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Life Insurance with Anxiety in Canada: The Definitive Guide

Life Insurance with Anxiety in Canada
Life Insurance with Anxiety in Canada

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions in Canada, of which the prevalence has risen from 2.6% in 2012 to 5.2% in 2022


As awareness and open discussion around mental health continue to grow, more Canadians are seeking treatment and receiving clinical diagnoses for anxiety.

For those living with anxiety who want to protect their families’ financial future with life insurance, this prevalent condition raises essential questions. How will anxiety affect your eligibility for coverage and the policy rates you’ll pay? What details will insurers want to know about your diagnosis and treatment?

This guide provides definitive, up-to-date answers to these questions. You’ll get insider insights from veteran insurance advisors on navigating the underwriting process, finding affordable rates, and securing the optimal life insurance with anxiety.

Impact of Anxiety on Life Insurance in Canada

In the life insurance application process, underwriters consider anxiety a risk factor influencing the terms and rates offered. Here’s a detailed look at how your anxiety diagnosis may affect your eligibility and premiums:

Type and Severity of Anxiety

Not all types of anxiety pose the same level of risk in the view of life insurance companies. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), characterized by chronic worry, is often seen as more favourable than severe panic disorder, PTSD or OCD with repetitive rituals and intrusive thoughts.

Additionally, the frequency and intensity of your anxiety symptoms also play a role. Mild anxiety that occurs infrequently and is well-managed is perceived as a lower risk compared to severe anxiety with daily panic attacks resulting in ER visits and hospitalizations.

While precise statistics on anxiety and life insurance are not readily published, general guidelines based on industry expertise can provide an approximate idea of how anxiety may impact life insurance eligibility and premiums in Canada. According to Equitable Life, one of Canada’s largest mutual life insurance companies:

  • Mild anxiety that is well-controlled through treatment may have little effect on premiums. Applicants may still qualify for a standard rate.
  • Moderate anxiety, with intermittent flare-ups but generally consistent ongoing treatment, commonly results in rated premiums up to 150% higher than standard rates.
  • For severe, poorly controlled anxiety with hospitalizations, disability leaves from work, and high suicide risk, applicants may face rated premiums 150-200% or more above standard rates, if approved at all.
  • Approved coverage amounts also diminish based on anxiety severity. Over $1 million may be possible for mild cases, whereas severe anxiety may max out at $250k-$500k.


Every individual’s case is unique, so it is highly recommended that you work with an experienced life insurance agent or broker to understand the implications specific to your health history and get accurate quotes from multiple insurers.

Treatment History

Life insurance companies favour proactive treatment efforts like therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes to manage anxiety. Regular care from a psychiatrist or psychologist and a stable, long-term treatment regimen demonstrate to underwriters that you are actively committed to keeping your condition under control and minimizing risks.

Conversely, spotty treatment history with frequent changes in medications and therapists may indicate your anxiety is not well-controlled – a red flag for insurers that can prompt higher premiums.

Suicide Risk

A significant area of concern for underwriters in anxiety cases is the correlation between severe anxiety and increased risk of suicide attempts and completion. Hospitalizations related to suicidality or past suicide attempts will be very closely scrutinized. Suicide attempt will likely lead to coverage offers at a much higher rate if approved or even declined.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, suicide claims the lives of approximately 4,500 Canadians per year, and is the 2nd most common cause of death among young adults in the country (source:

Honest Disclosure

When applying for life insurance, it is critically important to disclose any diagnosis of or treatment for anxiety disorders fully. Failing to disclose medical information can void your policy, resulting in denied claims. Life insurance companies will require access to your clinical records and medical history so any inconsistencies or omissions will be detected.

Always err on the side of full transparency about your anxiety history and treatment to avoid issues down the line.

Questionnaires During Underwriting of Life Insurance with Anxiety

Questionnaires During Underwriting of Life Insurance with Anxiety
Questionnaires During Underwriting of Life Insurance with Anxiety

When applying for life insurance coverage with a documented history of anxiety, you should expect to go through additional screening beyond the standard health and medical questions. Here are some of the specific details insurers are likely to request:

Date of Initial Diagnosis

  • When were you first clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder by a mental health professional?

Insurers are interested in the longevity of your condition. Long-term anxiety that has been managed for many years is perceived as lower risk than a recent first-time diagnosis where the implications are less specific.

Specific Anxiety Disorders Diagnosed

  • What specific anxiety disorder(s) have you been diagnosed with by a psychiatrist, psychologist or doctor? For example – generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety, phobias, etc.

It’s essential to be specific about your type of anxiety, as insurers consider different disorders to represent different levels of risk. Share any clinical assessments or testing that led to your diagnosis.

Medications and Treatment

  • What medications have you been prescribed for your anxiety? Include dosages and periods.
  • Are you currently in psychotherapy or counselling? How often? Start date?
  • Have you ever been hospitalized for issues related to your anxiety? How many times and dates?
  • Have you had to take disability leave or time off work related to your mental health?

Thoroughly documenting your treatment history provides visible proof to underwriters that your anxiety is being managed and controlled.

Suicide Risk Factors

  • Have you ever attempted suicide or intentionally harmed yourself? When?
  • Have you experienced persistent suicidal thoughts or suicide ideation?
  • Have you undergone intensive inpatient treatment related to suicidality?

Insurers are highly cautious of elevated suicide risk, so expect additional questions in this area if you have any history.

Answering questions about your mental health history completely and truthfully is crucial for your application. Incomplete or evasive responses may delay approval or jeopardize your eligibility for coverage.

Types of Life Insurance with Anxiety for Canadians

While having anxiety or an anxiety disorder diagnosis makes the application process more complex, you can still qualify for different types of life insurance policies in most cases.

Traditional Individual Term Life Insurance

For those whose anxiety is mild to moderate and well-managed through treatment, obtaining traditional 10- or 20-year individual term life policies directly from insurers like Sunlife, Canada Life, RBC Insurance, etc., is quite feasible.

You can expect to be asked additional questions about your condition and may fall into a substandard rate class, resulting in premiums 25-75% higher than the standard market rates. However, coverage approval at reasonable rates is very common.

Read more : What is Term Life Insurance ?

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance policies that offer lifelong coverage and cash value savings components may also be viable for anxious Canadians.

Suppose your anxiety symptoms are moderate but controlled with ongoing treatment. In that case, insurers may approve a permanent life policy but charge premium rates 50% to 100% higher than average due to your higher risk status.

Guaranteed universal life and whole life products can provide long-term stability and value for those who qualify and handle the increased costs.

Read more : What is permanent life insurance ?

Simplified Issue Life Insurance

For individuals who are reluctant to disclose their anxiety diagnoses and treatment history, simplified issue life insurance products available through insurers may be an alternative.

These policies involve minimal medical questions and no lab tests or exams. You may obtain term life insurance this way, though maximum coverage amounts are lower and premiums substantially higher than traditional policies.

Group Life Insurance

Purchasing employer-sponsored group life insurance benefits at work is another potential option if anxiety makes it difficult for you to qualify for individual policies.

Many group life plans only require brief health questionnaires and do not request detailed medical records or exam results. This allows those with pre-existing conditions to obtain cost-effective coverage with no Anxiety-related exclusions or surcharges.

Talk to your employer’s benefits manager about your group life participation options.

Optimizing Your Application for Life Insurance with Anxiety

Optimizing Your Application for Life Insurance with Anxiety
life buzz quote in canada new 8 1
Optimizing Your Application for Life Insurance with Anxiety

Canadians with anxiety applying for life insurance coverage can employ various strategies to improve their chances of approval at affordable rates:

Compare Quotes From At Least 5 Insurers

Each life insurance company has its proprietary underwriting guidelines, and how your anxiety is assessed at one insurer may differ significantly from another.

Applying with at least five insurers enhances your odds of receiving your most favourable underwriting classification and premium rates. It is highly recommended that you work with an experienced independent broker who can instantly shop your case.

Gather Comprehensive Medical Documentation

Providing clinical records clearly showing your anxiety diagnosis details, adequate long-term treatment history, medication compliance, and stability over time helps justify lower risk ratings to insurers.

Having your psychiatrist or therapist draft a letter validating your condition management is also looked upon positively.

Maintain Overall Physical Health

Apart from your anxiety treatment, prioritize your broader physical health with regular medical checkups, a healthy diet, and exercise. This responsible approach to wellness can offset some of the risk factors of anxiety in an insurer’s evaluation.

Also, document any positive lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, lowering cholesterol, losing excess weight, etc.

Inform the Insurer If Anxiety Improves

Let your life insurance company know if you experience significant improvements in your anxiety symptoms and management over the years.

Reduced medication levels, less frequent therapy, or a change in diagnosis severity due to treatment response may qualify you for reduced premium rates on a policy in force.

Work With Specialist Independent Brokers

Partnering with an independent brokerage that has specific expertise with anxiety, mental health conditions, and higher-risk life insurance cases can make a tremendous difference.

These specialists have extensive experience navigating the underwriting process with numerous insurers and can guide you to the most anxiety-friendly options.

Cost of Life Insurance with Anxiety in Canada

Cost of Life Insurance with Anxiety in Canada
Cost of Life Insurance with Anxiety in Canada

On average, Canadians with anxiety can expect to pay higher life insurance premiums of 25% or more compared to applicants without disclosed mental health conditions, depending on the severity of their anxiety.

The table below shows sample annual premiums paid for $500,000 of 20-year term life coverage for a 40-year-old male:

Policy TypeSample Annual Premium
Mild Anxiety$787-$1260 (+25% to 100% increase)
Moderate Anxiety$1575 (+150% increase)
Severe Anxiety$1890 (+200% increase)

As you can see, the increase in annual premium paid versus a standard policyholder rises significantly based on the severity of anxiety symptoms and stability of treatment.

Many other factors also determine costs, such as age, gender, coverage amount, and specific anxiety diagnosis. Working with an expert broker to compare quotes across multiple insurers is key to finding the best rate for which your specific anxiety profile qualifies.

Here are another sample annual premiums for a $500,000, 20-year term policy for a 30-year-old female:

Policy TypeSample Annual Premium
Mild Anxiety$306-$490 (+25% to 100% increase)
Moderate Anxiety$612 (+150% increase)
Severe Anxiety$735 (+200% increase)

When applying for life insurance, health issues like Anxiety disorders, Depression, Autoimmune Diseases, Heart Disease, Parkinson’s Disease… often affect underwriting and eligibility . For insight into how pre-existing conditions affect life insurance in Canada , see these helpful guides:

Pros and Cons of Getting Life Insurance with Anxiety


  • You can still obtain a death benefit even if you are declined for regular coverage. This provides critical financial security for your family.
  • Chance to get coverage through employer’s group life insurance, which often has more relaxed underwriting.
  • Having insurance coverage incentivizes maintaining mental health treatment and physical wellness, which leads to a healthier overall life.
  • Peace of mind and comfort knowing your family has financial protection through the death benefit.


  • There are higher premium costs compared to applicants without anxiety, 15-50% on average. This increases the yearly costs.
  • A lower maximum coverage amount or shorter policy term length may be available, reducing the total potential payout.
  • More extensive underwriting requirements and health questions. It can feel invasive but necessary.
  • Specific exclusions may be applied for things like death by suicide during the first two years.

Overall, the benefits tend to outweigh the drawbacks, especially when weighed against the severe consequences of having no life insurance protection at all for your family after you pass away.

How To Buy Life Insurance with Anxiety in Canada

Here are some best practices for purchasing life insurance with clinically diagnosed anxiety:

  • Disclose your full medical history, including diagnosis details, hospitalizations, medications, doctors, therapy, etc. Transparency is key.
  • Compare quotes from a minimum of 5 life insurers – underwriting standards and risk models vary widely between carriers.
  • Work with a specialist broker who specializes in mental health cases. Their expertise can save you thousands.
  • Ask your mental health doctor or therapist for supporting documentation attesting to the consistency of your treatment and stability over the years. This provides insurers assurance.
  • Be prepared to consent to provide access to all clinical mental health records from psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, etc. This corroborates your application statements.
  • Maintain comprehensive personal records of all anxiety diagnosis and treatment details, including dates. This facilitates providing details.
  • If your anxiety symptoms have improved over the years, inform your insurer to be re-assessed and potentially qualify for reduced premium rates.

Where To Buy Life Insurance with Anxiety in Canada

There are several options through which Canadians with anxiety can secure life insurance policies:

  • Directly from leading life insurance companies like Sun Life, RBC Insurance, Canada Life, etc., that underwrite higher-risk individuals and offer coverage for stable, managed mental health conditions. The key is finding those with expertise in anxiety.
  • From specialized independent life insurance brokers or agents with extensive experience underwriting and securing policies for clients with all mental health conditions. They will represent your case to insurers in the optimal light.
  • Direct-to-consumer life insurers offer simplified issue products with minimal medical questions and no lab tests. These have lower coverage maximums but guaranteed approval.
  • Employer-based group life insurance plans often require only brief health questionnaires without access to complete medical records or exams. This provides an alternative if anxiety prevents individual coverage.

How To Claim Life Insurance with Anxiety in Canada

Claiming life insurance benefits for an insured with anxiety works the same as any standard policy:

  • Upon the insured’s death, beneficiaries inform the insurance provider and initiate a claim by submitting a death certificate specifying the cause.
  • The insurer will request medical records and files, which may be reviewed to verify the insured’s anxiety history, including diagnosis details, prescribed treatments, hospitalizations, etc. This is to confirm the insured’s fully disclosed health history.
  • If the death were by suicide, the typical 2-year suicide exclusion period that applies to most life insurance policies would be verified. Most plans do not pay out for death by suicide within the first two years.
  • Once the claim is validated and approved, the death benefit funds minus any outstanding loans or fees on the policy are issued and distributed to the designated beneficiaries.
  • The claims process is usually completed within 1-2 weeks and can be expedited in urgent cases requiring faster payment.

The presence of an anxiety disorder does not delay or overly complicate the process of beneficiaries receiving payment on a life insurance policy. The death benefit will be paid out promptly, provided the policy remains in good standing at the time of death.

Accessing Expert Help for Life Insurance with Anxiety

As illustrated throughout this guide, applying for life insurance with a disclosed history of anxiety or anxiety disorders involves nuanced complexities. Enlisting expert support is highly advisable to secure adequate, affordable coverage tailored to your unique situation.

Here at LifeBuzz, our licensed advisors have specialized expertise with anxiety, mental health conditions and higher-risk life insurance cases. We’ve helped thousands of Canadians with pre-existing health challenges get approved by leading insurers at favourable rates.

We know all the intricacies that underwriters look for and can advise you through every step of the application process. You can get a free customized quote comparison from top Canadian life insurers in minutes.

Conclusion: Securing Coverage is Attainable with the Right Guidance

Anxiety disorders are a common challenge for today’s Canadians and a frequent complicating factor in qualifying for individually underwritten life insurance policies.

Yet, as we’ve explored in this definitive guide, obtaining adequate life insurance coverage at competitive rates is very feasible in most anxiety cases with the appropriate knowledge, preparation, and expert support.

Being an informed, proactive insurance applicant goes a long way. We encourage you to use the insights in this resource to work positively with life insurers, document your condition stability, and partner with seasoned advisors.

By taking control of the process and your mental health treatment, you can secure the life insurance protection you and your loved ones deserve.

Does the prospect of shopping for life insurance with anxiety feel uncertain or overwhelming? LifeBuzz and our advisors are here to help.

How does the duration of life insurance with anxiety affect policy eligibility?

Longer-standing anxiety that has stabilized with treatment is viewed more favourably by insurers than recent onset. New anxiety is perceived as a higher risk until controlled.

What medical records are required when applying for life insurance with anxiety?

Insurers will request records from mental health professionals like psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists to verify your diagnosis details, prescription history, hospitalizations, etc.

How does alcohol or drug use impact eligibility for life insurance with anxiety?

Co-occurring substance abuse heightens concerns around stability and suicide risk. Documented sobriety length and support systems help offset liability concerns.

What is the application process for life insurance with anxiety like?

In addition to standard questions, be prepared for detailed queries about your specific anxiety diagnosis, hospitalizations, treatments, flare-ups, disability leaves, etc., to assess severity.

How do independent brokers assist with obtaining life insurance with anxiety?

Brokers can represent your case favourably to insurers, identify the most anxiety-friendly carriers, and negotiate for the optimal approval terms and rates.

Is rider coverage like critical illness available with life insurance and anxiety?

Yes. If approved for life insurance, you can usually add other riders like critical illness, disability income, and waiver of premium to a policy.

Can life insurance with anxiety be purchased directly online without an agent?

Simplified issue policies for anxiety are available through some direct insurers, but maximums are lower. Expert help navigating underwriting is advisable.

What coverage amount is usually the maximum for life insurance with severe anxiety?

Depending on the insurer, maximums with severe anxiety often range from $250,000 to $500,000. Higher amounts may be possible with stable, well-documented treatment.

How long does the life insurance application process take with anxiety?

Allow 2-3 months if anxiety records are readily available. Additional time may be required if extensive medical records need to be gathered or assessing stability. Be patient.

Can costs be optimized on life insurance with anxiety?

Yes, comparing quotes across 5+ insurers and having a broker negotiate on your behalf can potentially yield significant life insurance cost savings.

Does cognitive behavioural therapy help to qualify for life insurance with anxiety?

Absolutely. Ongoing CBT demonstrates you're actively managing anxiety. Insurers gaining this confidence in your stability may offer better rates.

What activities raise concerns when applying for life insurance with anxiety?

High-risk hobbies like skydiving, rock climbing, auto racing, etc. Paired with severe anxiety may make securing coverage challenging.

Can life insurance with anxiety be purchased if someone has previously been hospitalized?

Yes, but the number and recency of hospitalizations will be scrutinized. After 5-10 years, with stability demonstrated, eligibility improves significantly.

How are legally prescribed medical marijuana or CBD oils viewed with life insurance and anxiety?

Favorably overall, as responsible use for anxiety management. Just fully disclose. Recreational use still raises impairment concerns.

Will a medical exam be required to qualify for life insurance with anxiety?

Expect a paramed exam assessing vitals, build, mental status. Insurers may order additional records if exam surfaces concerns like severe distress.

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Written by Ben Nguyen

Ben Nguyen is an award-winning insurance expert and industry veteran with over 20 years of experience. He is the chairman and director of IDC Insurance Direct Canada Inc., one of Canada's leading online insurance brokerages.

Ben is renowned for his extensive knowledge of life, health, disability, and travel insurance products. He is the prolific author of over 1,000 educational articles published on LifeBuzz, BestInsuranceOnline, and InsuranceDirectCanada. His articles provide Canadians with advice on making smart insurance decisions.

With a Bachelor's degree in Actuarial Science and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA) designation, Ben is frequently interviewed by media as an insurance industry spokesperson.

He has received numerous honors including the Insurance Council of Canada’s Pivotal Leadership Award, the Canadian Insurance Hall of Fame induction, and the President’s Medal from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.

Ben continues to shape the vision and strategy of IDC Insurance Direct as chairman. He is dedicated to advancing the insurance industry through his insightful leadership.

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