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 policy terms and the premium 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. They could potentially be contributing factors in why an applicant may or may 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 various factors to determine the risk associated with insuring that individual. One factor that may be regarded is the presence of any pre-existing medical conditions, including a diagnosis of PTSD.
In cases like these…
Most insurance companies 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 to account for this increased level of risk. Or they may 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 everyday events that can trigger PTSD include military combat, natural disasters, car accidents, physical or sexual assault, or other violent attacks.
There are several different types of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that mental health professionals have identified 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, it 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?
Insurance companies will ask you for information related to your PTSD diagnosis, including the date of diagnosis, the severity of your symptoms, and the type of treatment you have received. They will also want to know if you have any co-existing medical conditions or if you have been hospitalized due to your condition.
Additionally, they may ask for information about your lifestyle habits, such as whether you smoke or drink alcohol, and they may also require a medical exam to assess your overall health. The insurer will use this information to determine your risk level and decide on your premium rates.
Specific questions you might be asked may include questions:
- What are the details of the traumatic event that triggered your PTSD?
- What are 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?
- What is your current state of mental health and functioning?
- Are there any other pre-existing medical conditions that you have?
- Have you been hospitalized for any reason in the past two years?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with depression?
- What medications are you currently taking?
- 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 two years?
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 who 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. After all, not all life insurance companies will 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 insuring someone who has been diagnosed with PTSD. This is why most applicants who can 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 one’s life insurance policy.
What if I cannot qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy?
Suppose you are unable to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy due to your PTSD or other health conditions. In that case, 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, limiting when your policy will begin providing coverage for natural causes of death (usually, the policy will need to be in effect for 2-3 years before a 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.
How can I help ensure 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 you need will depend on your 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 deciding.
- Understand the policy terms: Be sure to carefully review the policy terms and understand precisely 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. When shopping for a policy, consider your budget and choose a policy you can afford to maintain over the long term.
Lastly, work with a professional like those here at IBUSA who not only have the experience it takes to help you find the best life insurance policy out there but also have access to dozens of different insurance carriers.
That way, when it comes time to help you, we don’t have to rely on just one or two options!