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Guide to life insurance and mental health

Life insurance providers are getting more lenient and understanding for people with mental health issues

A photo of Daniel Sharpe-Szunko, the author

By Daniel Sharpe-Szunko

Published on: 13 April 2022

7 min read

Guide to life insurance and mental health

Mental illness comes in many different forms and affects people in lots of different ways. It is now one of the most common medical conditions in the UK which has been magnified by the recent pandemic and now the ‘cost of living crisis’.

Many Britons suffer from mild mental health problems such as mild anxiety, stress or depression, caused by day to day pressures of life, including family and financial pressures.

Getting life insurance with a mental health problem can be extremely stressful and many are put off applying just because of the potential anxiety of the application process. While it’s understandable to feel this way, it is also important to make sure that your family are protected if anything happens to you, and there are life insurance specialists for mental health who can help.

Mental health statistics UK

There is no denying that mental health and mental illness are becoming increasingly prevalent amongst adults and children in the UK. Statistics show that the rates of diagnosis, treatments and medications have increased dramatically over the past 10 years especially.

The recent Pandemic and now the cost of living crisis have also led to a sharp rise in people suffering from mental health problems.

  • Around 1 in 4 UK adults will experience mental health problems every year
  • 1 in 6 people declares having a common mental health complaint such as anxiety, stress or depression in England
  • Around 1 in 5 people will have suicidal thoughts in their lifetime
  • 1 in 14 people will self-harm in their lifetime
  • Approximately 1 in 15 will attempt suicide

Statistically we are becoming more at risk of experiencing mental health problems in our lives due to increased financial pressure and other external factors.

Can I get life insurance with mental health?

Yes, most people should be able to get life insurance with a history of mental health problems and most mental illnesses.

Life insurance providers are getting more lenient and understanding for people with mental health issues. This has been driven by high levels of mental illness in the UK and a more competitive market for new life insurance business.

Some of the questions that you’ll be asked on your life insurance application:

  • Have you suffered from Depression, Anxiety or Stress in the last 5 years?
  • Have you ever had an eating disorder, Bipolar, Manic Depression, Schizophrenia or Psychosis?
  • Have you ever tried to take your own life or had thoughts about taking your own life?
  • Have you ever intentionally harmed yourself or had thoughts about self-harm?
  • Are you awaiting any specialist appointments?
  • Have you been referred to a specialist or for counselling in the past 5 years?
  • How many medications do you take for your condition?
  • Have you ever stopped taking your medication other than under the advice from your doctor?

As you can see from these questions above, you will be asked to provide quite a lot of information about your mental health. You should be prepared to provide some quite personal information and this is where a mental health life insurance specialist will be helpful, as they will be far more experienced and understanding.

There are some circumstances where life insurance might be more difficult to get for people with more serious mental health issues, such as:

  • Multiple suicide attempts (within the last 5 years especially)
  • History of self-harm
  • Severe eating disorders
  • Manic depression
  • Severe psychosis
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

These levels of mental illness are generally classed as more severe and might require a specialist insurance provider or a non-traditional type of cover. People with more serious mental health problems should speak to a mental health life insurance specialist.

Which is the best life insurance for mental health?

There are several different options when you’re looking at life insurance and some will be more suitable than others, especially for people with pre-existing medical conditions like mental health.

Often you might find that traditional life insurance will be the most affordable and the easiest to apply for, especially for less severe mental health. Traditional life insurance for mental health includes LEVEL TERM LIFE INSURANCE and DECREASING TERM LIFE INSURANCE. These are the most common types of life insurance, specifically designed to protect your family and your home.

Other types of life insurance that might be available include CRITICAL ILLNESS INSURANCE and INCOME PROTECTION INSURANCE. These policies might not be available for some types of mental health problems and might be less affordable for some people.

You need to consider several things before you take out life insurance with mental health problems:

Other types of less common life insurance policies that might be suitable for someone with mental health issues include:

How much is life insurance with mental health issues?

Life insurance premiums start from as little as £5 per month from most insurance providers in the UK. The cost of your cover will vary depending on a number of things, such as:

  • Age (Date of Birth)
  • Amount of cover (£’s)
  • Term of cover (Years)
  • Type of cover
  • Smoker status
  • Medical history (e.g. Mental health)

When you apply for life insurance with mental health problems, there are a few things that you can do to save money and reduce your premiums:

Does life insurance pay out for mental health?

Yes, life insurance will pay out to your loved ones if you die and this is the same for people with mental health problems. As long as you are honest on your application and provide information about your mental health then you will be covered.

Does life insurance pay out for suicide?

Most traditional life insurance policies will exclude suicide in the first 12 months or 2 years in some cases. After the initial exclusion period, you will be covered for suicide and your cover will pay out to your family or beneficiaries.

Best life insurance providers for mental health

There are quite a few different life insurance providers and life insurance companies in the UK, so finding the right one can be confusing. It’s usually best to speak to a mental health life insurance specialist that has access to multiple insurers, including specialist insurers.

The best life insurance provider for you will be based on quite a few different things and can change depending on the insurers current underwriting criteria.

There are however some insurers that are better than others for mental health life insurance, including:

Each insurer has their own criteria for underwriting mental health life insurance applications and some will be better or cheaper than others.

What if I’ve been declined life insurance because of mental health problems?

If you’ve applied for life insurance in the past and been refused because of your mental health, this can be distressing and can be difficult to accept. Unfortunately, this does happen and it can be simply that you’ve applied to the wrong company.

Applying for life insurance with mental health problems can be difficult and even more so if you are refused or declined cover. The key thing here is that being refused cover with one insurer won’t impact any future applications that you make for life insurance, even though it might take the wind out of your sails somewhat.

It is very possible that one insurance provider might not accept your application because of your mental health, but several other insurers will offer cover.

Some reasons why you might be declined life insurance with mental health:

  • Wrong insurer for your circumstances
  • Outstanding investigations
  • Unconfirmed diagnosis
  • Not a mental health life insurance specialist
  • Wrong time to apply for life insurance

How to buy life insurance mental health

There are lots of options when you’re considering buying life insurance, but not all are suitable for people with mental health problems. You should ideally get proper advice from a mental health life insurance specialist with the right background and experience.

You can also buy life insurance online or apply direct to some insurance providers, but this might not be the best or cheapest option for you.

Common types of mental health:

  • Alcohol abuse or addiction
  • Addiction (e.g. alcohol, caffeine, drugs, gambling, nicotine etc.)
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety
  • Asperger Syndrome
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)
  • Bipolar
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Bulimia
  • Dementia
  • Depression (inc. manic depression)
  • Down syndrome
  • Dyslexia
  • Narcolepsy
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Personality disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Psychosis
  • Pyromania
  • Schizophrenia
  • Self-harm
  • Sleep disorders
  • Stress
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tourette Syndrome

There are literally hundred’s of different types of mental health problems with a wide range of severities that can affect people in many different ways. Finding the right life insurance can be complicated but can also be quite straight forward in some circumstances.


Mind – Mental health facts and statistics

UK Parliament – Mental health statistics: prevalence, services and funding in England

Mind – Seeking help for a mental health problem

NHS – Where to get urgent help for mental health

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