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Can I Get Life Insurance with PTSD?

Those diagnosed with service-connected PTSD may be entitled to VA compensation for it; not all PTSD is related to military duty but many service members have it. One issue that complicates life post-service for some with the condition? The ability to get life insurance when diagnosed with PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is described by the Department of Veterans Affairs official site as “a mental health problem” you experience after a traumatic event.

According to the VA, it’s normal to have life disturbances following trauma; trouble sleeping, difficulty at work or school, and even interpersonal problems.

These issues may come and go, but in general, the VA advice for seeking help with PTSD involves monitoring such issues and seeking help if they last more than a month or so.

You may not realize you have PTSD at first, but seeing a professional and getting an expert diagnosis can help you begin to manage this condition.



Can I Get Life Insurance with PTSD?

For some, the answer depends on when and who you ask. Most life insurance sites say “Yes, definitely!” to the question of getting life insurance when diagnosed with PTSD.

When you join the military, you are automatically enrolled in Servicemembers Group Life Insurance and have the option to enroll in Veterans Group Life Insurance for coverage up to the amount you had using SGLI.

This is allowed without a physical or proof that you are in good health. You can stay insured post-military using VGLI as long as you keep making the payments. Those who do not choose to enroll in VGLI after retiring or separating from military service can apply for private, non-VA life insurance options from a civilian provider.

Life Insurance From Private Providers

A 2016 article published by Military Times notes that major insurers, including AAFMAA and USAA, said PTSD is not an automatic barrier to a life insurance policy.

That said, servicemembers may find it more difficult to be approved for a life insurance policy if they have a PTSD diagnosis depending on the severity of the condition and whether or not there are other medical issues involved.

One Example

However, a post on the NYC Veteran Alliance official site notes that in 2017, “William Michael Day was denied life insurance because of his PTSD diagnosis.

Day began asking his friends if they’ve had similar experiences, and he took it upon himself to research the situation to examine the legality and consequences of when veterans like himself are denied life insurance because of PTSD or other diagnoses.”

The article includes Day’s experiences seeking life insurance, only to be turned down. “(T)he only reason given was my PTSD diagnosis. The broker did not provide any feedback when I told him about the denial. He attempted to console me by thanking me for my service and gave me frank feedback about my questions.”

Day was asked about symptoms, medications, hospitalization, and other issues related to PTSD. In the end, he was denied a life insurance policy.

How Life Insurance Companies View PTSD

All life insurance policies are written addressing a degree of risk. A high-risk applicant may get higher premiums than a low-risk applicant, and for some insurers, a certain type of medical condition may be deemed too risky to insure.

Where PTSD is specifically concerned, many life insurance companies handle their evaluations individually. The insurer AAFMAA notes that some two million people in the United States have PTSD, and roughly 7 out of every 100 veterans will develop the disorder at some point in life.

AAFMAA literature says life insurance coverage for those with PTSD is definitely possible. According to the official site, “We realize that no two cases are the same, and we do our best to assess and underwrite the individual and not the diagnosis.”

As mentioned above, severity, age of the condition, and other variables all go into policy decisions for covering PTSD.

Related: Veteran and Retiree Military Benefits Guide

What to Know About Getting Life Insurance With PTSD

Many insurers are willing to work with applicants with a PTSD diagnosis, but you may need to provide some supporting documentation, such as military or civilian medical records showing the initial diagnosis, treatments, and any other conditions that may complicate treatment or living with PTSD.

Many insurers advise their clients about honesty on the application forms. It’s best to be as honest as possible on the life insurance application form without giving in to fears that your honesty may be penalized by your application being turned down.

Insurance industry professionals are on the record saying that approval guidelines vary depending on the company and that it’s wise to shop around for life insurance the same way you would for a car or even for auto insurance.

If you need more information on PTSD or getting help as a veteran or family member, see the National Center for PTSD official site.


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About the author

Editor-in-Chief | + posts

Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.