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Having depression or anxiety can raise your life insurance premiums, but you can still get competitive rates with a consistent treatment history.
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.
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
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:
|COMPANY||ANXIETY||DEPRESSION||ANXIETY & DEPRESSION|
|AIG||Up to 2 medications||N/A||N/A|
|Banner||Up to 1 medication||Up to 1 medication||Mild diagnosis, up to 1 medication|
|Brighthouse||Up to 1 medication||N/A||N/A|
|Lincoln||Up to 2 medications||Up to 1 medication||N/A|
|Mutual of Omaha||Up to 1 medication||N/A||N/A|
|Principal||Up to 1 medication||Up to 1 medication||N/A|
|Protective||Up to 1 medication||Up to 1 medication||N/A|
|Prudential||Up to 1 medication||Up to 1 medication||Mild diagnosis, up to 1 medication|
|SBLI||Up to 1 medication||Up to 1 medication||N/A|
|Transamerica||Up to 2 medications||N/A||Mild diagnosis, up to 1 medication|
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
Depression and anxiety can cause physical health risks, such as cardiovascular disease and panic attacks, which insurers factor into your rates.   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.  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
Life insurance underwriters are principally interested in anxiety diagnoses that require medication or might affect your daily life, such as:
Generalized anxiety disorder
Post-traumatic stress 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 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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.