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Mental and Behavioral Health and Their Effect on Life Insurance

May 25, 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.

Today we will discuss mental and behavioral health, and how these conditions may impact your life insurance rates. Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness. You’re not alone.

Buying Life Insurance with a History of Behavioral or Mental Health Conditions

Many people suffering from a mental or behavioral health condition still apply for insurance and are accepted for coverage. However, life insurance rates might be affected. The good news is that not all life insurance companies view mental health issues the same way.

Quotacy is here to dig through the different life insurance companies to help you find affordable term life insurance rates that keep you and your family covered.

If you have a behavioral or mental health condition, your best chances of getting affordable life insurance is to apply through a broker, like Quotacy. Brokers are not tied to one life insurance company and are able to shop the market.

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 life insurance and mental health.

See what you’d pay for life insurance

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

Mental and Behavioral Disorders and Life Insurance

There are many different types of mental and behavioral disorders and each are underwritten independently. Someone with a history of anorexia is not going to be underwritten the same as someone with dementia. These are two very different diagnoses with different treatment plans and have different levels of insurance risk.

Life insurance companies also have to consider that the same disorder may impact individuals differently. Two people diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have very different symptoms and lead opposite lives. So, not only do underwriters have to evaluate the disorders independently, but also on a case-by-case basis.

For applicants with a history of a mental or behavioral disorder, underwriters have many factors to consider and evaluate:

  1. The applicant’s physical and mental health
  2. The applicant’s job and employment history
  3. The applicant’s social activities and family dynamics
  4. Whether there is evidence of substance abuse (particularly alcohol)
  5. If there is any history of suicide attempts
  6. If applicant has any chronic medical conditions (such as heart disease)
  7. The severity and duration of the applicant’s diagnosis
  8. The applicant’s treatment history

Life insurance underwriters determine whether or not you will be approved for life insurance and which risk class you belong in. The better your risk class, the lower your premiums will cost.

Characteristics Underwriters Assess to Determine Risk Class
Favorable Characteristics Unfavorable Characteristics
Stable environment and occupation Occupational instability
No overt marital or family disharmony Work-related pressures/stresses
No criticism of habits Marital and/or family disturbance
Good insight into condition Alcohol/drug misuse
No underlying physical condition Poor insight into condition
Good family history Poor physical health
Long duration since diagnosis Family history of mental disorders
Stable personality Recently diagnosed
Good social network and support Behavior disturbance
Financial difficulties

The more unfavorable characteristics you have, the higher the risk to insure you. Depending on your diagnosis and how severe it is, you could qualify for the best risk class (typically referred to as Preferred Plus) or be given a substandard risk class, such as a table rating.

Being table rated means your level of risk is outside the norm and in order for the life insurance carrier to accept you, you have to pay extra to cushion the risk.

If table rated, your life insurance will typically cost the Standard price plus 25% for every step down the table you are. Take a look at the table below to get an idea of how risk class affects what you pay for life insurance coverage.

The Average Monthly Cost of a 20-Year Term Policy
for a 30-Year-Old Male Based on Risk Class
Preferred Plus $16
Preferred $20
Standard Plus $24
Standard $28
Table A $35
Table B $42
Table C $49
Table D $56
Table E $63
Table F $70
Table G $77

To get a more in-depth understanding of risk class and table ratings, take a look at these blog posts:

What Is a “Risk Class” and How Does it Affect Me?
What Are Table Ratings? What Do They Mean?

No two life insurance companies underwrite the exact same way.

For example, let’s say the 30-year-old male in the sample table above has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, but it’s well-managed. Insurance Company ABC may only offer him Table C, which means he’d be paying $49 per month for coverage.

Meanwhile, Insurance Company XYZ would offer him Standard – which would cost him only $28 per month for the same coverage.

Quotacy is an independent life insurance broker. This means that we work with multiple life insurance companies – not just one. If you have been diagnosed with a mental or behavioral disorder, having more company options increases your chances of being approved for life insurance coverage at a fair price.

Most mental illnesses don’t improve on their own, and if untreated, a mental illness may get worse over time and cause serious problems. Don’t be afraid to seek help. 61,500,000 Americans experience a mental health disorder in a given year – you are not alone. Get a free mental health screening at HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org.

Note: Life insurance quotes used in this article accurate as of May 25, 2021. These are only estimates and your life insurance costs may be higher or lower.


  1. Wellbeing balance

    Really interesting ideas, thanks for sharing this.

  2. tweaker eyes

    Hello! It was interesting to read your article. But I want to say a few words from myself. Until now, the topic of mental health is taboo. After all, you will not discuss with your colleague about your or his mental health. And very few people talk about this topic with their relatives. Although these figures are a frightening number of people who suffer from mental problems, these numbers continue to grow from year to year.
    About insurance. Insurance for $ 10,000, I can understand the cost, because you will be handling not only one problem, and you need more than one specialist. So it’s not such a big price

  3. Kathy Carter

    Only need $10,000

    • Natasha Cornelius

      Hi Kathy,

      If you’re looking for $10,000 in coverage, you are likely looking for a final expense policy? Something just to cover your funeral/burial? Please contact us directly. Our life insurance consultant can discuss your needs and get you a quote.

  4. Kathy Carter

    Just need a $10,000 plan
    Going in Postmenpoual make depressed that’s life and a bad divorce but 2008 I’m good never tryto mill myself


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