Life Insurance for People with Bipolar Disorder

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states 4.4% of all American adults will receive a bipolar diagnosis at some point in their lives.

This may seem like a small group of people until you actually do the math. NIMH’s statistics mean more than 10 million Americans live with a bipolar diagnosis.

Each of these individuals still needs a life insurance policy to safeguard their families from any future financial jeopardy.

Are you one of the 10 Million adults that have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder?

Are you concerned you won’t be able to buy life insurance coverage because of your bipolar diagnosis?

We are here to assure you that life insurance for people with bipolar disorder isn’t unattainable. You can secure life coverage even with mental illness. Let’s review everything you need to know about buying a life insurance plan despite dealing with mental illness.

Before we dive further into life insurance for people with bipolar disorder, let’s take a second to review what will be discussed in this article:

What you will learn in this article (click to go to section):

What Is Bipolar Disorder?

Mayo Clinic defines bipolar disorder as a mental health illness which causes extreme mood swings, including emotional highs (manic or hypomanic) and emotional lows (depression). Bipolar disorder was previously known as manic depression.

Most people with bipolar disorder are diagnosed as a teenager or in their 20’s but bipolar can affect individuals of all ages. The specific cause of bipolar disorder is unknown. There are various theories about the cause such as genetics but no definitive answers.

There are two distinct types of bipolar disorder, bipolar I and bipolar II.

Those individuals with bipolar I disorder have more intense and dangerous manic episodes. On the other hand, those individuals with bipolar II are usually depressed for long periods of time.

Factors that may increase one’s chances of developing bipolar disorder or triggering the first bipolar episode include:

  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Having a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, with bipolar disorder
  • Periods of high stress, such as a traumatic event. Examples are the death of a  loved one or being the victim of a crime

Life Insurance Applications for People with Bipolar Disorder

The application process for a life insurance policy can take a few days or a few weeks. The type of life insurance coverage you are applying for, as well as the information you provide during the application process, will directly impact this timeline.

Below we’ll walk you through the application process so you can prepare for the process.

Basic Application Information

Medical underwriters will review most facets of your life to determine your insurability. The underwriter will assess the following facts, as well as your bipolar diagnosis and treatment plan:

Each of these details puts your risk of dying prematurely into better perspective. In turn, this allows the life insurer to adequately assess your rating and assign a corresponding premium.

What Do Life Insurance Companies Look for in People with Bipolar Disorder?

As far as your bipolar disorder, the life insurance company will want to know specifics such as:


Is your bipolar disorder classified as mild, moderate or severe?

Date of Diagnosis 

The more recent your diagnosis then the higher your risk as a life insurance applicant. Some life insurance companies may postpone or hold your application if you were diagnosed recently.

It does not mean you are declined.

Postponing the application will mean the medical underwriter is waiting to see how successful your treatment plan will be.

Treatment Plan 

Underwriting will want to be sure you are compliant with your treatment plan, including taking the prescribed medications and attending regular mental health visits. Additional things such as participating in bipolar support groups, following a healthy diet, and regularly exercising are all beneficial.

Overall, insurance companies prefer to see your treatment plan is controlling your disorder. The companies like to see that your treatment has been shown to control your disorder for a period of one year or more.


The prescription drugs you are taking can be very telling to an underwriter. For example, certain prescriptions with varying doses can signal to the underwriter that your bipolar disorder is not stable.

Hospitalization Specific to Bipolar Disorder

If you have not been hospitalized because of your bipolar disorder within the last 2-3 years then you should be approved. If you have been hospitalized recently your rating may be lower or you could be declined altogether.

Suicide Attempts 

Same as hospitalizations, insurance companies look more favorably upon applicants that have not attempted suicide or did so 2 or more years ago.  

Employment Status 

Medical underwriters review every applicant employment status. This is usually to determine if the applicant has a risky job such as firefighter or pilot.

However, for those with bipolar disorder, the underwriter is actually looking to see if you are able to maintain a full-time job. If so, this can signal that your bipolar disorder is under control. 

On the other hand, if you are disabled because of your illness then the medical underwriter may put you into a riskier rating class. The underwriter will do so because your bipolar disorder is most likely severe and impacts your life quite a bit. This means higher premiums for you.

History of Substance Abuse 

Many people with bipolar disorder have a history of drugs and/or alcohol abuse. This is usually because the individual is using substances to “treat” their illness. So someone with a past history of substance abuse (and bipolar disorder) is considered very high risk.

getting approved for life insurance if you have bipolar disorder

Tips for Life Insurance Applicants with Bipolar Disorder

Work with an Independent Agent

First, it’s best to work with an independent insurance agent that specializes in high-risk cases such as yours. An independent insurance agent will know all the best insurance companies for your situation.

They can also work directly with the medical underwriter on your behalf. For example, the agent will provide the underwriter with proof of your treatment plan compliance and make a grand effort to get you the best outcome possible.

Be honest in the application process

Second, it is always in your best interest to be open and honest. Being forthcoming with your life insurance agent and the medical underwriter will only serve to expedite the application process.

Plus, trying to hide any information from the medical underwriter will most likely fail. Underwriters cross-reference what you tell them with other documentation such as medical records and prescription history.

It is the job of the medical underwriter to determine your overall mortality risk and assign you a corresponding rating. This rating will directly impact the premium you will be charged for the coverage.

How Do Life Insurance Ratings Work for People with Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a serious illness that can have a critical impact on a person’s life. For example, those with bipolar disorder have higher rates of substance abuse and suicide.  

In fact, Sharecare reports those with bipolar disorder are 20 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. This is why life insurers are cautious and meticulous when dealing with bipolar applicants.

Ratings for People with Bipolar Disorder

Once the medical underwriter completes the application review process, they will then assign you a class rating. After much review, we’ve found most life insurers will classify those with bipolar disorder in the below manner.

Of course, your insurance agent will be able to further clarify how a particular insurance company generally classifies other cases similar to your own.  

Mild Bipolar 

Your condition is under control. You take a single low dose antidepressant. You currently work and have an active social life with no record of attempted suicides or hospitalizations. In this scenario, you may expect anywhere from a Standard rate class to a Substandard rating.

If you have recovered from a mild bipolar diagnosis and have no prescribed medication to take at this time then you could qualify for a preferred rate class.  

Moderate Bipolar 

No more than 30 days of missed work, no hospitalizations or suicide attempts within the past 24 months, and positive response to a treatment plan. If you are a moderate bipolar then you may expect a Substandard rate class. If the medical underwriter feels you are borderline mild then you may expect a better rating category.

Severe Bipolar 

Unceasing bipolar episodes, more than 30 days of missed work or total disability, multiple hospitalizations, any suicide attempts in the past 24 months, and taking high strength medications. With severe bipolar, you may receive a Substandard table rating or a flat decline.

Remember your rate class is not based strictly on your bipolar disorder. There are many other influences on your rate class, including tobacco use and secondary health issues. The more you try to control those other factors then the better your rate will be.

Life Insurance Premiums for People with Bipolar Disorder

Below you will find examples of life insurance rates for both term policies and permanent life policies. These examples will give you a general idea of how much life insurance can cost.

As you’ll see, the sooner you purchase life insurance, the better off your pocketbook will be. As we age our insurance rates increase – whether you have a health issue or not. This is simply because your mortality rate increases the older you become.  

Term Life Insurance Rates for People with Bipolar Disorder

Case 1: Male, Non-Smoker, “Standard” Rating, 20 Year Term Policy

Age $250,000 Face Amount $500,000 Face Amount
25  $22 $37
35  $23 $39
45 $51 $93
55  $122 $233
65  $382 $748

Case 2: Female, Non-Smoker, “Standard” Rating, 20 Year Term Policy

Age $250,000 Face Amount $500,000 Face Amount
25  $19 $31
35  $21 $36
45  $40 $73
55  $85 $160
65  $247 $476

Permanent Whole Life Insurance Rates for People with Bipolar Disorder

Case 3: Male, Non-Smoker, “Standard” Rating, Whole Life Insurance Policy

Age $250,000 Face Amount $500,000 Face Amount
25  $92 $183
35  $132 $263
45  $207 $413
55  $315 $630
65  $533 $1,066

Case 5: Female, Non-Smoker, “Standard ” Rating, Whole Life Insurance Policy

Age $250,000 Face Amount $500,000 Face Amount
25 $83 $160
35 $116 $229
45 $165 $329
55 $255 $510
65 $433 $866

Remember, guaranteed life insurance is for those individuals that wish to bypass medical underwriting altogether. This sounds great to most people, especially those with pre-existing conditions like yourself.

However, you will pay on average about 10% to 40% more than a term or permanent policy. This is because the life insurance company is taking a huge risk by insuring your life without knowing any specifics.

Best Insurance Companies for People with Bipolar Disorder

There are hundreds of life insurance companies to pick from and many will insure people with bipolar disorder. An independent life insurance agent will be able to narrow down which life insurance company is going to be best for you.

These are a few of the best insurance companies for people with bipolar disorder, as well as other pre-existing conditions:

Company A.M. Best Rating Customer Satisfaction
AIG  A 4.1 / 5.0
American National A 4.0 / 5.0
Mutual of Omaha A+ 4.2/ 5.0
Transamerica A+ 4.2 / 5.0
Lincoln National A+ 4.1 / 5.0

How to Find the Best Life Insurance for People with Bipolar Disorder

When it comes down to it, life insurance is very important for building a financial safety net for your family in times of need.

Finding affordable life insurance with bipolar disorder is not a difficult task if you know what life insurance companies are looking for, and if you know which companies to go to in order to find the best life insurance rates for people with bipolar.independent life insurance agents helping to secure affordable life insurance coverage

The best thing you can do to ensure that you find the best rates for your coverage is to work with an independent life insurance agent who represents dozens of the best life insurance companies on the market.

Life insurance is what we do. All-day, all night. We pride ourselves on our ability to help our clients find the best policies, rates, and companies for their individual needs.

Give us a call today and speak with a dedicated independent agent who can help you find the best coverage for you and your family.

Or, get started easily comparing life insurance for people with bipolar disorder with our online life insurance rates tool, for quick and easy life insurance rates.


  • Ty Stewart

    Ty Stewart is a founder and contributor of He started researching and studying about life insurance when he got his first policy for his own family. He has been featured as a life insurance expert speaker at agent conventions and in top publications. As an independent licensed life insurance agent he has helped clients nationwide to secure affordable coverage while making the process simple. Stewart Ty
  • Bennett Bier

    I’m Bennett Bier, owner, author and fact checker of Simple Life Insure. I believe working with a small independent broker offers consumers more personal attention and superior customer service. As an independent agent licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia I have access to many of the top A+ rated life insurance carriers. This lets me locate a plan that you will qualify for while saving you money at the same time. Over the years I have mastered the art of underwriting, getting approvals even for my highest risk clients. I’m also likely the person that will answer the phone when you call. Bier Bennett