Life Insurance for Bipolar Disorder

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Written by
Bob Phillips
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If you need life insurance and have been diagnosed with  Bipolar Disorder, you might be asking yourself if it’s available to you and if so, how expensive it will be. The world of insurance can be a baffling place with its unfamiliar words and medical terms. We’ve put in many hours of research and compiled our findings here to assist you on your journey into the process of getting life insurance.

Our research and data on life insurance for those with Bipolar Disorder should help you make your way through all of the sometimes bewildering information. We’ve spent a lot of hours looking into the particulars about life insurance and how it works for health conditions such as Bipolar Disorder.

The landscape of life insurance for Bipolar Disorder has been much improved by medical advancements, and a better knowledge of the condition. We’ll take a look at types of life insurance, coverage, qualifying for life insurance, life insurance options, what to do if your application for coverage was declined, and more.

This pertinent information about securing life insurance if you have Bipolar Disorder should help you find and purchase one that’s best for you.

Key Takeaways

  • The life insurance underwriting process for Bipolar Disorder might be longer and more complex

  • Life insurance is available for persons diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder

  • Life insurance rates are usually increased for people with Bipolar Disorder

Can People With Bipolar Disorder Get Life Insurance?

Yes, people with Bipolar Disorder can get life insurance. But, this wasn’t always the case. Before advancements in medicine combined with a better understanding of Bipolar Disorder changed the insurance industry’s view on this condition, people with Bipolar Disorder were often declined for life insurance coverage.

Nowadays, numerous leading insurers offer whole life insurance, as well as term life, for people with Bipolar Disorder.

It’s encouraging that life insurance options are available to people with Bipolar Disorder, but remember that not all life insurance providers will offer it. By the same token, there are multiple insurance carriers that do offer policies for people with Bipolar Disorder.

So, if you need life insurance and are living with this condition, rest assured that you can get life insurance. Your rates may be higher, but you will be able to get coverage.

Important: Life insurance for Bipolar Disorder is available, though the coverage might be limited and potentially more expensive.

How Does Having Bipolar Disorder Affect My Life Insurance?

If you have Bipolar Disorder, you might not be offered traditional life insurance. But don’t be discouraged; there are insurers that offer special coverage. These carriers offer life insurance to those with Bipolar Disorder, especially if their condition is well managed. People with Bipolar Disorder may also meet the requirements for group life insurance, or guaranteed issue.

Anyone shopping for life insurance might find information about it helpful. The research itself might be something of a pain, but the peace of mind and security of having life insurance is priceless. If a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder is made after purchasing life insurance, the provider cannot cancel your policy due to the diagnosis. In fact, there are only two reasons a life insurance company carrier can cancel a policy:

  • Fraudulent statements made on your insurance application
  • Failure to pay premiums

Also, an insurance provider can’t raise premiums because of a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder after coverage was purchased.

Note: A life insurance policy can’t be rescinded or have the rates raised if you’re diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder after the policy has been issued.

Life Insurance Underwriting Process For Bipolar Disorder

Being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder may complicate the process of buying life insurance. It might help you to acquire a working understanding of the underwriting process. Below are 3 main factors that will be scrutinized in underwriting:

  1. Life expectancy
  2. Health assessment, including any pre-existing conditions you might have that accompany the primary diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder
  3. Whether the person is cognitively and physically able to care for himself or herself

People with Bipolar Disorder sometimes have comorbidities that accompany their condition.

What Do Life Insurance Companies Consider With Bipolar Disorder As a Diagnosis?

Insurability for Bipolar Disorder will cover several areas.

For instance, underwriters will factor in other health conditions that the applicant might have. They’ll take a long look, also, at the cognitive function of the proposed insured. Another important point will be what kind of medication the Bipolar Disorder person is taking, if any.

Perhaps one of the main factors that an insurer will think about is that there is a higher rate of suicide amongst those with Bipolar Disorder.

Best Type Of Life Insurance For People With Bipolar Disorder

If you have Bipolar Disorder, you have choices as to the type of life insurance coverage you get. While there are carriers that will deny you coverage, there are others that will approve the application of someone with Bipolar Disorder.

Here are 5 types of life insurance that may offer alternatives to traditional life insurance if you have Bipolar Disorder:

Term Life Insurance

Term life insurance will provide coverage for a specific length of time, usually 10 to 25 years. It costs less than whole life insurance, and is probably a better choice for someone diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. If your goal is to get a large amount of insurance at a smaller price, term life may be your best choice.

Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance offers coverage for your whole life. Different than term life insurance, it won’t end after a stipulated length of time. Whole life insurance builds a cash value that grows over time. Death benefits are guaranteed. Whole life insurance will have larger premiums than term life, more so if you have Bipolar Disorder.

Group Life Insurance

Group life insurance is an attractive option if it’s available to you. It’s usually offered through an employer, or other group such as a union, organization or club. If the you have access to group life insurance, there’s no intensive application or  physical exam, so your Bipolar Disorder won’t count against you.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance

Having Bipolar Disorder doesn’t mean not being able to purchase life insurance. Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance is just that: Guaranteed. No matter your health condition, Guaranteed Issue life insurance will issue coverage. It has more costly premiums and less coverage than some other types, but it’s an alternative to traditional insurance for someone with Bipolar Disorder.

Final Expense Life Insurance

Final Expense Life Insurance takes care of final, end-of-life expenses such as funeral or burial costs and more. This type of policy usually has more lenient underwriting than traditional life insurance. For those with Bipolar Disorder, this could be an appealing option.

Note: Living benefit riders can also be a lifeline for individuals living with Bipolar Disorder. These optional additions to your policy can allow you to access a portion of your death benefit while still alive to help cover treatment expenses.

How To Buy Life Insurance If You Have Bipolar Disorder

Here are 4 tips to help you purchase life insurance with Bipolar Disorder:

Research Your Options

First, do some research if you’re scouting around to get life insurance with Bipolar Disorder. Some insurers decline coverage to someone with Bipolar Disorder, but others will issue coverage. Don’t waste your time on the companies that won’t issue a policy, and concentrate on the ones that will.


Understand the Underwriting Process

Insurance applications have questions that will divulge your health and medical history. The underwriting is going to be more in-depth if you have Bipolar Disorder. The policy might also be more costly than traditional life insurance.


Consider Employer or Group Coverage

If you have access to life insurance through an employer, it might be a good move to go that route. Group life insurance policies offer coverage regardless of health conditions, making it ideal for someone with Bipolar Disorder.


Apply for Coverage

When you have chosen a life insurance provider offering the coverage needed for a person with Bipolar Disorder, submit the application. This could involve answering various health questions, as well as undergoing a  medical examination.


How Much Does Life Insurance Cost If You Have Bipolar Disorder?

You can be sure that rates for life insurance will be more if you have Bipolar Disorder. This is a situation where it might pay you to look around before choosing a company to go with, since rates may vary widely between one insurance provider and the next one. Life insurance is something that pays to compare rates  if you want to get the best premiums possible.

Here are some rate examples for 20 year term life with Bipolar Disorder:

Age Gender Non-Smoker Smoker
25 Female $42.97 $106.82
Male $51.07 $122.55
35 Female $49.75 $167.05
Male $59.89 $206.12
45 Female $107.35 $382.23
Male $139.24 $509.85
55 Female $238.72 $822.28
Male $345.39 $1,147.26

How To Qualify For Life Insurance With Bipolar Disorder

About 2.3 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Disorder can cause drastic shifts in energy levels and mood, and result in manic as well as depressive episodes. Because of the health risks associated with his condition, it may not be easy to find life insurance, especially affordable life insurance. But it isn’t impossible.

If you are compliant and follow your doctor’s orders, haven’t had any recent changes in your medications, not using or abusing drugs, and haven’t attempted suicide, most insurers will consider your symptoms as lower risk. The lower your risk to the insurer, the better your chances of being issued a policy and the lower your premiums.

Sadly, the majority of Bipolar Disorder Patients are placed in a substandard category. According to recent data reported by the National Alliance on Mental Health, 83% of all Bipolar Disorder cases are classified as severe.

An estimated 25% to 50% of those diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder have attempted suicide at least once. An estimated 60% of people with a mental health disorder, including Bipolar Disorder, have issues with substance abuse.

If you are careful not to engage in any of these things, you’ll have a much better chance of getting approved for standard rate life insurance.

Can Insurance Companies Deny Coverage If You Have Bipolar Disorder?

Yes, insurers might decide to decline coverage, depending on the severity of your Bipolar Disorder as well as other comorbidities that could be present. You can find coverage if you have Bipolar Disorder, but be prepared to pay higher than standard rates.

What Will Insurers Ask About Your Condition?

Here are some questions you’ll probably be asked by an underwriter when you apply for life insurance:

  • Have you ever been treated and/or taken medicine for Bipolar Disorder?
  • When were you diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder?
  • Was the diagnosis mild, moderate, or severe?
  • Have your medications changed during the past year?
  • What medication are you currently taking?
  • Are you currently undergoing psychotherapy treatments?
  • Have you recently attempted suicide?
  • Have you ever been hospitalized because of Bipolar Disorder?
  • Is your personal life stable?
  • How are you treating your Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder: Life Insurance Options If You Are Denied Coverage

If you think it might be easier for you to get an alternative type of life insurance instead of a traditional life insurance policy because of your Bipolar Disorder, you might take a look at a graded death benefit policy. This type of policy increases its benefit value over time, so the longer it’s in force and active, the greater its payout.

Group insurance is one of the best options for someone who has been denied traditional life insurance coverage. Normally, there isn’t a strict application or a medical exam, and pre-existing conditions aren’t excluded from coverage.

Guaranteed Issue is another good option if you’ve been declined for traditional life insurance coverage, because it’s literally guaranteed to issue an insurance policy to you. However, it will come with a higher premium and a lesser amount of coverage. So, it might not be your first choice for alternative life insurance if you have Bipolar Disorder.

Important: Guaranteed issue policies are an excellent option if other companies have denied your application for whole, universal, or term life insurance policies.

Tips For Choosing The Right Policy

Deciding on a life insurance policy if you are living with Bipolar Disorder is a big step. Here are a few tips to help you streamline your search and make a great choice in coverage:

Here Are 3 Tips To Make Your Search Easier:

  1. Know Your Needs: This is a critical area of getting life insurance. You need to have a clear idea of how much coverage is needed if you aren’t around to contribute to the family income. Things such as replacing your income, having money for tuition and other expenses for children, making sure your family doesn’t have to struggle with settling debts and other expenses….figure it all up and calculate how much coverage to buy.
  2. Explore Policy Types: A guaranteed issue policy or graded death benefit policy could be a prudent choice if  you have applied for traditional life insurance coverage with Bipolar Disorder and been denied. These life insurance types are specially written for people living with a critical illness.
  3. Use Specialized Services: A specialized service such as Insuranceopedia, that gathers quotes from various providers and lets you compare rates are helpful in finding the right life insurance for someone with Bipolar Disorder.

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar Disorder is a mood disorder that stems from an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain.  Known in the past as manic depression, Bipolar Disorder usually manifests itself as dramatic mood swings which may last from days up to months at a time. The majority of people who have this condition will experience extreme highs or manic episodes, and extreme lows. Bipolar Disorder can be triggered by:

  • Hormone imbalances
  • Stress
  • Physical abuse
  • Illness or injury
  • Environmental factors
  • Genetics
  • Drug or alcohol abuse

Even though Bipolar Disorder may have some serious effects on your everyday life, it is a treatable condition. Between psychiatric medication, a support network, and therapy, it’s possible for those with the disorder to manage their condition long term.

Many times, the hardest part is getting an official diagnosis, because Bipolar Disorder presents with several different symptoms, and some of them overlap with other types of mental health illnesses.

Bipolar disorder is generally diagnosed in one of four categories:

Bipolar 1 Manic episodes or series of episodes involving hospitalization or a psychosis event. Might or might not have depressive episodes.
Bipolar 2 More moderate manic episodes alternating with severe episodes of depression.
Cyclothymic Disorder Brief periods of mania or depression, not as explosive or don’t last as long.
Mixed Features Mixed episodes of mania and depression simultaneously. May also go through rapid cycling, where the person experiences the two extremes quickly, even on the same day.

Other Health Concerns That Can Affect Your Life Insurance

Insurers will evaluate a Bipolar Disorder applicant and then calculate the risk factor to  decide whether they’ll insure. This typically involves an application and a medical examination.

Here are 17 health conditions that might affect the issuance of a life insurance policy, or rates:

  • Asthma: Asthma, depending on its severity, might impact your life insurance premiums
  • Obesity: Being overweight with a high BMI (Body Mass Index) may make your rates higher
  • Heart Disease: Heart disease is a common but serious health condition that might cause denial of life insurance coverage or higher rates
  • HIV: Medical progress has caused many insurance carriers to change their view of writing insurance policies for individuals with HIV
  • Cancer: Dependent on the type and stage of cancer, it can have a major influence on acceptance or denial of life insurance
  • High Cholesterol: If your cholesterol is over a normal level of  200 over a period of several months, you’ll have an increase in your insurance premiums
  • Diabetes: Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes will usually cause higher premiums
  • Bipolar Disorder: An application for life insurance will depend on the individual applying for coverage with Bipolar Disorder
  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia: These conditions may be accompanied by physical illnesses such as kidney failure, so they can affect insurability
  • Liver Disease: Fatty liver, cirrhosis of the liver, or other liver diseases will increase the cost of your premiums
  • Kidney Disease: A diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease usually means higher premiums
  • Epilepsy
  • Depression: Mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, depression and others may have an impact on insurance rates
  • Lung Disease: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, or COPD, will usually cause increased premiums
  • High blood pressure
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis, a chronic autoimmune disease, will lead to higher insurance premiums
  • Stroke: A history of stroke, or Cardiovascular Accident (CVA) will cause insurance premiums to increase
  • Substance Use Disorders: A history of drug and/or alcohol abuse will affect your insurance rates
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Liver Disease: Fatty liver, cirrhosis of the liver, or other liver diseases will increase the cost of your premiums
  • Sleep Apnea: This condition may cause your premiums to increase


Do You Qualify For Life Insurance If You Have Bipolar Disorder?

Some insurance companies will consider insuring someone with Bipolar Disorder, while others won’t. Much depends on the severity of the condition.

What Insurance Is Best For Bipolar Disorder?

If a person has been declined issuance of traditional life insurance because he or she has Bipolar Disorder, it might be a good idea to consider a Guaranteed Issue policy, with no medical exam.

Is Bipolar Disorder Classed As a Critical Illness In Insurance?

Yes, it is designated a critical illness by insurance companies. Bipolar Disorder, although its severity is not the same with everyone who has it, has a higher risk of suicide overall.


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