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Insurers punish you for having depression

Simon Clark
Jan 20, 2018


People suffering anxiety and depression – including a grieving 7/7 London bombings relative – are being refused life insurance.

Even those with mild mental health conditions or one-off episodes have been turned down.

Others have seen their premiums rocket after attending grief counselling sessions following a death in the family.

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Admitting that depression or anxiety, an episode of suicidal thoughts or self-harming may be on your medical notes means some insurers will penalise you – often adding to financial stress that can make matters worse.

Even where death is not linked to a mental illness insurance companies can deem you a bad bet.

Campaigners have described the findings revealed today as "extremely worrying."

And they say that insurers are basing their policy on an outdated understanding of mental illness.

One refused applicant – a relative of a 2005 London bomb attacks victim – said being turned down was "upsetting and worrying."

"I was never given a specific explanation as to why I had been rejected," she said. "But I have not got any physical health issues.

"I can see it from the perspective of the insurance company – they're not going to want to provide cover for mental health-related issues to someone who has had mental health problems.

"But I was surprised to be rejected for any coverage at all, particularly given my otherwise good health."

Laura Peters, from charity Rethink Mental Illness, said: "What is judged as 'high risk' seems to be based on an increasingly outdated understanding of mental illness.

"This viewpoint is resulting in people being disproportionately penalised for their condition with eye-watering premiums or flat out rejection. Life and health insurance can be a vital safety net."

Insurers have denied they discriminate against those with mental health issues…kind of.

What the insurers say

Royal London instead: "Most mental health conditions are mild or self-limiting, and as a result we are able to offer standard rates to more than 90% of customers who inform us of their condition."

Aviva said: "We do not refuse to offer cover or offer cover on different terms to people with a disability, unless there is statistical evidence the condition presents a higher risk than for someone who does not have a history of the condition."

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