Mental Health Myth Busters
28 May 2019
Mental Health Week (at the time of writing it was last week) usually generates a flurry of questions around the relationship between life insurance and mental health, and what impact a diagnosed mental health condition might have on getting cover.
Here we'll add some clarity to the confusion, but unfortunately we have to start with the old, 'it depends' answer.
In some cases, mental health has no impact on cover at all. In others, usually based on the longevity and/or severity of a mental health condition, finding cover can be less likely. It also depends on which insurers you're asking.
The lack of easy, concrete answers or absolutes is a prime reason why it's so vital to speak to an adviser who can approach a variety of providers, each working to different rules and criteria.
But to give a few guiding nuggets: let's say you had a one off instance of depression, anxiety or stress over a short period of time. Let's say you took minimal time off work and you may or may not have taken medication or seen a counsellor. This would cause little-to-no impact on premiums for Life Cover and Critical Illness.
These same symptoms may, however, affect an Income Protection policy. Depending on how long ago your symptoms occurred, you may be subject to a mental health exclusion. This means that for a given period – perhaps the first few years of your policy, or perhaps for its duration – the insurer will not pay a claim if a mental health condition stops you working.
For longer term mental health conditions, the first thing to say is that cover is often possible - so please don’t be put off applying or calling to ask advice. Insurers will still try, but policies may include further exclusions and caveats.
It's always worth remembering that policies vary from provider to provider. LifeSearch advisers will always scour the market to find the fairest cover that fits your needs, circumstances and budget.
In our 21 years we’ve seen big changes in how underwriters and insurers view mental health. Barriers are constantly breaking. Today, certain insurers block automatic declines on applications where there is mental health so they can review cases more sensitively.
Here at LifeSearch, we’ve been able to put cover in place for thousands of clients with mental health conditions. From mild symptoms to more severe cases, the industry is making progress all around.
So please - don’t assume that you can’t get cover. Make sure you speak to an adviser who can truly help - and provide the best course of action based on who you are and exactly what's going on.