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By James Tobin
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When you're dealing with clinical anxiety, you know about the everyday challenges that you face. What you may not know is that obtaining life insurance with depression may also be a challenge.
The eight questions and answers below are a good start to getting a handle on the issue. For more in-depth answers, just follow the links and keep reading.
Every applicant for life insurance with anxiety can be approved for a policy.
However, the type of policy that can be approved, and the rates charged, will depend on the severity of your anxiety disorder, and your overall health.
Because the underwriting standards are different for each type of policy, this review of life insurance options with anxiety is broken into three sections: (click link to go directly to section)
In order to underwrite your application life insurance carriers will need to know the symptoms that you have experienced -including any work missed due to the disorder, the treatment undergone, including prescription drugs used, and any medical follow up.
For a more exhaustive discussion of the underwriting of anxiety applications please scroll to What Insurers Will Want to Know
Depending on the severity of your anxiety you will need to take an exam to get the best term rates available. Click here for more on the exam.
If your anxiety is very mild, you may qualify for competitive rates without having to take a medical exam. Also, if it turns out that simplified issue or guaranteed issue policies are the best fit for your application, no exam will be required.
The rates you pay for tem insurance are dependent on the underwriting class you are graded by the carrier. Anxiety generally will not have an affect on the underwriting grade if the condition is very mild.
Cases that have a history of interrupted employment due to the condition may be rated as substandard. The severity of the "table " rating will be dependent on the severity of the applicant medical history.
The quotes you receive from the quote tool on this site are 100% accurate for the information inputted. That is to say, if you get the rate class correct- your rate will be correct. The problem with online tools is that people generally think they are inn better or worse shape than is reality.
If you are unsure about rate class you should choose a range and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Alternatively, you can fill out the customized quote form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
The most effective ways to improve your life insurance rating are to use an agent that has access to the companies that will view you most favorably and to take care of your health.
See Why to use Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with anxiety to better understand the reason to use an independent agent.
As far as lifestyle goes, if you take diet and exercise seriously along with limiting alcohol and quitting smoking (if you smoke), it should be reflected in your blood markers.
if you have a medical condition like anxiety disorder, documenting compliance with medical advise and any medications is very important. Obtaining Having a physicians letter stating that you have been compliant and improving is helpful.
Do these things and you can't help but improve your health and your life insurance rating.
Life insurance companies have differing appetites for specific risks. These appetites are reflected in underwriting and ultimately pricing. Simplified issue carriers will be state dependent and three of the better known term carriers for dealing with depression and anxiety are Prudential, American General (AIG), and Banner.
However, risk appetite can, and does, change and the only way to guarantee the best possible deal is to work with an experienced independent agent. see the case study here to get a clear understanding.
The life insurance application process is an eight step process that includes choosing your terms, picking a carrier, submitting to the exam, and signing documents (digital signatures accepted). The entire 8 step process is laid out for you here.
When applying for life insurance with anxiety disorder, carriers will want to know as much as they can about the risk they are being asked to insure. This is no different than how the carriers deal with any other condition like high blood pressure and Atrial Fibrillation or lifestyle choices like marijuana use or or scuba diving.
The purpose of this article is to provide a background on the information insurers will require of you, and answer any questions you may have about how to obtain life insurance with anxiety disorder at the best price possible.
While it is not uncommon to see mild anxiety disorder applications receive preferred and standard ratings, it is also not uncommon to see offers rated as substandard. However, the severity of the rating can vary significantly, therefore it's important that you use an agent that is experienced with depression and anxiety cases and has access to the carriers most likely to be receptive.
The process of obtaining a term life insurance offer with a diagnosis of anxiety disoreder is similar to seeking life insurance after a heart attack, Sleep Apnea or AFib and many other specific conditions.
Primarily, term life insurance is available for lengths ranging from 5 years to 30 years with 20-year terms being the most popular. Term policies usually have a minimum face amount of $50000, and the policies terminate at the end of the term period or can be renewed annually at a vastly increased rate.
Things to Know About Term Insurance
In addition to the period of insurance, it is essential to understand the available policy riders. Riders are additional benefits that, often for an additional cost, are included in your policy.
The five most prominent riders are listed below with links to in-depth descriptions.
While there is no waiting period for the insurance to go into effect, the insurance company has a two-year window from the policy start in which they can contest a benefit for material misrepresentation on the initial application. So, honesty is the best policy.
You can dive deep into the ins and outs of term life insurance, learning about available term lengths, riders, financial ratings, and rates. The Life Insurance Help Desk works with the top term life insurance carriers.
When applying for life insurance with anxiety, or any other condition, underwriters will generally be concerned with some basic questions:
While the outline above is general in form , the questions will require specific answers. These answers will be gathered from your application, a telephone interview, the Medical Information Bureau, a Script Check, and possibly an attending physicians statement (APS).
Lets look at the general areas of inquiry one at a time.
Due to the myriad contributors to anxiety, other than scrutinizing drug and alcohol use, this is not a factor.
The reason it matters with most conditions is that underwriters are more comfortable with making offers when an applicant fits into a common pattern. If the condition doesn't fit, there is a real possibility that something else is at play. When this is the case, underwriters will take a harder look at the file.
Underwriting will want to know the symptoms you had (if any) and how long you had them before the diagnosis.
Below, from the National Institutes of Health is is a list of some of the signs and symptoms that major depression is afoot:
Panic disorder, a more severe form of anxiety, exhibits the following traits:
Life insurance underwriters will want to know the date of first diagnosis and of any subsequent major flare-ups. Underwriting will also want to know what medications you have been prescribed for anxiety.
A quick look as WebMD list the following drugs commonly prescribed for anxiety and depression:
To see a list of names (brand & generic) of drugs that fall into these categories please see WebMD.
While information that is "foggy" will be taken from your medical records, knowing the dates of diagnosis and treatments is necessary to get an accurate quote for life insurance with anxiety.
For Life insurance with anxiety disorder, underwriters will want to see that you have been compliant with prescription medication and any follow up requirements including doctors appointments.
In addition to taking prescription medications, dietary improvement and supplementation are often encouraged by physicians. For a brief write up of homeopathic suggestions see Dr. Lisa Rankin's article in Psychology Today. While the piece is geared toward depression, there is a lot of crossover in the conditions.
While any application for life insurance with anxiety disorder will take into consideration your overall health including conditions like high cholesterol and gout, underwriters in depression cases will specifically look for certain related conditions.
Among the related conditions of special concern to underwriters are:
For a full discussion of related orders (not necessarily of concern to underwriting) visit Anxiety and Depression Association.
The term life insurance market is quickly adopting accelerated underwriting programs that do not require a medical exam as part of the application process. However, these no exam or non-med policies will may not be available if you have had a diagnosis of anxiety disorder.
Cases of milf anxiety will likely qualify for no exam offers. However, cases where the anxiety disorder is seen as more severe will not qualify for no-exam options. Without the no exam option, you will be required to take a para-medical exam.
The exam is usually a 15-20 minute meeting with a nurse. Your exam will consist of a blood draw, a urine sample, and height and weight recorded. The exam is free and can be done at the location of your choice.
Note that more expensive simple issue and guaranteed acceptance policies do not require exams.
Because applications for life insurance with depression are evaluated on a case by case basis, your story always matters. That is to say two people with the same age and condition may get vastly different offers from the same carrier based on age of diagnosis and patient compliance.
Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are the best estimates based on experience.
Best Case – If anxiety symptoms are under excellent control and there is good compliance, some cases have a chance for a preferred/preferred plus rate.
Mid Case –If your anxiety seems to be moderate, controlled by prescription and good compliance you may be looking at a standard to mild substandard rate (table 2/B). This may include panic disorder and even PTSD cases as long as there are no hospitalizations.
To learn about how table ratings work click here.
Severe Case – If your anxiety symptoms are severe with a need for chronic maintenance drugs and/or you have a history that includes hospitalizations or disability, the best you will likely do is a severe substandard rate. You calculate this rate by multiplying the standard rate by 3 (table 8/H).
Decline– For a severe case you may be declined for traditional coverage. If this is the case you may be eligible for a smaller face amount policy. These policies are referred to as Guaranteed issue or simplified issue. If you have been declined please contact us.
At the top of this article we stated that any body can be approved for affordable life insurance with anxiety disorder. Note, however, we mention “affordable” rather than inexpensive or “low cost’. The reason for the distinction is that life insurance with anxiety disorder is not always cheap life insurance.
Often times, because the coverage can be expensive on a per benefit dollar basis, the benefit is reduced to make the life insurance affordable. While this is often not an ideal situation, the truth is we all have to live within our budgets, and sometimes the way to make life insurance with anxiety disorders affordable is to reduce either the term of coverage or the benefit amount.
The difficult part of term life insurance with a history of depression is finding the best deal. This is because different carriers have differing appetites for certain kinds of risks. As a result navigating this process is not as easy as using a quote tool and picking the lowest price. This is discussed in detail in the case study below...
$500000 20 Year Term
$250000 10 Year Term
$100000 10 Year Term
$200000 20 Year Term
Now you already understand that your story matters, and that two people in similar situations can get very different offers from the same carrier.
What you might not know is that different insurance companies will also treat each case differently.
For example Lincoln Financial may have more of an appetite for the risk that life insurance with anxiety presents than say AIG. In this case the underwriting grade will reflect this increased appetite.
So, if your Agent only represented one carrier and you found out later that that you could have gotten a rate 35% or 45% better, how would you feel?
You’d probably be mad either at the agent or yourself or both. So it’s important that your Agent represent multiple carriers.
In fact a good independent agent will have access to over 50 carriers. This ensures the best chance at a good rate.
Note, that if he doesn’t, he may not be in a such hurry to let you in on this info.
So, I have been preaching about the importance of using an independent Agent and you may think that sounds a bit self serving coming from an independent agent.
You’re right, it is. However, it is also the (provable) truth.
Please see the case study below . it will show why it is in your interest to have as many options as possible available when shopping for life insurance with anxiety or any other impairment.
Gender: Female Age: 29
$1000000 20 Year Term
Well controlled anxiety disorder. Diagnosed Age 28
Iodine only No Other Health Concerns
This looks like a best case scenario that would be either Preferred, Standard Plus or Standard depending on the insurers appetite for a Graves disease risk.. Let’s take a look at the rates.
This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available illustrates the difference in rates.For Preferred rates Prudential is 29% more expensive than SBLI.
On it’s face this seems like a pretty straight forward choice and if underwriting grades between carriers is the same, it really can be that simple. This kind of easy price shopping is particularly useful for younger folks in good health and demonstrates why you want to use an independent Agent.
For people who suffer from anxiety disorder or any other serious diagnosis, it gets much more complicated.
Because life insurers manage their appetite for specific risks by being more lenient or more stringent with underwriting grades, you need to know which company will grade you a preferred risk and which ones will grade you as standard (or worse).
In the case above, because the anxiety is well controlled and the applicant is in excellent health, Prudential (the most expensive standard rate) is not a factor. However, if her health was not quite as good as this example, Pru would likely be among the best deals because of more lenient underwriting.
That is if the more competitively priced carriers dropped her rating to standard or standard plus Prudential would likely be the best deal because they might still rate her as P+.
This is something you can’t know by simply looking at the lowest price. In the alternate scenario using an independent agent could save you 17% (the difference between Prudential @ preferred and AIG @ Standard).
With a couple of caveats, the process of obtaining life insurance with depression is essentially the same as for any other condition.
The information that you will be required to provide in order to get the most accurate quote is as follows:
Date of Diagnosis
Age at Diagnosis
Treatments Undergone- This will require a list of any pharmaceutical drugs being taken as well as any recent prescription changes.
Dates of Treatments-This will include any hospitalizations as well as evidence of compliance.
Severity of Symptoms
Other Health Issues
Final expense or "burial insurance carriers are generally not concerned with anxiety or depression disorders. Unlike term carriers, short of bi-polar disorders, final expense insurance companies don't concern themselves with psychological issues. In fact, with most final expense carriers you are likely to end in day 1 coverage (no waiting period).
Regardless of the nature of the anxiety disorder, there is no issue in getting coverage.
These "no-exam needed" burial policies are the next best choice for anyone who will not get through traditional underwriting.
The "final expense" market serves differing consumer needs. There is the need that is made obvious by the name "final expense". This term refers to a funeral, burial and miscellaneous cost tied to the rituals surrounding life's end.
Many of the buyers of these end of life policies simply want to remove any financial burden their funeral and burial would cause to their loved ones, while others want to leave a legacy.
Alternatively, the simplified issue marketplace serves as a safe harbor for people who need some life insurance, but cannot qualify for traditional term underwriting. The lenient underwriting standards of this market allow for people with a history of severe anxiety to get coverage.
How the policy works will be dictated by the type of final expense or burial policy it is:
With death benefit face amounts that top range from $5000-$100000, the simplified issue or "final expense " life insurance market is mostly made up of whole life insurance products. However, there several policies that have components of term policies starting to emerge. Make sure you know what you are buying!
Whether term or whole life, the calculation of the death benefit depends on if the policy is first-day coverage or graded
First day policies are straightforward, and provide a full death benefit from day 1 of the policy.
Graded policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period.
These policies commonly pay premiums plus interest if you die in the first year of the policy; 30-50% if you die after one year but before two; and full face amount after two years.
The carriers offer graded policies based on the applicant's health. These provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
Graded or not, a whole life policy has a fixed premium that cannot increase and the policy stays in force until the premiums stop being paid or the insured dies.
In addition to different underwriting standards, final expense pricing is complicated by the fact that a lot of providers only operate in certain states.
As a result the samples below are of limited value. You should use the final expense quote tool found here.
$25000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$15000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$15000 Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
$10000 "Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
Many burial policy insurers will have 10-15 minute home office interviews using the telephone. They are looking for the use of prescriptions that do not come up on their prescription check and assessing cognitive function. Be alert!
There are fewer riders associated with simplified issue policies than traditional term, but living benefits such as the accelerated benefit for terminal illness, and chronic illness are fairly common. Additionally, some final expense policies have a small cash component and have loan provisions.
The contestability laws are the same for all types of life insurance policies. That is, the carrier has two years from the origination of the policy to contest the benefit payout on policy where the application contained material misstatements.
As stated before, simplified underwriting is unconcerned with anxiety and depression. Unlike traditional underwriting that grades on a scale, "final expense" is a yes or no proposition.
Note that "yes" is divided into first-day coverage and "graded" categories. Depression offers are generally "level day one" unless there are other serious health concerns.
With regard to other impairments, underwriting will want to know if there are any and what they are. Such impairments that limit activities of daily living or ADL's ( eating,bathing, dressing, and toileting, transferring & continence), require home health care or nursing rehab. These issues may force a waiting period or outright decline.
Final expense policies contain "knockout" questions and prescriptions. Anxiety and depression medications in most cases will not knock you out of 1st day coverage.
Because most final expense underwriting rules differ wildly, it's unusual that you can just go to the final expense quote tool and start. However, unless you have other serious conditions, that is exactly how to start.
Because anxiety and depression are not usually an issue with final expense carriers, the best price may win. Remember to use the quote tool on the "final expense" page. The quote tool on this page is limited to term quotes.
Upon receiving your quote request, we will be in touch as soon as possible (often in minutes), and we will help you through the process. The whole process shouldn't take more than 30-40 minutes.
We are committed to a transparent pricing process and are happy to share a computer screen with you or send a video of the method used to get your rate. If you have any questions, please contact us.
As a stand-alone condition, anxiety disorder does not require the use of guaranteed life insurance. However, if there are additional impairments and the only offers are "graded", it may make sense to use a guaranteed policy until the 1 or 2 year period passes and you become eligible for day one coverage.
Additionally, if you are physically impaired due to additional conditions and require home health care, or nursing facility, you will likely require guaranteed life insurance
If this describes your situation, keep reading.
Guaranteed policies should only be used as a last resort. In addition to the benefit grading provisions that make the policies toothless during the two or three year grading period, they are the most expensive policies sold.
Male Monthly Rates
Female Monthly Rates
With only the requirement of age (depends on the carrier) and citizenship, guaranteed issue life insurance policies have a death benefit that ranges from $5000-$50000. Such plans are exclusively whole life insurance.
However, all guaranteed issue policies are "graded". Generally, the grading represents a 2 or 3 year period that the policy must be in force before a full death benefit will be paid.
Like "final expense" policies, guaranteed policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period. These policies commonly pay only premiums plus interest if you die if you die before the end of the "grading" period. (2-3 years depending on carrier). After the grading period ends, the carrier would pay the full face amount.
Also, like the "final expense" write up says, these provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
There is no exam for guaranteed life insurance. After all, it's guaranteed to be issued regardless of your health.
Although the contestability laws are the same as other policies, beyond age and citizenship, it's difficult to see where contestability may arise in a guaranteed issue case.
Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate quote possible, it’s time to gather the information and speak to an independent Agent (raising my hand).
We are committed to totally transparent pricing (we’ll even share our computer screen with you if you’d like), and making the application process as painless as possible.
Simply give us a call or shoot an email over and we can get you started.
Thank you for choosing the Life Insurance Help Desk to research life insurance with Addison's disease, if you have any questions, We’d like to hear them.
The Mayo Clinic defines anxiety disorder that causes a persistent feeling of fear, out of proportion to any actual danger, that is difficult to control and interferes with daily activities.
Clinical anxiety isn't a weakness and you can't simply "snap out" of it. More than just a bout of nerves , clinical anxiety may require long-term treatment.
40 million people in the United States are believed to suffer some form of anxiety disorder.
Some of the famous people who have suffered from major depression include: actresses Scarlett Johansson, Kim Bassinger, musician Adele, and major league baseball player Joey Votto.
Jim Tobin is the owner of Life Insurance Help Desk, a Fairfield County, CT. life insurance agency. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook. Over the past 10 years, Jim has used his CFP-financial planning designation to help individuals with their life insurance needs. In addition to working with life insurance clients, Jim teaches ESL classes in his spare time. He resides with his beautiful wife Nicole and the 3 cats that rule their lives..
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