Bipolar is one of the most common mental illnesses in Australia. Despite the fact that bipolar has affected 1.8% of males and 1.7% of females in the last year, sufferers still have their life insurance applications declined, or only accepted for policies with exorbitant premiums.
Because bipolar affects people from all walks of life, and the severity of symptoms varies greatly from person to person, insurers tend to err on the side of caution and assume the worst when they see a history of bipolar disorder on a life insurance application.
The good news for those with bipolar disorder is that Special Risk Managers understand how to navigate the insurance industry and provide our clients with the life insurance coverage they need, at a price they can afford.
If you want the best possible policy regardless of your mental illness, you can trust Special Risk Managers to match you with the life insurance, trauma insurance, income protection or total permanent disability insurance product best suited to you!
Bipolar Disorder in Australia
Bipolar is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses experienced by young people in Australia. At least 1% of the Australian population will experience bipolar disorder at some point in their lives, and it’s the 9th biggest contributor to disease and injury of Australian women between the ages of 15 and 24, and the 10th for men in that same category.
Causes & Types of Bipolar Disorder
The causes of bipolar disorder are unknown, but some of the major risk factors include:
– Genetic predisposition
– Physiological factors related to birth or gestation complications or abnormal circadian rhythms
– Psychological factors including history of abuse
– Traumatic or stressful life events
There are several types of bipolar, including:
– Bipolar I: Sufferers who have had at least one major episode in their life fall under this category.
– Bipolar II: Those with bipolar symptoms that are exhibited over time (although the manic symptoms never progress into full-blown mania) fall under this category.
– Rapid Cycling: Characterised by four or more episodes every year, this type affects roughly 10%-20% of people with bipolar disorder.
– Mixed Bipolar: Instead of alternating between mania and depression, the moods of people with mixed bipolar exhibit both elevated and depressed symptoms at the same time.
– Cyclothymia: This is the least extreme form of bipolar with milder symptoms than other types.
Because each type of bipolar disorder comes with a unique set of symptoms that vary in severity, what type you are diagnosed with will affect your life insurance options. At Special Risk Managers, we’ll help you determine your options no matter what risk profile your bipolar condition presents.
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Symptoms & Treatment
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness characterised by dramatic and unpredictable mood swings. Its symptoms range from mild to severe and take the form of mania or depression at different times.
– Mania symptoms: excessive happiness, over-excitement, irritability, high energy levels, decreased need for rest, racing thoughts, very high sex drive, and delusions of grandiosity.
– Depression symptoms: sadness and uncontrolled crying, anxiety and fearfulness, irritability, decreased energy, extreme weight loss or weight gain, oversleeping, indecisiveness, suicidal thoughts.
Using a combination of medication and psychological therapies (one-on-one sessions, group therapy, and proper case management) the symptoms of bipolar disorder can be mitigated.
Life Insurance, Trauma Insurance, and Income Protection for Bipolar Disorder
Life Insurance for Bipolar
Historically, the psychological nature of mental illness has meant that it’s difficult for those with bipolar disorder to get adequate life insurance coverage. However, gone are the days when insurers assume that anyone with a mental illness is immediately too great of a risk to insure.
Underwriters still need to gather some basic information about your bipolar disorder circumstance before they can tell you what level of life insurance you’ll have access to. Factors affecting your policy options include:
– How long you’ve had bipolar disorder and what age you were when you were diagnosed
– The type and severity of bipolar you’ve been diagnosed with
– What medication or counselling you’re currently receiving
– Your hospitalisation history
– Whether you’ve attempted suicide or engaged in extremely risky manic behaviour
The way you manage your illness is just as important to underwriters as the severity of your symptoms. If you have your bipolar disorder under control, and can show that you’ve done everything you can to manage your condition, then with our help, you may have a higher likelihood of obtaining competitive rates for life insurance.
A “critical illness” diagnosis could have a greater negative impact on the health of a person who has already been diagnosed with bipolar disorder than on a person who doesn’t suffer from a mental illness.
That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re adequately prepared for any unexpected illness or injury by purchasing trauma insurance.
Trauma insurance is designed to lessen the blow of a serious diagnosis by providing a lump sum benefit to the policy holder. This benefit can cover medical expenses, take care of stressful outstanding debts, or just make taking time off of work to recover more affordable. Trauma insurance can also be paid alongside income protection and TPD payments as well, providing you with maximum coverage.
Income Protection Insurance
Income protection insurance is a must for anyone who suffers from mental health issues and wants to eliminate the stress that comes with not having a financial backup plan.
This type of insurance pays up to 75% of your monthly income to you if doctors say you are unable to work for a period of time that extends beyond your nominate waiting period.
Although Income Protection is difficult to obtain for sufferers of Bipolar, there are instances where it is possible. Stability is the most important factor insurers consider when assessing this and we will need to discuss this with you before offering an indication as to the availability of cover.
Total and Permanent Disability Insurance
Nobody likes to think about worst-case scenarios, but if you already have a mental illness that is aggravated by stress it makes sense to have a plan in place should disability affect you.
With total and permanent disability (TPD) insurance, you’ll be paid a lump sum benefit if doctors decide that you cannot work again.
This payment can make your life easier by taking care of mortgages, medical bills and any changes to your home you may require.
Similar to income protection insurance, TPD insurance is difficult to obtain for those who suffer from Bipolar. There are however some instances where it is possible
Find the Right Cover Today
Do you have bipolar disorder and are struggling to find an insurer that will offer you the coverage you want at a price you can afford?
At Special Risk Managers we believe that everyone should have access to the financial security that life insurance and other insurance products provide, regardless of their mental health. Although it is often not possible, we can assure you that we will exhaust all avenues when trying to secure the cover you require.
We know the insurance industry inside-out, and will use our relationships with insurers and expert knowledge to try and help you achieve a successful application, whether you need life insurance, trauma insurance, income protection insurance, TPD insurance or a combination of these products.
Whether you need advice about the level of coverage you need, how to approach your application, or what you can do to lower your risk profile, we’re here to assist you!
Just call 1300 66 53 56 to speak with one of our friendly life insurance specialists, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a quick response with the information you need to get started on your journey towards life insurance coverage!