Alcoholism & Life Insurance

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Alcoholism & Life Insurance

Living a life that has become dependent on alcohol is not a life choice and we understand the impact it can have on an individual and the people around them. It takes tremendous strength to admit to and overcome this type of addiction and we are sympathetic towards the journey you may be on. 

We empathise with the need to maintain some sort of stability too and will make it our job to find an insurer who understands your health and is supportive of your circumstances.

There’s just a few things we need to know first:

  • When were you diagnosed as alcoholic or dependent on alcohol?
  • How long were you dependent on alcohol?
  • How much alcohol were you drinking per day?
  • Are you still drinking alcohol now?
  • Did you seek any counselling to help you?
  • Have you had a recent liver function test?

You will probably have asked yourself if getting life insurance is even possible, whether you are dependent on alcohol now or have been in the past. The answer is that it could be and we can work through the options with you.

To begin with, most insurers will be looking for clarification around your current situation as well as the wider impact that your alcohol consumption has had on your general health. It is normal for insurers to speak with your GP to establish how much your health has actually been affected.

But this is nothing to worry about. They will just be looking for information around any professional advice you may have received to reduce your alcohol consumption, the length of time you were dependent on alcohol and any signs of lasting liver damage or related mental health concerns.

And the outcomes of this could be positive for your life insurance. If you have been teetotal for a number of years and have not experienced serious side effects as a result of alcohol consumption, then it is possible that life insurance could be available on standard terms.

If, on the other hand, you do have liver damage and/or mental health concerns, you may find that your policy comes with increased premiums. There are also certain cases where life insurance with mainstream insurers may be declined but we will look at all options for you to make sure we can avoid this where possible. And in cases where alcohol dependency is still current, we will approach a specialist insurer that can hopefully provide a solution tailored to your circumstances.

But no matter what your current situation is, we would always advise you to be truthful as to the amount of alcohol you consume. Excess alcohol consumption is now detailed on death certificates, which, in certain circumstances, could lead to any claim on your policy being turned down.

Critical illness cover pays out a cash lump sum of money, if you are diagnosed with a medical condition that is listed in the insurer’s claims set e.g. cancer, heart attack, stroke.

As with life insurance and critical illness cover, a full understanding of your current health situation is likely to be required by most insurers providing income protection to people with a history of alcohol dependency. This is simply because they need to understand the extent to which alcohol has affected your general health and as a result, your ability to perform your job in the long-term.

An insurer may look to contact your GP for clarity of this information and to understand any lasting concerns which may impact the cover they are able to offer you. If you have not been dependent on alcohol for some time, then cover may be provided on standard terms but if you have recently experienced depression or mental health problems, it may be that the policy that’s available to you comes with a mental health exclusion.

Income protection pays you a replacement of your monthly income, if you are unable to work due to ill health.

As with life insurance and critical illness cover, a full understanding of your current health situation is likely to be required by most insurers providing income protection to people with a history of alcohol dependency. This is simply because they need to understand the extent to which alcohol has affected your general health and as a result, your ability to perform your job in the long-term. 

An insurer may look to contact your GP for clarity of this information and to understand any lasting concerns which may impact the cover they are able to offer you. If you have not been dependent on alcohol for some time, then cover may be provided on standard terms but if you have recently experienced depression or mental health problems, it may be that the policy that’s available to you comes with a mental health exclusion.

An alternative that we can look into for you is to arrange Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Cover instead. The benefit is that it will provide a short-term monthly income replacement if you are unable to work due to illness, injury or unemployment for between 12 and 24 months.

Policies are not medically underwritten which means that you won’t have to disclose any past or current dependency on alcohol but it is likely that pre-existing conditions will not be covered. This means that you wouldn’t be able to claim for any loss of earnings as a result of anything related to your alcohol dependency.

Our experts can go through all of the options with you and advise on the best route for you.

Are you travelling abroad and have a history of alcohol dependence? Make sure that you have the right cover in place by clicking here.

Hi, and welcome to the CuraVision ABC series. Now this set of videos, what we’re going to do is literally go down the alphabet looking at different medical conditions and how we’ve been able to help clients arrange protection insurance with these specialised conditions. I have, of course, changed the details enough to protect our clients’ anonymity.

So our first case today is Mrs. A. For ease of sake, I’ll probably refer to her as Angela as I’m discussing her situation. Angela came to us with a need for protection because she had a mortgage, a capital and repayment mortgage, and also some young children. She wanted to make sure that if something was to happen to her, especially while that mortgage is in place, that there would be some financial security in the family. Angela was 45 years old, a non-smoker. And that’s something that insurers like is if you’re a non-smoker. Her BMI was slightly above the normal range, but nothing that would cause a concern to the insurers for the life insurance.

We had spoken to Angela. We established that about a decade ago, she had a period of alcohol dependency. Over multiple occasions, she had been admitted to alcohol dependency detox units. But she had been teetotal and free of medication for around 10 years, so it was something that was very much in her past. She now had a mortgage. She had a family. She was full-time employed. So something that really didn’t have any kind of baring to her health as it is today.

What we did is we went to multiple insurers, and we spoke to them. We figured out which one was going to be the best one for her based upon her circumstances. I am pleased to say that we found an insurer who was quite happy to cover her for the life insurance at what’s known as standard rates. That means that it was no premium increase, no exclusions, nothing other than the bog standard normal policy, regardless of that medical history, because they agreed with us that her health and the alcohol dependency had been obviously quite a long time ago and her health now was absolutely fine. If the alcohol dependency had been quite recent, then it would have been slightly different. She would have probably had a premium increase. I would have had to have looked at specialised policies with specialist insurers who could have covered her for those initial stages, maybe the first few years, after the alcohol dependency had stopped until we were a bit further down the line.

What we were able to do for Angela was arrange a decreasing life insurance policy that covered her capital and repayment mortgage. Decreasing life insurance is designed to essentially mirror a capital and repayment mortgage in the amount of liability and value. We also arranged some level life insurance to go alongside that up to the age of retirement. With her having young children, if something were to happen to her before retirement age, it covers a certain number of years’ salary just to bring that into the household. I had to make sure that the children, obviously, had everything that they needed and the funds there for them for their upbringing. That was placed into trust for the children so that is was nice and secure for them if the worst should happen.

What we did also do, as well, is we did identify a need for critical illness cover and income protection for Angela. But she felt that, at the time right now, her priority was the life insurance, and that would be the biggest impact to her family if she was to die unexpectedly. Of course, as advisors, we feel that she had that need for, potentially, the critical illness cover and income protection. However, that wasn’t her priority. So she decided not to go ahead with that, which is of course absolutely fine, because at the end of the day, when you take out these insurances, you need to make sure that you are comfortable with what you’re taking and that it’s something that you feel that you are happy to a pay a monthly premium into over a certain amount of time.

In Angela’s case, we were able to, through the decreasing life and the level life policy, we were arranged for her roughly £155,000 worth of cover for 22 years for a monthly premium of approximately £19 per month. That gave her that piece of security, peace of mind, in a sense. That’s if to say, should the worst happen, her family would be financially secure.

What is Alcoholism

Alcoholism is an illness in which a person becomes dependent upon alcohol to function on a day-to-day basis. Alcohol becomes a part of daily life and is a support to completing regular activities such as working and socialising. 

Alcohol dependency can be of varying degrees but if it is ongoing for a prolonged period, it can lead to a multitude of health problems, such as liver disease, ulcers, nerve damage and depression.

Also: Alcohol dependence, Alcohol abuse, Alcoholic

Linked with: High LFTs, depression, liver disease, cirrhosis, delirium tremens (DT)

Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have Alcoholism include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Inability to drive
  • Irritability
  • Low self-esteem
  • Nausea
  • Shakes
  • Sweating
  • Swollen nose
  • Acamprosate calcium
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Clomethiazole
  • Diazepam
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
By clicking on the link(s) above you will be departing from the regulatory site of Special Risks Bureau. The Special Risks Bureau (Cura Financial Services) is not responsible for the accuracy of the information contained within the linked site(s).

Common Questions

Maybe. Any protection insurance application will ask about your alcohol consumption and this may be in relation to how much you drink per week, per month, or at special occasions. You will be asked how many units you typically drink within those timeframes, or even how many glasses of wine or pints of beer you have. If you don’t drink during the week but have a bottle of wine at the weekend, an insurer is unlikely to be concerned unless you have a history of alcoholism or significant mental health issues. But, if you don’t drink during the week, and then go out and down 3 bottles of wine, 5 shots of Sambuca and 3 jagerbombs on a Saturday night, they may wonder if your liver is alright!

Most likely you will need to. Insurers will ask what your typical alcohol consumption is for a set period of time (day, week, month) and if you no longer drink, or drink lightly, this won’t flag any alerts. But, they will also ask if you have ever been advised to reduce the amount of alcohol you drink and if you have, you will need to declare this. Even if this was just a passing comment form your GP, it is likely to be on your medical notes so if you don’t tell the insurer, it could affect the proceeds of any claim on your policy.

Yes – there are a number of options that you can look at. The best place to start is with the insurer you choose to make sure they are happy to consider providing cover to people who are or have been, alcohol dependent. It may be that your current circumstances do not fit their requirements or that your LFT readings are outside of their acceptance criteria. But this doesn’t mean that all providers are off limits because as well as the standard market, we also have access to a range of specialist insurers too.

Client Reviews

The Special Risks Bureau has been rated 5 out of 5 based on 373 reviews.

Review by Matthew on 20th August 2018

They were extremely helpful in sorting out a life and critical illness policy for me. Really prompt in replying to my queries, always kept me updated. Thoroughly recommend. - 5 

You can read more of our reviews here.

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Alcoholism & Life Insurance

Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd

Author
This page was written by Dr Kathryn Knowles Phd, an award-winning insurance adviser. To read more about Kathryn please see her bio here

Alcoholism & Life Insurance

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Alcoholism & Life Insurance

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