Life Insurance and Mental Health

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020

The mental health of our nation has become an important topic of discussion. The lockdown affects us all and in different and challenging ways. Some are living in crowded accommodation with partners working remotely as well as caring for and teaching children. Others may be living on their own and feeling all too keenly a sense of isolation. Then there are all the wonderful people in the NHS and carers who may be affected not only physically by their work but also emotionally.   In recent years , however, mental health has been acknowledged as something that affects all of us to a greater or lesser degree and has been recognised as an issue that needs to be dealt with openly, with care and sensitivity.

It is generally recognised that “it is good to talk”. This openness has made mental health issues easier to underwrite. Applicants are much more likely, in today’s environment, to talk frankly to their IFAs about these problems and good information enables underwriters to quote more often.

Whilst it is true that not all insurers have moved with the times when it comes to assessing mental health issues, in particular when assessing ongoing stable conditions, Pulse prides itself on being able to assist people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness and has a history of being able to do so,. Below is a list showing the wide range of mental illness where we have been able to assist. Also below are some guidelines on how underwriters may assess the problem from a rating perspective. And finally there are some examples of cases where we have successfully provided cover.

We may not be able to assist in every case but we will do our very best to help all who come to us.

Life Insurance and Mental Health:

We have arranged life insurance for many people who have or have suffered from mental health problems such as:

  • Personality Disorders
  • Depression (Severe and Moderate)
  • Bi-polar
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post-Natal Depression
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Stress & Anxiety

Underwriters have provided the following likely loading ranges for applicants with Personality Disorders:

  • Some applicants can be accepted on normal terms
  • Additional 50% for mild – moderate condition
  • Approx. 2 – 3 x basic rates for moderate – severe cases (100% – 200% extra)
  • Use of a suicide exclusion clause in most cases

When underwriters are presented with a case where the client has Psychotic Depression, they have advised that their likely loading ranges are as follows:

  • Milder cases: standard rates – up to 1.5 times basic rates
  • Moderate cases: 1.5 – 2 times basic rates
  • More serious illness: 2.5 -3 x basic rates
  • Suicide exclusion imposed in many cases as the mortality risk can be affected not just by the risk of suicide; in worse cases basic personal care, health care, decision making, perception of danger can all be factors
  • Most severe cases would be declined

Evidence of a stable lifestyle is of key importance when obtaining life insurance. Evidence of a history of stable employment is also helpful.

Another important positive area for consideration when assessing a client with mental health issues are protective factors.

Protective factors are characteristics that reduce the likelihood that someone will attempt suicide. Some of the key behaviours, environments and relationships that reduce the likelihood of suicidal behaviour and enhance resilience are:

  • Supportive and caring family and friends
  • Connectedness to community, school, family, friends and children who need caring for
  • Learned skills (such as problem-solving, conflict resolution, anger management, impulse control, etc.)
  • Access to appropriate medical and mental health care
  • Access to immediate and ongoing support and care
  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide
  • Restricted access to lethal means

If underwriters do consider suicide is a risk, some but not all may exclude it from the cover offered for the first year or indeed the whole period of cover rather than declining the applicant.

Our underwriters assess each and every case that is put to them on an individual basis, taking into account the assureds specific, personal details.  Sometimes cases that appear at first sight to be very difficult, may on closer examination be cases which Pulse and their underwriters can assist with and so it is always worth discussing your enquiry with a member of the Pulse Team.


Aged 40, Smoker

Suffers from Schizophrenia & Depression

Sum Assured: £96,800.00

Term: 5 years

Premium: £60.00 per month


Aged 45, Non-Smoker

Suffers from Depression & Anxiety and has a family history of heart disease and breast cancer

Sum Assured: €140,000.00

Term: 10 years

Premium: €61.00 per month

Aged 41, Non-Smoker

Suffers from Depression, Asthma & Drug use

Sum Assured: £1,000,000.00

Term: 10 years

Premium: £462.00 per month



For more information, or to request a quote please contact [email protected] or call on 01280 841 430.

There are a number of fantastic mental health resources available in the UK, such as:


The Mental Health Foundation

Campaign Against Living Miserably