Best life insurance companies for people with depression & anxiety in 2021

Having depression or anxiety can raise your life insurance premiums, but you can still get competitive rates with a consistent treatment history.

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Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is an insurance editor and licensed Life, Health, and Disability agent at Policygenius in New York City. Her work has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Little Spoon, and J.D. Power.

Updated June 17, 2021|4 min read

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When you apply for life insurance, your provider wants to know your full health history, including mental health diagnoses like depression and anxiety.

But it’s unlikely you’ll be denied life insurance coverage just because you have clinical anxiety or depression. You may pay more with some insurers, but others could offer you their most affordable premiums. Like any other health condition, it will depend on how you manage your mental health and the severity of your diagnosis.

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Here’s how depression and anxiety affect your life insurance premiums and application, and how to secure the right policy for your needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Premiums vary depending on the severity of depression or anxiety and your treatment history

  • You can be declined coverage due to inconsistent treatment or recent hospitalizations

  • Insurers can deny or reduce the death benefit if you misrepresent your mental health history

  • Purchase a policy before becoming pregnant to avoid higher premiums due to postpartum depression or other complications

Best life insurance companies for people with depression & anxiety

Clinical depression and anxiety can affect your physical wellbeing and ability to complete day-to-day tasks, so they are considered a health risk by insurers. Life insurance providers vary in how they weigh those risks during underwriting, the process used to set your premiums. 

The table below reflects the maximum number of medications accepted by each of our partner insurance companies for an applicant to qualify for the most favorable health classification—Preferred Plus or Preferred—for each diagnosis:

AIGUp to 2 medicationsN/AN/A
BannerUp to 1 medicationUp to 1 medicationMild diagnosis, up to 1 medication
BrighthouseUp to 1 medicationN/AN/A
LincolnUp to 2 medicationsUp to 1 medicationN/A
Mutual of OmahaUp to 1 medicationN/AN/A
Pacific LifeN/AN/AN/A
ProtectiveUp to 1 medicationUp to 1 medicationN/A
PrudentialUp to 1 medicationUp to 1 medicationMild diagnosis, up to 1 medication
SBLIUp to 1 medicationUp to 1 medicationN/A
TransamericaUp to 2 medicationsN/AMild diagnosis, up to 1 medication

N/A indicates that applicants are unlikely to qualify for a Preferred classification with this insurer.

Methodology: Based on underwriting data provided by Policygenius’ 10 partner insurers as of June 2021. Qualifying for a Preferred Plus or Preferred health rating is dependent on specific treatment history and medication requirements that are approved for each age group and vary by provider.

If you don’t fit the medication guidelines, some insurance companies will offer an improved health classification if you have a mild diagnosis and can demonstrate that you have a steady treatment history. And even if you don’t qualify for a Preferred classification, you can still get covered—your rates will just be slightly higher.

Generally, your premiums will be more expensive if you have:

  • More severe diagnoses

  • Inconsistent treatment records

  • Health issues linked to your mental health 

  • Recent or multiple hospitalizations

How do depression and anxiety affect life insurance?

Depression and anxiety can cause physical health risks, such as cardiovascular disease and panic attacks, which insurers factor into your rates. [1] [2] An underwriter will want a complete picture of your diagnosis and treatment history and the rest of your medical history to accurately set your premiums.

Be prepared to answer questions about your mental health during underwriting, including:

  • Are you currently receiving psychotherapy treatment?

  • Are you currently taking medication for depression or anxiety?

  • Have you ever been treated for and/or taken medication for depression or anxiety?

  • Have you ever been hospitalized due to depression or anxiety?

  • What was the date of your diagnosis?

  • What was your diagnosis (mild, moderate, or severe)?

The underwriter mainly wants to see consistency, like “steady employment, not being hospitalized, no self-harm attempts, and a consistent treatment plan,” says Jake Herskovits, a life insurance sales specialist at Policygenius. Herskovits adds that being on fewer medications usually translates to more favorable premiums, but a medication plan without frequent changes in dosages or types of medication is more important to an underwriter.

Your exact diagnosis matters too. If you have a condition more commonly linked to suicide, like severe depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, your premiums will be higher. [3] You’re more likely to be declined coverage if you:

  • Can’t work or are on disability due to anxiety or depression

  • Have attempted suicide 

  • Were hospitalized due to anxiety or depression in the last year

Anxiety and life insurance

Life insurance underwriters are principally interested in anxiety diagnoses that require medication or might affect your daily life, such as: 

  • Generalized anxiety disorder

  • Panic disorder

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

As with other medical conditions, underwriters will evaluate the kind of anxiety you experience, your symptoms, and how you manage those symptoms.

If your anxiety is situational—e.g., you only need medication for your anxiety when on an airplane—you will have more affordable premiums than someone who takes anxiety medication every day.

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression usually occurs within the first three months of having a baby and eventually subsides. But since there’s limited research on postpartum depression, some providers treat it like clinical depression during underwriting and offer you higher rates, even if it’s been years since your postpartum diagnosis and it’s not an ongoing condition.

It’s different with every company; some will only dig into the diagnosis for policies with higher coverage amounts, and other providers don’t consider postpartum depression at all. To avoid the risk of getting higher premiums, it’s best to get life insurance before becoming pregnant or shop around to find an insurer that treats postpartum diagnoses more favorably.

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Can you be denied life insurance due to depression or anxiety?

You may be declined traditional life insurance coverage if you have severe or untreated depression or anxiety or recent hospitalizations due to self-harm or panic attacks. However, there are a couple of ways to get a small amount of life insurance coverage: 

  • Guaranteed issue life insurance: Guaranteed issue policies are significantly more expensive than term life insurance and have age restrictions, but they offer almost-certain approval and don’t require a medical exam to qualify.

  • Group life insurance: Policies offered by your employer are affordable and rarely require medical screening, but you won’t get as much coverage as you need and you lose coverage if you leave your company.

If you were declined coverage due to inconsistent treatment or a recent hospitalization, you may qualify for a traditional policy after a year or more of steady and positive treatment outcomes.

What happens if you conceal your mental health diagnoses?

You should always be completely forthcoming with your life insurance provider. Standard medical record checks during underwriting will reveal your prescription and diagnosis history even if you don’t disclose them. If you do manage to hide any details, your provider can cancel your policy and deny your loved ones the death benefit once the truth is discovered.

This penalty applies even after the contestability period, which allows your provider to review your application for evidence of fraud if you pass away in the first two years of your policy. 

That also means that lying on your application voids your policy’s protection if you die by suicide after the first two years of coverage. Every policy includes a suicide clause that states that your provider won’t pay out if you die by suicide within two years of activating your coverage. But if you concealed information on your application, your loved ones can be denied insurance protection even after two years.

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It’s still possible to find competitively priced life insurance if you’re living with depression or anxiety. Some providers could offer you their best health classifications if you have a mild diagnosis and your treatment is consistent. Multiple factors influence your final life insurance offer, from your mental health records to your family medical history. An insurance agent or broker can determine which provider will offer you the best policy based on your background.

Best life insurance companies for depression & anxiety FAQ:

Can you get life insurance with a mental health condition?

Yes. Depending on the severity of your diagnosis and how well-managed it is, you may even be eligible for a provider’s most affordable premiums.

How can depression and anxiety affect your life insurance rates?

You will have higher premiums if you have a more severe diagnosis or an inconsistent treatment history. The less your diagnosis impacts your daily life, the more favorable your rates will be.

Will you be denied life insurance if you have anxiety or depression?

You can be denied coverage if your mental health makes it difficult for you to work or you’ve been hospitalized in the last year due to self-harm or a panic attack. However, you can still qualify for non-traditional policies like guaranteed issue life insurance.

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