Life Insurance For Bipolar Disorder: The Definitive Guide

Have you found that life insurance for bipolar disorder can make it harder to obtain affordable life insurance coverage. Why? Sad to say…but because of statistics primarily. However, it does not mean that you are uninsurable or can’t get a good policy. We obtain offers of affordable life insurance for people with a bipolar disorder diagnosis regularly.

If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness such as bipolar, finding a very experienced, independent life insurance broker is going to be a very important step to reaching your goals. Stop calling insurance companies trying to find one who might cover you. This is how you end up with declines in your MIB report (Medical Information Bureau). Getting declined is something to avoid as it can make it harder to purchase optimal insurance. Sadly, many life insurance companies will not approve someone who has a mental disorder particularly with maniac an/or depressive symptoms that may be present. Your seasoned advisor should have special carriers that they work with to get you the best offer under your personal situation.

In this article, our bipolar life insurance bible so to speaker we are going to give you what you need to know about applying for a life insurance policy with any bipolar disorder diagnois. We’ll discuss:

  • What life insurance companies will ask you in the application stage
  • What the possible decision could be
  • What might happen if there are other preexisting conditions in your life in addition to any mental disorder

So What Is Bipolar Disorder From an Insurance Company’s Viewpoint

All life insurance companies will view Bipolar disorder as a mood dysfunction caused by an imbalance of the different neurotransmitters in the affected individuals brain. Causing manic depression, it presents itself through strong to severe mood swings, typically lasting days to even months per episode. Most people diagnosed with bipolar disorder can have extreme “highs” and extreme “lows.” This disorder is triggered by a number of factors which are beyond the scope of this article.

Bipolar disorder can have mild to major impact on the life of the individual who has it. Typically diagnosed by a medical doctor (MD), it is also a treatable condition through medication and counseling. With treatment, it is very possible for most to manage the bipolar disorder over the course of time.

For the most part, the life insurance companies that will offer you life insurance with bipolar disorder will be looking at the “bipolar type” you have been diagnosed with specifically.

  • Bipolar 1 Experienced a manic type episode or more which required hospitalization. Had a psychotic event such as schizophrenia. There may or may not have been a depressive episode included.
  • Bipolar 2 Mild to moderate episodes of mania sometime mixed with deep depression

Now there are a couple other classications not mentioned here that we will not get into in this article. Bipolar 1 is going to be the hardest to insure. Only a very small number of life insurers will be able to offer coverage to you.

You want to be working with bipolar life insurance companies that classify applicants into Bipolar 1 or Bipolar 2 which are rated differently. These carriers know the difference between these catagories and have a greater depth of information allowing them to make a more aggressive offer to you. While there are other companies that do consider applicants with a bipolar disorder diagnosis, these companies may not be a good choice because they lump all applicants into Bipolar catagory 1.


These particular carriers lack the experience or depth of knowledge regarding the disorder. As a result, they will put you into a higher rate class because they are unsure about your specific situation. This results in a higher cost for the insurance.

Be sure you are working with a real good independent broker who knows his/her stuff. Picking the right carrier and policy to apply for is paramount.

Applying for Life Insurance With A Bipolar Diagnosis

For the most affordable life insurance for people with a bipolar history, you are going to be required to answer some health history questions.

Could you be declined? Yes.

To avoid this, be clear and do not sugarcoat anything. Any insurance company underwriter will be pulling your medical records if you request formal application for life insurance.

Now, there is a way around medical questions if you are thinking about permanent, whole life insurance specifically but that won’t necessarily be the ideal solution for everyone who is reading this article today. This is called guaranteed issue whole life insurance. It can also be more expensive per thousand dollars of coverage and will limit the amount of coverage you can buy.

If you are searching for temporary, term life insurance for a defined number of years than health questions are part of any and all policy applications. Term life insurance is harder to qualify for regardless of having a mental disorder or not.

The following are the general parts of a bipolar life insurance application you must answer:

  • Birthdate
  • Male or Female
  • Tobacco Use
  • Carrier specific health history questionaire
  • Any high risk hobbies/career
  • Driving Record
  • Drug and Alcohol history
  • Any criminal history

Any bipolar or mood disorder medical diagnosis will be questioned during the general health history questions you must answer. This is where you provide as much information as you can to the agent/broker or insurance company interviewer who you are working with regarding any and all diagnosis’, the medications you have been prescribed, when they started and/or other treatments you have had.

Depending upon the policy applied for, the life insurance company may order an APS (Attending Physicians Statement) directly from your doctor. This is normal and part of the underwriting process unless you apply for a no exam whole life insurance policy. The APS is used to confirm the mildness or severity of your mental health diagnosis to the insurer.

The answer to the application questions may also cause other “reflexive” questions. This is to better understand your situation. Remember, the more the insurance company understands, the more likely a good offer will be. If they are not sure, you will be rated up or declined.

What Else Will The Life Insurance Company Ask With a History of Mental Health Struggles?

What is the medical diagnosis and when were you first diagnosed with this condition?

Were you prescribed any medications at all?

Have any of the medications prescribed been changed and if so when?

How often do you see your doctor for followup?

What symptoms have you experienced personally?

Have you had to take time off from work or school because of your mental health at all? Are you on Medicare Disability due to mental health struggles?

Has bipolar disorder required you to be hospitalized ever?

Has the treatment prescribed kept you stable? When was your last episode?

Does Bipolar Life Insurance Pay For Suicide

Life insurance companies get nervous around mental disorders as a general rule. Why is this? Sad to say but someone living with this type of condition is more likely to end their life thru suicide than other applicants not diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Regardless of the company issuing the life insurance for bipolar disorder patients, during the first 2 years of ownership, they will not pay for the death of the insured individual if they take their own life. Any and all insurance companies insert a clause into the policy stating this even if you have “perfect” health. The clause is written in all life insurance policies regardless of the diagnosis.

Why do they do this?

This is to reduce the financial incentives to actually take your life. Not having such a clause would raise insurance premiums dramatically particularily to those people with a mental disorder since they are more likely to have suicidal thoughts/tendencies.

In some situations, the insurance company may make an offer that excludes coverage for suicide permanently. In that case, regardless of age, the insurer would deny the policy beneficiary any death benefits even if the 2 year clause expired. Yes, this would all be in writing from your insurance company if they “modify” the policy and make a conditional offer. The policy owner would have the option to accept the amended terms or not.

Bipolar life insurance is designed to protect the insureds “financial value” if a he or she dies either by natural means such as cancer, heart attack, stroke etc. or by accidental means such as a car wreak. Suicide is neither.

While this seems very cold, insurance is about statistics and perceived risk to the insurance company. Try not to take it personal. A person just diagnosed with pancreatic cancer who just decided they want life insurance is now a very high risk to any life insurance company. Because the ficticious individual is very high risk, he or she can only be covered by a guaranteed acceptance policy due to the “perceived risk.” This also means there will be a 2 year waiting period for full benefits and elevated premiums on top of that. Again, that may seem “cold” but insurance companies must take all risks factors into account to ensure their ability to pay claims out to the beneficiaries of the policies.

Does Bipolar Stop You From Having Life Insurance?

No. However, you can expect to have difficulty getting coverage without a seasoned professional to consult with. A large number of insurers will decline applicants with the disorder. A good, licensed broker will do a needs analysis then discuss your overall health history to sort out which company and policy would be most reasonable to make application to. We always have options here at Maple Valley Insurance Group, even for those who have been declined previously.

How Can You Obtain Life Insurance With a Bipolar Diagnosis – The Wrap Up

Many people who reach out to us regarding bipolar life insurance have been told they can’t get coverage one way or another. This simpy isn’t true. Different insurance companies often have specialities or niches where they excel. Don’t expect to walk into a corner insurance agency and find a real life insurance expert. These are home and auto agencies and don’t have extensive medical underwriting knowledge of bipolar disorder, the industry contacts or flexibility to find the right life insurance policy to meet your needs and budget. You will need to utilize a licensed insurance advisor/broker. This does not cost you anything. Since the vast majority of life insurance companies cannot sell to a consumer due to state law requirements, look for a seasoned and independent life insurance broker who regularly works with high risk life insurance cases. He or she should have access to dozens of life insurance carriers, some of whom will accept your predicament. Why waste days and hours of your time only to be frustrated with dead end results or a decline? I’d like to think we are one of the best brokers out there for people with health conditions. If you have a personal question, need advice/help, we’ll be here. Phone: 269-244-3420

As always, feel free to comment below.

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