Can you get life insurance if you have depression?
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UPDATED: Apr 25, 2022
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- Depression is a mood disorder that affects how a person feels, reacts to life, and it is serious, requiring clinical help
- The depressed person can be in real danger if medical assistance is not sought because of unusual acts and thought processes the person may be experiencing
- Depression may occur because of a variety of situations including childhood experiences, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, and low self-esteem
- People who have depression may have difficulty qualifying for life insurance because depression can enhance heart, circulatory, and other main organ diseases in the body
- If a depressed person is under a doctor’s care, on medication and is stable, it is possible for such a person to obtain life insurance
Depression is a serious mood disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks, reacts and how the daily events and activities are handled. It affects daily issues such as sleeping, working, eating and dealing with others.
Some people are severely impacted by the behavior of others and can keep thinking about things that were said to them. It’s not easy to forgive the nasty actions of others always.
There are different levels and kinds of depression ranging from a mild depressive disorder, or the “blues” to serious disruptive types which cause a person to “see” and deal with false realities and fixed beliefs.
Depression can occur at any age, but it tends to be more pronounced in adults. It can also be linked to other medical conditions that are physical, and medical outcomes can trigger depression.
To be diagnosed as being in a state of depression, a person needs to be in that state for at least two weeks or longer.
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What are some of the possible causes of depression?
Some of the root causes of depression seem to be related to how people react to stressful events that are occurring around them, and how a person’s self-worth and coping abilities measure up to difficult situations.
There are certain factors that trigger depressive states which can help a who is in depress recognize how they got that way:
- A history of other mental or emotional disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders and anxiety disorders.
- Trauma during childhood or in the teenage years.
- Blood relatives who have had suicide, bipolar episodes, a history of depression and alcoholism.
- Illegal drug or alcohol abuse.
- Personality traits such as low self-esteem, being overly self-critical, being overly dependent on others, and being too pessimistic.
- Some medications will cause depressive tendencies.
- The experience of traumatic and chronic illness personally, or with someone very close. Such diseases as cancer, heart trauma, and accidents can be a cause for depression.
- Traumatic personal events such as sex abuse, a loved one’s serious illness or death, serious financial difficulties, and a personal relationship that is difficult.
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What Are The Effects and Dangers of Untreated Depression?
Untreated depression can be very injurious to a person’s overall state of health. An attempt to cope with the feelings that seem to spiral out of control, people will take difficult and bizarre actions in an attempt to quell the depressive symptoms they are experiencing:
The following actions are not unusual for a depressed person to attempt:
- Addictions – A depressed person will have a tendency to become addicted to other substances and habits. If alcohol or drugs seem to alleviate the depressed moods, then that is an easy path to take. The problem is that the depressed person is very likely to become addicted to these measures, causing more problems than just the depressed state.
- Suicide – One of the main thoughts that a depressed person has is suicide because they reason that they are not worthwhile enough to live, or they would not be having these depressed feelings. They feel that if they commit suicide, it will end the pain.
- Behavioral Recklessness – If a person suddenly is not taking care of themselves or their surrounding, or they seem to be taking part in reckless activities it can be a sign of depression. If they suddenly begin driving too fast, taking part in reckless activities such as drunk driving, sex that is unprotected and running with the wrong crowd, the consequences may be very negative.
- Poor or Inadequate Performance in School – Depression can make it very hard to function in a program such as a formal school environment. Just the enforced regimen of classroom requirements along with the inability to concentrate long enough to complete homework assignments is enough to be a warning that help is needed.
- Self-Inflicted Injury – Some people will attempt to deal with their depressive state by cutting or burning themselves. In most cases, a person is merely crying for help, and they do not intend to harm themselves. However, they can cause serious damage inadvertently.
How do life insurance companies look at insuring people who are depressed?
When it comes to the purchase of life insurance for a person who is clinically depressed, the factors that go into the underwriting decision are varied. The final result depends on the degree that the depression has manifested itself.
There is quite a difference between mild anxiety and a full-blown case of depression.
In addition to all of the normal questions, an applicant needs to make known about health and background, detailed information about how the depression is being or has been treated is also required.
One of the biggest concerns a life underwriter is concerned with is suicide if an applicant has a history of depression.
The concern is also high because depression can cause physical ailments to be enhanced by the depression. Heart conditions, high blood pressure, ulcers, and situations in which a depressed person might have become involved are typical worries.
There are no “set-in-stone” rules for underwriting cases of depression, but if any medication is prescribed it becomes more serious. A depressed person can always stop taking their medication, which can raise huge issues for their mortality exposure.
Even if a person is declined for coverage, it is prudent to stay persistent over time because situations can, and do, change.
If an underwriter sees that a situation is under control, it is more likely that a policy can be issued. This is especially true if he or she is familiar with the case.
It is important for an applicant that has depression to be very honest and frank about his or her condition when applying for life insurance. Just because things might look very negative, does not mean that all hope is lost.
The strategy is to get it all out, so to speak, and to give the home office underwriter enough information so he or she can start to build a case.
If a person is just suffering from a situational depression such as a temporary occurrence, such as a divorce or a job loss, and nothing else, the result is likely to be a standard rating.
Also if an individual has a long-standing condition and is on medication, and the doctor of the individual sees things as stable, a good rating is likely to be forthcoming.
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