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Nowadays, it seems like the drug epidemic in the United States has become so pervasive that it’s challenging to find someone who hasn’t been directly affected by it.

After all, what used to be…

A taboo topic has now become a problem within most typical American families, whether they’re willing to acknowledge it. While there are many contributing factors contributing to this trend, including doctors’ prescribing habits, big pharma practices, and the legalization of so-called “gateway” drugs, one thing is clear: any drug abuse will hurt your life insurance application.

This is why we wanted to take a moment and discuss how most of the Top Rated Life Insurance Companies will underwrite an application from someone with a history of drug use/abuse so that you can gain a better understanding of what options may be available to you.

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 would like to learn more about how insurance companies will consider these “pre-existing conditions,” we would recommend that you check out the following article:

Which means that…

In this article, we’re going to want to focus on 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 Oxycontin.
  • Benzodiazepines and tranquilizers, which would include medications such as:
    • Lorazepam (Ativan),
    • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Stimulants such as:
    • Ritalin,
    • and Adderall
  • Hallucinogenics such as:
    • LSD,
    • Ecstasy,
    • And PCP.

We also don’t want to limit ourselves to just these drugs and narcotics. With new variations of existing drugs being released every day, it’s crucial to expand our list to include them as well.

Drug Use and Life Insurance.

Unlike other pre-existing medical conditions where there may be a lot of uncertainty during the underwriting process, with drug use, we don’t have to guess how an insurance underwriter will view your life insurance application.


When it comes to previous drug use or current use, insurance companies are generally all on the same page.  Which means that you’re probably not going to find an insurance company that’s willing to offer you a traditional term or whole life insurance policy until you have a minimum of three years of sobriety.

This means you won’t be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy until you’ve been clean and sober for at least three years before an insurance company even begins considering your life insurance application. Let’s take a moment to put this into perspective.

If you’ve suffered from:

Insurance companies may consider you eligible for coverage after just six months. Still, when it comes to drug use, they typically require a waiting period of three years before considering your application.

So, what does this tell us about how severe 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 three 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 it’s…

While it may be easy to determine how a life insurance company will underwrite a policy for someone using an illegal narcotic, it becomes more complicated when the drug in question is a prescription medication that has the potential for abuse.

It’s important to note that many individuals who are denied life insurance due to a drug addiction issue are restricted based on their abuse of a legally prescribed medication.

That’s why insurance companies will inquire about the medications you are taking when applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy and conduct a prescription database check. This is done to gather more information about your medication use and identify any potential “red flags” that could suggest you may be misusing your medications.

Honesty is the best policy….

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

This is why it’s essential always to 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. If the insurance companies don’t find your use, your undisclosed drug abuse could be viewed as a “material misrepresentation” by the insurance company, which could VOID your entire policy.

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

  1. The Insurance application.

You will be asked if 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 to 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 drug use, having a DUI or multiple DUIs will be viewed as a potential “red flag” as well.

6. Medical Information Bureau reports (MIB).

MIB reports 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 six months ago and were denied due to testing positive for some 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 two years of sobriety or are looking to purchase a life insurance policy for 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” insurance policies that won’t require an individual to take a medical exam or answer any health-related questions.

The two most common “alternative products” are most commonly referred to as accidental death policies and guaranteed issue life insurance policies. While they are an excellent option for some, they have some pretty significant limitations that may not make them viable.

The good news is that…

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

Frequently Asked Questions (with brief answers)

Can I qualify for life insurance if I have a history of drug abuse?

It depends on the severity of your drug abuse and how long you have been clean. Generally, if you have been drug-free for at least three years, you may be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy. However, if you are currently using illegal drugs or have a recent history of drug abuse, you may not be eligible for coverage.

What if my drug abuse was related to a prescription medication?

Insurance companies will ask about any medications you are currently taking and may order a prescription database check to see if you have a history of abusing prescription drugs. If you have a history of using prescription medication, it may impact your eligibility for coverage.

Will my rates be higher if I have a history of drug abuse?

Yes, your rates may be higher if you have a history of drug abuse. Insurance companies consider drug abuse a high-risk factor, and as a result, they may charge higher premiums or offer a modified policy with limited coverage.

Can I still get coverage if I am currently in a drug rehabilitation program?

It is unlikely that you will be able to get coverage while you are in a drug rehabilitation program. Insurance companies typically require you to be drug-free for a certain amount of time (usually three years) before considering your application.

How can I improve my chances of getting coverage after a history of drug abuse?

The best way to improve your chances of getting coverage is to stay drug-free and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You can also work with a life insurance agent specializing in high-risk cases, who can help you navigate the underwriting process. Additionally, you can consider a guaranteed issue life insurance policy, which does not require a medical exam and may be an option for those with a history of drug abuse.

What information will I need to provide when applying for life insurance with a history of drug abuse?

You will need to provide detailed information about your drug use, including the type of drug, frequency of use, and how long you have been clean. If applicable, you may also need to provide medical records and documentation from your drug rehabilitation program.

Can I get coverage for accidental overdose or drug-related deaths?

Some life insurance policies offer coverage for accidental overdose or drug-related deaths, but it typically comes at an additional cost. Additionally, most traditional life insurance policies will contain a “contestability period” (typically the first two years of a policy), during which they can dispute a claim.

While this doesn’t happen frequently, it’s conceivable that it might become a factor should a recovering addict die from an accidental death overdose shortly after purchasing a life insurance policy. The question would be, was the insured truly clean and sober for three years before their application date?

Will my application be denied if I have a criminal record related to drug abuse?

Having a criminal record related to drug abuse may impact your eligibility for coverage, but it’s not an automatic denial. The insurance company will review the severity and frequency of your drug-related criminal activity, as well as how long it has been since your last conviction.

Can I get coverage if I have a family history of drug abuse?

A family history of drug abuse is typically not considered when applying for a traditional life insurance policy. Fortunately, while most will agree that there does seem to be a genetic component to addiction, few, if any, life insurance companies will consider this when underwriting an application.

Is it possible to get coverage for mental health issues related to drug abuse?

Mental health issues related to drug abuse, such as depression or anxiety, may impact your eligibility for coverage or result in higher premiums. However, some life insurance policies offer coverage for mental health conditions, so it’s important to discuss your options with your life insurance agent.

5 comments… add one
  • jay February 15, 2021, 5:40 pm

    i think this is totally bs i have been in a recovery program for almost 8 years and never relapsed an i got denied a safety net for my family because of drug history because i am on suboxen how are these corrupt people getting away with this

    • IBUSA February 15, 2021, 6:12 pm


      We completely understand the frustration you must be feeling by not being able to find a life insurance company willing to approve you due to your current Suboxone prescription.

      Unfortunately, Suboxone is one of those “types” of medications that will commonly trigger an automatic decline when applying for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy (regardless of the insurance carrier).

      That said, however, you may still be able to qualify for up to 25,000 dollars in coverage while simultaneously taking Suboxone by applying for a Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance policy.

      These “types” of life insurance policies will contain a Graded Death Benefit (which will force an applicant to wait 2-3 years before the policy will cover natural causes of death) but will not discriminate against an individual for any previous drug or alcohol abuse or current Suboxone use.

      The real question will then become whether or not 25,000 dollars would be enough coverage for you and whether or not you live in a state where one of these types of life insurance policies are offered.

      For more information, please give us a call at your earliest convenience.


  • William C. July 2, 2021, 9:28 pm

    I agree with Jay. I am in the same position. I have been sober 12 years but use methadone to treat my ulcerative colitis. I am being denied because it this. I need a 2 million policy to buy a 6million company. So much for that dream. It will go down the drain now because I take prescribed medication. Tip it off the meds were given. To me by a dirty doctor when I was 17. Shameful but they keep handing them out like candy.

  • Lisa K March 23, 2023, 10:44 am

    This extremely disturbing. I was prescribed vicoden for endometriosis for years and once it got better I was put on Suboxone because it was a struggle for me to get off because I was taking it for so long and I’ve been on Suboxone for years. If not for that I don’t know what I would’ve done. All you are doing is being a part of making the opiate crisis worse, even for people who never uses street drugs and it’s only hurting the insurance company and the person because instead of people getting off drugs, you’ll force people to use street drugs since it’s not going to show up in prescription histories and it will damage their bodies but die of heart attacks and things and you’ll pay out on that because you’ll never know they took those drugs. It’s just as disturbing as those people at big pharma.

    • IBUSA March 24, 2023, 3:46 pm


      As a advocate for clients looking to purchase life insurance, we share your furstration when it comes to helping people qualify for life insurance with a previous history of drug abuse/dependency. Especially, when clients use medications like Suboxone to treat their condition. Unfortunately though, insurance companies are the ones that make the rules, and all we can do it try help our clients navigate them to their best ability so that if possible they can qualify for a great life insurance policy at a great rate.



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