You can expect each life insurance company to ask you questions about current and past drug or alcohol abuse during the application process. And we know, when you’re trying to buy life insurance and drug abuse comes up on the application, it’s not going to be an easy road.
Drugs, even including legal ones like alcohol and cigarettes, can cause devastating effects to the human body, even resulting in premature death. But, today, we’ll focus on those who have a history of abuse.
Life insurance companies are justifiably hesitant to insure current or former drug abusers as their life expectancy rates are much lower than average. They are viewed as a much higher risk and prone to additional issues in the future.
Yet, it doesn’t mean you should lie about your drug or alcohol use during the application process. It’s of utmost importance to be upfront and honest about your situation from the get-go. Below is the most important information you need to know about applying for life insurance with a history of drug abuse of any kind.
Buying Life Insurance And Drug Abuse Is An Issue?
Drug abuse comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. It affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. And it’s on the rise across the United States.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost 24 million Americans need treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. Of this 24 million, only about 2.5 million have received treatment from a specialized drug rehab facility.
Those who have received such specialized treatment have the best chance of qualifying for traditional life insurance with a history of drug abuse on their record. This is particularly true of those who have successfully managed to stay off drugs for a period of one year or longer.
In fact, most life insurance companies require applicants to be clean for one year, at a minimum. Many require a period of time much longer than one year, usually from three to five years.
However, many of those who have been clean and sober for several years are hesitant to apply for life insurance. They’re under the inaccurate impression their history of drug abuse immediately disqualifies them from consideration.
It’s not true. Though it depends on the specifics of your situation, many former drug users can qualify for traditional life insurance coverage. And those who can’t still have several quality alternatives to choose from.
Working with an independent agent like us helps you connect with the top providers most likely to insure a recovering drug addict. We also help you explore the best alternative options so you can find the best coverage for your particular situation.
The All Important Application Process
The life insurance application process is always an extensive one. And it’s even more extensive for those with a history of drug abuse.
One of the most important factors a life insurance company will consider is whether you’re still using drugs and the type of drugs you’re using. Those who are currently abusing illegal or prescription drugs will be declined immediately.
Those who drink alcohol moderately are better off. If you can prove your drinking isn’t alcoholism or alcohol abuse, you’ll likely qualify for at least a Standard rate. Alcoholism, on the other hand, especially when accompanied by a DUI and/or liver damage, is viewed far more seriously.
Cigarette use is somewhere between alcohol and illegal drugs in terms of severity. It’s no secret tobacco is linked to various forms of cancer. Smokers should expect to pay special tobacco rates which are up to three times higher than normal premium rates.
No matter the specifics of your drug history, you should expect to answer a number of questions based on the following factors.
Overall Health – You’re asked to take a medical exam when applying for traditional life insurance, drug history or not. You need to look as good on the inside as you do on the outside.
Diet & Exercise – The healthier you are overall, the better your chance of qualifying for a lower premium. Life insurance companies greatly value people who eat well and exercise regularly.
Drug History – A thorough explanation of your drug history is mandatory. Of particular importance is your time spent doing drugs, the type of drugs you abused, the severity of your addiction, as well as the time since you’ve quit. You’ll also be asked if you were ever hospitalized due to your drug use.
Residual Effects – Do you have any health complications caused by your drug use? Examples include HIV or heart problems.
Treatments – Have you sought specialized treatment for your drug problem? If so, have you relapsed since attending?
Living Situation – A stable living situation combined with at least a year or clean and sober living is essential to receive a low premium. Having a steady job, your own home, and a stable relationship are huge pluses.
Lying about your drug history is considered insurance fraud. If you’re approved and die prematurely (within the first two years of coverage), the company doesn’t have to honor your death benefits.
Common Results You May Expect
The type of coverage you’re offered, and whether you’re accepted at all, depends on so many factors. It’s truly impossible to estimate the result you’ll receive, but we can try to set up your expectations a bit.
It is possible to break down the most common result by drug type (not taking length of time since quitting, length of time doing drugs, or your overall health into consideration).
Alcoholism – Moderate alcohol consumption won’t affect your life insurance eligibility. However, those with a history of alcoholism or alcohol abuse should expect to pay a Standard or Sub-Standard rating. Often times, companies require you to take a blood test to measure the condition of your liver.
Cigarettes – Smokers are required to pay an increased rate for life insurance from all companies. This is known as a Tobacco rating and it’s usually three to five times more expensive. Those who have been tobacco free for at least two years might qualify for a normal Standard rating (only 12 months for certain carriers).
Marijuana – Though Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington have adopted relaxed rules regarding recreational marijuana use, life insurance companies aren’t any less strict about it. Daily marijuana smokers are often reported as smokers while those with a medical prescription might receive a individualized results.
Other Drugs – It’s almost impossible to qualify for traditional coverage if you currently use illegal drugs or abuse prescription drugs. Most companies want you to have at least five years of sobriety, without any relapses, before offering you coverage.
What to Do Next
As an independent life insurance agent, we can help you find the lowest premiums from the best companies.
We know exactly which life insurance companies will be most likely to offer you coverage, depending on your drug history. We can also help you explore alternative options (like guaranteed issue life insurance) if you’re denied.
Contact us today for a free consultation, and we’d be happy to help you get the process started when you’re comfortable. We’re discreet, fast, and guarantee top notch service.