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Mental health and life insurance

A guide to mental health and life insurance

Collette Shackleton
Written by  Collette Shackleton
Saarrah Mussa
Reviewed by  Saarrah Mussa
5 min read
Updated: 01 May 2024

Wondering if you can take out life insurance with a mental health condition? We discuss everything you need to know in this guide and take a look at all the options available to you.

If you're suffering with a mental health condition, you're not alone. According to the NHS, one in four adults are now diagnosed with at least one mental health illness. People in all walks of life can be affected by a mental health issue at any given point in their lives.

When it comes to life insurance and protecting your loved ones, there are options available, even if you're concerned about your mental health.

What is a mental health condition?

A mental health condition is an illness that affects your emotional well-being and psychological state of mind, often through a disorder that changes your mood, thoughts, and behaviour.

There are various types of mental health conditions that can affect us in very different ways, depending on the type of illness and severity of the disorder. Here are some common mental health conditions:

  • Anxiety

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Body dysmorphia

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

  • Depression

  • Eating disorders

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Panic attacks

  • Paranoia

  • Phobias

  • Postnatal depression

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Schizophrenia

Similar to physical health conditions, there are effective treatment options available if you're struggling with a mental health problem. Contact your GP, who will be able to give you a diagnosis and help you access the right support for your condition.

How do mental health conditions affect life insurance cover?

If you're suffering with a mental health condition, it is still possible to get life insurance. However, you may find your options are limited based on the condition you've been diagnosed with and the severity of your symptoms.

Most insurers view mental health conditions as a pre-existing medical condition, which means they may see you as a higher risk, and therefore, will charge you a higher premium. Other insurers may refuse to insure you altogether if your condition is critical.

It all depends on what type of condition you have. If you're dealing with anxiety, for example, your insurer may not see you as much of a risk than if you have a more severe form of schizophrenia. Similarly, if you've suffered with a mental health condition for a long time, you might need to find a specialist insurance provider.

Under the Equality Act 2010, providers aren't allowed to discriminate against you because of a condition you've had in the past that you've now recovered from e.g. depression.

They're also not allowed to discriminate against you if you've disclosed a mental health condition that has no bearing on your likelihood of making a claim.

Can I get life insurance if I have a pre-existing mental health condition?

Yes, you can still get life insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition. However, your premiums may be higher, as you're seen as more of a risk.

There may also be less insurers willing to insure you, meaning you might have to find specialist cover. It's crucial you inform your insurance provider of any illness, otherwise, if you need to make a claim, it may be rejected.

What type of mental health conditions can impact my life insurance application?

This all depends on the insurance provider you choose to go with for your life insurance policy, as each will have their own terms. In general, if you have any conditions listed above in this guide, you'll need to disclose them with your insurer and compare quotes to get the best cover to suit your circumstances.

When getting a quote what information about my mental health will I need to give to a life insurance provider?

When you apply for life insurance, you'll be asked a few key questions on your health and lifestyle, to assess how likely you are to make a claim. This includes details about:

  • You and your family's medical history (including existing and previous conditions)

  • Any medical you've taken in the last five years

  • Height and weight

  • GP's name and practice address

  • Health and lifestyle behaviours e.g. smoking or drinking alcohol

  • Financial information (e.g. your salary)

You'll also be asked further questions regarding your mental health condition, such as:

  • What condition you have and when you were diagnosed

  • How severe your symptoms are

  • How often you experience these symptoms

  • If your illness affects your every day life and if so, how much? E.g. have you had a lot of absences from work as a result of your condition?

  • Whether or not you take medication for you illness, and if so, how long you've taken it for

Will my premiums be higher if I have a history of mental health issues?

Your life insurance policy will most likely cost more if you have a mental health condition. Your quote will depend on the severity of your symptoms, how long you've had your condition, and how it much it affects your day to day life.

They'll assess you based on how much of a risk you are, in terms of how likely you are to make a claim, and offer a quote based on this.

For example, if you've recently been hospitalised due to mental health issues, they'll assume you're a greater risk than if you suffered from a less critical condition many years ago.

Your insurer can charge you more if they can provide sufficient evidence that you're a greater risk to insure, but under The Equality Act 2010, they can't discriminate against you if you have a mental health condition.

So, for example, they can't refuse to offer you cover or charge you an obscene premium if you've recovered from your illness or based on a misunderstood diagnosis.

How can I improve my chances of getting approved for life insurance with a mental health condition?

The best thing you can do to get approved for life insurance is to provide as much information as possible about your condition and be completely honest with your insurance provider.

Ask your GP for supporting documents and records if required, and make sure your details are up to date every time you renew your policy.

Are there any exclusions or limitations to my life insurance policy due to my mental health condition?

Once you've found an insurance provider who is willing to insure you based on the details you've given about your mental health condition, there shouldn't be any further exclusions or limitations to your policy. Just make sure you check your policy documents before committing to taking out life insurance.

What happens if I don't disclose my mental health condition when applying for life insurance?

If you don't disclose information about your mental health condition when applying for any type of insurance and you need to make a claim, your insurance provider can reject it and refuse to pay out.

Can I make changes to my existing life insurance policy if my mental health condition improves or worsens?

Some insurers will allow you to make changes to your policy. It's essential to read your policy document or contact your insurer to understand the process and any potential fees involved in doing so. Find out more information in our guide about how to update your life insurance policy.

Are there any life insurance providers that specialise in providing life insurance for those who have mental health conditions?

MoneySuperMarket recommends contacting one of the friendly insurance advisers at LifeSearch on 0800 072 1147 to discuss specialist life insurance for mental health conditions.

Their opening hours are:

  • Monday to Friday: 8am-8pm

  • Saturday: 9am-2pm

  • Sunday: 10am-3.30pm

How can I compare and choose the right life insurance policy for me?

Getting a life insurance quote with a mental health condition is quick and stress-free with MoneySuperMarket. Compare quotes from leading UK providers, and choose the best option to suit your personal circumstances. As with any insurance quote, you can access the terms and assess any exclusions before committing to a policy.

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