Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

UPDATED: Jun 28, 2022

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Living with post-traumatic stress disorder, commonly known as PTSD, can be difficult. PTSD can cause a range of physical and mental symptoms such as severe anxiety, traumatic flashbacks, and nightmares.

In addition to the ways that PTSD can affect your general health, people are surprised to learn that PTSD will affect your life insurance rates.

Our agency has assisted many veterans, police, and other individuals with PTSD just like you find affordable life insurance coverage. We understand the nuances of PTSD and know which life insurance companies will give you the best deal.

How can PTSD affect your health?

PTSD can be common among civil and military service members but can affect anyone who has been through a traumatic experience. PTSD can affect each person differently and the medical condition can range from mild to severe.

PTSD can be short-lived or last for years after the traumatic event. We are still learning more about PTSD as a condition and how it can affect an individual’s health.

However, some of the most common symptoms associated with PTSD are the following:

  • Severe Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Agitation and Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Traumatic Flashbacks
  • Panic Attacks

PTSD might not necessarily sound life-threatening, but it can take its toll on both a person’s mental health and physical health.

People diagnosed with PTSD have been seen to experience higher risks of suicide and a higher correlation of drug and alcohol abuse after their diagnoses.

This makes underwriting the PTSD condition extremely challenging for life insurance companies.

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Can you still get life insurance?

PTSD can affect your life insurance rates, but it does not automatically exclude you from securing life insurance coverage at an affordable rate.

As with other health conditions, life insurance companies absolutely will factor in your history of PTSD when determining your rates or if you qualify for coverage at all.

This can make securing life insurance coverage for some individuals diagnosed with PTSD challenging and frustrating.

Life insurance companies all evaluate health risks differently and have different opinions on underwriting.

Unfortunately, there are some life insurance companies that will offer higher rates for people diagnosed with PTSD or may even decline someone due to their PTSD condition.

The good news is that there are some life insurance companies that will view PTSD more leniently than others.

If you are looking for a small amount of coverage between $5,000 and $30,000, some life insurance companies may not even ask about it at all.

As a result, it is important to choose the right company to work with at the beginning of the process. People with well-documented mild cases of PTSD can qualify for affordable term life insurance coverage.

While preferred rates are not out of the question for someone diagnosed with a form of mild PTSD, a standard health class is more realistic, which is a health class no worse than that of the general population!

If your PTSD is severe, you could receive a substandard rate or potentially even be declined life insurance coverage due to the risk factors for the insurer.

What will the life insurance company ask you?

The life insurance company will want to know the following:

  • When were you diagnosed with PTSD?
  • What medications do you take for PTSD?
  • Do you regularly see a psychologist or counselor?
  • Have you ever taken time off from work due to your PTSD?
  • Have you ever been hospitalized due to your PTSD?
  • Have you ever contemplated or attempted suicide?

The most important factor that life insurance companies will want to see is that your PTSD is stable and under control. Having regular check-ups with your doctor is a good thing.

The life insurance companies will also like to see that you are a full-functioning member of society and able-bodied with PTSD.

If you are working a regular job and have healthy lifestyle habits, you will increase your chances of receiving a better rate because it demonstrates that your PTSD is manageable.

The life insurance companies will look at your health and lifestyle outside of your PTSD as well. Since there is a correlation between PTSD and alcohol abuse, life insurance companies will be interested in your drinking habits.

They will want to know if you smoke tobacco or use other nicotine products such as chew or dip. Life insurance companies will also want to know if you are using other recreational drugs like marijuana.

The life insurance company will look into what medications you currently are taking or have taken in the past to treat your PTSD condition.

They will evaluate the type and number of medications that you are on in order to gauge the severity of your PTSD.

In addition, the life insurance company will want to see stability in your PTSD. If you were hospitalized within a year due to your PTSD or have either attempted or contemplated suicide, it will be more difficult to get approved for life insurance.

Between 12-24 months, more options will become available, but life insurance companies would ideally like to see no hospitalizations due to your PTSD for over 2 years.

How do you purchase life insurance with PTSD?

The first thing that you need to do is speak with a knowledgeable life insurance agent about your life insurance plan. A veteran independent life insurance agent is used to working with individuals like yourself that have complex medical histories.

An independent life insurance agent can broker multiple life insurance companies and can provide you with honest advice on what life insurance companies view PTSD most leniently.

An agent will ask you brief questions about your health and lifestyle in order to find you the best rate. It is important to provide as much detail regarding your PTSD as you can to help the agent select the right company that fits your needs.

Once the agent has gathered all the necessary information, they can provide you with a quote from the life insurance companies that they believe will give you the best deal.

After the company has been selected and you have a quote, you will need to then formally apply. Most life insurance companies will want you to take a medical exam and will request your medical records in order to evaluate the severity of your PTSD.

Your agent will assist you in scheduling your exam and coordinating the release of your medical records at no cost to you. Once an underwriter has reviewed your application, they will make you their final offer.

The entire process from start to finish takes approximately 4-6 weeks on average.

There are some life insurance companies that will consider qualified applicants with mild well-documented cases of PTSD for term life insurance without the requirement of a medical exam.

However, no-exam term coverage with PTSD is not the norm. If you are looking for a smaller amount of coverage (between $5,000 and $40,000), no-exam life insurance options become more widely available.

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What if you are denied?

In some cases, an individual’s PTSD may be so severe that it will exclude them from purchasing traditional life insurance coverage.

Just because you are denied life insurance coverage today due to your PTSD, does not mean that you can’t apply again in the future if your PTSD stabilizes and/or improves.

In the meantime, if you are denied coverage by a life insurance company, there are alternative solutions available regardless of your health that can offer a limited level of protection for your loved ones while you wait.

Guaranteed issue life insurance can be purchased regardless of your health condition.

Since the life insurance company is not completing any medical underwriting on you whatsoever, most guaranteed issue life insurance policies have a 24-month waiting period where only a limited death benefit will be paid for medically-related deaths (accidental deaths receive the full death benefit from day one).

Another alternative is accidental death coverage. Accidental death coverage protects people from deaths resulting from a bodily injury that happens accidentally.

A common example of accidental death would be an automobile accident. This type of coverage is very affordable since there is no medical underwriting required for accidental death coverage.

It is a great solution for people who otherwise are unable to purchase life insurance due to their PTSD.

Life Insurance and PTSD: The Bottom Line

PTSD can come from being in the military, law enforcement, or any traumatic experience, and unfortunately, it does affect your life insurance rates, but it does not automatically exclude you from coverage. There are certain life insurance companies that will view PTSD more favorably than others.

Individuals with mild, well-documented cases of post-traumatic stress disorder can secure affordable life insurance coverage for their condition.

For people with more severe forms of PTSD, there are alternative insurance solutions available in the form of guaranteed issue life insurance or accidental death coverage.

The trick is it is important to work with an independent life insurance agent who is familiar with the nuances of underwriting PTSD, and who can broker multiple companies to find you the best deal. This will alleviate any additional stress for you and your family, and help you find peace of mind with the right insurance coverage.

If you find yourself having trouble securing life insurance coverage for your family due to a history of PTSD, please give us a call or fill out a quote request today!