Explains how mental health problems can affect insurance cover, what your rights are, and how to choose the right cover for you. Includes a list of specialist insurance providers.
Unfortunately, if you have a mental health problem you might sometimes find that you have a hard time getting suitable insurance cover. These are some common challenges:
This can be extremely frustrating, but there are lots of steps you can take. Our page on getting the right cover offers guidance on how to get the insurance cover you want, and our pages on your insurance rights and complaints and legal action explain how you can challenge discrimination by insurance providers.
"I have had problems finding affordable car insurance as my condition means I can be off work for long periods of time – having 'unemployed' as my occupation drives the premium right up."
There are lots of different types of insurance to cover a wide range of situations. Most are optional (meaning it's up to you to decide whether you need them or not), but many people find that buying insurance provides financial security and peace of mind. For example, you could get travel insurance before you go on holiday in case you lose your passport or something is stolen.
Some types of insurance are compulsory, such as car insurance if you drive a car. If you want to buy a house your mortgage provider may require you to get life insurance as a condition of your mortgage offer.
You can find more information about different types of insurance cover from the Money Advice Service.
A pre-existing medical condition is any condition you have at the time you apply for insurance. Many insurance policies do not cover pre-existing conditions – this means that they will not pay out on a claim related to a pre-existing condition, including mental health problems.
For example, if you have a diagnosis of depression when you apply for your insurance, this would be considered a pre-existing condition. If your policy does not cover pre-existing conditions, but you try to make a claim related to your depression, your provider will dismiss your claim as invalid and will refuse to pay out any money.
David has a diagnosis of schizophrenia and buys a standard travel insurance policy through his travel agent. The policy says it covers medical treatment, including for mental health problems. However, there is a clause in the small print that states this does not cover pre-existing medical conditions.
While he is travelling, David becomes unwell with problems related to his diagnosis and needs hospital treatment. In this case, this treatment would not be covered by his policy, and David would have to pay for it all himself.
This information was published in April 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
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