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Can Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Affect Buying Life Insurance?

June 24, 2021
Our goal is to educate and advise on life insurance options, so you can feel confident in making the right choice, whether that’s through Quotacy or somewhere else. To ensure we provide accurate and trustworthy information, our writers follow strict editorial standards.

June is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) awareness month. 

Trauma is not rare. According to the National Center for PTSD:

  • About 7-8 out of every 100 people will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year.
  • About 10 of every 100 women develop PTSD sometime in their lives and 4 of every 100 men.

Types of traumatic events that can cause PTSD include:

  • Combat and other military experiences
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Learning about the violent or accidental death or injury of a loved one
  • Child sexual or physical abuse
  • Serious accidents, like a car wreck
  • Natural disasters, like a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake
  • Terrorist attacks

Anyone who has gone through something like this can develop PTSD.

Will PTSD disqualify me for life insurance?

The short answer:

No, a PTSD diagnosis is not an automatic decline for life insurance.

Work with an independent life insurance broker, like Quotacy, for your best chances at coverage approval. Brokers are not tied to one life insurance company and are able to shop the market.

Here at Quotacy we can take your online application, review it, and advise you on which life insurance company will be most lenient with your history of PTSD.

We have worked with many clients diagnosed with PTSD and our agents are here to assist you every step of the way. We want you to get approved and will work hard to help you get coverage. Start the process by getting a free term life insurance quote or keep reading for more in-depth information about PTSD and life insurance, including real case examples.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes

How does PTSD affect buying life insurance?

The long answer:

PTSD can be acute, with symptoms disappearing spontaneously within three months, or it can be chronic lasting months or years.

If there has been little to no interference with work, social activities, and domestic relationships, then PTSD is less likely to be disabling in the future and therefore will have more favorable life insurance underwriting. (Underwriting is the process in which the life insurance company evaluates your application to determine how much of a risk you are to insure.  Your “risk class” determines your pricing.)

If you have a history of PTSD and you are applying for life insurance, the insurance company will review your medical history, your family health history, driving record, and will want to know how well you are functioning socially and in your home and workplace. The following factors could be considered unfavorable:

  • Occupational instability
  • Marital or family disharmony
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Poor physical health
  • Family history of mental disorders
  • Short period of time since being diagnosed
  • Behavior disturbance including violence
  • Work-related pressures or financial difficulties
  • Multiple or frequent changes in and higher doses of medications, hospitalization, use of electroconvulsive therapy (ET), and use of mood stabilizer medication such as lithium
  • History of lost work or school time
  • Any history of suicide attempts or gestures
  • Other psychiatric or personality disorder diagnosis

The less “unfavorable” factors you have, the better risk class you’d be assigned to. However, even if you do have a history of some unfavorable factors, it does not mean you won’t be able to purchase life insurance.

Life insurance companies want to insure as many people as they can, that’s why they have different levels of risk classes. You will have to pay higher premiums to offset their risk of insuring you, but term life insurance is still quite affordable. To get a better understanding, see below for the different levels of risk classes.

Risk ClassesTobacco Risk Classes
Preferred PlusPreferred Tobacco
PreferredStandard Tobacco
Standard Plusn/a
Table Rating (alphabetical)Table Rating (numerical)Pricing
A1Standard + 25%
B2Standard + 50%
C3Standard + 75%
D4Standard + 100%
E5Standard + 125%
F6Standard + 150%
G7Standard + 175%
H8Standard + 200%
I9Standard + 225%
J10Standard + 250%
Preferred Plus Non-Tobacco is the best possible risk class available. This essentially means there is very little risk to the insurance company to insure you – you’re healthy and your family history is relatively clean. In other words, you’re not dying any time soon.

Table ratings are assigned to applicants who have a few more risk factors associated with them that put them outside the standard risk class realm. Depending on the table rating you’re assigned, you’ll pay an additional percentage on top of the standard premium amount. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Case Studies of Life Insurance Applicants with PTSD

Example # 1

John Doe is a 35-year-old Marine who was honorably discharged from active duty five years ago. When he returned home, he was having trouble sleeping and developed mild PTSD. He began seeing a psychologist and joined a gym to help release tension.

His PTSD was well managed and only lasted a few months. His family is a strong support system and he has a steady job.

Otherwise healthy apart from the history of mild PTSD, John is a best case scenario for preferred ratings.

He applies for $500,000 in coverage with a 20-year term and is approved at Preferred Non-Tobacco. His monthly premiums will be approximately $28.

Example # 2

Jane Smith is a 40-year-old woman who developed PTSD after being attacked walking home at night from work two years ago. She had to take time off work for a couple weeks for fear of walking at night. She eventually rearranged her work schedule to avoid night shifts altogether.

Jane is currently being treated by a psychiatrist for her moderate to severe PTSD. She also takes the prescription Zoloft and it’s been very beneficial. While her disorder did initially affect her job, she is able to work steadily and has not had any panic attacks and her mood is upbeat.

She applies for $250,000 in coverage with a 20-year term and is approved at Standard Table B. Standard price ($30) + 50% means her monthly premiums will be approximately $45.

See what you’d pay for life insurance

Comparison shop prices on custom coverage amounts from the nation’s top carriers with Quotacy.

One benefit to working with Quotacy is that we are an independent broker, which means we have contracts with multiple life insurance companies and some of these carriers will rate a certain medical situation more favorably than others. The more companies you can get quotes from, the better your chances of getting a term policy at a great price.

We have worked with many clients in the past with a history of PTSD and other anxiety and stress disorders. We can help you too. Start by getting a free term life insurance quote today – no personal contact information needed.

Learn about other pre-existing conditions, how they impact rates, and what your alternatives are.


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