Can a Recovering Alcoholic Get Life Insurance?

For many recovering alcoholics, there’s a common concern about whether they can obtain life insurance. Alcoholism can impact insurance premiums and coverage due to the risks associated with it, including health problems and higher likelihood of accidents. However, the good news is that if you are a recovering alcoholic, you can still apply for and purchase life insurance, but it’s essential to understand the factors that can affect your approval and premium rates.

When seeking life insurance as a recovering alcoholic, the insurer will consider the length of time you have been sober, your overall health, and your driving record, among other factors. Although it may be challenging to secure coverage, and you can expect to pay higher premiums, there is still hope for recovering alcoholics who are committed to sobriety. The underwriting process varies from one insurance company to another, but being honest and providing accurate information to the insurer will increase your chances of approval.

Key Takeaways

  • Recovering alcoholics can qualify for life insurance but may face higher premiums
  • Sobriety length, overall health, and driving records play a role in coverage decisions
  • Transparent communication with insurers increases approval chances during underwriting
Factors Affecting ApprovalFactors Affecting PremiumsUnderwriting Process
Length of sobrietyHistory of alcohol abuseInsurance company policies
Overall healthCurrent health statusAccurate information
Driving recordDriving recordHonesty during application

Factors Affecting Life Insurance Approval and Premiums

Length of Sobriety

The longer a recovering alcoholic has maintained sobriety, the more favorable their chances of obtaining life insurance at a reasonable rate. Typically, standard life insurance rates may be available after five years of sobriety. Life insurance companies consider length of sobriety as an indicator of risk.

Health Conditions

Life insurance premiums depend on an individual’s overall health condition. Recovering alcoholics with related health problems—like diabetes, high blood pressure, liver cirrhosis, cardiovascular diseases (e.g., atrial fibrillation and stroke), and mental health disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety)—are more likely to face higher premiums. Importantly, alcoholism has been linked to a decrease of 24-28 years in life expectancy, which can significantly impact life insurance rates.


Relapses in alcohol consumption may occur during alcoholism recovery, increasing the risk of health complications and death. Life insurance companies may consider the frequency of relapses as a factor when determining premiums or eligibility for coverage.

Alcohol-Related Incidents

A history of alcohol-related incidents like DUIs (Driving Under the Influence) or DWIs (Driving While Intoxicated) indicate a higher risk of alcohol addiction relapse and legal issues. These incidents can lead to less favorable health classifications and higher premiums.

Alcohol Consumption Patterns

Life insurance companies consider excessive alcohol consumption patterns, including binge drinking, heavy drinking, and past instances of alcohol abuse, as indicators of risk. Heavy drinkers are more likely to face health complications, psychiatric disorders, and early death, all of which can affect life insurance approval and premiums.

FactorEffect on Life InsuranceImpact on Premiums
Length of SobrietyThe longer the sobriety, the more favorably viewedLower premiums with longer sobriety
Health ConditionsAlcohol-related health issues can affect overall healthHigher premiums with more health issues
RelapsesIncreases the risk of health complications and deathHigher premiums
Alcohol-Related IncidentsDUIs/DWIs indicate a higher risk of relapse and legal issuesHigher premiums
Alcohol Consumption PatternsExcessive alcohol consumption linked to health complicationsHigher premiums

By understanding these factors and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, recovering alcoholics can secure affordable life insurance policies. While it may take time and a continued demonstration of sobriety and responsible behavior, accessing life insurance for recovering alcoholics is possible.

Underwriting Process for Recovering Alcoholics

Medical Exam

During the underwriting process, recovering alcoholics must undergo a medical exam. This exam typically includes blood and urine tests to assess the applicant’s overall health and detect alcohol-related issues. These tests may also check for elevated liver proteins, which could indicate alcohol abuse or liver damage.

Medical Records

In addition to the medical exam, underwriters will review an applicant’s medical records to better understand their health condition and history of alcohol consumption. These records provide important information on the applicant’s recovery journey, such as previous treatment received and periods of sobriety.

Alcohol-Related Counseling

Underwriters may also consider an applicant’s participation in alcohol-related counseling, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, following treatment or rehab. Consistent attendance and involvement in counseling sessions demonstrate commitment to sobriety and can improve the chances of obtaining life insurance coverage and possibly obtaining better premium rates.

Inpatient or Outpatient Alcohol Treatment

Lastly, the underwriting process will review any inpatient or outpatient alcohol treatment the applicant has undergone. The length of time since completing treatment and maintaining sobriety is crucial in determining eligibility for life insurance and the corresponding premium rates.

FactorsImpact on Life Insurance Application Process
Medical Exam ResultsAssesses overall health and alcohol-related issues
Medical RecordsProvides health condition, history with alcohol consumption, and sobriety periods
Alcohol-Related CounselingDemonstrates commitment to sobriety and can contribute to improved premium rates
Inpatient or Outpatient Alcohol TreatmentEvaluates the duration of sobriety and recovery progress, affecting eligibility and premiums

The information from these various sources is combined during the underwriting process to decide whether to approve life insurance coverage for a recovering alcoholic and if so, at what premium rate. Each situation is unique, and the underwriting process considers all the relevant factors to determine the appropriate outcome.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do insurers check for alcoholism?

Yes, life insurance companies do check for alcoholism during the underwriting process. They may ask applicants about their alcohol consumption habits and require blood and urine tests to analyze alcohol levels. Also, insurers can look into applicants’ driving records and medical history to determine alcohol-related issues.

How does a history of addiction affect coverage?

A history of alcohol addiction can impact life insurance policy eligibility and premiums. Recovering alcoholics can still obtain life insurance, but they may pay higher premiums than someone without a history of addiction. Generally, with two years of sobriety, a recovering alcoholic can purchase a medically-underwritten policy.

Can lying about drug use void a policy?

Lying about drug use or alcoholism can void a life insurance policy. Insurance companies have a contestability period, typically two years after the policy’s issue date, during which they can investigate the accuracy of the information provided. If the insurer discovers misrepresentations, they can cancel the policy or withhold the death benefit payout.

What is guaranteed issue life insurance?

Guaranteed issue life insurance is a policy that does not require any medical underwriting or questions about alcohol or drug use. These policies are available to people who might otherwise be denied coverage due to their health, addiction, or other factors. However, guaranteed issue life insurance comes with higher premiums and lower coverage amounts compared to medically underwritten policies.

Does alcoholism disqualify life insurance payout?

Alcoholism itself does not disqualify a life insurance payout. However, if the policyholder lied about their alcohol use during the application process or if their death was caused by alcohol-related factors, such as a DUI accident, the insurer might deny the claim or reduce the payout.

Will life insurance cover a drug overdose?

Life insurance may cover a drug overdose, depending on the death’s circumstances. If the overdose is accidental and the policyholder was honest about their drug or alcohol use during the application process, the insurer is likely to pay the death benefit. However, insurers may deny coverage in cases of intentional overdose or misrepresentation of drug use.

Do insurers check for alcoholism?Yes
How does history of addiction affect coverage?Higher premiums, eligibility impacts
Can lying about drug use void a policy?Yes
What is guaranteed issue life insurance?No-underwriting policy, higher premiums, lower coverage amounts
Does alcoholism disqualify life insurance payout?Depends on the circumstances, honesty during application
Will life insurance cover a drug overdose?Depends on circumstances, honesty during application