Life Insurance with Depression.
In this article, we wanted to take a moment and try and answer some of the most common questions we get from folks applying for life insurance after they have been diagnosed with Depression.
But before we can do that…
We do need to point out that there are a lot of “types” of Depression that one can be diagnosed with, including:
- Major Depression Disorder (MDD)
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Bipolar disorder,
- Postpartum Depression
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Atypical Depression
Each of these will usually have their own set of unique symptoms and characteristics, which is why most life insurance companies will consider each of these “types” of Depression as separate and unique pre-existing medical conditions.
For us here at IBUSA despite the fact that most top-rated life insurance companies are going to consider each of these “types” of Depression as unique conditions, most insurance companies will usually follow many of the same rules and guidelines when it comes time to make an “underwriting” decision. Even those companies that offer no medical exam life insurance policy options.
Before anyone gets too upset or begins complaining about the simplicity of our definitions that we’re going to be using here, it’s important to understand that we here at IBUSA aren’t medical experts of doctors.
All we are is a bunch of life insurance agents who just happen to be really good at helping folks with pre-existing medical conditions like Depression find and qualify for the life insurance coverage that they’re looking for.
Which means that…
Because we’re not going to be the one “diagnosing” your condition and we’re certainly not going to be providing any treatment recommendations all we need to do is understand that there are differences between these different “types” of Depression and those differences are going to affect how a life insurance underwriter is going to consider you as a potential “risk”.
The good news is that despite how simply our definitions of these diseases may be, this is something that we actually have down pat!
Questions that will be directly addressed will include:
- Can I qualify for life insurance after I’ve been diagnosed with Depression?
- Why do life insurance companies care if I’ve been diagnosed with Depression?
- What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me or be interested in?
- What rate (or price) can I qualify for?
- What can I do to help ensure that I get the “best life insurance” for me?
So, without further ado, let’ dive right in!
Can I qualify for life insurance after I’ve been diagnosed with Depression?
Yes, individuals who have been diagnosed with Depression can and often will be able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy. In fact, some may even be able to qualify for a Preferred rate!
The problem is…
Simply being diagnosed with “depression” isn’t going to be enough to go on when trying to determine what “kind” of life insurance policy an individual might be able to qualify for and how much that policy might cost!
This is because, as we’ve already mentioned, there are many different “types” of Depression that an individual might be diagnosed with, and even then, you’re going to find that the “severity” of one’s condition can vary significantly as well.
This is why…
If you have been diagnosed with Depression, you should be prepared to answer a series of questions about your condition so that an individual underwriter can get a better idea about how “severe” your condition is as well as try and determine what kind of “risk” you might pose to them should they decide to approve your life insurance application.
Why do life insurance companies care if I’ve been diagnosed with Depression?
The main reason why life insurance companies are going to “care” if you have been diagnosed with “Depression” is that, for some, Depression can be a very serious medical condition and one that people should not take lightly!
The problem is…
As of 2016, nearly one in six Americans are currently taking some kind of psychiatric medication, most of which are antidepressants!
And while it’s true that some of these individuals may be suffering from a very serious case of “depression,” it’s pretty safe to say that the majority of these individuals are probably just using one of their medications to just help them “cope” with life’s normal stressors!
Please don’t misunderstand us, because we don’t want to imply that this isn’t a good thing. All we’re trying to point out is that there will be a lot of folks who have been diagnosed with Depression and have been prescribed medications to treat their Depression who will still be considered eligible for traditional life insurance by the life insurance industry and may even be able to qualify for a Preferred rate!
“Which is great!”
We just need to figure out who those individuals are which is why we wanted to take a moment and briefly describe some of the most common “types” of Depression so that when we encounter these “diagnoses” later on, we’ll know how they will be “viewed” by an individual life insurance underwriter.
Types of Depression Defined:
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
The term Major Depressive Disorder is one that is usually reserved for those folks who would be considered “clinically depressed” these individuals will typically experience symptoms such as:
- Lack of interest in activities that they once enjoyed,
- Unexplained weight loss,
- Changes in sleep patterns,
- Low self-esteem,
- Feelings of worthlessness,
- Suicidal ideation,
- Suicidal attempts,
These are the “types” of Depression that will be the biggest concern for most life insurance companies.
Persistent Depressive Disorder.
Persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia, is a type of depression that is characterized by a low, depressed mood that persists for at least two years.
People with dysthymia may experience symptoms similar to those of major depression, but the symptoms are usually less severe and more chronic. They may also have periods of time where their symptoms improve, but the overall course of the illness is one of long-term low mood.
Dysthymia can interfere with daily functioning and can be severely disabling. Symptoms may include:
- Loss of interest in activities that they once enjoyed,
- Low self-esteem,
- Feelings of hopelessness,
- Changes in appetite,
- Difficulty concentrating,
- Sleeping too much,
Individuals suffering from this “type” of Depression will still typically be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy, provided that their “bouts” of Depression don’t happen so frequently that it is preventing them from being able to live a “normal” life.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings. People with bipolar disorder experience periods of elevated or irritable mood, energy, and activity levels, known as manic or hypomanic episodes, as well as periods of depressed mood.
During a manic episode, a person may feel very high or euphoric, have a lot of energy, and may engage in risky or reckless behavior. During a depressed episode, a person may feel very low, have difficulty with daily activities, and may experience changes in appetite, sleep, and energy levels.
Manic symptoms may include:
- Elevated mood swings including anger, anxiety, apprehension, euphoria, guilt, etc…
- Increase risk-taking,
- Difficulty concentrating,
- False belief of superiority or invincibility,
Depression symptoms may include:
- Sleeping disorders,
- Low self-esteem,
- Anxiety and/or irritability,
- Difficulty concentrating,
Bipolar disorder can be severe which is why it’s often difficult for some individuals who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder to qualify for coverage, particluarly if they are applying for no medical exam life insurance policy.
That said however, individual’s suffering from this “type” of Depression may still be able to qualify for coverage, provided that their “mood swings” do not happen too frequently and they haven’t engaged in any “extracurricular” activities that can often be associated with increase risk-taking that may prevent them from being able to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy.
Postpartum depression is a type of depression that can occur after giving birth. It is a serious and common condition that affects about 1 in 9 women in the United States. Symptoms of postpartum depression may include feeling overwhelmed, sad, anxious, or unable to bond with the baby. Some women may also have thoughts of hurting themselves or the baby.
Unfortuately, this type of depression is often exacerbated by the sheer amount of pressure that the mother is likely feeling in addition to complicated feelings of guilt and shame for not feeling elated about the birth or their new child.
This condition has received a considerable amount of attention as of late, which has helped shed light it and make folks who do experience this condition realize that they are not alone and that there is no reason to feel guilty about having these “kinds” of feelings!
The good news…
That postpartum Depression will usually go away and will not be something that someone will need to deal with for their entire life. The bad news that nearly 50% of individuals diagnosed with postpartum Depression will still show signs of their Depression after one year and 30% even after three years.
It’s also important to point out that this is not a medical condition that one should try and treat on their own. Now, if you are experiencing symptoms of this condition, you should reach out for help right away because not only will it help you feel better, it will also probably improve your chances at being able to qualify for a better life insurance rate!
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a very real medical condition that is characterized by feeling depressed and sleepy during the winter, which is usually coupled with weight gain. Then once spring comes around, you may begin to feel completely normal.
It is believed…
That this condition is caused by a disturbance in one’s normal circadian rhythm of the body, which is known to be affected by the amount of light entering into one’s eyes. A theory supported by statistical diagnostic data shows that people living further from the equator are much more likely to develop SAD vs. those living in much warmer/sunnier climates.
The good news…
For these “kinds” of applicants is that this condition is well documented, and most life insurance companies aren’t going to discriminate against you for having been diagnosed with it provided that your “symptoms” of this disorder aren’t too severe!
Is a “type” of Depression that might associate with someone who seems to be a bit of a “downer” but can snap out of it when something good happens. For example, someone like this might feel depressed but can get excited about the fact that their “home team” won a game, or that their favorite TV show is on, then once it is over, go back to feeling “down”.
Symptoms may include:
- Excessive eating or weight gain,
- Excessive sleep,
- Feelings of fatigue,
- Intense sensitivity of rejection,
Folks suffering form this condition may just feel like nothing works out for them or a sense that everything just seems worse than it actually is.
The good news is…
That with the proper medication, this “type” of Depression can often be easily improved and isn’t generally a disorder that causes a lot of life insurance companies to worry too much!
What kind of information will the insurance companies ask me or be interested in?
Common questions you may be asked may include:
- When were you first diagnosed with Depression?
- Have you been given a “definitive” diagnosis?
- Who diagnosed your Depression? A general practitioner? A psychiatrist? A psychologist?
- What symptoms do you suffer from during your depressive states?
- Did you know what has caused you to suffer from your Depression?
- Did you suffer from a specific event or trauma that may have triggered your Depression?
- How are you treating your Depression?
- How would you describe your condition over the past 12 months? Has it improved? Worsened? Or remained stable?
- Are you currently taking any prescription medications? If so, what are they, and have any of them changed in the past 12 months?
- Do you ever contemplate suicide or have you ever attempted suicide?
- Have you ever been hospitalized due to your condition?
- In the past two years, have you been hospitalized for any reason?
- Do you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse?
- Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor?
- Do you have any issues with your driving record? Issues such as multiple moving violations a DUI or a suspended license?
- Are you currently working now?
- In the past 12 months, have you applied for or received any form of disability benefits?
What rate (or price) can I qualify for?
Now as you can see, there are a lot of factors that can come into play when trying to determine what kind of “rate” an individual might be able to qualify for after having been diagnosed with Depression.
Which is why, it’s pretty much impossible to know for sure what kind of “rate” you might be able to qualify for without first speaking with you directly.
There are a few “assumptions” that we can make that will generally hold true that may hopefully provide you with a general idea about what kind of “rate” you might be able to expect.
For example, if you are someone who read through this list of questions and became “shocked” by what was asked, chances are your just one of the millions of individuals who, on occasion, fell a little “down”.
And as a result…
Your primary care physician prescribed you an antidepressant and “boom” all of a sudden, you have been “diagnosed” with Depression.
For folks like these, what we can tell you is that most life insurance companies are going to understand your situation and not discriminate against you too severely and still consider you potentially eligible for a Preferred rate.
Now for the rest…
Of you who read through these questions and found yourself answering “YES” to a lot of the questions, we don’t want to make you feel like there’s no hope because the truth is, while you may not be able to qualify for a Preferred rate, there’s a halfway decent chance that you may be able to qualify for a “standard” or “normal” rate which is what most people who haven’t been diagnosed with any kind of pre-existing medical condition end up qualifying for anyways!
And the good news is…
That regardless of your situation, we here at IBUSA can help because we have tons of experience helping folks with all sorts of pre-existing medical conditions like yours and are committed to helping all of our clients find the “best” life insurance policy that they can qualify for. Which brings us to the last topic that we wanted to take a moment and discuss, which is…
What can I do to help ensure that I get the “best life insurance” for me?
In our experience here at IBUSA, what we have found that usually, the folks who seem to find the “best” life insurance policy for them are those that:
- Take their time reviewing their options.
- Ask a lot of questions.
And seek out those life insurance agents who not only have experience working with individuals who have been diagnosed with a wide variety of pre-existing medical conditions but also have access to dozens of different life insurance companies so that when it comes time to helping a more “challenging” case, they don’t have to rely on a…
“One size fits all approach!”
The good news is that this is exactly what you’re going to find here at IBUSA!
Now, will we be able to help out everyone who has been previously diagnosed with Depression?
No, probably not. But what we can tell you is that in addition to offering a wide variety of different term and whole life insurance policies, IBUSA has also worked very hard to establish relationships with many Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance Companies as well so that in the event that someone isn’t able to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy, chances are there may be some other “type” of product that you CAN qualify for.
So, if you’re ready to see what options might be available to you, just give us a call!