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In This Article I’m Going To Focus On People Who Have Been Troubled By Alcoholism, Whether In The Present Or In The Past, And Want To Qualify For A Life Insurance Program
If you are looking for life insurance, either on yourself or a loved one, and you or your loved one has struggled with alcoholism either recently or at some point in the past then this article is for you. My goal is to describe all the factors an insurance company will evaluate in order to determine your level of insureability, as well as what you can expect as far as actual coverage goes.
One thing you’ll discover is that at any point that you attempt to qualify for life insurance there will always be variables at play, from the qualification process to premiums and levels of coverage.
My job in this article is to attempt to dispel the concerns and questions that you may have in determining whether or not you may qualify for life insurance with a history of alcoholism.
NOTE: Would you prefer me to present this information to you in video format? Watch the video below for the complete presentation. Enjoy!
Here’s An Overview Of Today’s Topic:
- Factors Underwriters Look At When Determining Eligibility For Life Insurance With A History Of Alcoholism
- What Type Of Underwriting Results Can You Expect If You Have Alcoholism And Are Applying For Life Insurance?
- Should I Buy Life Insurance With A History Of Alcoholism?
- Some Coverage Is Better Than No Coverage
- Types Of Life Insurance Coverage Available
- Should You Take An Exam?
- Burial Insurance Rates, Age 40 To 90*
Factors underwriters look at when determining eligibility for life insurance with a history of alcoholism
There are primarily six factors outside of the typical health history and lifestyle questions that you’ll be asked on a life insurance application when you indicate a history of alcoholism. Let’s jump into each point and discuss them in more detail.
Length of time since diagnosis
The length of time since the diagnosis of alcoholism does play an important role in determining your level of insurability for life insurance.
More specifically a life insurance underwriter is going to want to know if you’ve been diagnosed with alcoholism and what you did after that diagnosis.
- Are there indications that you’ve taken steps to control the alcoholism?
- Have you been sober?
- Do your vitals indicate that your health has improved?
There’s going to be some additional followup questions since the original diagnosis, but more likely than not, the longer the time that has passed since the diagnosis, the better chances you have of qualifying for life insurance and getting it at a better price.
Compliance to treatment upon a diagnosis of alcoholism
There are circumstances in which doctors will encourage you to enroll in treatment plans in order to help you overcome your alcoholism.
Common treatments include Alcoholics Anonymous, 12 step programs, and other prescription treatments to help numb or reduce the urge to drink. The underwriters will want to know how compliant you’ve been with your particular treatment.
For example, if the doctor has recommended a 12 step program or followup procedures such as starting on a prescription treatment, how well have you adhered to those recommendations? Have you been continuously using the treatments as prescribed? Has there been any indication of recidivism?
The more you can show that you have been following the treatment that’s been prescribed to you, the more likely the life insurance underwriters will look at your application with a more favorable approach.
Elevated liver enzymes and short elevated liver enzymes
Liver enzymes are one of the biggest troublemakers, not just for people applying for life insurance with a history of alcoholism, but for anybody looking to apply for life insurance coverage.
Elevated liver enzymes usually indicate that there is some sort of disease or problem within the body. This can be enough concern to the life insurance company to put your life insurance coverage on hold until an explanation is provided.
Ideally, you’ll not only want to ensure your enzymes are at a normal level, but also if at any point your enzymes were elevated, be able to prove what caused those liver enzymes to be raised as well as what steps you took in order lower them.
In conjunction with figuring out your compliance with treatment, your life insurance company is going to do a background check on your driving record to specifically look for things like DUI convictions, traffic violations, and any sort of indication as to whether or not you’ve been compliant with your treatment plan.
DUIs are especially concerning to those underwriters who are trying to find ways to potentially improve your coverage, but see that you also have a history of alcoholism. As a rule of thumb, the longer the period of time since the DUI conviction, the better off you’ll be.
If a DUI conviction is more recent or if it happened during a period of time when you should’ve been improving your condition overall, it’s likely that you’re going to experience more negativity in getting qualified at a reasonable rate than you would if you had the DUI prior to your diagnosis or prior to your treatment plan.
How successful has the treatment been?
This is an all encompassing question that relates in some sense to the other questions asked. Your life insurance underwriter will no doubt have a number of questions they will consider when looking at your application.
- How well have you complied with your treatment protocol?
- Have you showed up to doctor’s visits as recommended?
- Do you show a continual history of prescription medications being applied?
- Are there any DUI convictions or traffic violations that would indicate recidivism?
- Has enough time passed to prove that the treatment has been successful?
- Have you shown a level of consistency that would indicate somebody who has maintained control over the alcoholism?
Again, time is of the essence here. The longer you have been sober and the more proof of commitment that you can show, the better your chances are of getting a reasonable offer on your life insurance.
Do you continue to drink?
This is one of those questions that will be parlayed into the other questions asked. Of course, if you’ve had recidivism and you’ve experienced setbacks on your journey to sobriety and the underwriters see that you continue to drink, you are essentially saying that you are not adhering to treatments.
What type of underwriting results can you expect if you have alcoholism and are applying for life insurance?
This is a good question to ask and one in which we’ll explore based off of three different ranges in time period. We’ll look at the zero to two year time period, the two to five year time period, and the five plus time period.
Within the last 2 years
If you’ve been diagnosed within the past two years, most likely you’re going to experience more negativity and difficulty in applying for a traditional and simplified issue underwriting life insurance product.
If you’ve had a diagnosis of alcoholism within the last couple of years, your best choice for life insurance coverage will probably be what’s called a guaranteed issue life insurance product. These plans are designed to not ask you health questions, but only cover you in case of accidental death for the first few years until at a future point you would be fully covered for death by natural causes.
Generally, guaranteed issue life insurance policies are designed to be more of a final expense plan than a income replacement plans just because you don’t get as much coverage as you would with a traditional type of plan.
Unfortunately this is the reality of what happens when someone’s diagnosed with alcoholism. There are very limited options available.
Alcoholism diagnosed greater than two years, but less than five years ago
This is the sweet spot where a lot of factors will come into play in determining what your potential eligibility for life insurance will be based on how well you’ve complied to your treatment plan and your health overall.
If you, for example, are generally a healthy person that doesn’t take a lot of medications and has been completely compliant with your treatment plan to deal with alcoholism, you may have offers for fully underwritten products that would either be at standard rates or substandard rates, depending on how the combination of your health and your treatment plan for alcoholism has played out.
Again, you may not get the kind of results that you’d like. Some companies look more negatively on alcoholism than others. However, one potential source of coverage will be what’s called simplified issue, whole life insurance, a product that is somewhat similar to guaranteed issue coverage.
This is permanent protection in every sense. If you qualify you get first day, full coverage. The rates are a little bit more competitive, but this is one of those plans that will provide a smaller amount of coverage, but will provide immediate coverage if you qualify.
Simplified issue is especially a good choice if you cannot qualify for a traditional, underwritten plan because of concerns about a history of alcoholism in combination with bad health.
Alcoholism diagnosed greater than five years ago and complete compliance with treatment program
This is the point at which as a life insurance agent, I start to recommend my clients look at more fully underwritten applications to see what kind of life insurance options are going to be available. I feel more comfortable as a life insurance agent working to get you coverage in force when a period of five years or more has passed since diagnosis and your health is overall in good shape.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend traditional coverage if you’ve been compliant with treatment but your health has declined. It ultimately depends upon your unique circumstance, which is why I recommend you work with a broker like us at Buy Life Insurance for Burial.
We’ll give you an honest assessment of what your likelihood of getting coverage might be and also provide suggestions as to which program would be best for your particular circumstances taking into consideration your goals and budget.
Should I buy life insurance with a history of alcoholism?
Despite where you fall within the range of how much time has passed since your diagnosis, I highly recommend that you buy some kind of life insurance.
Most likely you are married to somebody who has struggled with alcoholism or love somebody who has struggled with it and you understand that there is an absolute necessity for life insurance coverage. I believe life insurance is one of those products that, once established, meets a definite need. As long as you have the ability to afford the plan, there should be no reason to delay.
Some coverage is better than no coverage
One thing that often happens is that an individual dies well in advance of being able to qualify for better coverage. And if you wait too long to get the coverage you want, you might find that your health deteriorates.
It’s best to start with something and then if your health improves, you can always reapply with another life insurance company to see if someone else will give you a more competitive rate.
This is something we suggest to a lot of our life insurance clients who struggled with alcoholism because it’s just that important to get coverage on the books. Your family is depending on you and they trust you to make the right decisions to take care of the family, there’s really no good reason to delay.
Plus it’s important to keep in mind that even if you wait three to five years, when the odds of getting a traditional coverage improve, you’re going to be three to five years older and your price is going to be higher. You might also find that your health starts to decline or you experience an unexpected health issue that could also raise the premium.
Types of life insurance coverage available
There’s different kinds of life insurance coverage available depending on what your needs are. We’ve made reference to a few of them so far, but let me briefly describe what you’d be looking at as far as coverage.
Generally speaking, if it’s been five years or less since your diagnosis, your most likely option is going to be a simplified issue, whole life product or a guaranteed issue whole life product. The coverage for these types of programs never increase or cancel due to age or health.
Guarantee issue coverage doesn’t begin right away, but rather two years after the policy has been in place. Whereas simplified issue whole life coverage begins immediately.
$50 a Month – Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance
$100 a Month – Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance
$150 a Month – Guaranteed Universal Life Insurance
Which plan you qualify for depends on your health history, alcoholism, and the success of treatment. Usually both plans require you show some consistency with sobriety and no relapses or medication treatment for two years before companies will consider your application.
Term life insurance is the other option. Term policies generally do a better job of getting more coverage at a better price, but tend to be much more difficult to qualify for. I would suggest you have the best chance of qualifying for this type of coverage if you have reached the five years or more period since your diagnosis and/or treatment.
Term Life Insurance Coverage – 10 Year Term – $100,000 in Coverage
Term Life Insurance Coverage – 10 year Term – $250,000 in Coverage
Term Life Insurance Coverage – 10 year Term – $500,000 in Coverage
Term Life Insurance Coverage – 10 year Term – $1,000,000 in Coverage
Again, you need to be able to show a history of solid health as well as no recidivism or any sort of lifestyle implications that might cause problems with your application approval. With that said, term life insurance is more difficult to apply for and there’s more questions asked, which makes me a little bit hesitant to suggest it until I see a client’s full analysis.
Should you take an exam?
Most insurance companies are probably going to suggest you go ahead and do an examination because they’re going to want to test your liver enzyme levels. A full analysis of your health will probably be necessary to determine if you can qualify for medical coverage.
If you decide to not do an exam, you may be faced with a circumstance in which you’re not going to get a lot of coverage or you may even be declined because the underwriters don’t feel comfortable giving you coverage without current, up-to-date information on the quality of your health.
Ultimately, if you are past the five year period and do show signs of good health, the likelihood is high that you’re going to end up taking some sort of exam in order to get qualified only because it’s going to give you the best chances of success if you have a history of alcoholism.
Burial Insurance Rates, Age 40 to 90*
Rates for $5,000 in Burial Insurance
Rates for $10,000 in Burial Insurance
Rates for $15,000 in Burial Insurance
Rates for $20,000 in Burial Insurance
Rates for $25,000 in Burial Insurance