According to “Project Know, Understanding Addiction”, it is estimated that nearly one out of every 13 Americans suffer from a problem with alcohol. And while we would love to believe that each one of these 1 in 13 individuals fully recognize the problem and are fully committed treating their condition, the truth is, while 1 in 13 may have an issue with alcohol, far fewer than 1 in 13 are going to be willing to “acknowledge” that they have an issue.
And this disconnect…
Between those who have a problem with alcohol and those who understand and “admit” that they have a problem with alcohol can often come to a “head” when applying for life insurance.
During a typical fully underwritten term or whole life insurance application, what you’re generally going to find is that insurance companies are going to be interested in learning if you have a history of alcohol abuse.
In fact, they’ll usually use 5 different methods in determining if you have a current problem with alcohol or have abused alcohol in the past. The four methods that they will use will include:
- The life insurance application questionnaire.
Within the actual application, you will be asked directly if you have ever been diagnosed with having an issue with drugs or alcohol. If so, most traditional term or whole life insurance policies will generally like to see that an individual has remained sober for a minimum of two years prior to considering them eligible for coverage.
- The life insurance medical exam.
Fully underwritten term or whole life insurance policies will also require an individual to take a medical exam. During that medical exam, insurance companies are going to “screen” for alcohol levels within the blood sample (which is why it is always a good idea to avoid any alcohol for at least 24 hours prior to your exam), but will also be looking for any elevate protein levels or abnormalities in the platelet shapes within the blood sample as well which could indicate excessive use of alcohol (these symptoms will not go away simply by abstaining from alcohol for one or two days).
- Your driving record.
Most fully underwritten term or whole life insurance policies will also require you to allow the insurance company to take a look at your driving record. So… if you have a history of one or two DUI’s in the past, these may be indicative of a drinking problem which will often raise a red flag for insurance underwriters.
- Medical records.
Often times we’ll have a life insurance application become suddenly “complicated” once an insurance company has an opportunity to review an applicant’s medical records. You see, sometimes an individual does not personally believe that they have a problem with alcohol, but their doctor does believe that there could be a “potential” issue. And if that “potential” issue has been mentioned to you by your doctor, there’s a really good chance that that discussion will be in your medical records and could be used by an insurance underwriter to deny your life insurance application!
- Medical information bureau report (MIB).
MIB reports are reports that are shared by life insurance companies with one another so that the can have “general” information about individuals who have applied for a life insurance policy. So… if you’ve applied for life insurance in the past, and were denied due to alcohol abuse issues, this information will be available to other insurance companies should you choose to apply for coverage in the future.
But don’t fret…
This is why we’ve chosen to write this article. You see, our only goal here at InsuranceBrokersUSA, is to help you find the best life insurance policy that you can qualify for. So without further ado, lets dive right into what the process of applying for life insurance with a history of alcohol abuse is going to look like and provide you with a series of tips to help you get the best possible life insurance policy for you and your loved one!
Three types of “alcoholic” applications.
When it comes time to helping out an individual who has a history of alcoholism, it’s important to understand that there are going to be 3 times of “alcoholics” when it comes to life insurance.
- Those who are still currently using.
- Those who have been sober for less than 2 years.
- And those that have been sober for over 2 years.
This is why, we’ll want to take a look at each type of “alcoholic” applicant individually and take a look at what “types” of options will be available to each.
Those currently still using alcohol.
Individuals who have a history of alcohol abuse who continue to use alcohol will simply not be eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
Now you may ask yourself, “How will the insurance companies know if I’ve been diagnosed an “alcoholic”? or “How will the insurance companies know if I still take an occasional drink?”
Which are fair questions, but as we’ve stated before, insurance companies have a variety of methods to determine if you have an alcohol abuse problem, and only of these methods rely on an applicant being truthful.
When you decided to apply for life insurance coverage, it is your responsibility to disclose any information that may be pertinent to the decision-making process. So… if you intentionally withhold information that could possible cause an insurance company to deny your life insurance application, insurance companies can have “probable cause” to deny your life insurance policy in the future.
And the last thing that you want to do is lie on your life insurance application only to later have that lie prevent your family from benefiting from having a policy later down the line!
That if you have a current drinking problem and you want to purchase a life insurance policy, you have 2 options.
- First, you could quit drinking and choose to apply for coverage when eligible (eligibility will usually be possible after 2 years of sobriety).
- Or you could choose to apply for a guaranteed issue life insurance policy that won’t require you to take a medical exam or answer any health related medical questions.
If you choose the latter option, you should know that your options will be limited to about $25,000 dollars in coverage and your life insurance policy will usually contain a 2-3 year waiting period before it will cover you for natural causes of death.
But let’s not get too depressed…
The point of this article isn’t to make someone feel bad, it’s to help folks get a better idea about what they will and won’t be able to qualify for, and how they can improve their chances at being able to qualify for “better” life insurance policy in the future!
“Alcoholic” Applicants who have recently quit drinking.
First of all, “Congratulations!” Quitting is not an easy accomplishment and is something to be proud and happy about. The only problem is… and we’re sure your aware of this is that sobriety isn’t a given, it’s something that you’ll need to continue to work on.
This is why, according to Alcoholism Follow-up, less than 20% of patients who quit drinking remain sober a full year, however those who do remain sober for more than 2 years only have a 40% relapse rate. Additionally, those who remain sober for more than 5 years are much more likely to remain sober, but even they will need to remain vigilant in their recover.
This is why…
You’re going to find that insurance companies are going to require you to have been sober for at least 2 years before they will consider you eligible for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy. So unfortunately for these individuals, their options will be limited like those who are currently still using alcohol with one exception, these folks will be well on their way to “recovery” which means that they are also well on their way to being able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy!
Sober for over 2 years!
Congratulations, you for have achieved a significant milestone in your recovery and is finally a milestone that the insurance companies are going to begin to recognize!
Which means that you should now “potentially” be able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy! The key now is to be sure we get a complete understanding of your overall health and lifestyle risk factors so that we can:
- Not only take a look at what prices will be like working with the most “alcoholic” friendly life insurance companies.
- But also, get an idea about how other factors on your life insurance application could affect the outcome of your policy.
Other factors such as:
- Your age.
- Your height and weight.
- Whether you been diagnosed with any serious pre-existing medical conditions like cancer, heart disease, stroke or diabetes before.
- Whether any of your immediate family members (mother, father brother or sister) have ever been diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, stroke or diabetes?
- The prescribed medications are you taking now?
- If you have any issues with your driving record?
- If you have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor?
- If you have any set plans to travel outside the United States in the next 2 years?
- If you have any set plans to participate in any danger activities such as hang gliding, bungee jumping or sky diving in the next 2 years?
- Have you declared or filed for bankruptcy in the past 24 months? Etc.,
After getting these details, we will take all of this information and analyze the kind of life insurance policies you have better chances of qualifying for including the rate you’ll receive. In addition, we’ll be looking out for “which” life insurance company we believe will provide you with the best opportunity for success.
Here at InsuranceBrokersUSA, because we have chosen to remain an independent life insurance brokerage, we don’t have to simply rely on one or two different life insurance companies when it comes time to help you find the best life insurance policy that you can qualify for. Instead, we can “shop” dozens of different life insurance companies simultaneously so that you can get a better idea on “which” life insurance company might be the best fit for you BEFORE you go through the hassle of actually applying for coverage.
So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and see what we can do for you!