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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.
Even though having a mental health problem can mean that you face certain challenges to getting insurance, there are lots of things you can do to make sure you get the cover you want. This page covers information on some things you can try:
Different insurance companies provide different types of cover, and may have different attitudes covering someone with a mental health problem. To find out whether a company will cover you for a mental health problem, and how they will assess you for this, you can contact them directly or fill in a quote request on their website.
Here are some things to keep in mind when researching insurance providers:
"Usually a quick Google to find a travel insurance policy that will cover my condition will easily find something suitable and although it is more expensive, it is definitely better for peace of mind."
Some companies provide cover specifically for people with pre-existing medical conditions, including mental health problems. If you find that getting insurance from a large high-street provider is difficult or expensive because of your mental health problem, you may want to look into getting insurance from a specialist provider.
See our page on specialist insurers for more details.
Read your policy carefully, including the small print, and make sure you understand exactly what it covers. In particular, you might want to know:
"I make sure to read into the small print to see what is covered and what is not. The most useful thing I have found is to contact [the provider] directly – sometimes anonymously – to find the right information before I commit to a policy."
If you find applying for insurance challenging because of your mental health problem, you can ask the company to provide reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010, to make it easier for you. For example, if your mental health problem makes it hard for you to concentrate on small print, to use phones or computers, or to fill out forms, reasonable adjustment might include:
See our pages on disability discrimination for more information on your rights under the Equality Act.
If you ask your GP or psychiatrist to provide a report that explains your condition in more detail, this can help your case when you apply for insurance because this should mean the insurance company has the most up-to-date and accurate information about your mental health.
Omar experienced a period of anxiety seven years ago and, while he was unwell, he took two weeks off work. Over the next two years, Omar got a lot better and he no longer experiences anxiety. Omar is now applying for life insurance. He is asked whether he has ever had a mental health problem that resulted in time off work, and he answers 'yes'. The insurance company ask him to provide further information about his condition, so his GP sends them a report that shows that Omar is now well and no longer experiences anxiety. In this case, the insurance company should offer Omar the life cover and income protection insurance he wants on standard terms with no extra premium (no extra cost).
If you are finding it difficult to get insurance because of your mental health problem, you may be able to get an advocate to help you. This could be a friend, family member or a professional advocate. An advocate can:
See our pages on advocacy for more information.
This information was published in April 2018. We will revise it in 2021.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.