How to find the right Insurance cover with a mental health condition
Having a mental health condition can affect and, in a small number of cases, limit your options when buying insurance cover. But do not worry, our guide explains how to find the right insurance cover with a mental health condition.
How to get the best insurance if you have a mental health condition
Living with a mental health condition doesn't stop you from buying insurance. Still, you may need to shop around for the best insurance offer.
Insurance companies can differ significantly in the type of cover they offer in their policies and their likelihood to insure people with pre-existing mental health conditions.
When applying for any insurance with a mental health condition, there are several different options available to you to look for the cover you need:
- Direct with an insurer.
- Insurance advisers.
- Comparison websites.
It is important to remember to compare quotes from as many insurers as you can and make sure you understand what each policy will and will not cover. Alternatively, you can use an insurance adviser, who will do this for you.
Direct with an insurer
Many providers will offer cover to people with mental health conditions, however, if you are finding it difficult to get insurance with a mainstream provider, you can apply for insurance with providers who claim to cover people with pre-existing mental health conditions.
These providers will have a thorough application process. They will ask you questions about your previous and current mental health condition, as well as physical health conditions.
An insurance adviser is an expert in the market, who can often find you better cover at the best price. The insurers pay them a commission, so you won't need to pay a fee to get the best deal.
Unlike comparison websites, some insurance brokers will specialise in helping customers with pre-existing mental health conditions find insurance policies that best suit their needs.
Comparison websites offer you a general view of the market. Still, they are not specialised and if you require extra support in the application process it might be better to use an insurance adviser.
If you do use a comparison website, be ensure you check the terms and conditions and compare quotes from different insurers.
To get a policy that suits your needs, you may be offered a range of quotes or you may need to contact the insurance company directly.
What information will I need to provide when applying for insurance with a mental health condition?
When you apply for insurance with a pre-existing mental health condition, the insurer may, depending on the severity of your condition or when it occurred, want to know the following:
- The date you were diagnosed with your mental health condition.
- How your mental health condition has been treated.
- Your GP's contact details.
- The symptoms you experience and when you last had them.
- The details of any mental health referrals required to specialists or treatment you may need in a hospital.
- The details of any time you have had to take off work because of your condition.
Life insurers may split your medical history into two sections:
- "Have you ever had" questions - such as, have you ever had treatment for severe depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, where you have required any specialist referrals or hospital treatment? They may also ask whether you have you tried to take your own life or self-harmed.
- Questions relating to the last five years
All information you give an insurance company about your mental health, as well as your physical health, will be treated confidentially, and only used for insurance purposes.
Tips when applying for insurance with a mental health condition
Applying for insurance with a severe or recent mental health condition can be challenging. To help you, we have listed our top tips, so you find the right insurance cover.
- Do not be embarrassed about disclosing mental health problems. Insurers are used to and are trained to deal with both physical and mental medical conditions.
- Make sure you read the insurance policy key features and terms and conditions thoroughly, so you know what you are, and what you are not covered for.
- If there is something you don't understand in your policy, or you need more information, don't be afraid to contact your insurers to ask these questions.
- Some types of insurance (like Private Medical Insurance) will have an excess fee, so make sure you know what the excess fee is - the amount of money you have to pay towards the cost of making a claim. A higher excess will lower the insurance premium, but you will need to be able to afford the excess if you need to claim.
- For an income protection policy, you should check how long your deferred/waiting period is the amount of time you are off sick before your policy pays out, typically from four weeks to 26 weeks depending upon your sick pay.
- You should get quotes from several providers, so you can compare policies and decide which is best for you.
- Check to see if you are already covered through work or bank/credit card accounts. This cover may not meet your needs, so if in doubt speak to an insurance adviser.
- Ask your GP or specialist to provide a letter/report explaining your condition in more detail. This will help the insurance company during your application as they will have a recent account of your mental health diagnosis and how it affects you.
- If you're finding it challenging to obtain the specific insurance you have applied for, you can ask companies to make reasonable adjustments to the application process to make things easier for you. They must do this under the Equality Act 2010. You can read more about reasonable adjustments here.
- If you can, speak to a specialist mental health insurance adviser to get a deal that is right for you.
- Review your policy on a regular basis if you have been symptom-free as you may be able to reduce your premium.
- You only need to tell your insurer what you have been asked about, but it is important to answer these questions honestly and accurately.
- Mental health and insurance cover
- What insurance might I need if I have a mental health condition?
- How to find the right Insurance cover with a mental health condition
- Specialist insurance providers for pre-existing mental health conditions
- What are my rights when applying for insurance with a mental health condition?
- How to make a complaint about an insurance decision made about your mental health
- Advice for insurance professionals working with a client who has a mental health condition