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LIFE INSURANCE AND DRUG ABUSE, JUST THE FACTS.

Nowadays, it seems like the drug epidemic within the United States has become so large that it is nearly impossible to speak with someone who has not been directly affected by its horrors.  And while it prevalence of abuse has helped shed a light on how drug and alcohol addiction are not simply diseases that affect “certain” people, this knowledge comes with a cost, a “cost” that is now affecting every neighborhood in our country.

It’s also affecting how…

Life insurance companies do business within the United States which is why we decided to write this brief article so that individuals might have a better understanding of how an insurance company will underwrite a life insurance policy from someone who has had a history of drug abuse.

Now in the following article…

We’re not going to discuss either alcohol abuse or marijuana use for the simple reason that these “types” of drugs will be viewed differently than most other forms of drugs or narcotics.  If you like to learn more about how insurance companies will view these pre-existing “conditions” we would recommend that you check out the following articles:

  • Alcohol Use and Life Insurance.
  • Tips for Qualifying for a Great Life Insurance Policy as a Marijuana User.

Which means that…

In this article, we’re going to want to focus some of the most commonly abused drugs and or narcotics such as:

  • Prescription medications which would include common medications such as:
    • Hydrocodone,
    • Vicodin,
    • Percocet and Oxycotin.
  • Benzodiazepines and tranquilizers which would include medications such as:
    • Lorazepam (Ativan),
    • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Stimulants such as:
    • Ritalin,
    • and Aderall
  • Hallucinogenics such as:
    • LSD,
    • Ecstasy,
    • And PCP.

But we also don’t want to limit ourselves to just these drugs and narcotics because it seems like every day, there is a “new” variation to some type of pre-existing drug that is released that should also be included on this list.

Drug Use and Life Insurance.

Unlike other pre-existing medical conditions where there are a lot of “gray” areas during the underwriting process, when it comes to drug use, we really don’t have to “guess” how an insurance underwriter is going to “view” your life insurance application.

You see…

If you have a history of abuse or are currently using an illegal narcotic, insurance companies are not going to want to offer you a traditional term or whole life insurance policy for at least 3 years.

Meaning… that you will not be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy until you have been clean and sober for a minimum of three years before an insurance company will even begin to consider your life insurance application.  Now let’s just take a moment and put this into perspective.

If you’ve suffered from:

  • A heart attack,
  • An aneurysm,
  • Or a stroke,

Insurance companies may consider you eligible for coverage after just 6 months.  But with drug use, they’re going to want to wait 3 years!

So, what does this tell us about how serious and life threatening drug abuse can be?

Well for starters, it tells us that insurance companies have determined that they can’t make money by insuring individuals who have a history of drug abuse unless they have remained clean and sober for a minimum of three years.

It also tells us that once you have achieved 3 years of sobriety, you’re probably going to have to pay a higher rate for your life insurance because you’re still going to be considered a “higher” risk than someone without a history of drug or alcohol abuse.

And while its…

Easy to know how a life insurance company is going to underwrite a life insurance application for someone who is using an illegal narcotic, things will begin to become a bit more difficult when the drug being abused or “potentially” abused is an actual prescription medication.

At this point, it’s important to point out that many of the individuals who will be denied life insurance policy due to a drug addiction issue, will be denied due to their abuse of a medication that they may “legally” be using!

This is why, when you choose to apply for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy, insurance companies are going to ask you about what medications you are currently taking and order a prescription database check.  They do this so that they can learn more about what medications that your taking and see if they can identify any potential “red flags” that could indicate whether or not you may be abusing your medications.

Honesty is the best policy….

We also like to point out that during the life insurance application process, insurance companies are generally going to use 6 methods in determining if you have any history of drug abuse.  One method will require you to be honest, the other 5 will be methods that will be out of your control.

This is why it’s important to always be honest when applying for a life insurance policy, because, if you aren’t, and your drug use is discovered, it “could” make it harder for you to qualify for coverage later on down the line.  And if the insurance companies don’t discover your use, your undisclosed drug abuse could be viewed as a “material misrepresentation” by the insurance company which could VOID your entire policy.

 6 methods insurance companies use to learn about any potential drug use.

  1. The Insurance application.

You will be asked it you currently use any illegal drugs or narcotics or if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse.

  1. A prescription database check.

Insurance companies will order a prescription database check which will provide information about what medications you are taking and how those medications have changed over the years.

  1. A medical exam.

Blood and urine samples will be collected which will be tested for any signs of drug use.

  1. Criminal background check.

A criminal background check will be performed, and while this may not indicate any drug use, having an arrest history of possession of an illegal narcotic, will be viewed as a potential “red flag” during your life insurance application.

  1. DMV report.

A DMV report will also be ordered and again, while a DMV report may not be able to prove an drug use, having a DUI or multiple DUI’s will be viewed as a potential “red flag” as well.

6.  Medical Information Bureau reports (MIB).

MIB reports are reports that are shared amongst insurance companies that provide previous life insurance application results to other insurance companies to review.  So… If you applied for a life insurance policy 6 months ago and were denied due to testing positive for some type of narcotic, this information will be readily available to any insurance company you decided to apply with in the future.

So, what can you do if you don’t have 2 years of sobriety or are looking to purchase a life insurance policy on someone who is still currently using/abusing drugs?

Well aside from the obvious of getting help and treating their addiction, there’s not a whole lot that can be done other than taking a look at some “alternative” life insurance policies that won’t require an individual to take a medical exam or answer any health-related questions.

These types of life insurance policies are called guaranteed issue life insurance policies and while they are a great option for some, they do come with some pretty significant limitations which may not make them a viable option.

The good news is that…

We here at InsuranceBrokersUSA, aren’t here to judge anyone, we simply here to help you find the best life insurance policy that you can qualify for.  So, what are you waiting for?  Give us a call today and see what we can do for you!

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