Depression can raise life insurance premiums

A diagnosis of depression can lead to higher life insurance premiums, and in cases where there is a history of severe depression, cover may be refused.

If you have a mental health problem like depression, insurance companies may assess that you have an increased risk of death by suicide or accident, making life and other types of insurance like mortgage protection, expensive and hard to get.

However, the UK’s MIND Guide to Insurance Cover and Mental Health, points out that if an insurance provider refuses to sell you life insurance on the basis of your mental health problem, or asks you to pay higher premiums, they must be able to show objectively that your condition increases your risk.

Independent life insurance broker Nick McGowan, of, explains what factors underwriters look for when underwriting an application for life insurance or mortgage protection policies with depression.

“The underwriters are interested in what triggered the depression (bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and job or money worries), who is treating it (GP only or specialist), what medication has been prescribed and their current state of mind. In cases where there has been a recent diagnosis or a recent episode, the insurer is likely to postpone offering cover until the applicant is more stable.”

Mr McGowan explains that the underwriters can load (increase the premium) due to the history of depression and how much the loading will be, depending on the severity of the depression. In cases of mild depression, it is possible to get the normal price, he says, but in more serious cases requiring hospitalisation and time off work, the insurance company may increase your premium by 50 per cent to 100 per cent.

“Where history is severe, cover may not be available. This includes applicants where there is a history of more than one suicide attempt or repeated and/or recent in-patient treatment

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