Alcoholics and recovering alcoholics can find life insurance coverage.
However, unsurprisingly, the two don’t go hand in hand.
Because carriers are in the business of absorbing risk, and alcoholism is associated with a host of health concerns, risky behavior, and mortality, expect a bumpier road to finding a policy.
Plan to do a little homework to find the best life insurance carrier to apply with, including no exam life insurance.
Here, you will find everything you need to know about securing life insurance coverage if you are an alcoholic or are recovering.
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Life Insurance Underwriting For Alcoholics
During the application process, plan to answer seven important underwriting questions about your alcoholism, and how it has impacted your health and lifestyle.
1. Do you currently drink alcohol?
First and foremost, this question is paramount in determining which form of life insurance you may qualify for.
Or, for accident-only coverage, an accidental death and dismemberment policy.
Recovering alcoholics may be eligible for traditional coverage, depending on how long it has been since your last drink.
Important – always be honest about your drinking habits during the health interview. Dishonesty could result in a policy denial.
2. Do you participate in a support group?
Participation in Alcoholics Anonymous, or a similar support group, indicates responsibility and a desire to maintain sobriety.
Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.– Alcoholics Anonymous
Underwriters view support groups favorably.
3. Do your medical records indicate alcoholism?
A number of medical tests can decipher whether someone is drinking too much.
- Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) test – alcohol biomarker test
- Other liver enzyme tests
- Serum gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT)
- Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
- Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)
- Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) test – urine test for breakdown of alcohol
Further, a host of health conditions exist related to too much alcohol consumption.
- Brain damage
- High blood pressure
- Certain cancers
- Fatty liver
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
Note – if you are applying for traditional coverage (like term or whole), your medical records will likely be pulled.
4. Have you initiated treatment?
Especially if it was a voluntary decision, rehabilitation facilities demonstrate a desire to heal.
Court-ordered rehab does not carry the same positive influence on underwriting.
Your underwriter will usually pull your records from treatment for alcoholism.
5. Do you have a DUI conviction?
Your driving record will also be pulled during the application process for traditional coverage.
A history of DUI conviction affects life insurance approval.
If you have had more than one DUI within the last 12 months, it’s almost certain that you will not be able to buy term life insurance.
One DUI within the past year will likely not prevent you from buying coverage, however, expect to pay more in premiums (called table rating).
6. How is your health?
As you know, alcoholism is associated with deteriorating health.
Your medical history will be evaluated during the underwriting process.
A number of health concerns associated with excessive drinking can affect your ability to be approved for term coverage.
- Liver disease
- Serious depression
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Cancers (especially colon, mouth, breast, and liver)
Your best chance at affordable rates is if you are in decent health overall, despite a history of alcoholism.
7. Are you able to maintain employment?
Finally, underwriters will evaluate whether drinking has affected your lifestyle, specifically your ability to hold a job.
Is your work-life affected by your drinking? If so, have you lost your job?
Or, are you able to demonstrate consistent, responsible employment?
Because life insurance companies need to evaluate risk in order to determine whether or not to approve a life insurance application – and, if approved, just how much to charge for a policy – you are asked a number of specific questions about your drinking habits.
If you are an alcoholic who is currently drinking, your life insurance options are limited.
Until you can demonstrate you are in recovery for a number of years, you will only be able to buy two types of policies:
Guaranteed issue life insurance
Guaranteed issue (GI) coverage should only be considered if you do not qualify for traditional coverage, like a 20-year term policy.
However, GI can be a godsend to those who would otherwise be unable to purchase coverage.
GI policies have some key characteristics:
- A form of whole life insurance (almost always)
- No health questions asked (almost always)
- Modest face amounts
- More expensive premiums (in relation to policy size)
- Minimum age requirement of 40 years
Accidental death and dismemberment insurance
An accidental death and dismemberment policy is often purchased by individuals who are too young (>40 years) to purchase GI, and do not qualify for other forms of coverage.
Called AD&D coverage, accidental death and dismemberment insurance is technically not life insurance.
Rather, AD&D provides a benefit only if death occurs as a result of a qualifying accident. Common covered accidents include:
- Car accident
- Commercial flight
Important – death from alcohol is typically not covered by an AD&D policy.
If you are in recovery, you may be eligible for traditional term or whole life insurance.
But, you’ll need to demonstrate sobriety for a number of years, first.
Why? Most alcoholics relapse.
The chronic and relapsing nature of alcoholism – is one of the major obstacles to its successful treatment.– JAMA Psychiatry
Five years of documented sobriety, at a minimum, is almost always required for term life insurance approval.
For the best rates, the longer you are in recovery, the better.
Depending on how long someone will rely on you financially, consider the following term lengths – if you are a recovering alcoholic:
Best Life Insurance Companies For Alcoholics
All carriers, including no physical life insurance companies, underwrite applicants differently.
Alcoholics will want to look to carriers that evaluate a history of excessive drinking in a more positive light.
Life Insurance For Alcoholics
|Company||Medical Exam Required||Minimum Years Of Sobriety||Medical Records Pulled|
|Nassau Re (Phoenix)||No||5||In certain cases|
|Sagicor||No||5||In certain cases|
|Foresters||No||5||In certain cases|
Look to the following term life insurance carriers, as they are commonly used for applicants with alcoholism.
For preferred premium rates, most carriers require you to be in recovery for at least 7 – 10 years.
In some cases, you may be able to find term coverage before it has been 5 years of sobriety, but your premiums will be heavily rated (called table ratings).
First, do not wait to purchase some coverage if it has been less than 5 years since your sobriety began.
Next, collaborate with an independent life insurance agent. Why? You will have access to multiple quotes from multiple carriers, instead of just one option.
Finally, document your medical and lifestyle history so that you are ready for the application. Refer to the underwriting questions about alcoholism to be sure your application is streamlined.
Start with your free quote.