In previous generations, struggles with depression and anxiety were rarely discussed.
But today, more and more people are opening up about their mental health.
Every day, a new celebrity discusses their mental health issues.
And businesses and organizations are beginning to build programs and benefits to help their employees’ mental and emotional stability.
Because there’s a lot of conversation surrounding depression now, you might be wondering about the relationship between your depression and life insurance options.
Read on to learn about how your depression might impact your life insurance options and get information on the best life insurance coverage on the market.
Here’s where to start:
Why Depression Affects Life Insurance Rates
Let’s look at the numbers.
The fact of the matter is, depression is more common than most Americans realize.
- The results of the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimate more than 16 million adults had at least one serious episode of depression in the year 2016 (defined as two or more weeks of a “depressed mood” or loss of interest and at least four other symptoms).
- Depression is more common in adults ages 18 to 25, and in multiracial individuals.
- Another potentially surprising statistic? Women are much more likely to experience depression than men.
- Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world and it’s continuing to grow more prevalent.
With more than 16 million people suffering from depression, life insurance companies are now faced with making decisions on how a diagnosis of depression might change their plans and premiums.
Types of Depression
Not every depression is the same.
With depression, like any other illness, there are different forms and varying degrees of severity.
The specific type of depression you have and the severity of it could change how much your premiums are and your ability to get approved.
Let’s take a look at some of those different types:
Major depression is what most people probably think of when they hear the word depression.
People with major depression have feelings of sadness, less energy, extreme irritability, problems sleeping, changes in eating patterns, and more.
Depending on the severity of major depression, it can prevent people from going about their lives.
This is a less severe kind of depression.
Most people classify dysthymia as a “functional depression,” meaning patients will feel “off,” but it doesn’t stop them from their day to day activities.
Symptoms can range from sadness to problems sleeping.
With a diagnosis of dysthymia, most professionals suggest talking to a therapist before trying medication.
Here’s a statistic you might find shocking:
85% of new mothers feel “down” or “blue” after having their baby.
Around 16% of those new mothers are diagnosed with postpartum depression.
Much like other kinds of depression, postpartum depression has the same symptoms: sadness, anxiety, tiredness, etc.
With this kind of disorder, mothers might feel an extreme disconnection from their child or fear of harming the baby.
This depression typically develops in the first year after giving birth.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
As you can probably figure out from the name, SAD impacts people during the winter months.
Lack of sunlight is primarily to blame for SAD, making people more irritable, tired, and anxious during winter.
While some depressive diagnoses might require little treatment or may pass with time, others like psychotic depression require more attention.
This kind of depression is characterized by bouts of psychosis, which involves hearing sounds or seeing sights which aren’t there, or having delusions.
Psychotic depression can create serious problems if not managed correctly.
Everyone has heard of bipolar disorder, but few people understand what it actually is.
One of the most stigmatized types of depression, bipolar disorder, occurs when a patient suffers from drastic lows and then extreme highs.
Bipolar disorder is also known as manic-depressive because the moods fluctuate between mania and depression.
Mania is classified as having more excitement than usual, high-energy, racing thoughts, and excessive confidence.
Like the other types of depression on the list, bipolar disorder can be treated with medication and therapy.
Also called adjustment disorder, situational depression is caused by a big life-changing event or a stretch of high-stress.
This is one of the most common types of depression because everyone experiences times in their lives which are very stressful.
Usually, situational depression doesn’t need medication, but it can be treated with a short-term prescription if your doctor sees the need.
With a general idea of the most common types of depression, let’s review which life insurance companies provide the most beneficial coverage for clients with mental health issues.
Best Life Insurance Companies for Applicants with Depression
Here are who we consider to be the top five:
With conditions like depression or anxiety, there is far less agreement across the board.
In fact, there is no standard rating class for depression, making the time you spend shopping for your life insurance even more important.
Since some companies have harsher guidelines than others, you need to pinpoint a carrier who is lenient and still awards the best rates possible.
I’ve done a bit of that research for you, comparing and compiling the best life insurance companies for individuals with depression.
Through the years, Lincoln Financial has excelled at selling insurance to higher risk clients.
They have carved a niche for applicants with higher cholesterol scores, older clients, clients who use tobacco, and more.
One of the categories where Lincoln excels is with applicants with depression or anxiety problems.
Every time I’ve talked to a client with depression who has gotten quotes from several companies, they relay that Lincoln is one of the cheapest options.
Not only are they one of the more affordable choices for individuals with depression, but they also have several plans to choose from.
Lincoln sells traditional level term plans (Lincoln Life Elements Level Term), no exam policies, permanent life insurance, and guaranteed issue plans.
Another solid choice for individuals with depression, Prudential is known for their recognizable logo, “The Rock.”
While you’ve probably seen their mountainous logo, you may not know about their rates for people diagnosed with depression.
Prudential is also excellent for any client who is considered overweight, as their weight charts are looser than other companies.
Compared to other carriers, Prudential is more willing to take on higher-risk life insurance clients in general.
Another unique factor of Prudential is their “non-smoker plus” rate class for people who are in great health otherwise, but smoke.
Hancock is one of the oldest life insurance companies in America, having been in operation for more than 150 years.
And there’s a reason they’ve been around for so long.
Hancock is an extremely stable company who has perfected their customer service and their life insurance products.
They’ve thrived for a long time, and professionals expect them to continue to for an even longer time.
Not to mention they have some of the best grades from all of the insurer rating companies (A.M. Best, Moody’s, Fitch).
To be honest, AIG is not going to be the fastest company, but if you’re willing to wait, they can be a great pick.
AIG has plenty of options and rates to rival most of the competition.
AIG believes in tailoring plans to meet YOUR needs, not forcing you into a pre-planned policy.
One of their most unique strengths is their term policy’s flexibility.
For example, you don’t have to buy a 20-year term plan if you only want 16 years.
It’s your plan, and you can customize it to meet your exact needs.
If you’re interested in buying insurance for your children as well as yourself, Protective has products designed for you.
One of their greatest plans is the “Protect My Child” whole life policy.
If your child is between the ages of 2 weeks old to 17, you can buy this plan and it will give up to $100,000, which will double when they turn 18.
The best part, for sufferers of depression, is that there is no medical exam required. Period.
No Exam Life Insurance for People with Depression
Maybe you don’t want to go through all the hassle of a traditional policy.
If so, then you’re the ideal candidate for a no exam life insurance plan.
Just about every company on the market sells a version of life insurance without the health exam portion.
The company will still look at your medical records and prescription history, and you’ll still need to complete the health questionnaire.
No exam is quicker and easier, but it’s also more expensive and restricting.
Every carry puts a lower limit on the amount of life insurance you can buy with a no exam policy as well.
If you’re considering buying a no exam option, you need to decide what’s more important to you: a lower premium or convenience.
Do your research, compare rates, and see how your depression will impact your premiums, with and without an exam.
Possible Rate Classes
Here’s some good news: people with depression can still get Preferred or Preferred Plus rates!
During the series of health questions most insurers require, you’ll be asked about your depression diagnosis, the severity, the timeframe, and how it was or is treated.
If it’s been several years since you were treated with depression and you no longer take medication, then it won’t jack your rates up.
As long as you’re managing your depression carefully, you can end up in the best possible class.
The most common rate class is Standard.
Having depression does put a red mark on your application.
If you have any other health problems or other red marks, then you’re probably going to be put down a peg when it comes to your rate class.
Standard rates are not the lowest, but they are still extremely affordable with most companies.
If you’re in exceedingly poor health, there is always a chance you’ll get sub-standard rates.
So if you have depression or anxiety paired with other major health complications, the carrier might be more wary of awarding your coverage.
Just as people are different, each depression and anxiety diagnosis is different.
Some are more severe than others, some need prescription treatments, others need therapy to heal.
Some complications are long-lasting, while others may be a short chapter in your history.
When it comes to applying for life insurance with depression, there is no “ultimate guide.”
But if you’re diagnosed with depression or you’ve suffered from an anxiety in the past, take heart knowing there are policies on the market you can afford.
Get started with our easy to use life insurance quoting tool on the side of the screen.
With this form, you’ll get almost instant quotes from the dozens of carriers we’ve partnered with.
Ease your mind, ease your insurance shopping process, and pick up a great life insurance policy today.