PTSD and Life Insurance
While it is true that many life insurance companies will automatically decline an traditional term or whole life insruance application from someone who has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, there are a few companies that will be willing to at least consider someone with PTSD as potentially eligible for traditional coverage.
Which means that…
Before you even consider applying for coverage, you better be sure that the life insurance company that you’re working with is one that is more accommodating or dare we say lenient when it comes to insuring individuals who suffer from PTSD. Otherwise you’re probably wasting your time and energy.
The good news is that…
We here at IBUSA focus on helping individuals with pre-existing medical conditions like PTSD find quality life insurance policies, and continue to strive to ensure that our clients will have plenty of options when it comes time to deciding what type of life insurance policy they wish to purchase to protect their family!
It’s also why…
Choose to write this article so that we can answer some of the most common questions we get from individuals who have been diagnosed with PTSD and are looking to purchase a traditional life insurance policy.
Questions such as:
- Can people who have been diagnosed with PTSD still qualify for traditional life insurance policies?
- Why do life insurance companies care if an individual has been diagnosed with PTSD?
- What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me or be interested in?
- What rate (or price) can I qualify for?
- What if I am unable to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy?
- What can I do to help ensure that I get the “best life insurance” for me?
So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Can people who have been diagnosed with PTSD still qualify for traditional life insurance policies?
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD, you may still be able to qualify for a life insurance policy. However, the terms of the policy and the premium that you will be required to pay may be affected by your diagnosis.
Additionally, because insurance companies use a variety of factors to determine the terms of a life insurance policy, including the applicant’s age, health, family medical history, and lifestyle these “other” factors may receive extra scrutiny due to your diagnosis and could potentially be contributing factors in why an applicant may or not be able to qualify for coverage.
Why do life insurance companies care if an individual has been diagnosed with PTSD?
Life insurance companies are in the business of assessing and managing risk. When an individual applies for a life insurance policy, the insurance company will consider a variety of factors in order to determine the level of risk associated with insuring that individual.
One factor that may be considered is the presence of any pre-existing medical conditions, including a diagnosis of PTSD. In this case, the insuance company will view a diagnosis of PTSD as a potential risk factor because people with PTSD may be at a higher risk for certain health problems or behaviors that could shorten their life expectancy.
For example, people with PTSD may be more prone to substance abuse, depression, or other mental health conditions that could impact their overall health.
As a result, an insurance company may charge a higher premium for a life insurance policy for someone with PTSD in order to account for this increased level of risk. Or they may simply choose to deny one’s application entirely.
That said, however, it is important to note that each insurance company has its own underwriting guidelines and policies, and the impact of a PTSD diagnosis on the terms of a life insurance policy can vary.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Definition:
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. Some common events that can trigger PTSD include military combat, natural disasters, car accidents, physical or sexual assault, or other violent attacks.
Additionally, there are several different types of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that have been identified by mental health professionals and that will be taken into consideration by some life insurance underwriters.
One type of PTSD is acute PTSD, which refers to the immediate response to a traumatic event. Symptoms of acute PTSD typically appear within the first three months after the traumatic event and may include intense feelings of fear, anxiety, and sadness. If left untreated, acute PTSD can progress to chronic PTSD.
Chronic PTSD is a longer-term form of the disorder that can develop when symptoms of acute PTSD persist for more than three months. People with chronic PTSD may have persistent, recurring symptoms that interfere with their daily lives.
Another type of PTSD is delayed onset PTSD, which refers to the development of symptoms that appear more than six months after the traumatic event. This type of PTSD is less common, but it can still occur and may be more likely to occur in individuals who have a history of mental health issues or other risk factors.
Lastly, it is important to note that the types of PTSD described above are not mutually exclusive, and an individual with PTSD may experience symptoms from more than one type of the disorder.
Symptoms of PTSD can include:
Intrusive thoughts or memories of the traumatic event, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, irritability or outbursts of anger, and avoidance of people, places, or activities that are reminders of the trauma. People with PTSD may also experience physical symptoms such as increased heart rate, sweating, or difficulty breathing when reminded of the traumatic event.
Treatment for PTSD:
Typically involves a combination of therapy and medication. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common form of therapy that can help individuals with PTSD learn to manage their symptoms and cope with their experiences. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be used to help manage anxiety and depression.
What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me or be interested in?
If you have been diagnosed with PTSD and are applying for a life insurance policy, the insurance company may ask you specific questions about your diagnosis and treatment.
These may include questions about:
- The details of the traumatic event that triggered your PTSD?
- The symptoms that you are experiencing?
- The length of time that you have had PTSD?
- Any treatment that you have received, such as therapy or medication?
- Your current state of mental health and functioning?
- Any other pre-existing medical conditions that you have?
- Have you been hospitalized for any reason in the past 2 years?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with depression?
- What medications are you currently taken?
- Do you have any issues with your driving record such as multiple moving violations or a DUI?
- Are you currently working now?
- Are you currently receiving any disability benefits and/or have you applied for any disability benefits within the past 2 years?
In addition to asking about your PTSD, the insurance company may also ask about your general health, family medical history, and lifestyle in order to assess the level of risk associated with insuring you.
These may include questions about your age, height and weight, tobacco and alcohol use, and any medications that you are taking. The insurance company may also ask about your occupation and any dangerous hobbies or activities that you participate in.
What rate (or price) can I qualify for?
As we’ve stated before, most traditional term or whole life insurance carriers will automatically deny any applicant that has been diagnosed with PTSD. They do this because in their opinion, applicants with PTSD represent too great of a risk to them financially to insure. Which is fine, because not all life insurance companies are going to be this strict in their underwriting guidelines.
You can bet that those who aren’t that strict are still going to be pretty “hesitant” about insuing someone that has been diagnosed with PTSD. This is why most applicants who are able to qualify for coverage will usually qualify at a “sub-standard” rate which means that their insurance will cost more than had they not been diagnosed with PTSD.
In cases like these, we’ll then see how we might be able to improve on the price one pays by looking at other factors that might play a role in the outcome of ones life insurance policy.
What if I am unable to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy?
If you are unable to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy due to your PTSD or other health conditions, there may be other options available to you. One alternative is to consider purchasing a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
Guaranteed issue life insurance policies are designed for individuals who may not qualify for traditional life insurance due to their health or other factors. These policies do not require a medical examination or ask questions about the applicant’s health history. As a result, they are often more expensive than traditional life insurance policies and may have lower coverage limits.
These policies will also contain a graded death benefit which will limit when your policy will begin providing coverge for natural causes of death (usually the policy will need to be in effect for 2-3 years before natural cause of death will be covered).
Another option to consider is an accidental death policy. An accidental death policy is a type of life insurance that provides coverage in the event of the policyholder’s death as a result of an accident.
Accidental death policies typically pay a benefit to the policyholder’s beneficiary in the event of the policyholder’s accidental death. Accidental death policies will never provide coverage for deaths that are the result of illness or natural causes regardless of how long you own the policy.
What can I do to help ensure that I get the “best life insurance” for me?
There are a few steps that you can take to help ensure that you get the best life insurance policy for your needs:
- Determine your coverage needs: The amount of life insurance coverage that you need will depend on your individual circumstances. Consider factors such as your age, income, debts, and financial obligations when determining how much coverage you need.
- Shop around: Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare quotes from multiple insurance companies. Be sure to consider both the premium and the policy terms when making your decision.
- Understand the policy terms: Be sure to carefully review the policy terms and understand exactly what is and is not covered. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask the insurance company or your financial advisor for clarification.
- Consider your budget: Life insurance premiums can vary significantly from one company to another. Consider your budget when shopping for a policy and choose a policy that you can afford to maintain over the long term.
And lastly, work with a professional like those here at IBUSA that not only have the experience it takes to help you find the best life insuance policy out there but all access to dozens of different insurance carriers as well.
That way, when it comes time to helping you, we don’t have to rely on just one or two options!