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Qualifying for Life Insurance with Depression.

According to a report published within the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA Internal Medicine, approximately 16% of all adult Americans reported filling one or more prescriptions for a psychiatric drug in 2013.  That’s basically 1 out of every 6 adult Americans!

Twelve percent of these medications were antidepressants, 8.3 percent were anti-anxiety medications and 1.6 were antipsychotic medications.

And with numbers like these…

It’s no wonder why we get some many calls from folks wondering if their “depression” is going to have a negative effect on the outcome of their life insurance application.

The only problem is…

That the term “depression” can be used to describe a wide variety of pre-existing medical conditions.  Some of which probably won’t affect an individual’s life insurance application at all, while others could significantly hinder their chances of qualifying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy and may require them to pursue an alternative life insurance product like a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.

About depression.

Depression is defined as a mood disorder that will cause an individual to have persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in what one will typically be “invested” in.  Depression affects how one feels, thinks and behaves and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

The clinical term “depression” is not used to describe a simple “feeling” of sadness or a condition that can simply “clear up” on its own.  Rather, “depression” is used to describe a condition that usually persists for an extended period of time.

Types of depression one may experience may include and how they are viewed by most life insurance companies.

Major depression disorder.

Major depression disorder is a common term used to describe individuals who “feel” depressed most of the time during the day.  Major depression disorder is the term that is used to “define” what most folks think of when they think of someone suffering from depression.

Common symptoms will include:

  • Loss of interest in what was once a pleasurable activity.
  • Changes in one’s weight.
  • Insomnia.
  • Feeling lethargic.
  • Poor self-esteem.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Suicidal ideation.

Individuals may be diagnosis with major depressive disorder if they suffer from 5 or more of these symptoms on most days for more than 2 weeks.

Major Depression Disorder and Life Insurance.

Depending on the severity of your condition, and how well it is being managed, what you will generally find is that most individuals who have been diagnosed with major depression disorder should still be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.

Persistent Depressive Disorder.

Persistent depressive disorder is a term used to describe those who have been suffering from depression for 2 years or longer.  Also known as dysthymia or chronic major depression, persistent depressive disorder is often characterized by:

  • A change in appetite.
  • Too much or too little sleep.
  • Fatigue.
  • Poor self-esteem.
  • Difficult concentrating.
  • Feelings of despair.

These individuals will also tend to be eligible for traditional life insurance coverage, however, most insurance companies will want to see that the individual is “coping” well with their disorder and will usually like to see a steady work history if applicable.

Bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder or manic depression is defined as a psychiatric disorder that causes individuals to experience extreme shifts in mood, energy, and activity levels which will make performing daily living activities more difficult to handle.  Individuals suffering from bipolar disorder will generally find themselves experiencing one of two distinct moods:

  • A manic phase, expressed by excessive excitement, energy and/or enthusiasm followed by…
  • Depression.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder…

Can often times be severe and disabling and will often be associated with:

  • Extreme mood swings.
  • Difficult focusing.
  • Easily irritated.
  • Insomnia.
  • Risky behaviors:
    • Spending sprees.
    • Impulsive sexual activity.
    • Drug and alcohol abuse.
    • Suicide attempts.
    • Eating disorders.
    • Fatigue, general malaise.
    • Loss of interest in social activities.
    • Extended periods of stress and anxiety.

Individuals suffering from bipolar disorder may still be eligible for a traditional life insurance policy, however, insurance underwriters will generally want to see a stable work history for these applicants when applicable as well as clean driving record and no “history” or drug or alcohol abuse prior to approving their application.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Seasonal affective disorder is a term used to define a condition in which individuals will suffer from a brief period of major depression that is generally associated with a lack of sunlight that occurs during the winter months.

Individuals suffering from seasonal affective disorder can often mitigate their symptoms by simply exposing themselves to sunlight or a light therapy device for approximately 15-30 minutes a day.

As far as their life insurance application goes…

Individuals suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) should “theoretically” be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy and should “theoretically” be able to qualify for a Preferred or Preferred Plus rate class provided that they would otherwise be eligible.

Psychotic Depression.

Individuals suffering from psychotic depression will generally suffer symptoms similar to those of major depression along with “psychotic” symptoms that will include:

  • Hallucinations.
  • Delusions.
  • And Paranoia.

These individuals will generally not be able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy and will typically need to pursue a guaranteed issue life insurance policy if they wish to purchase a life insurance policy.

Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression.

Peripartum depression or postpartum depression is another “type” of major depression disorder which can occur with woman in the weeks and/or months following the birth of a child.  In most cases, this depression can be “well” treated with the use of antidepressant medications and will usually resolve itself relatively quickly.

For those currently suffering from postpartum depression (and have some life insurance in place), it may make sense to postpone their life insurance application until which time they are no longer suffering from their depression.

However, for those who do not have any life insurance in place, going without coverage is never a good idea.  Unfortunately, it will be more difficult qualifying for coverage while suffering from postpartum depression, and the rate that you may be expected to pay could be significantly higher than you would otherwise be expected to pay if you weren’t currently suffering from depression.

This is why…

We’ll often recommend getting insured right away, with the expectation that once your depression has passed, we’ll then “re-apply” for coverage again in hopes of obtaining a better “rate” for your coverage.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a type of depression that is linked to the start of a woman’s menstrual cycle.  Common symptoms will include:

  • Mood swings.
  • Irritability.
  • Anxiety.
  • Difficult concentrating.
  • General fatigue.
  • Changes in ones’ appetite and sleeping patterns.

Fortunately, the symptoms associated with premenstrual dysphoric disorder tend to be mild and will generally not affect the outcome of ones’ life insurance application.

“Situational” depression.

Situational depression is a term used to describe what would generally be considered a normal reaction to a depressing situation or event.  For example, someone may suffer from situational depression after:

  • The death of a loved one.
  • A divorce.
  • Loss of a job.
  • Financial difficulties.
  • Etc, etc…

Situational depression, isn’t something that a life insurance company will necessarily be worried about provided that the depression only lasts for what most individuals would consider an “appropriate” amount of time.

Now we know that…

We’ve covered quite a bit of information here and certainly don’t expect you to become an expert on any of this.

And the truth is…

When it comes time to helping individuals who have been diagnosed with depression, knowing exactly what they will be able to qualify for is tough!  This is why, regardless of what “type” of depression you’ve been diagnosed with, we usually like to ask you a series of questions about your depression so that we can get a better idea about the “severity” of your condition.

This will not only help us understand what “type” of insurance you may or may not be eligible for, it will also help us get a better idea about “which” life insurance company might be the best for you.

You see…

Here at InsurnaceBrokersUSA, we’ve chosen to remain an independent life insurance brokerage that is able to work with dozens of different life insurance companies so that when it comes time to helping you find the best life insurance policy that you can qualify for, we don’t have to simply rely on one or two different options.

Instead, we can pick and choose among dozens of different insurance carriers and make them compete to earn your business.  But first, we’re going to need to know how “severe” your condition is.

Common question used to determine the severity of your depression:

  • How old are you now?
  • When were you first diagnosed with depression?
  • Who diagnosed your depression? A general practitioner or a psychiatrist?
  • What type of depression have you been diagnosed with?
  • What medications is any are you currently taking to treat your depression?
  • Over the past 12 months, have those medications changed at all?
  • Are you currently receiving therapy for your depression?
  • How often do you see your doctor regarding your depression?
  • Have you ever been hospitalized due to your depression?
  • Have you ever attempted suicide or contemplated suicide?
  • Do you have any issues with your driver’s license?
  • Do you have any history of drug or alcohol abuse?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor?
  • Are you currently working now?
  • In the past 12 months, have you applied for or received any form of disability benefits?

Now if you’re thinking…

To yourself…

“Wait a second, my doctor only described my medications so that I can relax a little bit or so I can feel better about myself!”

Good for you!  You’re probably one of the many individuals that we help qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy at a Preferred or Preferred Plus rate.


If your one of those individuals who maybe suffer from a more “serious” case of depression, or have found it difficult to find coverage in the past, we’re here to tell you…

“Don’t give up!”

At least not till you’ve given us a chance to see if we can’t help you qualify for that life insurance policy that you deserve!

So, what are you waiting for?  Give us a call today and see what we can do for you!

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