Life Insurance and Alcohol Use

You may be wondering if you can get a life insurance policy if you drink alcohol. The good news is, you can, but with some caveats.

If you drink excessively and have some medical condition caused by alcohol consumption, like liver disease (i.e. cirrhosis), you can be denied life insurance coverage.

What's the policy amount you are looking for:

Life Insurance Companies in general require that all applicants pass a physical examination before issuing any policy.

The examination usually consists of measuring your blood pressure, taking a pulse, weight and height check, blood and urine samples.

What many life insurance applicants don't realize is that insurance companies use some of the blood sample to perform a liver enzyme test.

Risks of Alcohol Consumption

young people doing alcohol shotsLife insurance companies prefer not to insure heavy drinkers. Drinking excessively on a regular basis is believed to shorten a person’s life to some extent.

Heavy drinkers are more susceptible to developing heart disease, liver disease, or certain kinds of cancer.

Therefore, drinking is like gambling with your own life, that is why insurance companies avoid insuring individuals at greater risk.

Life insurance applicants are often mistaken by assuming that the physical examination is the only issue considered in acceptance or denial of a policy.

Insurance companies also check your driving record. DUI arrests are considered a red flag. A DUI charge is considered a lack of ability to stop drinking by an insurance company, therefore a life insurance premium will be much higher, or denied outright.

If the charge occurred more than five years ago, insurance companies will conduct a more thorough investigation and medical exam to evaluate the conduct of the applicant.

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Getting Your Insurance

This does not mean that insurance companies will not issue a policy to moderate to heavy drinkers. In fact, they often do. But the insured is required to pay a higher premium than someone who does not drink.

A life insurance company has three choices if the level of liver enzymes is elevated. First, they request a more complete medical examination, allowing them to check if the issue is alcohol related or some other situation. The company can also deny the application. The last choice is to offer policies with higher premiums.

Finding Help and Reducing Rates

In order for a heavy drinker to find more affordable rates, it is important to consider joining Alcoholic Anonymous. Being a part of this program often helps with lower rates, and proves that person is trying to change his or her life. Finding a program that works it's a great first step.

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Different Rates

Analyzing sample rates, there is a considerable difference in policy rates for those who consume alcohol and those who don't. Take a thirty-year old man who is a non-smoker but is a heavy drinker for example; the average monthly premium for this person is between $25 and $56. If that person is also a smoker, his range increases from $30 to $66 per month. If the same man does not drink that often, his insurance premiums will range from $17 to $36 per month.

A thirty-year old woman who is a heavy drinker can expect average monthly premiums to range from $19 to $39. If she were also a smoker, her premiums would increase to a range of $25 to $48 per month. The same thirty-year-old woman who does not drink or smoke will find her premiums lower to a range of $9 to $23 per month.

Basically, a person should limit alcohol consumption. It can improve the quality of life and their longevity. If a person chooses to drink, it can still purchase life insurance but must be willing to pay a higher premium.

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Common Questions

I'm often asked questions like: "Can I get life insurance if I drink alcohol?"; "Can I get life insurance if have a couple drinks per day?"; "Can I buy life insurance if I'm a heavy drinker" - I usually answer them that it just depends on the amount of alcoholic beverages they drink daily. If they drink 2-3 drinks, they should be okay. If they drink ten, then they may have a problem.

If one chooses to go with a policy with a medical exam, insurance companies will test your liver enzymes. This will tell them one's liver health and if they are a heavy drinker.

No Medical Life Insurance

If have been denied life insurance due to alcohol abuse, or you think you will not pass the physical exam, there are companies that will issue a life insurance policy without a medical exam, also known as simplified issue or guaranteed issue. These policies cost more money, but you will get some coverage, typically up to $50,000.