One of the biggest concerns involved with insuring a client suffering from depression is the possibility of suicide. As stated above, though, there are a number of other medical issues that could arise, all of which could result in costly treatments or even premature death.
There are a number of damaging lifestyle habits that can accompany depression, such as lack of exercise, substance abuse, a bad diet, lack of sleep and an aversion to social interaction. Any number of these could be considered problems in themselves, but when combined, they create a particularly volatile hazard to insurers.
As a result, it’s commonly assumed that life insurance companies will charge greater premiums in order to cover the risks involved. They will look at the frequency of depressive bouts in your past, whether or not you have ever attempted to commit suicide, any medication you may be using, etc.
As it is with any other threatening illness, the insurer looks at how effectively the condition is being controlled. The better the control and the better your overall health, the lower your premiums will be.
It certainly doesn’t hurt to take action before applying for insurance. This could include seeking psychological treatment, following a healthy diet, exercising, getting the proper amount of sleep and getting checked out by a doctor as frequently as possible.
There are many long-term insurers in South Africa, and it’s true that some of them may choose to avoid depression as a risk factor in its entirety. Fortunately enough, others have recognised the problem for what it is and have taken a positive stance.
We asked a few of them some difficult questions, and this is what we learnt…