Life Insurance for Individuals Taking Antidepressants: What You Need to Know 

Even if you take antidepressants, you can still obtain a high-quality life insurance policy!

14 minute read
Originally published: February 22, 2023

Life insurance and impact of Antidepressants

Life Insurance for Individuals Taking Antidepressants: What You Need to Know 

Even if you take antidepressants, you can still obtain a high-quality life insurance policy!

14 minute read
Originally published: February 22, 2023

Life insurance and impact of Antidepressants

If you’re currently managing depression or anxiety with antidepressants, you may be concerned about how it could impact your ability to qualify for life insurance. Fortunately, most individuals taking antidepressants can obtain traditional life insurance policies at competitive rates. It’s important to understand that depression and anxiety are complex conditions that can have a significant impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Life insurance companies are aware of this and take these factors into account when evaluating your application. However, it’s important to note that not all life insurance providers approach mental health conditions in the same way. That’s why it’s crucial to work with a knowledgeable insurance agent who can assess your individual circumstances and help you find the best coverage options. By taking the time to understand your unique situation, a skilled insurance agent can help you navigate the application process and find the right life insurance policy to meet your needs. So if you’re taking antidepressants and considering life insurance, don’t hesitate to reach out to an experienced professional for guidance.

Case Study: Life Insurance for John, Who Takes Antidepressants

Meet Sarah - Case study with an eating disorder

Background: John is a 42-year-old software engineer who was diagnosed with depression three years ago. He has been taking antidepressants to manage his symptoms since. John is unmarried with no children, but he’s concerned about what would happen to his assets if something were to happen to him. He’s not sure if he can qualify for life insurance while taking antidepressants.

Challenge: John’s depression and antidepressant use are considered pre-existing conditions, which could make it more difficult to obtain life insurance coverage. Additionally, his medication use could be seen as a risk factor by some insurance providers.

Solution: John decided to work with an experienced insurance agent who specializes in helping individuals with pre-existing conditions find the right life insurance policies. The agent carefully evaluated John’s individual situation and helped him navigate the application process.

The agent knew which insurance providers were more likely to consider individuals taking antidepressants for coverage. They also made sure to disclose John’s medication use upfront, along with any other relevant information, to ensure that the insurance company had a complete picture of his health.

After carefully comparing policies and coverage options, John and his agent were able to find a life insurance policy that met his needs and fit his budget. The policy provided him with peace of mind knowing that his assets would be distributed according to his wishes if anything were to happen to him.

Results: John was able to obtain a life insurance policy that covered him for a substantial amount of money at an affordable rate. He was relieved to know that his assets would be protected in case of his death.

The policy gave him peace of mind and allowed him to focus on his career and his personal life. He continues to work with his insurance agent to ensure that his coverage remains adequate as his life circumstances change.

Conclusion: Individuals who are taking antidepressants can still qualify for life insurance coverage. However, it can be challenging to find the right policy without the help of a knowledgeable insurance agent. By working with a professional who understands the unique challenges faced by individuals with pre-existing conditions, individuals can obtain the coverage they need to protect their assets and their loved ones.

One common question we receive from clients who take antidepressants and are looking for life insurance is whether they can qualify for coverage. Those who take antidepressants may face challenges in obtaining life insurance due to their medical condition. Insurers may evaluate various factors such as age, overall health, and the specific type and severity of the condition in determining eligibility and premiums. However, it is possible to obtain coverage with the right provider and by meeting the necessary requirements such as medical examinations or providing additional documentation.

Meet Sarah - Case study with an eating disorder

Overview of Antidepressants

Antidepressants are a class of medications that are primarily used to treat depression and other mood disorders. They work by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which are involved in regulating mood and emotions.

There are several different types of antidepressants, each with its own mechanism of action and potential side effects. These include:

  1. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): These medications work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin, which increases the amount of serotonin available in the brain. Examples of SSRIs include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and escitalopram (Lexapro).
  2. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): These medications work by blocking the reabsorption of both serotonin and norepinephrine, which increases the amount of these neurotransmitters available in the brain. Examples of SNRIs include venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
  3. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs): These medications work by blocking the reabsorption of both serotonin and norepinephrine, but they also have effects on other neurotransmitters. Examples of TCAs include amitriptyline (Elavil) and nortriptyline (Pamelor).
  4. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): These medications work by blocking the enzyme monoamine oxidase, which breaks down neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Examples of MAOIs include phenelzine (Nardil) and tranylcypromine (Parnate).
  5. Atypical antidepressants: These medications do not fit into the above categories and have a variety of mechanisms of action. Examples of atypical antidepressants include bupropion (Wellbutrin) and mirtazapine (Remeron).

Antidepressants can take several weeks to start working, and they may cause side effects such as nausea, dizziness, and sexual dysfunction. They can also interact with other medications and should only be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Can You Obtain Life Insurance While Taking Antidepressants?

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, an estimated 11% of Canadians aged 15 or older have experienced depression at some point in their lives. Additionally, research has found that depression is prevalent in individuals with other health conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.

 Antidepressants are a commonly prescribed treatment for depression in Canada, with approximately 9.6 million prescriptions filled in 2017. However, studies have shown that antidepressants alone may not always be effective in treating depression. Psychotherapy and counseling is often recommended in addition to medication for better outcomes.

 It is important to note that while individuals with a history of depression may face challenges in obtaining life insurance coverage, it is still possible with the help of our experienced insurance agents. Our agents can help navigate the application process and find the right coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions.

What Is the Process of Applying for Life Insurance for Individuals Taking Antidepressants?

Life insurance underwriters in Canada aim to minimize their risk by assessing the likelihood of an applicant passing away during the coverage period. Depression is often associated with other health conditions, such as heart disease and cancer, which can increase the risk of mortality.

 However, not all individuals taking antidepressants are doing so for major depression. Disclosing medical history and answering life insurance questions truthfully may lead to lower premiums and higher coverage amounts.

 Life insurance companies in Canada typically assess the controlled state of an applicant’s condition, how it is being monitored, and their compliance with their doctor’s instructions when reviewing an application that includes antidepressant use. The following are examples of questions which may be asked:

  • What was the diagnosis?
  • When was the diagnosis made?
  • When did the symptoms first appear?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • Have you experienced any suicidal?
  • Do you have any other health conditions?
  • What medications are you taking and at what dosage?
  • How long  have you been taking your medication?
  • Are there any other forms of therapy?
  • How frequently do you visit your doctor?

If the risk from depression is deemed manageable, the applicant may be qualified for a better rating. However, those dealing with depression alongside another medical condition may fall into a lower health classification due to the perceived increased risk from taking multiple medications.

How Antidepressants Can Impact Your Life Insurance Application

 When applying for life insurance and taking antidepressants, there are several factors to consider. Here are seven things you should keep in mind:

  • Type of Antidepressant: Different antidepressants have their own set of benefits and side effects. Your insurance underwriter will want to know the specific type of antidepressant you are taking, the dosage, how often you take it, and when you were first prescribed the medication.
  • Specific Diagnosis: Depression can take different forms, including Major Depressive Disorder (Clinical Depression), Persistent Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Knowing which type of depression you have can help the underwriter better understand your condition and determine your insurability.
  • Symptoms: The underwriter will want to know the symptoms you are experiencing, such as feelings of sadness or hopelessness, irritability, sleep disturbances, lack of energy, weight change, anxiety, slowed thinking or body movements, feelings of guilt, and inability to concentrate. They will also ask if your symptoms affect your ability to function on a daily basis.
  • Hospitalization: If you have been hospitalized for depression or attempted suicide, the underwriter will want to know the outcome of these events.
  • Other Medications: If you are taking other medications in addition to your antidepressant, such as anti-anxiety medications, anticonvulsants, antipsychotics, lithium, or thyroid hormone, the underwriter will want to know about these as well.
  • Other Treatments: Aside from medication, other treatments for depression include counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, behavior therapy, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The underwriter may ask if you are participating in any of these treatments.
  • Other Diagnoses: If you have been diagnosed with other conditions in addition to depression, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, anxiety, arthritis, or multiple sclerosis, the underwriter will want to know.

It’s important to be honest and forthcoming about your medical history when applying for life insurance. The insurance company may request medical records and Attending Physician Statements (APS) to verify the information you provide. By providing accurate information, you can increase your chances of getting the best life insurance rates possible.

What Kind of Ratings Can You Expect for Depression?

If you have mild and controlled depression due to a recent life event, or your depression is generally mild and you are taking only one medication, and your overall health is excellent, you may qualify for the Preferred or Preferred Plus rating. To qualify, you need to see your doctor regularly and stay up to date with your medications or treatments.

For those who were diagnosed with depression soon after experiencing symptoms, and are following a treatment plan, the Standard rating applies. This may include cases where depression or anxiety arose from non-life events and is well-controlled, or if you were hospitalized for your condition.

If you have experienced depression symptoms for at least six months before being diagnosed, you may receive a Mild Substandard rating. This rating typically means paying 50% more than the Standard classification.

Those whose depression greatly affects their quality of life or ability to function may fall under the Medium Substandard rating. Symptoms such as poor mental function and sleep disorders may indicate more severe health conditions. People in this category will usually pay 100% more than those in the Standard category. 

If you experience severe depression symptoms such as suicidal thoughts or loss of appetite for over a year, and are unable to perform daily tasks or go to work, you may fall into the Severe Substandard category. Individuals with this ranking may pay 150% more than people with a Standard rating.

If your symptoms are uncontrolled, unexplained, and greatly affect your daily life, some insurance companies may deny your application because the risk is too great or cannot be classified. Therefore, providing detailed and comprehensive information can improve your chances of getting an appropriate rating.

Life Insurance Options

If you’ve been denied traditional life insurance due to your mental health diagnosis and antidepressant use, don’t worry – there are still options available to you. Here are three types of life insurance policies that you may qualify for:

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance: This type of policy doesn’t require a medical exam or extensive medical questions. While it may come at a higher price point, it offers almost certain approval, making it a great option for individuals with severe or untreated mental illnesses or recent hospitalizations due to self-harm or panic attacks. However, not all life insurance companies offer guaranteed issue life insurance, and the coverage is typically limited to around $50,000.

Simplified Issue Life Insurance: Like guaranteed issue policies, simplified issue policies don’t require a medical exam, but you will still need to answer a few medical questions. This option is suitable for individuals with moderately severe mental illnesses and may provide more coverage than a guaranteed issue policy.

Group Life Insurance: Offered through your employer, group life insurance policies are often more affordable than the other two options but provide minimal coverage. Keep in mind that this coverage is dependent on your employment status, and you will lose it if you leave the company.

It’s essential to compare all your options carefully to find the most suitable coverage for your needs. 

Check out our article on Guaranteed Issue vs Simplified vs Fully Underwritten Life Insurance to learn more about these policies. Remember, having a mental health diagnosis and taking antidepressants does not mean you can’t get life insurance coverage.


Individuals who experience depression or anxiety may face challenges in obtaining life insurance coverage, but it is not impossible. Similar to physical health conditions, the severity of the mental health condition and how well it is managed will impact the rating and premium of the policy.

It is crucial to consider all available options and compare prices to find the most suitable solution. It may be beneficial for some individuals to focus on managing their condition and reapply later, while others may find alternative insurance types more cost-effective. Regardless of the approach, it is important to be transparent about your condition when applying for life insurance.

Remember, even individuals without mental health conditions may experience stress during the application process. Seeking help from a professional can aid in finding the right life insurance policy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Life Insurance While Taking Antidepressants


Yes, you can still get life insurance if you take antidepressants. However, your premiums and coverage may be affected by your medical condition and the severity of your symptoms.

Yes, taking antidepressants may affect your life insurance premiums. The severity of your symptoms, how well they are controlled, and the length of time you have been taking antidepressants may impact your premiums.

Yes, you will need to disclose your antidepressant medication use when applying for life insurance. Failure to do so could result in a denied claim in the event of your death.

Not necessarily. The severity of your symptoms and how well they are controlled will determine whether or not your application is approved. If you have a history of suicidal thoughts or actions, it may be more difficult to get approved for coverage.


It may be more difficult to qualify for a preferred rating if you take antidepressants, but it is possible. Your overall health, medical history, and how well your symptoms are controlled will be considered in the underwriting process.

Having a history of hospitalization for an eating disorder can make it more difficult to get life insurance, but it is possible. The impact on your life insurance premiums and coverage will depend on the severity and duration of your eating disorder, as well as your current health status. It’s important to work with a knowledgeable agent who can help you find a policy that meets your needs.

If your policy has a mental health exclusion, your death may not be covered if it is related to your mental health condition. It is important to read your policy carefully and understand any exclusions or limitations.

If you are having difficulty getting life insurance due to your antidepressant medication use, consider working with an insurance agent who can help you navigate the process and find the right policy for you.

Find a solution for what you’re looking for

Antidepressants are commonly prescribed for people who suffer from mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. If you rely on your income to support yourself and your family, becoming disabled and unable to work can be devastating. Protect Your Wealth can help you get it by guiding you through the process of buying disability insurance and determining whether you may require individual disability insurance coverage.

To schedule a consultation about your income protection goals, or if you have any questions about insurance in Ontario or Canada, please contact Protect Your Wealth or call us at 1-877-654-6119 to talk to an advisor today! We’re proudly based out of Hamilton, and service clients anywhere in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta including areas such as Cambridge, Windsor, Airdrie, and Burnaby.

Talk to an advisor today.

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