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Can I claim income protection?

Can I claim on income protection if I have depression?

Thousands of people in the UK are diagnosed with depression every year and, thanks to a greater awareness of the mental health condition, it is now accepted as a serious illness.

In addition, society is increasingly recognising the struggles that an individual faces when dealing with this debilitating disease, whether they are suffering with short-term depression (which can range from weeks to months) or depression which lasts a lifetime (often being triggered during certain life events).

Not only that, society is now beginning to understand that cases of depression can have a devastating effect on a person’s life. Normal, everyday tasks can become a problem for many, which in turn, can affect things like their social life, family life and career.

As awareness for depression grows, the insurance industry are doing more and more to help those who are suffering with depression - ensuring they are treated fairly whilst also designing insurance products which benefit everyone, irrespective of personal, professional, physical and emotional conditions.

As many sufferers of depression often struggle with maintaining a work-life balance, the fear of losing their job and much-needed income only serves to exacerbate the situation. This is where income protection insurance can help.

Traditionally, an income protection policy will pay out if you are unable to work for a defined period of time because of illness, injury or even involuntary redundancy. This can provide great peace of mind as you know that, if you were to lose your income, you would not be struggling to pay your bills.

However if you lose your job or have to take a long leave of absence because of depression, will you still be covered by an income protection policy?

There are now many income protection insurance providers who are extending their existing policies to make them more accessible for those who have a history of depression. However, not all insurers are offering this, and many still remain cautious about mental health issues and therefore turn down potential policyholders.

It is worth noting that those who do offer income protection policies for people who suffer (or have suffered in the past) with depression may increase their premiums, the average being around a 5% increase. Though if an individual discloses an episode of depression which was several years ago, chances are their premium rate won’t be affected.
Similarly, both pre and post-natal depression are viewed more favourably and if these were to be disclosed to an insurer, ordinary premium rates would apply.

When taking out some of the most important insurance policies (life, critical illness, travel and income protection), there is a requirement to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions, along with your current health status. This is so that the insurance company can determine whether there are any aspects of your health that could be a cause for concern, which would then help them decide whether you would be offered a policy or not.

Income protection insurers have always viewed mental health conditions (including depression) as some of the most probable causes for claims on these types of policy, which is why many people may have been turned down for an insurance policy.

However, the Disability Discrimination Act states that it is illegal for insurance companies to turn down a potential policyholder unless they can prove that there are increased risks due to mental health conditions – which is why insurers are now carrying out a risk assessment on those planning on taking out a policy. After undertaking a risk assessment, insurance companies then have the right to refuse cover, or to increase the premium for that individual.

To find out more, read’s full guide on income protection for people with depression.

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