Nearly half of UK adults (47 per cent) experienced mental health challenges during the pandemic, as millions battled financial hardship, relationship stress and sleepless nights. Three in ten (30 per cent) people report that they currently have a mental health condition or have experienced one previously. However, only four in ten (44 per cent) have informed their insurer.
There remains confusion around what can, or should, be said to an insurer when it comes to physical and mental health. Of those who did not disclose a mental health condition, nearly two-fifths (37 per cent) thought their provider would only be interested in physical illness. Over a quarter (26 per cent) felt it was personal and so would rather not share their condition with their provider. Almost one in five (18 per cent) worried they would not qualify for a policy or would be charged more.
Insurers need to be more open about mental health
Contrary to these misconceptions, declaring a mental health condition does not necessarily mean higher premiums and it is unlikely to mean someone is ineligible for protection cover.
Rose St Louis, Protection Director at Scottish Widows, said: “People are confused about how mental health conditions affect their critical illness cover or life insurance, which prevents them from getting the right support. This isn’t just up to customers, though. The whole industry needs to ensure people know they won’t be penalised for their mental health disclosures.”
Meanwhile, data from insurer Zurich revealed that policyholders are increasingly in need of mental health support services, with claims for mental health illness having doubled in 2020.