Alcoholism, also known as alcohol abuse disorder (AUD),, is a medical condition that causes impairment in the ability to control or stop alcohol use despite adverse occupational, social or health consequences. It is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The United States has approximately 15,000,000 alcoholics. An estimated 36% of them are in recovery.
The premiums charged by life insurance companies are based in part on your health. They prefer policies that can remain in force for as long as possible, before the insured’s death. Insurers determine the risk associated with each applicant’s expected life expectancy. People with severe health issues are at greater risk. Insurers see alcoholics as a risk because of the many serious diseases that are connected to drinking. This stark reality may be important to remember for those who are recovering from an alcoholism.
How alcoholism affects health
An alcoholic can have devastating effects on a person’s mental and physical health. An alcoholic will likely be in rehab or cut their life by nearly 29 years if they are not treated. There are several serious health risks associated to alcoholism.
- Liver disease – Because it is responsible for metabolizing alcohol, the liver is often the most damaged organ in the body. After initial issues such as alcoholic liver disease, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to irreversible liver scarring or death.
- Heart disease, high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation – Long term excessive alcohol consumption is a major cause of hypertension, heart disease, and high blood sugar. One study found that alcohol abuse can significantly increase stroke risk. It was reported that there was a 35% increase after drinking four to five drinks per day.
- An increase in cancer risk – Consistent alcohol consumption increases the likelihood that someone will develop any of a variety of cancers including cancers of the stomach, liver, and stomach.
- Psychiatric disorders, dementia and alcohol abuse – Alcohol abuse can often cause anxiety, depression, and memory loss. This could lead to antisocial behavior. These symptoms can eventually lead to behavior that is similar to psychosis.
The main distinction between drinkers or alcoholics is that alcoholics are both physically and mentally dependent upon alcohol. Alcoholism is classified under the addiction category because of its dependence aspect.
Below are some common terms used to describe different types and levels of drinkers. Drinking episodes can have negative effects on the health of each drinker.
|Moderate consumption||Moderate drinking is, according to USDA, a limit of two drinks per day for men and one for women.|
|Binge drinking||People who are addicted to alcohol may not be considered to have a problem drinking habit and may not drink for prolonged periods of time. While they may not feel withdrawal symptoms if they stop drinking, they can often have problems if they continue to drink.|
|Heavy drinking||NIAAA defines heavy drinking as more than four drinks per day or more that 14 each week. Heavy drinkers are women who consume more than three or seven drinks per day.|
Recovering alcoholics can get life insurance
The length of sobriety is a key factor in determining whether you are eligible for life insurance. As a measure of a person’s ability to stay sober, insurance companies will often look at the length of their recovery. Your life insurance premium and assessed risk will likely be lower the more confident the company is about your sobriety. Because alcoholics are more likely to live longer than those who have a variety of behavioral and health issues. This risk is assessed by life insurers using a variety of tools.
A questionnaire that you fill out will ask whether you have ever had a diagnosis of a drug or alcohol problem. Insurance experts do not recommend withholding information about your past or other problems. This could result in your policy being cancelled. The questionnaire will ask you a series of questions as a follow up to establish how long you have been sober, and what steps were taken to maintain your sobriety.
A majority of term and whole life insurance policies require applicants to undergo a medical exam. An exam will be performed to determine if there are any alcohol levels in your bloodstream. However, the examiner will also test for protein and other abnormalities that could indicate use over time.
Remember that most insurance companies require this release to allow the review of all applicant’s medical records . Chart notes from prior visits may have indicated a concern about alcohol abuse. This could be something the applicant does not know.
A typical whole-life or term insurance company will want to check a applicant’s driving record. Additional review will likely be required for any arrests or convictions related to driving under the influence. However, insurers also look at overall driving history as part of their risk analysis. A higher risk behavior indicates a greater chance of early death.
Best life insurance for recovering addicts
Term life insurance offers a simple policy that provides a fixed death benefit in the event of an insured’s death during a specified term. Insurers may consider you to be a good candidate for this policy if you can document your sobriety for at least five years.
Term life insurance policies are typically 10-20 years long. If the policyholder dies, the beneficiary would receive a death benefit.
This coverage is guaranteed insurance. Each company may have a different approach. You may be able to get a policy with no exam and a shorter waiting period. Additionally, you might not pay significantly more than traditional policies.
An applicant will not be required to take a medical exam. Instead, he or she will fill out a questionnaire that will include questions about medical conditions. A recovering alcoholic may be denied coverage depending on factors like the length of sobriety. Death benefits may be denied if alcohol abuse information is not disclosed.
A permanent or term policy may not be available to an alcoholic who is still drinking. For active alcoholics who have a history of relapse or short periods sobriety, a guaranteed life insurance policy may be an option. Although guaranteed life insurance policies typically have a low level of coverage, they can be a viable option for struggling alcoholics. These policies often come without a medical exam, and they are usually more expensive than exam-required insurance.
Is it possible to get permanent life insurance for a recovering alcoholic?
A recovering addict should ask if guaranteed and term policies are the only options for life insurance. It is possible to wonder if permanent insurance is available for recovering alcoholics. To learn more about your options, it is a good idea to contact a life insurance agent. In some cases, permanent life insurance may be available. You should remember that permanent life policies are more expensive than term policies if you qualify.
Recovering alcoholics: Tips to get life insurance
Although it may seem difficult to find life insurance for a recovering alcoholic, there are some things you can do to help you. These are some factors that could work in your favor:
- A longer track record of sobriety. If you have been sober for more than five years, you might be able to choose from more life insurance policies. It is a good idea to be healthy in order to reduce your risk factors and improve your life insurance eligibility.
- Participating in support groups: Being active in groups such as alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and others dedicated to helping those in recovery can signal your commitment to sobriety. It may make you less likely to be insured, even though it won’t directly impact your rates.
- You must be honest about your drinking history. While it may seem tempting to hide information about your alcoholism, this could increase your chances of not receiving any claim payments or a death benefit. Your coverage could be affected if you try to reduce your alcoholism and other health-related issues.