in ,

Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder in Canada

Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder in Canada
Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder in Canada

Bipolar disorder is a complex mental health condition that causes significant shifts in mood, energy levels, and behaviour. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you may have concerns about eligibility for life insurance coverage.

The good news is that candidates with controlled bipolar disorder have options to secure life insurance policies in Canada. However, qualifying involves extra underwriting scrutiny and medical requirements compared to applicants without psychiatric conditions.

This comprehensive guide serves as a complete resource on successfully obtaining life insurance with bipolar disorder in Canada.

Understanding Bipolar Disorder in the Canadian Context

Let’s begin by outlining some foundational information about bipolar disorder in Canada:

Defining Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized by extreme oscillations in a person’s mood, energy levels, activity levels, and ability to perform daily tasks.

It was formerly known as manic depression because it consists of two primary phases:

  • Manic episodes – characterized by intense elevated mood, hyperactivity, impulsivity, insomnia, grandiose beliefs, and risky behaviours
  • Depressive episodes – characterized by extremely low mood, loss of interest, changes in appetite, low motivation and energy, feelings of worthlessness, and suicidal thoughts

These episodes can last days, weeks, or even months. The extremes in mood and behaviour often significantly disrupt the person’s work performance, relationships, and overall well-being.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Several different types of bipolar disorder licensed mental health professionals like psychiatrists may diagnose:

  • Bipolar I Disorder :

This involves extreme manic episodes that last at least seven days or are so severe that hospitalization is required. Depressive episodes are also familiar with Bipolar I.

  • Bipolar II Disorder :

This form involves less extreme manic states called hypomania that still alternate with major depressive episodes. Full mania is never experienced.

  • Cyclothymic Disorder :

This is characterized by fluctuating hypomanic and depressive symptoms that do not meet the diagnostic criteria thresholds to be considered complete hypomanic or depressive episodes.

  • Other Specified and Unspecified Disorders :

These catch-all diagnoses may be applied when symptoms do not precisely align with the official diagnostic categories.

Accurately identifying the specific type of bipolar disorder through skilled assessment enables appropriate treatment plans to be implemented.

Qualifying for Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder in Canada

Qualifying for Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder in Canada
Qualifying for Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder in Canada

While certainly more challenging than applying without mental health conditions, qualifying for life insurance with bipolar disorder is possible in most cases with the right approach.

The Underwriting Process

To decide whether to approve coverage for applicants with bipolar disorder and determine suitable policy terms, life insurance companies rely heavily on a process known as underwriting.

Life insurance underwriters conduct in-depth reviews of your application, medical records, and related risk factors associated with insuring you. They evaluate aspects like:

  • Type and severity of your bipolar disorder
  • Frequency of prior mood episodes or hospitalizations
  • History of suicide attempts or self-harm behaviours
  • Adherence to ongoing treatment and medication
  • Use of drugs, alcohol, or other substances
  • Current symptoms and stability
  • Results from laboratory tests or medical exams
  • Any co-occurring physical health conditions

Based on this comprehensive data, underwriters assign candidates with bipolar disorder to a risk class ranging from standard to high risk. This classification determines your eligibility for coverage, the types of policies available, and the premium rates you will pay.

Demonstrating consistent commitment to treatment and stability wherever possible aids your case significantly during underwriting.

Role of Medical Information in Underwriting

Expect to provide extensive medical records outlining your diagnostic history, care regimen, and current health status when applying for life insurance with bipolar disorder in Canada.

Documents that underwriters may request include:

  • Attending Physician Statements (completed by your psychiatrist)
  • Copies of diagnostic assessments and mental status evaluations
  • History of prescribed medications used to manage your symptoms
  • Laboratory test results or imaging studies
  • Any applicable hospital or mental health facility records
  • Clinical notes and letters from therapists
  • Evidence of routine follow-ups with your mental health team

A thorough paper trail showing dedication to an effective treatment plan helps justify better risk classification and premium rates.

Age Considerations in Bipolar Disorder Underwriting

Your age at diagnosis and application is particularly impactful in the underwriting process for bipolar disorder cases.

Generally, younger applicants tend to be perceived as higher risk until consistent stability and treatment adherence over several years can be proven. Older applicants with recent diagnoses face less stringent assessments.

Age at DiagnosisTypical Underwriting Outcomes
Before age 20Delay approval 2+ years to establish stability
Ages 20-69Case-by-case assessment based on symptoms and control
Over age 70Minimal impact if only health condition

Bottom line – the earlier your diagnosis, the more time you likely need to demonstrate responsible maintenance of your bipolar disorder before securing approval for life insurance with bipolar disorder.

Communicating Medication History

Since medications are a frontline treatment for managing bipolar disorder, underwriters examine prescription records closely as an indicator of stability and proper symptom control.

Be prepared to provide specifics on current and historical medications used to treat your bipolar disorder, such as:

  • Medication names, dosages, and start/end dates
  • Explanations for any medication changes
  • Documented side effects and adherence challenges, if applicable
  • Pharmacy records to corroborate consistent usage
  • Attending physician confirmation of medication compliance

Evidence of responsibly taking prescribed medications as directed aids your case for insurability.

Impacts of Co-Occurring Conditions

Like all insurance assessments, underwriters consider your complete current health profile when evaluating approval odds of life insurance with bipolar disorder.

Co-existing medical conditions like heart problems, diabetes, or substance abuse may heighten concerns related to mortality risk. Managing these issues diligently demonstrates your commitment to wellness despite also coping with a psychiatric condition.

Staying mentally and physically healthy helps justify better insurance risk ratings for applicants managing bipolar disorder.

Policy Options of Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder in Canada

While barriers exist, Canadians with bipolar disorder can access various types of life insurance policies and benefits through proactive planning.

Term Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

Term life insurance provides affordable pure death benefit protection for a defined period, such as 10, 20, or 30 years. It does not have an investment or cash accumulation element.

Since term insurance underwriting focuses on near-term mortality risk, qualifying with controlled bipolar disorder is often feasible, albeit with higher premiums.

Term policies with lower face values may have simpler application processes. Starting small allows you to build an insurance history and qualify for higher benefit amounts.

Permanent Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

Permanent life insurance options like whole life and universal life provide lifelong death benefit coverage and cash value savings that grow on a tax-deferred basis inside the policy.

Due to the lifelong guarantee, permanent policies require much more stringent underwriting. Managing a lifelong condition like bipolar disorder represents a greater long-range risk to insurers, making eligibility more selective.

Work first to obtain term insurance, demonstrating adequate stability and treatment consistency over time. Once an established insurance history is in place, transitioning to a permanent policy may be possible.

Group Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

Many employers offer group life insurance plans with simplified underwriting compared to individual policies, so bipolar disorder candidates may qualify more easily.

According to Benefits Canada, 62% of the workers have access to group life insurance through their jobs. However, average coverage amounts tend to max out around $109,260 based on Canadian average salary. (source:,rely%20solely%20on%20this%20coverage.)

While beneficial, group life insurance benefits end upon leaving your job, so individual coverage should supplement employer plans.

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

Guaranteed issue life insurance covers up to $25,000 without medical questions or underwriting. For those with bipolar disorder who can’t obtain traditional coverage, guaranteed issue insurance ensures essential benefits.

The trade-off is substantially higher premiums for smaller policy face values, but some protection is better than none. This option offers a safety net if initially declined elsewhere.

Accidental Death Insurance for Bipolar Disorder

Accidental death insurance pays out if death occurs due to a qualifying accident. Some limited medical questions may be asked, but underwriting requirements are minimal.

For applicants with bipolar disorder who get declined for regular life insurance, accidental death benefits can offer budget-friendly supplemental coverage for final expenses and debts. Payouts average around $50,000.

No-Exam Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

No-Exam Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder
life buzz quote in canada new 8 1
No-Exam Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

In addition to regular underwritten policies, Canadians with bipolar disorder can consider “no-exam” life insurance options to accelerate the application process.

How No Exam Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder Works

With no-exam life insurance, coverage approval relies on the following:

  • Answers to health history questions on the application
  • Review of prescription drug databases
  • Access to MIB, Inc. medical information reports

Insurers use accelerated underwriting to evaluate mortality risk instead of medical exams or laboratory tests. Policy issuance can occur in days or weeks rather than months.

The Pros of No-Exam Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

No-exam life insurance advantages include:

  • No lengthy medical exams or testing requirements
  • Reduced the need to gather medical documents upfront
  • Streamlined underwriting and approval timeline
  • Available coverage amounts from $100,000 up to $1 million

For bipolar disorder applicants, no-exam insurance provides a quicker path to coverage that minimizes invasive underwriting barriers.

The Cons of No-Exam Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

Drawbacks of no-exam life insurance include:

  • Limited selection of policy types and features
  • Potentially higher premium rates
  • Coverage maximums under $1 million in most cases
  • Not available for people over age 65
  • Pre-existing condition exclusions still apply

While advantageous in some cases, no-exam policies may not offer the best long-term rates and benefits compared to fully underwritten insurance.

Tips for Pursuing No-Exam Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

When seeking no-exam life insurance coverage with bipolar disorder, valuable tips include:

  • Focus applications with insurers specializing in fast-track underwriting
  • Provide complete details on your condition, treatment, and stability
  • Sign medical information release forms for accelerated access
  • Get quotes from at least 3-5 no-exam carriers to compare policy options and pricing
  • Discuss pros/cons with an experienced insurance advisor before deciding

Managing Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

Gaining life insurance approval is an important first step. Properly maintaining your policy over the long run is also essential for Canadians with bipolar disorder.

 Updating Medical Records

If your bipolar disorder improves with ongoing effective treatment, request to have your policy reassessed by supplying updated medical evidence.

Demonstrating sustained stability and symptom control may enable you to qualify for lower premium rates through improved risk classification. However, consistency in care is critical.

Applying for New Coverage

Over time, you can submit applications to new insurers to unlock enhanced options if your health status changes. Disclosing new diagnoses to existing insurers is not required.

If you initially had to accept expensive rates or low benefits, demonstrating years of responsible self-management may eventually lead to more affordable premiums and higher coverage for life insurance with bipolar disorder.

Staying on Track with Treatment

Insurers reviewing existing policies look for sustained adherence to recommended therapies for bipolar disorder. Any treatment gaps raise concerns over instability and mortality risk.

Follow your treatment plan diligently, report medication changes, and document your progress through routine medical follow-ups. This will help maintain favourable policy terms for your life insurance with bipolar disorder.

Reviewing Beneficiaries

Revisit designated beneficiaries whenever life circumstances change through milestones like marriage, divorce, new children, or inheritances.

Beneficiary choices significantly influence how death benefits are distributed. Avoid legal issues by updating selections regularly.

Read more : Life Insurance for Kids in Canada

Monitoring Policy Performance

Regularly review the policy’s cash value accumulation and projected future performance for permanent life insurance to ensure it aligns with your savings expectations and needs.

Also, assess any potential tax impacts related to cash value earnings. A proactive review identifies any required adjustments early.

Expert Tips for Canadians to Secure Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

Here are insider tips leveraged by top advisors in Canada to help applicants with bipolar disorder secure quality, affordable life insurance:

Partner with Specialized Agents

Seek out agents with extensive experience handling high-risk life insurance cases related to mental illness. Their expertise gives you an advantage.

Ask about the agent’s bipolar disorder case approval rate and carrier relationships. Specialization brings immense value.

Gather Comprehensive Medical Records

Supplying thorough diagnostic history, risk assessments, treatment plans, and stability letters from mental health providers builds your most robust case to underwriters.

Leave no detail out. Proactively provide every relevant document upfront to limit additional inquiries.

Cast a Wide Insurance Shopping Net

Applying with at least 5-10 reputable, highly rated insurers enhances your options, as each carrier has unique risk appetites and guidelines.

A shotgun approach improves securing coverage at the best terms. Your advisor can swiftly submit multiple electronic applications.

Address Red Flags Preemptively

If you have any past hospitalizations, suicide attempts, legal issues, or substance abuse, directly address these proactively in your application.

Explaining the circumstances and highlighting your subsequent recovery helps mitigate concerns that could lead to declination. Tell your story.

Verify Treatment Plan Adherence

Consistently emphasize your commitment to therapy, medications, and lifestyle changes that enable successfully managing your bipolar disorder.

Leave no doubt that you take all prescribed treatments seriously and prioritize stability. Prevent any question marks.

Consider Lifestyle Modifications

Insurers also assess your overall wellness regimen. Boost diet, fitness, sleep, and stress management practices. These signal you are maximizing self-care.

A healthy body supports a healthy mind. Displaying holistic stability improves your risk profile.

Other pre-existing health conditions can also affect your qualifications for life insurance . To understand how these impact eligibility and rates, check out these informative guides :

Life Insurers Accommodating Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder in Canada

Life Insurers Accommodating Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder in Canada
Life Insurers Accommodating Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder in Canada

While shopping policies, consider life insurance companies known for more accommodating guidelines regarding mental health conditions like bipolar disorder:

Sun Life Financial

Sun Life possesses extensive expertise in underwriting and issuing policies for bipolar disorder cases. They dig deep into personal circumstances and treatment efficacy. Stable applicants can achieve preferred risk ratings.

Canada Life

Canada Life has specialized underwriting processes to fairly evaluate applicants managing mental illness. Consistency with treatment and lifestyle stability are prioritized when approving coverage.

RBC Life Insurance

RBC Insurance aims to deliver customized solutions that balance sufficient protection and affordable premiums for bipolar disorder candidates based on individual factors.


Manulife carefully reviews multiple facets – diagnosis details, job profile, income reliability, support system strength, etc. – when assessing life insurance eligibility with bipolar disorder.

Empire Life

At Empire Life, candidates provide comprehensive psychiatric records and agree to annual follow-ups confirming sustained treatment adherence after policy issuance.

Alternative Insurance Products for Bipolar Disorder

If initially faced with expensive or limited life insurance offers, supplemental alternatives to consider that involve simplified underwriting include:

Critical Illness Insurance

Critical illness insurance pays out a one-time lump sum upon diagnosis of conditions like cancer, stroke, or heart attack. This can offset lost wages or expenses during health crises.

Disability Insurance

Disability insurance replaces income if injury or sickness prevents you from working. While bipolar disorder may increase premiums, coverage remains feasible. It protects your income continuity.

Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage life insurance pays off all or part of the mortgage principal to maintain housing security for the family. Simplified underwriting helps candidates with bipolar disorder qualify.

Read more : Family Life Insurance

Quotes and Estimated Costs of Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder in Canada

To identify affordable options suited to your needs, compare quotes across multiple life insurers operating in Canada.

Securing Tailored Quotes

Work with an experienced advisor to obtain quotes customized for your situation. Accessing accurate pricing data from bipolar-friendly insurers clarifies your coverage opportunities.

Quotes should include a complete overview of policy types, terms, premiums, benefits, exclusions, and riders available based on your underwriting risk profile.

 Evaluating Annual Costs

Look beyond monthly premiums. Calculate the total annual outlay for each policy quote, including premiums, fees, and riders. This will identify the true long-term costs.

Factor in future planned premium increases as well. Having the big-picture cost breakdown allows for picking economical coverage.

Assessing Budget Impact

Compare policy premiums to your family’s monthly budget and income reliability. Ensure you select options with sustainable premium levels that align with your financial circumstances.

A policy becomes pointless if unaffordable payments eventually lead you to cancel coverage. Making the numbers work is crucial.

Checking for Bundling Discounts

Ask insurers about potential savings when bundling your new life insurance policy with existing home, auto, or retirement accounts. Multi-policy discounts can significantly reduce premiums.

But don’t sacrifice coverage quality purely for discounts. Ensure bundling any policies meets all of your specific insurance needs.

Case Study: Jean’s Journey to Life Insurance Approval with Bipolar II Disorder

Jean’s story of obtaining life insurance with Bipolar II Disorder sheds light on how leveraging expert guidance and consistently following treatment protocols can lead to success:

About Jean

  • 29-year-old accountant
  • Married, planning to start a family
  • Diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder at age 19
  • On lithium and antidepressants without change for 3+ years
  • Only hypomanic episodes, no full mania or hospitalizations

Jean’s Application Process

  • Applied to a small insurer, declined due to recent Bipolar II diagnosis
  • The second application was postponed by one year to demonstrate stability
  • Jean maintained medical compliance and a low-stress lifestyle
  • After a year, Jean re-applies and is approved for a $500,000 20-year term policy
  • Added $150,000 term rider for extra mortgage protection

Keys to Jean’s Insurance Success

  • Persistence through initial denial and postponement
  • Consistent treatment adherence and honest disclosures
  • Willingness to gradually build coverage amount
  • Tracked mood and symptoms rigorously between applications
  • Worked with a specialized broker for high-risk cases

Jean’s experience shows that with tenacity and accountability, obtaining needed life insurance for a condition like Bipolar II is very possible for Canadians.

Partnering With Experts to Secure Critical Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

The road to securing life insurance with bipolar disorder certainly comes with hurdles. But attainable coverage is within reach by leveraging expertise, being patient, and demonstrating diligent self-care.

Here at LifeBuzz, we want to be your guides. Our team possesses decades of niche experience within the Canadian life insurance industry, fighting for clients like you who seek protection. We will demystify the underwriting landscape, unlock your broadest coverage options, negotiate optimal terms on your behalf, and provide caring support for the long run.

Let us help you gain the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved ones will be looked after, no matter what happens. Reach out today to start a conversation about your insurance needs:

We’re committed to helping Canadians obtain the life insurance coverage they deserve despite pre-existing health conditions. Let’s connect and map out your insurance solution!

Frequently Asked Questions about Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder

What medical checks may be required when applying for life insurance with bipolar disorder in Canada?

Insurers may require attending physician statements, prescription records, lab test results, psychological evaluations, hospital records, clinical progress notes, and other data to verify your bipolar disorder history, treatment plan, and overall health status.

Can life insurance with bipolar disorder be obtained without a medical exam in Canada?

Yes, no-exam "simplified issue" life insurance skips medical exams and relies on health questionnaires. Approval is faster, but expect limited policy options and higher rates. No-exam policies may be an alternative if unable to qualify for traditionally underwritten coverage.

How do you find the best company for life insurance for bipolar disorder cases in Canada?

Work with an experienced broker to identify insurers with expertise in mental health cases. Companies known for accommodating bipolar applicants include Sun Life, Canada Life, RBC Insurance, and Manulife.

Can past suicide attempts prevent approval for life insurance with bipolar disorder in Canada?

Yes, recent suicide attempts often lead to declines. Be prepared to provide psychiatric records clearly documenting risk assessment and treatment efforts. After 2+ years of stability, cautious consideration may be possible.

Can permanent life insurance with bipolar disorder be obtained in Canada after being diagnosed?

Initially, term life insurance is more attainable. Once consistency in maintaining your bipolar treatment is demonstrated over a period of years, transitioning to a permanent cash-value policy may become possible as proof of stability satisfies insurers over the long term.

How do you determine the right amount of life insurance with bipolar disorder needed in Canada?

Consider final expenses, income replacement, debt repayment, childcare costs, and other survivors' financial needs. A broker can guide you on sufficient face values. Term policies allow coverage to be adjusted if needs evolve.

What tips do insurance specialists recommend to get approved for life insurance with bipolar disorder in Canada?

Experts emphasize using experienced brokers, submitting comprehensive medical records upfront, applying to multiple carriers, focusing on treatment adherence, making healthy lifestyle changes, exploring no-exam options, and negotiating offers.

What should Canadians know about exclusion periods of life insurance with bipolar disorder?

Most policies include exclusion periods of 2 years where the insurer will not pay out full benefits for death due to suicide or self-harm related to an existing condition like bipolar disorder diagnosed before the coverage start date.

How does marijuana use impact applications for life insurance with bipolar disorder in Canada?

Insurers often view marijuana combined with mental illness as an indicator of instability. Expect higher premiums or declines until establishing at least 12 months of complete sobriety and consistent treatment before applying.

What are the pros and cons of disclosure when applying for life insurance with bipolar disorder?

Honesty prevents later denial of fraud claims. However, transparency regarding hospitalizations, legal issues, substance abuse, suicide attempts, or non-compliance may hamper your application initially. Highlighting subsequent stability helps overcome negatives.

What other insurance products may be available if declined for life insurance with bipolar disorder in Canada?

Alternatives requiring less underwriting scrutiny include critical illness insurance, disability insurance, and mortgage insurance. These provide a safety net of financial protection if unable to obtain traditional life coverage initially.

Article Sources:

To understand how we uphold our commitment to precision, openness, and impartiality, we invite you to review the Editorial Policy at Our reputation as the most reliable source for life insurance news in Canada is a testament to our integrity.

  1. Life Insurance with Bipolar Disorder –
  2. Life insurance and bipolar disorder –
  3. Bipolar Life Insurance –
Rate this post

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

    Life Insurance with a High BMI in Canada 2024

    Life Insurance with a High BMI in Canada 2024

    Life Insurance with Hepatitis in Canada, An Extensive Guide for Patients

    Life Insurance with Hepatitis in Canada: An Extensive Guide for Patients