You think I get excited about this stuff. You should talk to the people who have been battling the bipolar/life insurance battle for years and getting their rears kicked by insurance companies. They keep getting told that they are bipolar, therefore they are uninsurable. That may be true in some cases, but we’re finding that the right companies looking at the right situations are hitting home run after home run.

Our most recent victory was a woman in her 40’s that had been treated for Bipolar 1 for the last 15+ years. She’s been married during that period and has been raising three children. She had never actually applied for life insurance because she had been told that with bipolar disorder she would not be accepted. We shopped it and got her a standard plus rate, a very good deal.

Because she met all of the criteria for getting insurance with bipolar,  but with a twist, I thought this would be a good time to review those criteria. I think it is clear that some people with bipolar disorder, just like some people with diabetes, are a poor risk either because they don’t or can’t control their situation. Insurance companies, none of them, are going to take on bad risks.

So what constitutes a good risk with bipolar?  First would be that there has not been any hospitalization for bipolar other than for diagnosis purposes. If there was a period of poor control where you were hospitalized more than once, it needs to be more than 10 years ago.

No suicide attempts ever. Insurance companies are not interested in finding out if there is a second attempt hidden down deep somewhere.

You can’t be on disability for bipolar. If you are disabled by it, it pretty much insinuates that the problem is not well controlled.

You need to have a stable family life. I often include a letter from your spouse or a family member with the application, speaking to the fact that you are stable and function well in family interactions.

You need to have a stable work situation. Not being able to hold a job for more than six months really kind of leans toward unstable. This doesn’t mean you can’t have changed jobs, just that you are functioning in the workforce with as much stability as today’s economy allows. The twist I referred to with the client I started this post with was that she is a stay at home mom. Not part of the job scene, but anyone that doubts that a successful full time mom isn’t glued together very well, hasn’t tried it.

One factor I don’t believe I’ve mentioned before that won’t necessarily mean approval or decline, but can impact the rate, is the number of medications a person is on. For many, one med does the job. For some it may take 3 or 4 or more. Rates may be affected by how many medications it takes to provide control.

Bottom line. Good deals on life insurance are available for many people with bipolar. Not all, but a substantial percentage. Even if you’ve been declined before, if you meet the criteria above, it probably just means you applied with the wrong company. The right company will want your business.