When you purchase life insurance, the carrier scrutinizes your entire health and wellness picture when determining the type of life insurance you’ll be offered and how much you’ll pay for that insurance.
If you are an occasional social drinker, this behavior isn’t likely to have too much of an impact on your life insurance rates if you’re otherwise in good health. However, if you are an alcoholic, that can impact your ability to qualify for certain types of life insurance, and will affect how much you pay for your insurance.
Even though life insurance will be more expensive if you’re an alcoholic, you can still qualify for a policy in most cases and there are some ways you can make your premiums more affordable.
How Being an Alcoholic Impacts Your Life Insurance Rates
Applying for life insurance means that the carrier will conduct a full medical evaluation to help them find the right type of insurance for you at the right rate with the least amount of risk to their company.
This process, called underwriting, is when your life insurance company will likely learn of your alcoholism.
As an alcoholic, you are considered at a higher risk to develop other health conditions that may lead to an earlier death for you. This means you are considered a greater risk for the life insurance company to insure, leading you to pay a higher amount of money for the same amount of coverage as someone who isn’t an alcoholic.
If you are currently struggling with alcohol abuse, this increased risk means you’re unlikely to qualify for a traditional whole or term life policy. Instead, you may only be offered a guaranteed policy that comes with much higher premiums than traditional policies.
For those who have recently quit drinking or who have been sober for a few years, it may be easier to qualify for a regular term or whole life insurance policy at better rates, but that isn’t guaranteed by all carriers.
Other Factors That Change the Cost of Life Insurance for Alcoholics
Your alcohol use isn’t the only factor that a life insurance carrier will take into account when figuring out your rates.
Here are some things that may be taken into account during the underwriting process:
Your overall health is always a consideration for a life insurance company, regardless of whether or not you have an alcohol abuse problem. However, your problem with alcohol often can cause other health issues, all of which may also impact your life insurance rates.
Some common health conditions that alcoholics can suffer from include:
- Brain damage
- High blood pressure
- Fatty liver
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
If any of these conditions is detected during your medical exam, or is noted in your medical records, the life insurance company may consider you at a higher risk and may charge you more in premiums.
Other Lifestyle Choices
In some cases, alcoholism can exist alongside other risky lifestyle choices, something your life insurance company isn’t going to take lightly.
Some things you may be asked when applying for life insurance include:
- Have you ever had a DUI or been in a car accident involving alcohol?
- Do you participate in a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous?
- Have you initiated treatment for your alcoholism?
- Are you able to hold down steady employment?
The answers to these questions indicate to your life insurance company just how much your drinking has impacted the rest of your life and can cause you to not qualify for certain types of life insurance.
It is important to be truthful when answering questions related to your drinking, as lying during the underwriting process can cause the company to deny coverage to you altogether.
Does Being a Recovering Alcoholic Change How Much I Pay for Life Insurance?
If you’ve decided to quit drinking, congratulations!
While becoming a recovering alcoholic isn’t likely to help your life insurance premiums right away, sticking with your recovery can help you qualify for better life insurance products and can reduce how much you pay for that insurance.
Because a large number of recovering alcoholics - some estimates say as many as 80 percent of them - have a relapse in the four years following treatment, the longer you’ve been sober, the more likely your sobriety is to positively impact your life insurance rates.
If you’re newly sober, for example, you may not see any change to your life insurance premium, and you still may only qualify for a guaranteed policy. However, with each year you are successfully sober, the closer you are to qualifying for a traditional life insurance policy and the lower your rates may become.
Should I Wait Until I’m Sober to Apply for Life Insurance?
No, don’t wait until you’re sober to apply for life insurance! Anything can happen between the time you decide to quit drinking and the time you qualify for lower premiums, and not having life insurance means you run the risk of dying without life insurance.
If you find applying for life insurance right now to be too costly due to your drinking, consider adjusting the amount of coverage you purchase temporarily, and then reapplying for more coverage once you’ve been sober for a few years. Having even a small amount of life insurance now is better than waiting and risking having none.
Is Life Insurance for Alcoholics Worth the Cost?
As an alcoholic, you are going to pay a higher cost for life insurance than would someone else who doesn’t have your same problem.
However, the benefits of having life insurance far outweigh the drawbacks of paying more, even if you have to settle for purchasing less coverage to make your life insurance policy more affordable.
Not having any life insurance could saddle your family with a high financial burden in the event of your death, and may leave them with little or nothing when you’re gone. By purchasing even a smaller policy than you’d like, you’re still able to provide something for your family when you die.
How Can I Reduce My Life Insurance Cost As an Alcoholic?
When you suffer from alcohol abuse, it can be frustrating to find a life insurance policy that carries a good rate. However, this task isn’t impossible.
Here are some things you can consider to help you find the best life insurance for alcoholics:
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Term vs. Whole
Depending on the life insurance company you opt to work with, you may not get to choose between whole and term life insurance policies. But, if you do receive that option, selecting a term life insurance policy is likely going to carry lower overall rates and help you decrease the amount you pay for life insurance.
If you are purchasing life insurance to provide your spouse the money to pay off your home or to pay for your children’s college education, a term life policy may be the most cost-effective option for you. Term life insurance policies only cover you for a period of years, and you can elect to renew your policy at the end of the term or not.
In many cases, a term life insurance policy can be converted to a whole life insurance policy without additional underwriting, so any future complications from your alcoholism aren’t likely to cause problems during the conversion process.
Also, if you are planning to get sober, purchasing a less expensive term policy while you work on your sobriety can give you the life insurance coverage you need without costing you an arm and a leg.
If your goal in purchasing life insurance is to provide an inheritance for your loved ones or to offer your spouse some measure of financial security later in life, you may want a whole life insurance policy.
Whole life insurance policies cost more overall, and because many alcoholics only qualify for guaranteed life insurance policies, your premiums will be higher than term life insurance policies.
Amount of Coverage
Another way you can adjust how much your life insurance policy will cost you is to adjust the amount of coverage you purchase.
How much coverage you need is based on a variety of factors individual to your circumstances, including:
- Your current salary
- Any financial obligations you have, such as child support
- The ages of your children
- Whether you have a mortgage or other debt that will need to be paid
Your alcoholism will mean your premiums for life insurance will be higher than other people’s, but adjusting how much coverage you purchase can help reduce the financial impact of your alcoholism.
Finding a life insurance policy as an alcoholic can be extremely challenging and expensive. But it isn’t impossible.
Taking the time to look at what different carriers offer, examine your options carefully, and adjust how much coverage you purchase, you may be able to find adequate coverage at a more affordable price.
With Insurdinary, you can save yourself time and frustration when trying to find a life insurance policy for alcoholics. In minutes you can compare your options, receive a personalized quote, and apply for coverage. Get your quote today!