It almost seems like nowadays, because so many people seem to be taking some type of anti-anxiety medication that the potential “seriousness” of being diagnosed with anxiety seems to have been lost on just about everyone EXCEPT the life insurance community.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common causes of mental illness in the United States today, and affect almost 18% of the American population.
That is over 40 million Americans aged 18 years and older!
And when these folks…
Give us a call here at InsuranceBrokersUSA, they’ll often be surprised by how many questions the insurance companies may have for them regarding why they’ve been diagnosed with anxiety or why they’ve been prescribed an anti-anxiety medication.
The main “problem” when it comes to helping an individual qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy after they’ve been diagnosed with “anxiety” or have been prescribed an “anti-anxiety” medication is that the term “anxiety” can be used to encompass a wide a variety of conditions. Conditions that can vary significantly in degrees of severity!
So… whatcha got?
One of the first questions that we’re going to need to know the answer to here at InsuranceBrokersUSA before we can begin to provide you with an accurate life insurance quote will be, what “type” of anxiety have you been diagnosed with and how “severe” is your condition.
There are 7 common types of anxiety:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Generalized anxiety disorder is a medical condition that is defined as a psychological disorder characterized by excessive and disproportionate nervousness and worry about normal daily activities such as work, relationships and or financial situations.
Now you may be asking yourself, “who doesn’t worry about these types of things?” which is true, but in this case, we talking about Excessive worry which is why you’re going to see that insurance companies are not simply going to look at a diagnosis and make a decision, they’re going to want to know more about your diagnosis and determine how “severe” your “excessive worry” is.
- Social Phobia.
Social phobia (also commonly referred to as social anxiety) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. This phobia can be seen through intense nervousness, low self-esteem and low levels of confidence as a result of an increase in self-consciousness.
Again, insurance companies are going to want to know more about your “social phobia” before they make any rash decisions. For example, do you get nervous about speaking in front of people every now and then? Or do you get nervous every time you have to answer your door?
- Panic Disorder.
A panic disorder is another psychiatric disorder which is characterized by debilitating anxiety and fear that may occur randomly or be set off by certain triggers unique to the individual patient. The main factor here is that these reactions are excessive and not considered a normal appropriate response.
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety that is trigger by physical locations, which will typically lead a person who is suffering from agoraphobia to avoid these types of locations so that they can avoid suffering from a panic attack. As a result, patients suffering from agoraphobia will often find it difficult to leave their home and can begin to feel “trapped” in protective environments.
Phobias are defined as an extreme or irrational fear of something. What that “something” it, could literally be anything ranging from snakes to paper clips. In fact, “what” the actual “phobia” is isn’t all that important, it’s the irrational fear that is associated with it that becomes the real issue.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is defined as an anxiety disorder that is characterized by patients who will suffer from perpetual unwanted OBSESSIVE thoughts, feelings and/or ideas forcing them to COMPULSIVELY perform tasks or behaviors in an attempt to experience relief.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is defined a state of consistent mental and emotional stress that is the result of having suffered from some type of traumatic event which could be either physical or mental in nature. Symptoms of PTSD will often include vivid recall of the traumatic experience, a general withdrawal for daily activities and a disturbance in their normal sleep patterns.
Now we’ll be the first to admit that our definitions of the aforementioned medical conditions are woefully inadequate, but hey! We’re not doctors, we’re just a bunch of life insurance agents so don’t get too upset.
The purpose of this article isn’t to define what anxiety is or how it should be diagnosed and/or treated, it’s to help shed some light on what the “process” of getting life insurance will look like after you’ve been diagnosed or prescribed an anti-anxiety medication.
So, with that being said…
Let’s take a look at how the life insurance industry will view the aforementioned conditions and get a better idea about what you should expect when applying for coverage.
In the remainder of this article we’re not going to discuss PTSD life insurance or OCD, the reason for this is because:
- We have written a different article on PTSD which will explain better
- Someone that has been diagnosed with PTSD will receive extra scrutiny that the other types of disorder.
6 Types of anxiety and the life insurance implications.
When it comes time to evaluating the previous types of anxiety conditions that we have looked at, it’s important to understand that even though each of these medical conditions are different, the insurance companies “in general” will view the anxieties as the “roughly” the same during the underwriting process in that, they will be looking for many of the same “red flags” in determining who they will and won’t insure.
So… for the remainder of this article we are not going to refer condition by its individual name, rather we’re simply going to lump all of these conditions under the “umbrella” term ANXIETY DISORDER.
Preferred Approval Rates.
By now you may be wondering…
“Am I even going to be eligible for coverage?”
But don’t freak out! You see, even if you have been diagnosed with anxiety, if your anxiety is “mild” case, and well taken care of you should theoretically still be able to qualify for a Preferred rate!
You may also even qualify for a simplified issue term or whole life insurance policy in which case the person will not need to take a medical exam.
If you suffer from a more severe or moderate case of anxiety you’re probably not going to be able to qualify for a Preferred rate, but that does not mean that you may not qualify for a Standard of Table rate. It just means that you’re going to want to be more careful with which insurance company you choose when applying for coverage.
If this describes you…
You’re going to want to make sure that your life insurance agent completes a thorough application interview with you prior to applying for coverage so that he or she can use this information to narrow down which life insurance company is going to give you the greatest opportunity for success (provided your agent works with multiple life insurance companies)!
Here at InsuranceBrokersUSA, what we like to do is
- First determine how much life insurance you’re looking for.
- Second, determine how “severe” your anxiety is.
- And lastly, we like to make insurance companies compete for your business by simultaneously shopping rates prior to submitting your life insurance application!
Now, determining how much life insurance you’re looking for is usually pretty easy, we ask, and you tell us. But determining how “severe” your anxiety is can be a bit more tricky. To accomplish this, we usually like to ask the following questions:
- What type of anxiety disorder have you been diagnosed with?
- At what age were you diagnosed with your condition?
- Who diagnosed your condition? A general practitioner or a psychiatrist?
- How long have you been treating your condition?
- How have you been treating you condition?
- Are you currently taking any prescription medications to treat your condition?
- How many medications are you taking right now to treat your condition?
- Have your medications changed over the past 12 months?
- Have you ever been hospitalized due to your condition?
- Do you have any history of drug or alcohol abuse?
- Have you ever attempted suicide or contemplated suicide?
- Are you currently working now?
- In the past 12 months have you applied for or received any form of disability benefits?
After going to through all these questions we’ll generally have a pretty good idea about what “types” of life insurance policies you’ll be eligible for and then it’s simply a matter of seeing “which” life insurance company is going to offer you the best deal.
And the great news here is that we here at InsuranceBrokersUSA offer dozens of different life insurance companies to choose from so you don’t simply have to rely on just one or two different options!
So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and see what we can do for you!