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Depression: Why is it a life insurance risk factor?

Jun 4, 2021 4 Minute Read

Millions of people across America are living with depression or anxiety. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, it can be especially important to make sure your family is protected if you can’t be there for them.

Life insurance offers a financial safety net for your family if you’re no longer there to provide for them. Worried about qualifying? Even if you’ve been diagnosed with depression or a related condition, it’s still possible to get covered.

So what do you need to know when shopping for life insurance with depression? Here’s a closer look at the factors insurance companies consider when helping you find the right type of life insurance.

How depression affects life insurance coverage

Depression is a common, serious, and often treatable mental illness that causes feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in activities. Many people with depression also experience anxiety disorder, another common mental illness associated with feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical symptoms, like increased blood pressure.

Across the U.S., about one in five adults generally suffer from depression, while about 40 million or 18.1% of adults suffer from anxiety. In the midst of the pandemic, those figures have climbed even higher. A 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 37% of U.S. adults were experiencing symptoms of either anxiety or depression during COVID-19.

People of all ages can experience depression, but it’s typically more common in adulthood. Risk factors for developing depression include a family history of the condition, major life changes or trauma, and certain chronic illnesses and medications. Depending on the severity of the condition, people with depression can be at greater risk of suicide.

Since depression and anxiety can also affect your physical health and life expectancy, insurance companies consider these conditions when you apply for a policy. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, life insurers will typically ask about:

  • The date of your depression diagnosis
  • How severe your depression is
  • The type of depression, such as persistent depressive disorder or postpartum depression
  • How your depression impacts your lifestyle, including sleeping and eating habits and your employment
  • Whether you have a history of suicide attempts or suicidal thoughts
  • Whether you have a history of substance abuse, including alcohol or drugs
  • Any medication, inpatient, or outpatient treatments or hospitalizations

It’s important to be honest about your mental health when applying for life insurance with depression. If you don’t disclose medical information and it comes up later, the insurance company can deny your application or, even worse, decline to pay out benefits to your family when they need them.

Can you be denied life insurance with depression?

If you’re concerned about qualifying for life insurance, don’t worry. There’s a policy out there for nearly everyone. Your ability to qualify for a specific type of life insurance depends on a number of factors, including the severity of your depression and any other health conditions.

Worried that your health concerns will make it tough to qualify or make your life insurance rates unaffordable? No medical exam life insurance might be the best fit for you. True to its name, no exam life insurance includes any type of policy that doesn’t require you to take a medical exam for approval. The main types of no exam insurance include:

  • Simplified issue life insurance. Rather than requiring an in-person medical exam, this kind of policy relies on questions about your medical history during the application, including past diagnoses, your previous labs, your prescription history, and any surgeries. Simplified issue life insurance can work well for people with mild to moderate depression who need an alternative to traditional term or permanent life.
  • Guaranteed issue life insurance. This type of policy offers no-questions-asked coverage, with no medical exam or health questions required. If you have severe depression or have experienced health complications because of your condition, guaranteed issue can help you secure the protection you need for your family.

When shopping for coverage, do some research to see which policies work best with your health history and budget. A life insurance agent at eFinancial can help you compare multiple life insurance options with just one call.

Still have questions or want more information about depression insurance coverage?

We’re here to help. eFinancial works with top-rated life insurance companies to help you find the right coverage for you and your family. Call us or start your quote online today.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, or thoughts of suicide, feel free to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, Mental Health America, or the National Alliance on Mental Illness.