Can I get life insurance if I have ADHD?
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD and previously referred to as ADD, is the most common neurobehavioral disorder of childhood and it can carry into adulthood. While it was previously thought to affect males more often, research has shown that this is only because men and boys are more likely to be referred for ADHD testing while women and girls are consistently under-diagnosed and under-treated.
With ADHD, severity can be diagnosed as mild, moderate, or severe, and symptoms affect each person in varying degrees. Depending on which symptoms arise, individuals are often diagnosed with one of three ADHD subtypes.
The three subtypes of ADHD:
- Predominantly inattentive. The majority of symptoms fall under inattention.
- Predominantly hyperactive-impulsive. The majority of symptoms are hyperactive and impulsive.
- Combined. The most common type in the U.S., this is a mix of inattentive symptoms and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms.
The National Resource on ADHD has more information about the symptoms of each subtype here: About ADHD.
ADHD affects an estimated 4-12% of school-aged children worldwide. According to the Mayo Clinic, ADHD symptoms start before age 12, and in some children, they’re noticeable as early as 3 years of age.
Outcome for children with ADHD can vary significantly:
- Approximately 30% of children with ADHD followed into adulthood will do well and function similarly to the general adult population.
- Approximately 50-60% of children continue to have significant problems in adulthood with inattention, impulsivity, and social interaction. These symptoms will manifest in work difficulties, impaired interpersonal relations, poor self-esteem, impulsivity, irritability, anxiety and emotional lability.
- The remaining 10-15% of children will have significant adult psychiatric and/or antisocial problems. These may include severe depression and significant drug and alcohol abuse. They may also exhibit significant antisocial behavior including assault, drug dealing, and other criminal activity.
In the past, it was thought that ADHD was a childhood condition that you grew out of, but research now estimates that about 60 percent of children with ADHD in the U.S. will become adults with ADHD.
ADHD affects an estimated 4-5% of college-aged students and adults worldwide. Adults with ADHD may exhibit the same symptoms they had as children, and although hyperactivity often diminishes by adulthood, inattentiveness and impulsivity may persist. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 50% of adults with ADHD will also be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
An ADHD diagnosis does not mean you cannot get life insurance. In fact, preferred ratings (best possible life insurance risk class, in other words) are not out of the question.
Underwriting ADHD for Life Insurance
The risk class of an applicant with ADHD is determined by a life insurance company underwriter. Whether the ADHD diagnosis is mild, moderate, or severe plays a big part.
|ADHD Severity in Children|
|Mild||Children who fit in the primarily inattentive ADHD subtype, with normal IQ (> 70), only minor behavior difficulties, little aggression, no diagnosis of oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or conduct disorder (CD), and treated with no more than one medication.|
|Moderate||Children within the hyperactive and impulsive subtypes, normal IQ (>70), with one or more of the following: learning disabilities, behavior difficulties and/or aggression including oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and use of up to 2 medications.|
|Severe||Children who meet the criteria for moderate ADHD with additionally one or more of the following: significant aggression or violence, conduct disorder (CD), personality disorder, or alcohol or substance misuse.|
|ADHD Severity in Adults|
|Mild||Adults with primary symptoms of inattentiveness, distractibility, restlessness and forgetfulness with little interference with daily functioning.|
|Moderate||Adults with many of these features: inattentiveness, restlessness, distinct short mood shifts, emotional over-reactivity, disorganization, impatience, co-morbid mild depression, marital instability, or difficulties with occupational performance.|
|Severe||Adults with motor hyperactivity and inattentiveness in addition to one or more of the following: explosive temper, relationship or work difficulties, impulse buying, motor vehicle accidents, alcohol or substance abuse, depression, conduct or personality disorder, or arrest history.|
Because ADHD affects individuals quite differently, underwriters will not just make a snap decision based on the ADHD diagnosis alone. They will evaluate a number of factors.
These factors include:
- age at diagnosis
- extent and results of diagnostic evaluations
- predominant symptoms
- names of drugs and dosages
- other mental or nervous disorders
- MVR (motor vehicle record)
- arrest history
- occupation and school/occupational performance
An ADHD diagnosis does not mean you cannot get life insurance. In fact, preferred ratings (best possible life insurance risk class, in other words) are not out of the question. To be considered for a preferred rating, life insurance companies will typically want to see the following:
- the ADHD diagnosis is mild
- applicant is over the age of 30
- there are no other psychiatric diagnoses or personality disorders
- there is no history of alcohol or drug abuse nor adverse MVR information
- there is no history of hospitalization for ADHD or mood symptoms, attempted suicide, or missed work or school of greater than 1 week due to ADHD or mood symptoms
- there has been no treatment or medication for ADHD or mood symptoms in the last 5 years
Quotacy is an independent agency which means we work with multiple life insurance companies. Not all life insurance companies underwrite the same way and some will be more lenient with ADHD than others. If you apply through Quotacy and we see on your application you list that you have (or had) ADHD, we will let you know which carriers are more likely to give you a favorable rating and line up some options for you.
ADHD is one of the most common health issues we come across. Our agents are experienced in helping people with ADHD buy life insurance. Reach out to us at any time via livechat, email, phone, or text if you have any questions or start the process now by getting a free term life insurance quote.
Watch the Life Insurance and ADHD Video
Hey everyone, we’re Jeanna and Natasha from Quotacy, an online life insurance agency where you can get life insurance on your terms.
At Quotacy, our goal is simple: to make it easy for everyone to buy life insurance to protect their loved ones.
Today we’re talking about ADHD and the impact it has on the life insurance buying process.
The good news is just because you have been diagnosed with ADHD doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be declined for life insurance. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD and formerly as ADD, is the most common neurobehavioral disorder of childhood and can carry into adulthood.
Here at Quotacy our agents have successfully worked with applicants with ADHD getting them life insurance coverage.
Because ADHD affects individuals quite differently, life insurance companies will not make a snap decision based on the ADHD diagnosis alone. They evaluate a number of factors.
When you apply for life insurance, the insurance company will review the information you provided on your application, your medical records, and they will want to know if your diagnosis has affected your job performance. They want to know these things so they can determine what kind of risk you are for them to ensure. The cost of your life insurance policy will be based on this risk class they offer you and each life insurance company evaluates ADHD a little differently.
If you’re wondering how much life insurance would cost know that online life insurance quoting tools alone can’t give you 100% accurate information because with an ADHD diagnosis there are just too many variables for a computer to calculate. To find out if you can get approved for life insurance and what it would cost, you’ll need to apply.
To make sure you’re getting the best price possible work with an independent broker like Quotacy. We’re not tied to one insurance company and can shop the market to find the best policy that fits your needs and budget.
When you apply online for life insurance through Quotacy and you check Yes for ADHD it will be helpful to both you and your agent to provide additional information about the diagnosis, such as the date you were diagnosed, how it’s being treated, and any medications you may be taking. By answering these questions honestly and with as much detail as possible your dedicated Quotacy agent will be able to set realistic expectations up front regarding the cost of life insurance.
Your ADHD condition will affect the price of your life insurance, however, know that your Quotacy agent will work hard to match you with the insurance company that will offer you the best risk class.
Here’s an example of a client that recently came to us looking for a term life insurance policy.
John Smith is a 33 year old non-smoker. He’s of average weight and height and is otherwise healthy except that he was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and is prescribed medication to treat it. The ADHD is well-managed and it does not negatively affect his work performance.
When John sent in his online application through Quotacy his agent noted the ADHD diagnosis and anonymously shopped his case across multiple life insurance companies to find him the best outcome.
The insurance companies came back with risk class offerings varying from the best possible, which is called Preferred Plus, to Standard, which is average. The risk class offer is what determines the premium amount.
|Life Insurance Company||Risk Class Offered|
|Company C||Preferred Plus|
|Company E||Standard Plus|
|*Note: Quotacy has access to over 20 top rated insurance carriers. These are just a sample of responses we received.|
This table shows the potential cost of John’s policy based on the risk class offered to him.
|20-Year $500,000 Term Life Insurance Policy|
|Preferred Plus||$21.32 per month|
|Preferred||$26.41 per month|
|Standard Plus||$33.25 per month|
|Standard||$39.75 per month|
|*Pricing used for illustration only. Your price could be higher or lower.|
It’s important to note that every case is different. If you have ADHD, don’t assume John’s outcome will be your outcome. ADHD is very case-by-case basis. For example, if anxiety or depression is also a factor with the ADHD diagnosis the insurance carriers are going to be more conservative with their offers.
At Quotacy, your agent will anonymously shop the details of your case with all the top-rated life insurance companies we work with to match you with the company that will give you the best offer.
» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator
As we mentioned before, everyone’s situation is unique. To determine how much life insurance will cost you simply apply through our website and we will work with you to find the best policy option.
When you apply through Quotacy this is how it works:
First, choose a policy and complete your online application.
Then your dedicated Quotacy agent will introduce themselves and, if needed, ask a few follow-up questions about your ADHD via email. This is to make sure we have a clear understanding of your unique situation so we can set realistic expectations up front. It’s important to mention that we’re on your side so the more we know, the better we can assist you.
From there, your agent will anonymously send the details you’ve provided to our top-rated insurance companies to find out which one will be the best match. This is what we call shopping your case. If a different insurance company other than the one you chose online is going to give you a better price, your agent will present you with some options.
The choice to either stay with your original pick or switch is 100% up to you. We just want to be completely transparent about your options. Whatever you decide, your agent is your advocate and will keep you updated every step of the way through the process.
If there is a website out there showing you a cheaper price than what your Quotacy agent can find that other website is likely only showing you a best-case scenario price and not factoring in your ADHD condition properly. There are no coupons or promo codes when it comes to life insurance. It’s all very tightly regulated.
So to find out how much life insurance would cost you head on over to Quotacy.com, run a quote, and apply right online. It takes less than five minutes and there is no obligation to buy. If you aren’t satisfied with the insurance policy Quotacy finds you, you can walk away. There’s no cost to apply for life insurance, no fee to cancel the process, and no hard feelings.
Start the life insurance approval process by getting a free, anonymous term life insurance quote now.
Photo credit to: Jad Limcaco
About the writer
Writer, Editor, and Co-host of Quotacy's Q&A Fridays
Natasha is the content manager and editor for Quotacy. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been making life insurance easier to understand with her writing since 2014. When not at work, she's probably studying and working toward her Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation while throwing a tennis ball for her pitbull mix, Emmett, or curled up on her couch watching Netflix. If it’s football season, the Packers game will be on. Connect with her on LinkedIn.