You might be shocked to discover that insurance companies are just as concerned about your mental well-being as they are your physical health. Further, getting life insurance with depression history can be more complicated than it sounds.
When you submit an application for a life insurance policy, the insurance company will ask you for your mental health history. Such information should include your past diagnoses, therapies, and prescription treatments. If you have a past or existing diagnosis of depression, you may not qualify for the preferred (lower) premium rates on your policy.
This is mainly because life insurance companies consider depression a risk factor for your overall health and chance of death. With some life insurance companies, a history of treatment for depressive disorder can even result in a declination.
What is Depression
According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), depression is a serious medical illness and an important public health issue. They characterize depression by persistent sadness, and sometimes irritability (particularly in children). It is one of the leading causes of disease or injury worldwide for both men and women.
Depression can cause suffering for depressed individuals, but it can also have negative effects on their families and the communities in which they live. This is why depression is a concern for the insurance carriers. It increases the likelihood of death, either through the potential for suicide, destructive self-medication using drugs, or perhaps harmful side effects from treatments like lithium.
5 Different Types of Depression
- Major Depressive Disorder (MMD) is a severe medical disorder that may impact several areas of your daily life. It affects mood and behavior, along with numerous physical activities, such as hunger and sleep. People with MDD lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and have difficulty carrying out everyday activities.
- Catatonic depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a psychological disorder which leads to depression. Typically, SAD is triggered by seasonal changes in the weather. People usually experience the symptom in winter. The condition occurs more frequently in women, and in teenagers and young adults.
- Dysthymia is a mood disorder commonly known as “chronic depression.” Dysthymia is referred to as a less severe type of depression than MDD, despite the fact that its symptoms usually last much longer than in MDD. However, it can often end up being the most incapacitating of the two disorders.
- Bipolar disorder, also called manic depression, leads to severe mood swings. These include emotional peaks (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression).
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychological, medical condition that is caused by a terrifying event – either experiencing it or observing it. Signs and symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, extreme fear, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Severity and Medication
The type of medication and the severity of your depression will play a significant role in how likely the insurance company is to deny you coverage or charge a higher premium.
- Mild depression is a situational depression which often occurs as a result of one-time occurrences, like losing a job or a divorce. Seasonal depression disorder is a mild depression that usually takes place during the winter season due to a lack of sunlight. You can get preferred rates for coverage from the insurance company as long as you only needed to take anti-depressants for a short period.
- Moderate depression can affect your ability to carry out daily activities. Because of this, some people with this diagnosis also go on disability because they are unable to work. It is likely that this condition will be treated by taking antidepressants for several years or in high doses. You can expect table 2-6 ratings.
- Severe depression is the highest risk diagnosis in the eyes of the insurance company. If you ever considered suicide, your medical records document you having suicidal thoughts, or if were hospitalized for acute depression, you may likely to get declined. You may think to ask your insurance broker about how to apply for a guaranteed issue policy instead.
What the Underwriter Will Ask
- How old were you at the time of diagnosis?
- When was the first and latest occurrence?
- What type of medication and dosage are you taking?
- Were there any harmful side effects from treatment?
- Have you ever been hospitalized due to depression?
- Have you ever attempted suicide?
- Do you have any other health problems?
- When was the last time you saw your clinician?