What you need to know
- Applicants who have had mild depression and have fully recovered for at least 1-2 years can expect to pay standard premium rates.
- A loading may apply for serious or ongoing cases of depression.
It is still possible to take out life insurance in Australia if you suffer from depression. However, you will be required to provide details of their condition. This can include:
➡️ Check out our Q&A from industry experts on getting cover for mental health
If you disclose your condition upfront these brands will be able to confirm whether or not you are covered:
There are cases of discrimination among insurance providers, reasoning that depression is easy to fake or not easily treatable. As such they often exclude it from their cover.
Depression, a complex mental issue, is often generalised and put in the same category as schizophrenia, with no distinction made for level of severity or previous treatment, leaving hopeful applicants ineligible. Worse, those who have life insurance often find the claim process impossible as they learn too late that it is excluded from their cover. A recent survey made by Mental Health Council of Australia showed that out of 500 respondents suffering from depression, 45% were denied income protection and 35% denied life insurance cover.
The Health Council together with other medical organisations made a Memorandum of Understanding to improve the underwriting and claim process for depression and anxiety. This includes provisions concerning the close monitoring of complaints concerning this sort of discrimination.
Because of the vigilance of organisations like the Mental Health Council of Australia, a lot of progress has been made and people suffering from depression and anxiety can now find life insurance cover despite their illness. Underwriters, wanting to lessen the risk as much as possible, will give you a standard-plus or preferred rating based on the following underwriting standard or basis for those with mental illness.
Taking out insurance if you have a history of depression requires:
Should you be eligible for cover, insurance providers will generally draw up different life insurance terms for you based on their company policy. Possible terms you may be offered include a shorter contract term, higher premiums, or additional exclusions.
You have the right to ask for an explanation of the decision or seek cover from another company if you are unhappy with their rating. As regulations improve, it is becoming easier to find providers more than willing to provide cover for you, however, some requirements will still apply. As more and more insurance providers join in the industry, competition grows so does your opportunity to find cover despite your history of depression.