Can I buy life insurance if I have depression? – you might want to know if you are seeking life insurance for people with depression. Grammatically speaking, there is no short answer to your question as to whether life insurance for people with depression is available or not.
What Is Depression?
If you are keen to know whether people with depression are eligible for life insurance, you need to know what depression stands for. Encyclopedia Britannica says:
Depression, in psychology, a mood or emotional state that is marked by feelings of low self-worth or guilt and a reduced ability to enjoy life. A person who is depressed usually experiences several of the following symptoms: feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or pessimism; lowered self-esteem and heightened self-depreciation; a decrease or loss of ability to take pleasure in ordinary activities; reduced energy and vitality; slowness of thought or action; loss of appetite; and disturbed sleep or insomnia.
The most commonly diagnosed form of depression is known as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites through the American Psychiatric Association that a person undergoing five or more of the following symptoms continuously for two weeks or more is an MDD patient:
Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, depressed mood
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable
Change in weight or appetite (either increase or decrease)
Change in activity: psychomotor agitation (being more active than usual) or psychomotor retardation (being less active than usual)
Insomnia (difficulty sleeping) or sleeping too much
Feeling tired or not having any energy
Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
Difficulties concentrating and paying attention
Thoughts of death or suicide.
Depression has both physical and mental impacts on you and can be a reason for your life insurance application to get declined or approved.
Similarly, it can be a cause for taking your life insurance rate to higher levels.
Depression Facts in the USA
National Institute of Mental Health reports that 18.1% or 40 million of the Americans are affected every year by depression.
Depression is the major cause of disability among the U.S. people between 15-44.
In 2016, 16.2 million adults experienced at least one major episode of depression.
According to Journal of the American Medical Association, MDD is more prevalent in women than in men.
Center for Mental Health Services says 1 in every 33 children and one in every 8 adolescents suffer from clinical depression.
National Institute of Mental Health says, people with depression are 4 times more at risk of heart attacks than people without depression.
According to White House Conference on Mental Health, 1999, depression was responsible for two-thirds of the 30,000 suicide each year.
According to Webmd, depression contributes to a wide array of physical problems that affect everything from your heart to your immune system. They refer to the following issues as related to depression:
Coronary artery disease (without heart attack)
Autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis or lupus
Besides, lack of sleep, indigestion, alcoholism, irritability and many other issues are linked to depression.
Depression and Life Insurance
Insurers are business-people, not service providers.
And, their policies are their commodities. Or, as they say, products.
So, as a matter of course, during selling a product to someone seeking life insurance for depression, their primary focus falls on the risk factors.
They will sell to you only when you bid fair that you are going to last long. If the possibilities tilt toward the negative direction, they will decline your application. Or, they know, they will end up paying death benefits to the nominees. That is why, the possibility of insurance for people with depression hangs on the thread.
That means, life insurance for people with depression can be both possible and impossible.
The less risky your status is, the more possibility you will have of getting insured.
Or, it will take a vice-versa course.
Level of Depression Matters
You can be eligible for life insurance only if you are in the mild level. For example, if you are on a minimal amount of medication and do not require counselling or do not need to go off-duty as a result of it, you will get life insurance.
Plus, if you have a moderate type of depression and you respond well to medications, you are eligible to get life insurance.
Being under out-patient psychotherapy with no more than up to 2 weeks of off-duty history will also favor you to buy life insurance.
Drug history can also be a factor in the approval or denial of the applications for life insurance for people depression. For example, if you have been taking anti-depressants for a long duration or if the daily dosages are frequent, there are going to be blockades ahead in your insurance road.
Similarly, what kind of medication you are taking is also going to impact your application. For example, drugs like Prozac, Zoloft, Paroxetine, Fluvoxamine or Citalopram may be more insurance-friendly than Amitriptyline, Amoxapine, Mirtazapine, Phenelzine etc.
But You Will Be Declined…
If you have a severe form of depression and want to buy life insurance.
Yes, histories of recurring attacks that require patients to undergo in-patient treatment will be a certain cause for denial of life insurance.
What About the Rate?
Whatever the situation is, the rate of life insurance for people with depression will usually go high. If you are fortunate enough to get approved, insures will not place you in the ‘best rate category’ known as preferred plus or preferred.
Instead, you will be in the standard group which means you will pay higher life insurance premiums than the ones who fall in the preferred plus or preferred group. The rate can be twice more than it is for the preferred plus people.
Should You Deny Having Depression?
While seeking life insurance for people with depression, you may feel tempted to hide the fact.
But you should not do so.
On one hand, your insurer will probably have your information checked from the Medical Information Bureau and eventually come to know the truth, leading to negative consequence.
On the other, if you deny the truth and it comes out in the end that you lied, your beneficiaries will certainly face troubles.
What You Should Do If You Are Depressed
Wait till End of Treatment
National Institute of Mental Health says approximately 37% of U.S. adults refrained from taking treatment for their depression in 2016. But depression can be tackled if detected and treated early enough. The best step for you seeking life insurance for depression is to wait till you have substantially improved. This will save you from being declined.
Consult a Professional
Finding life insurance for people with depression is less likely to be a sweet experience. It is better not left as a lone man’s journey. Talking to an experienced and company-independent agent or agency can ease the way for you to find the best bargain as they know which door to knock on.
Don’t Lose Hope
Even if you are declined by one company or two, do not let it be the end of the battle. There may be other insurers waiting to welcome you. So, knock at other companies, agents’ or agencies’ doors.
Re-Set Your Goal
If you are declined for the very product you would like to get, you need to reset your goal. For example, if your condition makes it impossible for you to get insurance, there are options like final expense life insurance for you. This product is known by various names like guaranteed acceptance life insurance, no medical questions asked life insurance, instant issue life insurance, final expenses life insurance etc.
This product actually provides a small coverage meant to meet the final expense costs.
Of course, such a product you will not protect your family members, but it surely will save them on the loads that burial costs will build.
Consider Joint-Life Insurance
People take out life insurance on their name and make their dependents the beneficiaries. They do so with a view to leaving the death benefit for them to take out and live normal lives. If your journey for life insurance for people with depression ends nowhere, a consideration for you can be the joint-life insurance.
There are two types of joint-life insurance policies: first-to-die and second-to-die. The second-to-die policy is useful when you have depression and there are children whose future finance matters. The insurer will look at your spouse who is supposed to be healthier than you and get you both insured. The benefit will come up when both spouses pass on. While this can be a shocker for you to know that your spouse will not get the benefit, you can make use of it to help your children.
The Best Buy for Depressed People
As you care about your dependents’ future and look for life insurance for people with depression, you need to know what type of life insurance policy you should buy.
While term life insurance is in perpetual vogue, it can be a mistaken hunt for you to go after term insurance. Michael Dinich noted Pennsylvanian finance expert advises people having depression to go for whole life insurance. While explaining the reason, he describes his own experience, “Insurance companies are very cautious about depression and it can actually be a reason not to buy term insurance. My own step father was buying term and when the term was up he got diagnosed with depression and the company wouldn’t renew coverage.”
Dinich’s experience suffices to tell why term life insurance can be a bad idea for depressed people.
The Bottom Line
Life insurance for people with depression is not an easy catch by any means. When your loner’s fight ends, finding professional assistance can be a useful decision.