Mental health conditions are a wide range of disorders that can affect a person's behaviour, mood and thinking. But what does this mean for someone with a mental health condition who wants to take out life cover? Can they get life cover from an insurer?
The impact of mental illness on your health
There are 17 million South Africans that are suffering from mental health illnesses that impact their health. Mental health illnesses include depression, addiction, bipolar disorder, post-natal depression, self-harm, eating disorders and many more illnesses that can impact the quality of life of a person. Receiving medical and professional help can help improve and, in some cases, help a person recover from their mental health illness making it possible for a person with mental health illness to receive cover.
Why the underwriting process is important?
Everyone who is looking to take out life insurance is taken through an underwriting process where they will be asked a range of questions that concern their health, lifestyle, occupation and medical history. You will also be asked if you have a pre-existing condition which is a condition that is either mental or physical that you already have at the time you apply for insurance. Telling your insurer about any conditions you may have had and ones that are currently in existence helps with the underwriting process. It also helps insurers assess if they will be able to give you cover.
What will you need when taking out life cover?
Knowing what information, you will need makes the process smoother. Having the relevant medical documents from a medical professional that gives the diagnosis, the date and any symptoms you may have experienced or still experience is vital. This information will be kept confidential during this process. Other insurers may ask you to disclose between 2-5 years of any incidents that may have impacted your life or affected your work to see if they can offer you the cover you need.
Self-inflicted harm can affect your policy
While mental health illnesses range from mild to severe, there are instances where someone can be driven to self-harm. Life insurance policies come with exclusions which list self-harm deaths or suicide as one that will not be processed. However, should this occur after 24 months of taking out a policy, an insurer is required to approve a claim.
It's important to remember that insurers differ and each person who applies for life cover is treated differently from the next person based on their circumstances to ensure that everyone is treated fairly. Understanding what it means to have exclusion and loadings added to your policy means to get a better understanding of your policy. Always keep in mind that you can ask your insurer to explain any terms that you do not understand to make sure that you know what you are paying for.