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Life Insurance Depression Guide 2024

Life insurance is designed to give your family a cash lump sum if you die which can help to support them financially with mortgages, funeral costs, and other major outgoings. People with depression can often get life insurance to protect their family and give them peace of mind if anything happened to them.

Depression is a common disclosure on life insurance applications in the UK and so this is something that insurers are used to dealing with. Mental health and depression life insurance underwriting are improving consistently which means that you can get lower premiums and that you should have more options than in previous years.

This comprehensive depression life insurance guide explains everything that you need to know and aims to answer all of the top questions. Our experts will provide as much useful information as possible, including price examples and suggestions for how to save money while still providing the best protection for your family.

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60-Second Summary – Life Insurance Depression Guide 2024

Having a pre-existing condition like depression shouldn’t stop you from getting the life cover that you need to protect your loved ones.

Most of the UK’s top insurance companies can offer life insurance to someone who has been diagnosed with depression. There are even specialist insurers who can help if you experience severe symptoms, or if you have more than one mental health condition.

  • If you manage your symptoms well, life insurance for depression is often far cheaper than you might expect. Many people can get covered for around £20 – £30 per month, though the actual price of your policy may be more or less than this.
  • There will normally be a few options for life insurance companies, so you should consider which one offers the lowest prices and best policy features.
  • You should also think about which type of life insurance policy might work best for your situation (e.g. protection for your family, home, or business).
  • Life insurance should always pay out for pre-existing conditions like depression, so you would be covered if you die for any reason related to your mental health.
  • You will also be covered for any other mental or physical health conditions if they are diagnosed in the future. This is because your policy is based on your health when you apply.
  • Critical illness insurance can be added onto life cover and is often available for people with depression. This policy adds an extra layer of protection, by paying out a cash lump sum on diagnosis of serious conditions like stroke or cancer.

It can be much simpler than you might imagine for someone with depression to buy life insurance. One of the main barriers that can put some people off from applying for life insurance is having to talk about their mental health with a stranger.

We appreciate that this can be difficult, but it is important to answer any questions that you are asked honestly. The answers that you give won’t be shared with anyone else, and you won’t need to provide extra evidence (e.g. a GP report) in many cases.

Life insurance is the best way to protect your partner or children in case anything happens to you in the future. The pay out from your policy can provide much-needed financial security and helps with expenses like mortgage repayments or funeral bills.

Does depression affect life insurance?

Having depression won’t change how your life insurance policy works, and you will receive the same level of protection as anyone else. However, your application can take a little longer, as you will be asked extra questions about your mental health.

Around 3 in every 100 people* will be diagnosed with depression every week in the UK, so it’s a condition that most insurance companies will be very familiar with. This short video from Mind highlights real stories of people who realised that they had started experiencing symptoms of depression.

Depression | Talking about mental health – Episode 4

*according to figures from Mind

It’s not always easy to understand what your best options are when applying for life insurance. This can be even harder when you have a pre-existing condition like depression, as some insurance companies will work much better for you than others.

There are millions of people with depression in the UK, and the symptoms and their severity can vary hugely between each person. This means that the price of life insurance will also vary, as insurers will assess each person who applies on a case-by-case basis.

Life insurance questions about mental health are often very specific and most of the time you will be asked about feelings of depression within the last 5 years. If this doesn’t apply to you because your symptoms/treatment was before this, you don’t usually need to disclose them.

Key factors for life insurance with depression:

  • When were you diagnosed with depression?
  • How serious are your symptoms?
  • Have you been prescribed medication to treat depression?
  • Do your symptoms prevent you from working as normal?
  • Have you ever been hospitalised due to your mental health?
  • Have you ever self-harmed or experienced suicidal thoughts/attempts?
  • Have you ever needed time off work because of depression?
  • Have you ever seen a counsellor or psychiatrist due to depression?

Note: By law, life insurance companies aren’t allowed to discriminate based on your mental health. You cannot be treated less fairly than anyone else simply because you have depression, so you don’t need to worry about this happening.

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If you were to pass away due to anything related to your depression, your family should be able to make a claim. Standard life insurance will cover any pre-existing conditions like depression, so the only issue is if you are being treated for depression and don’t mention this.

This doesn’t apply to being diagnosed with depression after buying a policy, as future medical conditions will always be covered.

Your life insurance policy should pay out a cash lump sum to your loved ones if you die for any reason related to your mental health. It will also pay out if you die for other reasons, such as from a serious illness or because of an accident.

One question we are often asked is about suicide and life insurance, which will be a distressing topic for many people. Although it is not a pleasant subject, it is definitely best to be aware of whether your life insurance would cover you in this situation.

If you were to take your own life, your life insurance policy will pay out for this in most cases. However, life insurance companies tend to include a ‘suicidal death clause’ in their policies. This means that the insurer will not pay out for suicidal death within a set time period (commonly the first 12-24 months of the policy).

Certain insurance companies will have a better understanding of depression than others, but life insurance should be available most of the time. If you have been declined life insurance due to depression, this doesn’t mean that life cover won’t ever be an option for you.

It might be that you applied at the wrong time (e.g. when your symptoms were worse) or you applied to the wrong insurance company. There should still be some options, and it’s worth getting proper advice to find out which insurance companies will work best for you.

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Based on our experience, life insurance can cost around £20 – £30 per month or less for people with milder cases of depression. Other people may pay higher prices based on their own situation, as other things like your age, smoker status, and job role can affect the cost.

If your depression symptoms are mild or well-managed, you might be surprised at how affordable life insurance can be for you.

We have included the examples below to highlight the potential cost of life insurance for someone with depression. These examples are real people who bought life insurance policies with the help of our team in 2023.

These examples are intended to give you a general idea of how much you could pay and there isn’t one ‘set’ price for people with depression.

Case Study 1: Mrs C.

Details of applicantMrs C. was born in 1979 and is a non-smoker.
Depression details and informationMrs C. has had depression for several years (treated with medication) and has attempted suicide in the past.
Other health informationHeight: 5’2” / Weight: 14st
Cover requirementsMrs C. wanted life insurance to protect her family with a maximum budget of £30 per month.
She wanted protection until age 85 or 90.
Monthly premiums (£s)£20.04 per month (for £50,000 of cover)
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums
Standard insurance company (Scottish Widows)

Case Study 2: Miss W.

Details of applicantMiss W. was born in 2000 and is a non-smoker.
Depression details and informationMiss W. has been diagnosed with depression and has previously needed time off work due to mental health.
Other health informationMiss W. also has ADHD, generalised anxiety, and IBS.
Height: 5ft / Weight: 10st
Cover requirementsMiss W. wanted £500,000 of life insurance to protect a new mortgage over 30 years.
Monthly premiums (£s)£22.70 per month
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums
Standard insurance company (Legal & General)

The simplest ways to save money on your life insurance policy include:

  • Improving your lifestyle (e.g. quitting smoking or weight loss).
  • Apply at the right time and avoid applying when your symptoms are bad or you have recently changed your treatment.
  • Check quotes from multiple insurers to see which companies are offering the lowest prices.

Life Insurance provider reviews

You can often buy policies like critical illness cover if you have depression or have suffered from depression in the past. There are lots of options for critical illness insurance in the UK, so it’s important to think about why you want this policy and what you want to protect yourself against.

Note: While you can buy critical illness cover with depression, you won’t usually be able to claim for a new diagnosis of depression or other mental health conditions.

Can I get life insurance with anxiety and depression?

It is often possible to buy life insurance when you have both anxiety and depression. It is common for these conditions to be linked, with around 7.8% of the UK population having both conditions according to figures from the Mental Health Foundation.

Unless symptoms from one or both conditions are very severe, you will likely be able to get the cover that you need without experiencing any major issues.


Can I get life insurance if I’m on anti-depressants?

Being on anti-depressants won’t necessarily be a problem for life insurance companies and can be viewed as a positive thing. Taking prescribed medications or treatments shows an insurance company that you are taking proactive steps to manage your depression.

The insurance company will ask a few questions about which medications you take and if your dose has changed recently. The answers to these questions can affect your life cover, but don’t always mean paying a great deal more.


Does mental illness disqualify you from life insurance?

Most people in the UK will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives, and this won’t usually prevent you from getting life insurance. You certainly won’t be ‘disqualified’ from cover entirely, and there will usually be options that are available to you.


Will I need a medical to get life insurance for depression?

You won’t always need to give extra medical evidence when applying for life insurance with depression. Whether you are asked for this will depend on the type of policy and the insurance company that you choose.

If you are asked for more medical information, this is usually in the form of a GP medical report which is standard for life insurance applications.

There isn’t one company that is the top choice overall for depression life insurance, as every person’s situation will be different and this will affect which insurer is best for you.

There are a lot of options for life insurance in the UK, which is why it is worth comparing policies to figure out which is ‘best’ for you.

Some people choose to compare policies themselves or might use a price comparison website (e.g. MoneySupermarket). This can work for certain people, but these methods might not provide enough advice or support for someone with a more serious case of depression.

If you are unsure of your best options for cover, many people find it useful to speak to a depression life insurance specialist before starting their application.

Useful resources

Mental Health UK

Mental Health UK has been supporting the mental health of people across the UK for more than 50 years. They deliver services both locally and nationally to empower people with the information they need to take care of their mental wellbeing.

They work to combat and raise awareness of the root causes of mental health issues and give people the necessary resources to enhance their well-being in their home, academic, and professional environments.

There are 4 organisations that merged to form Mental Health UK which are Rethink Mental Illness (England), Adferiad (Wales), Change Mental Health (Scotland) and Mind Wise (Northern Ireland).

Contact details

Telephone (England) - 0121 522 7007
Telephone (Wales) - 01792 816 600/832 400
Telephone (Scotland) - 0131 662 4359
Telephone (Northern Ireland) - 0289 040 2323
Email - info@mentalhealth-uk.org

Mind

Mind is one of the UK's biggest and best known mental health charities and they work hard to empower and support anyone with mental health issues or questions. Mind help to provide various support services and many informative online guides and resources.

Mind has been established for over 60 years and has provided services to millions of people through over 1000+ local support services in England and Wales.

Contact details

Telephone0300 123 3393
Email
- info@mind.org.uk

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Can I get life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Yes, you will be able to get life insurance with almost any pre-existing medical condition, as long as it is not terminal. If traditional life insurance is not available due to the severity of your symptoms, then there are other guaranteed and specialist life insurance options, such as:

  • Accidental death
  • Over 50s life insurance
  • Guaranteed life insurance

Some of the most common examples of life insurance with pre-existing conditions are:

  • Overweight or High BMI life insurance
  • Diabetes life insurance (e.g. Type 2 or Type 1 diabetes)
  • Cancer life insurance
  • Heart attack or heart disease life insurance
  • Mental health life insurance
  • Multiple Sclerosis life insurance
  • Autoimmune disorders life insurance
  • HIV life insurance

There are literally thousands of types and variations of pre-exisiting medical conditions and so your situation is likely to be different to someone else. Life insurance with pre-existing conditions will take a number of elements in to account:

  • Severity and type of symptoms
  • Dates of diagnosis, episodes or attacks, and treatments
  • Any ongoing treatment and medications

Your life insurance premiums will be based on your own individual circumstances and how much cover you need. You should be able to adjust the levels of cover to suit your budget and it’s just as important to make sure that you at least have some cover in place.

What does Martin Lewis say about life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

MoneySavingExpert.com suggests that life insurance will ‘cost a lot more’ with a pre-existing medical condition. This is not true and it really does depend on your own individual circumstances so don’t be put off by this as they are not experts in this area.

It is true that some circumstances where the pre-existing medical condition is serious or severe, premiums can be higher to reflect the additional mortality risks. Ultimately, your life insurance premiums are unfortunately based on how likely you are to claim or if you have a higher chance of death within the policy term.

Martin Lewis doesn’t provide any real substance to his comment about pre-existing conditions life insurance and that’s not good enough. You should speak to a medical life insurance specialist to get a fully underwritten quote before you make any final decisions about whether or not you can afford to protect your family.

How much is life insurance with pre-existing conditions?

Most traditional life insurance providers will accept applications for people with pre-existing medical conditions. Often, you will have a number of potential options from several different insurance providers so you can usually save money as well by shopping around.

Historically you might have had less offers when you apply for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, but fortunately that is changing. Most of the more well-known high street life insurance brands are now offering more competitive rates and more flexible underwriting.

Top tips to save money on life insurance with pre-existing conditions:

  • Speak to pre-existing medical conditions specialist (these companies will understand the market better and should know which insurers will be cheapest for you)
  • Shop around and get different quotes (same as everything else, by shopping around you’ll get a better idea of what a good price is and what different companies offer)
  • Apply at the best time (timing can be important when applying for life insurance with pre-existing conditions, usually when symptoms are stable and not before or after treatment)

There are also other things to take into consideration, such as if you’re a smoker or if your weight is higher than normal. Can you do anything to improve your situation that might help to reduce your life insurance premiums.

Best life insurance for pre-existing conditions?

The best life insurance for pre-existing conditions will be different for each individual, based on their circumstances and the details of their health or medical history. There are certainly some insurance providers who are better for people with pre-existing medical conditions than others, such as:

  • The Exeter (better for people with more severe symptoms and serious health problems)
  • Legal & General (can sometimes be good for certain pre-existing medical conditions, especially mild to moderate symptoms)
  • Royal London (offers a number of specialist products and policies for certain pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and mental health)
  • Scottish Widows (sometimes good for moderate medical conditions and offers flexible underwriting for certain conditions)
  • The Guardian (also offers flexible underwriting towards some pre-existing medical conditions)
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