Qualifying for Life Insurance with Depression (Including Underwriting Questions)

Written by ChoiceLifeQuote

It is fairly common for patients to seek advice and treatment for depression or anxiety related conditions. In fact, it is so common that this information is often initially omitted when applying for life insurance with depression or a similar diagnosis.

So, is depression a preexisting condition that should be disclosed when applying for life insurance? If so, is it possible to get affordable life insurance with depression?

questions life insurance with depression

In both cases, the answer is usually YES. It is important to fully disclose all medical conditions when applying for life insurance. With that said, it is often possible to qualify for affordable life insurance with a depressive mood disorder. In this article, Qualifying for Life Insurance with Depression, we will discuss life insurance with depression, underwriting considerations, and recommended insurers when applying for life insurance with medical conditions.

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Understanding Your Depression Diagnosis

Depression is a common yet potentially serious mood disorder affecting millions of Americans.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, mood disorders diagnosed as clinical depression or major depressive disordercan result in severe symptoms affecting how an individual thinks, feels, and functions in their daily lives. These conditions may develop and present in variety of ways depending on the individual patient. 

young woman life insurance with depression

It is important to understand your specific diagnosis and how it may affect you in qualifying for life insurance with depression. Common forms of depressive mood disorders include but may not be limited to the following.

Common Types of Depression

Persistent Depressive Disorder – Persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia, refers to a depressive mood disorder which persists for a period of two years or more. This condition may vary in symptom severity over time but is marked by long-term persistence.

Postpartum Depression – Postpartum depression refers to a depressive mood disorder affecting a large number of women post child delivery. Some expectant mothers experience depression during, as well as postpartum. This condition may impact a new mother’s ability to perform daily activities and properly care for their newborn.

Psychotic Depression – Psychotic depression refers to a combination of severe depression and episodes of psychosis, such as delusions, hallucinations, or other symptoms. This condition may involve a specific reoccurring theme associated with the psychotic episodes.

Seasonal Affective Disorder – Seasonal affective disorder refers to seasonal depression often occurring during the wintertime, when daylight hours are decreased. This condition routinely presents as a withdrawal from social activity, increased sleep requirements, seasonal weight gain, and other similar symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder – Bipolar disorder is technically a different diagnosis from depression but can present similar symptoms as depressive mood disorders with episodes extremely “low moods (depression), as well as extremely “high moods” (mania).

Treatment for Depressive Mood Disorders

In the majority of cases clinical depression can be successfully treated utilizing medication and/or psychotherapy. These forms of treatment often provide significant relief for those suffering from this potentially debilitating condition. When treating depressive mood disorders with medication, some form of antidepressant is routinely prescribed. Both medication and/or psychotherapy for depression can potentially impact life insurance underwriting. Antidepressants commonly used to treat depression may include the following according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Commonly Prescribed Antidepressants

  • Fluoxetine
  • Citalopram
  • Sertraline
  • Paroxetine
  • Escitalopram
  • Venlafaxine
  • Duloxetine
  • Bupropion
adaa life insurance with depression

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, "the most commonly diagnosed form of depression is Major Depressive Disorder. In 2015, around 16 million adults aged 18 years or older in the U.S. had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the last year, which represented 6.7 percent of all American adults."

Qualifying for Life Insurance with Depression

In applying for life insurance with a history of depression it is important to consider how your diagnosis and any associated treatment may impact your ability to qualify for coverage.

Since severe or even moderate depression can significantly affect a person’s overall health, it can also affect life insurance underwriting and policy approval.

qualifying for life insurance with depression

In even minor cases an applicant can expect inquiries into their medical history, and potentially higher premium rates. While, in severe instances or cases with a negative prognosis coverage may be declined all together.

The underwriting process in applying for life insurance will involve a review of the information provided on your application to include medical history. If you have a history of depression the insurance company will likely request additional information related to your specific diagnosis, treatment history, and current condition. It is important that you provide complete and accurate information related to your medical history. The following are questions that you can expect from life insurance company underwriting.

Underwriting Questions for Depression

  • Date of original diagnosis?
  • Cause of depression?
  • Type of treatment?
  • Dates of any hospitalizations?
  • Medication: type and dosage?
  • History of suicidal ideations or attempts?
  • Currently functional and/or recovered?

Cost of Life Insurance with Depression

In calculating life insurance rates an insurer considers an applicant’s age, gender, build, lifestyle, health, family history, and other factors.

Given that depression can have a significant impact on an individual’s overall health and mortality it makes sense that this condition would influence policy premiums.

So, yes you will likely pay more for life insurance with ahistory of depression diagnosis and/or treatment.

cost life insurance with depression

Provided your life insurance policy is approved, the rates for coverage will be based on the assigned underwriting class or category. In general, these underwriting classes range from “Preferred Plus,” which is the best possible category, to a “Standard” or higher rating. In the case of an applicant with a history of depression assigned ratings will depend on the severity of depression, treatment history, and other considerations. The following provides potential underwriting classes based on mild, moderate, and severe depressive mood disorder. As an example, an applicant with mild depression that is well controlled with using a single medication may possibly qualify for a Preferred underwriting class. Whereas, an applicant suffering from severe depression with recent suicidal ideations will likely be declined. Please note that life insurance company underwriting makes the final decision regarding rates and/or policy approval.

Possible Underwriting Classes for Depression

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    Mild Depression – Preferred to Standard
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    Moderate Depression – Standard to Table 3
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    Severe Depression – Table 3 to Decline

Best Companies for Life Insurance with Depression

In comparing life insurance companies there are several insurers that will potentially approve an applicant with a history of mild or moderate depression. The type of coverage that you are applying for can also make a difference in underwriting standards. As an example, a final expense policy may offer more liberal underwriting than a fully underwritten level term policy. It is also important to consider that underwriting standards may vary from one company to another. For these reasons it can be beneficial to work with an experienced independent agent who is familiar with the policy options and best insurance for mental health, depression, anxiety, and other similar conditions. In our experience the following companies may be recommended for individuals seeking life insurance with depression.

Case Study – Life Insurance with Depression

Case Study

Life Insurance with Depression


Erica is a 40 year old elementary school teacher with a husband (Matt) and two school age children (Chelsea and Rebecca). In reviewing the family finances, the couple realizes that they both need additional life insurance coverage for income protection. In considering their options, Erica is concerned that her history of mild depression will prevent her from qualifying for the much-needed coverage. In speaking with an independent insurance agent, the they learn that it is often possible to qualify for affordable life insurance with depression in an applicant’s medical history. After completing a needs assessment, Matt and Erica both apply and are approved for a $250,000 20 year level term life insurance policy. In this case, Erica was able to qualify for affordable life insurance with depression in her medical history.


bike family life insurance with depression
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    $250,000 life insurance policy
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    20 year level premium term
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    Income replacement protection
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    In the event of Erica’s untimely death her family would receive the policy’s death benefit replacing future income.
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