask?

Be prepared to answer these questions:

  • What are your symptoms of depression?
  • 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?
  • Have depression symptoms forced you take time off work or impacted your ability to perform work duties?
  • How many episodes of depression do you experience and how long do they typically last?
  • 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 you been hospitalized as a result of depression?
  • Have you contemplated or attempted suicide?
  • Is there a history of depression in your family?

Bottom line

As doctors learn more about depression, insurers are becoming more knowledgeable and it’s becoming easier to get coverage. Any history of mental illness can make it more difficult to get qualified for a life insurance policy, but most people with controlled depression can get coverage.

Frequently asked questions

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder.com provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site