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Schizophrenia life insurance

People with schizophrenia can get life insurance to protect their families in many cases. Life cover with a mental health condition can seem incredibly daunting, and especially for those with schizophrenia.

People are often put off applying for life insurance with mental health problems because they don’t want to talk about their issues with a stranger. It’s totally understandable to not want to discuss details about your mental health, which is why you need to speak to someone who understands.

Life insurance through a mental health expert can make the process of applying for cover far less stressful. Ultimately you need the cover to protect your children and that’s what is important.

According to the Office for National Statistics, around 1 in 6 people will require some treatment for mental health at some point. A report from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) also suggests that around 220,000 are receiving treatment for schizophrenia in the UK by the NHS.

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Life insurance and schizophrenia

The most important bit about getting life cover with any mental illness is to speak to someone who understands your needs.

Can I get life insurance with schizophrenia?

YES – in many cases there are options for people with schizophrenia to get life cover to protect their family. Some people may be able to get life insurance through the standard insurers, some may have other options.

There are several options for life insurance with schizophrenia and your best options will depend on your health. The types of cover will vary depending on the severity of your symptoms and your treatments.

Mild symptoms well-controlled means that cover should be available through the standard insurers in most cases. You will often find that you will need to provide some medical evidence from your GP (see below)

Moderate symptoms can mean that your choice might be slightly more limited, depending on whether you’ve had any episodes of self-harm or suicidal attempts. Some insurers are better than others in these situations so you will need to speak to an expert.

Severe symptoms often mean that you may have experienced issues with psychotic episodes and/or suicidal attempts. In these circumstances, you’ll generally find that there are options for cover through ‘guaranteed life cover’ or ‘over 50’s’ policies.

Will I need a medical for schizophrenia life insurance?

Often with a mental health condition like schizophrenia, you’ll need to give permission for insurers to view your medical records. This is completely normal and not something for you to worry about, it’s part of the process.

If you are asked to provide permission to view your medical records then it’s simply a signature or verbal approval. This means that your insurer will be able to apply to your GP to review your medical file.

If your medical report shows the same information that you’ve disclosed on your application, then you should be able to get life cover. You might find that there are some slight changes if some information is different but again this is normal.

Questions about schizophrenia for life insurance

Each insurance provider has its own application form which will comprise of a set of medical and lifestyle questions about your health etc. Some of the main questions that insurers ask about schizophrenia include:

  • Apart from regular appointments, are you awaiting a specialist appointment?
  • Have you ever tried to take your own life, had thoughts about taking your own life?
  • Have you ever intentionally harmed yourself, or thought about harming yourself?
  • When did you first have symptoms?
  • Have you seen a doctor, or nurse, psychiatrist, counselor, alcohol or drug specialist, or inpatient specialist support?
  • Are you taking prescribed medication, having therapy (e.g. CBT), or did you used to in the past?

Your answers to these questions will simply allow insurers to underwrite your application properly and ensure that you have a valid policy in place.

Best life insurance for schizophrenia

There are several options when it comes to applying for life cover with schizophrenia or mental health. Here are the main types of cover that you’ll need to consider when you think about what you need.

Term life insurance with schizophrenia (family protection) is the most common and most simple type of life cover. This is simply to protect your family and your children if you die, which is often available with schizophrenia.

Decreasing life insurance with schizophrenia (mortgage protection) is the best way to protect your home if you die. This type of cover is also often available for people with schizophrenia as long as symptoms are mild and the condition is controlled.

Guaranteed life insurance with schizophrenia is also available in almost all circumstances and is quick to arrange. This policy will usually be available instantly with no need for medical questions. You should be aware that this type of cover will come with exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions.

Critical illness cover with schizophrenia is unfortunately not available currently.

Income protection with schizophrenia can be available through some specialist insurers with exclusions.

Common questions about schizophrenia

Some of the most common questions that people ask about schizophrenia include:

What are the 5 main symptoms of schizophrenia?
Someone with schizophrenia will usually display one or several of the five main symptoms. The most common characteristics are delusions, hallucinations, confused speech, confused behavior, as well as ‘negative symptoms’.

What are the 4 main types of schizophrenia?
Many people don’t know or understand that there are several different types of schizophrenia. These include:

  • Paranoid schizophrenia is where someone suffers from sometimes extreme paranoia, and can sometimes act on their paranoia
  • Catatonic schizophrenia is where someone may appear to shut down emotionally and physically. They may show no facial expressions or emotions, and can even appear to be paralyzed for periods of time.
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia can be similar to paranoid schizophrenia where people appear to show paranoia. They may also seem to be extremely confused and can occasionally talk to themselves. The person may also not change their clothes or even shower for periods of time.
  • Schizoaffective disorder is possibly the most well-known type of schizophrenia as it can show symptoms of the other types. They may also show other symptoms of other mental illnesses, such as depression, or mania.

How long do schizophrenia patients live?
According to a leading expert (Hjorthøj et al) who uses a combination of 11 studies, life expectancy was reduced by 14.5 years with schizophrenia. The life expectancy of men was also lower at 15.9 years less, compared to women that were 13.6 years lower.

Useful information for people with schizophrenia

NHS Choices – Symptoms of schizophrenia
Link: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/schizophrenia/symptoms/

NHS Choices – Overview of schizophrenia
Link: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/schizophrenia/overview

Rethink Mental Illness – Schizophrenia
Link: https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-conditions/schizophrenia/

Mind Charity – Schizophrenia
Link: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/schizophrenia/about-schizophrenia/

National Schizophrenia Awareness Day – 9th May