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Alcohol and Life Insurance Premiums

Reviewed By: Rob Pinner

Rob PinnerRob Pinner is the founder and CEO of Pinner Financial Services servicing all 50 states. Rob started his insurance career in 2002. Full Bio >

Checked By: Holly Mitchell

Holly Mitchell’s background in life insurance insurance goes back to 1985 when she worked for her father who was a New York Life agent. Holly has a marketing degree from Auburn University and has had a life insurance license since 2008. In addition to advising life insurance for customers all around the country, Holly is our website fact checker.
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Last Updated: May 28th, 2019

After you have begun the (long) process of buying a life insurance policy, you will have to answer some questions on the application related to your alcohol use. The insurance company doesn’t have rules on “alcoholics,” but alcohol abuse or excessive drinking can cause serious chronic conditions which can greatly affect your life insurance premiums.

Just because you’re going to pay extra doesn’t mean you should skip getting coverage or buy a plan which will drain your paycheck.

Life Insurance and Alcohol

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excessive use of alcohol, including binge drinking (drinking four or more drinks in one sitting for women and five or more drinks in one sitting for men) and underage drinking can increase your risk of developing serious health problems such as:

  • Gastrointestinal Problems
  • Cancerhand reject a bottle of beer in the bar
  • Liver Disease
  • Depression
  • Stroke
  • Dementia
  • Cardiovascular Problems

It’s very unusual to be denied on your insurance application based on your answers, but the insurance company may conduct further investigation on your use of alcohol as you may be a high-risk life insurance applicant.

Insurance companies usually consider a number of different factors when underwriting a person with a history of alcohol abuse. These factors include:

Liver Function and Life Insurance

Your alcohol use will reflect in your medical history if your physician suspects it or if you have told him about it. Your life insurance medical test, usually a requirement for an application, includes liver tests that reveal abnormalities.

The liver function test also called the Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin (CDT) test, is used to measure the synthesis of glycoprotein in your liver to prevent obstructive liver diseases such as cirrhosis.

If you are a heavy drinker, you will have an elevated liver function; but not if you drink moderately.

Thus, even if you didn’t mention your alcohol use on your application or in your medical records, a laboratory result showing abnormal liver function can raise a “red flag” to the insurance company that you may be using alcohol.

That being said, having an elevated level of liver enzyme doesn’t mean that your application will be denied, because it can also indicate there’s something wrong with your liver or overall health that is not related to alcohol use, or it may be caused by taking medicines.

The insurance company may request additional information from you or your doctor to see if the abnormal liver function is caused by alcohol use.

DUI and Life Insurance

If you are convicted of drunk driving, your insurer will likely impose higher life insurance rates—even if it was your first time and an isolated incident. When it comes to DUIs, insurance providers usually look at everything involved.

While some insurers will require, at a bare minimum, one year before you get an offer for a life insurance policy, there are others who will cover you right away.

For the first year of your DUI conviction, you are likely to see higher rates for coverage but after that, you can be eligible for a “standard” rating. If you have multiple driving violations coupled with drug abuse or alcoholism, most insurance providers will consider you “uninsurable.”

Attending Physician Statement (APS)

An APS is a report from your doctor regarding your health condition. It informs the insurance company about the status of your health and allows them to check whether or not the alcohol is affecting your health.

It may have the same information you wrote down in your application form, but if your physician has other concerns about your alcohol use, they may also be included.

Depending on exactly how severe your alcohol abuse had gotten, the insurance company could offer you a “rated” life insurance policy, put you in a more expensive insurance rate class or reject your application.

A rated policy comes with an additional premium because of a specific risk factor.

Even if you can prove that you have successfully completed the alcohol-treatment program and haven’t had an alcoholic drink for several months, you can expect that the status of your application will be declined for at least 2 years after being sober.

If you have or had a drinking problem, make sure you mention that in your insurance application. Avoid fraudulent information so any policy issued to you will not be voided.

Life Insurance Rates for Heavy Drinkers

There are a lot of variables when it comes to calculating your rates. Everything from your age to your hobbies.

Let’s assume you’re in great health with no major health problems and you don’t have any dangerous hobbies like skydiving or scuba diving, then your drinking won’t kill your life insurance rates.

A rule of thumb for people who drink excessively is to take the rates of someone who doesn’t drink and raise them by 50% – 100%.

What to Do If You’ve Been Declined

Maybe you’re already applied for life insurance, but you didn’t get accepted. That’s okay. There are still choices.

Maybe the insurance company doesn’t like how much you drink. Maybe you have a DUI or two on your applicant. For whatever reason, you were rejected.

Let’s look at some of your options.

The first one is to wait. If you’re a recovering alcoholic or you have a recent DUI on your driving record, one of the best things you can do is wait before you apply. Sure, it’s not the most exciting thing and probably not what you want to hear, but it could be the smartest route.

Another choice is to improve your health and lifestyle indicators. Stop drinking, quit smoking, go to the gym, all of those good things you’ve been meaning to do.

If you have a history of alcohol abuse or DUIs, we can help you figure out your life insurance options. Contact us at 800-712-8519.

How We Can Help

Every insurance agent and carrier is going to say they have the best coverage or the best prices. We don’t make those claims because we aren’t a standard insurance company.

We don’t sell plans from a single carrier. We are unrestricted agents and we can work for you! We want to partner with you and do all of the life insurance buying for you.

Our agency has dozens of carrier partners and we work with some of the best companies for people who frequently drink. Some insurance companies are going to jack up your rates.

If you choose the wrong insurance carrier, you might end up paying thousands of dollars to much for your life insurance. Sure, we don’t have any special superpowers, but why spend time talking to dozens of agents when you don’t have to.

We can do all of the boring quote gathering work for you. You make one single call to you and that’s it. We will bring all the quotes straight to you.

Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU

Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA. Doug has spent close to 30 years in the life insurance and financial planning industry and has held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, health. Some other notable items about Doug: Top of the Table Million Dollar Round Table member (MDRT). (MDRT is a global, independent association of the world’s leading life insurance advisors) | Premier Partner with Lincoln Financial and Cabinet Member | Served two years as President of the Auburn/Opelika Association of Financial Advisors | Life Millionaire status at Horace Mann Insurance Company and was awarded the Life Agent of the Year Award | New York Life, Executive Council Member | Currently serves as President of Ogletree Financial, a life insurance General Agency. | Doug is also a financial blogger addressing the topics of life insurance, annuities and retirement income planning.

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