Last Updated: June 2020
If you suffer from a chronic medical condition such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), you may wonder how that will impact your ability to secure life insurance.
PTSD is one of many health conditions that fall into the category of high-risk life insurance.
Recent reports reveal around 20 million Americans struggle with a PTSD diagnosis. Mostly we associate PTSD with military veterans or active service members that have experienced combat.
However, PTSD impacts both military members and civilians just the same. PTSD can be caused by numerous reasons such as abuse or assault, traumatic accidents, natural disasters, sudden or major loss, and terrorist attacks.
For life insurers concerned with taking on high-risk insureds, PTSD may be a red flag since it is a mental health disorder that has been shown to lead to depression and a higher risk of suicide.
However, you shouldn’t let this fact dissuade you from applying for life insurance. There are really good life insurance policies from very reputable companies available for people with PTSD.
That is what the rest of this brief article will detail for you:
- Can I Get Life Insurance with PTSD?
- What Should I Expect in the Life Insurance Application Process With PTSD?
- What Do Underwriters Look for in the Application Process?
- What Happens if You Lie on a Life Insurance Application?
- Best Life Insurance Policies for People with PTSD
- Best Life Insurance Companies for People with PTSD
Can I Get Life Insurance with PTSD?
Yes! You can get life insurance with PTSD!
PTSD is a medical condition and, like other medical conditions, it can make it more challenging to secure a life insurance policy with affordable rates.
Often times, when a client with PTSD applies for life insurance, he/she will receive high rates or be flatly declined due to being a “high risk”.
This is why it is so important to work with an independent insurance agent that understands the nuances of applying for life insurance with PTSD.
An experienced insurance agent will know which life insurance companies will be best for your particular medical condition. The insurance agent will be able to prepare you for the application process to make it as easy as possible, as well as talk with the underwriter to explain why you are worth taking the risk.
PRO-TIP: You should also keep in mind that competition is constantly driving insurance carriers to compete for new business. As a result, life insurance carriers take on “niches” in an effort to secure customers.
There are life insurance companies that have taken-on the niche of those diagnosed with PTSD. It is important to work with an independent insurance agent that knows which life insurance company is comfortable covering people with PTSD.
What Should I Expect in the Life Insurance Application Process With PTSD?
In the life insurance application process, you will be asked many personal questions about your PTSD diagnosis. This may be uncomfortable but just know you are doing something very caring for your family by applying for life insurance coverage.
There are a few things your insurance agent and the insurance company will want to know when you are applying for life insurance coverage with PTSD:
- When were you initially diagnosed?
- Is your condition mild, moderate, or severe?
- Have you developed depression, anxiety, or other psychological or neurological conditions?
- Has your PTSD had detrimental effects on your work?
- What medications have you been prescribed?
- Do you regularly take these medications?
- How often do you see or have seen your doctor?
- Have you ever seen a psychiatrist?
- Are you “self-medicating” in a destructive manner, such as drug or alcohol abuse?
- Are any additional methods for dealing with PTSD used, natural or alternative (therapy, meditation, etc)?
- Have you experienced any suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide?
- Have you ever been hospitalized because of PTSD?
- Have you had electroshock therapy?
- Are you currently collecting, or have you previously collected, private, or government disability benefits?
The bottom line for life insurance carriers is how well your PTSD is being controlled. Underwriters look at many different factors (such as compliance with medication, keeping up with regular doctor appointments, etc.) but a very important aspect is your work history.
What Do Underwriters Look for in the Application Process?
If you have been able to hold a steady job since your PTSD diagnosis then the underwriter will be more likely to look upon your application favorably. If you don’t have a job then you may want to secure employment before applying for life insurance.
The underwriter will also want to assess your overall lifestyle, including how physically active you are and whether you use alcohol or tobacco. Being employed, active, and free of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs will get you the best rates.
PTSD that is severe and results in hospitalization (within the last 12-24 months) may make it difficult for an applicant to be approved for life insurance by many insurance companies.
However, that doesn’t mean there is no hope of securing life insurance with any insurance carrier. If you are someone that has suffered from severe PTSD then let your insurance agent find the best life insurance plan for you.
In many cases, it may be best to apply for a guaranteed life insurance policy for high-risk individuals. You will have the ability to skip the traditional medical underwriting process and lock-in coverage quickly.
You may want to talk with your insurance agent about options like having an exclusion rider applied to your life insurance policy.
An exclusion rider that states, if your death is caused as a direct result of PTSD then your death benefit will not be paid. However, your beneficiaries will receive the death benefit if your death is caused by any other illness or accident.
Some life insurance companies may agree to issue your life insurance policy as long as this exclusion rider is attached.
What Happens if You Lie on a Life Insurance Application?
One thing we always like to stress is it is best to be truthful and forthcoming with your insurance agent and the insurance company.
Lying on a life insurance application is fraud.
It can cause an automatic denial of coverage and will leave a bad reputation for you among life insurance companies, which can lead to much higher rates of exclusion altogether.
Keeping information to yourself or changing your answers to make your application seem more appealing to the life insurance company is never a good idea.
In fact, if an insured is found to have lied on an insurance application, the life insurance company has the right to rescind the policy.
This means you will be without coverage and have to start all over again. Never, never, ever should you leave-out important information about your PTSD or any other facets of your profile.
Best Life Insurance Policies for People with PTSD
The fact is people with PTSD have all the same options for life insurance as their peers. You can apply for a permanent life insurance policy, term life insurance policy, or a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
The bigger question is which life insurance company will work best with your particular PTSD diagnosis and history. This is something for your independent insurance agent to help you in deciding.
You will expect your insurance agent to figure out which life insurer and life insurance plan will present less of a hassle in securing coverage while also offering the benefits you need.
Life insurance companies have more than a dozen different rate classes. The rate class you are assigned by underwriting will determine your life insurance premiums.
How Does PTSD Affect Life Insurance Premiums?
Usually, a person with mild PTSD that is well-controlled and without any hospitalizations or suicide attempts will qualify for a standard rate class. The more serious your PTSD is, the further down you will fall in the rate class table.
How this impacts your premium is all determined by the individual life insurance companies. Generally speaking though, the higher your risk, the higher your premiums.
For people suffering from severe PTSD, your insurance agent may recommend a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. The application process is quick and easy.
One option is the no exam route. You will not have to go through the traditional medical underwriting process and, therefore, policies can be issued very fast, sometimes within the same day.
You also will not have to worry about being declined because of your PTSD.
Face amounts offered for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy vary from $5,000 to $30,000 depending on the insurance carrier. As with most life insurance plans, the policy will have to be in force for two years before a full death benefit amount will be paid.
Best Life Insurance Companies for People with PTSD
The life insurance industry includes dozens of companies that are open to insuring people with PTSD. It’s just a matter of knowing which insurers those are so you don’t waste valuable time and energy trying to get covered.
The Best Life Insurance Companies for People with PTSD
|Company||J.D. Power Rating||Customer Satisfaction|
|Mutual of Omaha||789||4.1 / 5|
|ING||748||4.2 / 5|
|Prudential||777||4.3 / 5|
|Genworth Financial||771||3.9 / 5|
|Protective||774||4.0 / 5|
|Sagicor||N/A||4.4 / 5|
For veterans and active service members with PTSD, Veterans Affairs (VA) offers additional life insurance options. The VA provides veterans, service members, and their families with over $1.3 Trillion dollars in life insurance coverage each year. They should consider USAA life insurance as well as the companies listed above.
Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is often the best life insurance option for an active-duty military member. SGLI is a low-cost term life insurance policy offering a maximum face amount of $400,00.
It does not require an application or medical underwriting. The premium will automatically be deducted from your base pay.
Please take note that SGLI only covers those on active duty so once you retire from the military you will need to find another life insurance option.
The good thing is you can convert your SGLI life insurance policy to a Veteran’s Group Life Insurance (VGLI) policy.
You will not need to answer any health questions when converting your SGLI life insurance policy to a VGLI life insurance policy. This is the rule as long as you apply for the VGLI life insurance coverage within 240 days of separation.
However, Veterans have a total of one year and 120 days to apply for VGLI, and can keep their coverage as long as they desire and continue to pay the premium.
As you can see, people with PTSD have many different choices when it comes to life insurance coverage. Although it may be painful and uncomfortable to talk about your personal PTSD experience, please don’t let it discourage you from trying to find the right life insurance plan.
There are numerous life insurance companies that are willing to cover people with PTSD. So please don’t go an extra day without having this important financial protection in place for your loved ones.
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