It is estimated that 45 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives.1 If you suffer from a mental health issue, it does not necessarily mean you won’t be able to get life insurance cover — in fact, for most people it is attainable. However, the insurer will want some more information from you to be able to assess your eligibility and provide you with the most suitable cover.
Usually, an application for life insurance will be assessed at standard rates (without loadings or exclusions) for an individual undergoing treatment for mental illness, including depression.
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It is common, though, for an exclusion to apply to income protection benefits if you have a history of mental illness that is well managed. The insurer will also consider other details provided in your application, such as other past medical conditions, history of illness in your family and other lifestyle factors, to define the terms of your cover. This process is the same for people who also have no history of mental illness.
The insurer may also request a personal medical attendance report (PMAR) from your doctor, as well as the dates and details of any diagnosis, including symptoms and treatment.
No two people are the same, and it is important to stress that each application is assessed on a case-by-case basis. The treatment you are undergoing through a mental health plan will be just one of the many things that will be considered when you apply for cover. It is in your best interests to provide as much information as possible to ensure you and your family will be fully covered in the event that something does happen to you.
Depression and Life Insurance
In any one year, around 1 million Australians will suffer from depression, and it is the leading disability worldwide.2 Life insurance protection is usually obtainable for those who have in the past or who are currently being treated for depression.
When your insurance underwriter is assessing an application for life insurance or income protection (IP) cover, they will most likely take into account the current severity of any depression when calculating your premiums.
Many insurance providers will ask you to provide information regarding the circumstances of your diagnosis with depression and any subsequent treatments you have undergone to help manage your condition. If you have been medicated as part of any treatment for depression, it is possible you will be asked to provide information on your medication, such as the exact names of your medication, as well as dosages and the dates in which you have been prescribed to take them.
If you have been diagnosed with depression you can expect to be asked questions regarding the exact date of your diagnosis, whether you are, or have ever undergone psychiatric therapy and whether you have ever been hospitalised or received inpatient treatment for depression.
As with all life insurance products, if you are unsure about any of the terms and conditions contained in a specific policy, it is best to refer to the Product Disclosure Statement for clarification.
Lifebroker is one of Australia’s leading specialist comparators of life insurance and we have had over 10 years’ experience in helping Australians make a confident decision about their life insurance needs.
If you are unsure about how to go about accessing a life insurance policy whilst suffering from a mental health issue, including depression, contact our insurance experts today on 13 LIFE (13 54 33).
If you or anyone you know is currently experiencing any symptoms of mental illness talk to your GP or health professionals or you can contact the following services for free and confidential help:
1SANE Australia helpline: 1800 18 SANE (7263) or www.sane.org
2 Beyond Blue Australia on 1300 224 636
Additional sources / references