You don’t have to follow the news every day to know that the world has experienced a significant loss of talent in recent years due to drug use. Superstars such as Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and even Prince are just a few of the recent casualties who have passed away as a direct result of drug addiction. However, it’s important to acknowledge that drug addiction is no longer an issue that is confined to any particular class of people. According to the American Addiction Centers, as of 2017, nearly 19.7 million Americans were estimated to be struggling with a substance disorder.
That’s why we’ve chosen to write this article. We hope that those who have suffered or are currently suffering from drug addiction can gain a better understanding of what it will be like to apply for a life insurance policy with this “pre-existing” condition. Furthermore, we understand that many individuals are also concerned about their loved ones who are struggling with addiction. So, we’ll provide some information about what they can do to help their loved ones secure a life insurance policy for themselves.
With that said…
Let’s begin our discussion on life insurance and drug abuse by answering some common questions that we receive on a daily basis from individuals who have a history of drug abuse and are looking to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
What are my chances if I am a Past drug user?
The chances of qualifying for a traditional life insurance policy if you are a past drug user will depend on a variety of factors, such as the type of drug used, the severity of the addiction, and how long ago the drug use occurred.
If you have a history of drug use but have been clean for a significant period of time and have no other medical issues, you may still qualify for a traditional life insurance policy. However, you may be required to pay a higher premium than someone who does not have a history of drug use.
On the other hand, if your drug use is recent or ongoing, or if you have a history of addiction and have not received treatment, you may be denied coverage by some insurance companies.
It’s important to note that each insurance company has its own underwriting guidelines, so it’s essential to shop around and compare rates from different insurers. Working with an experienced insurance agent or broker who understands the underwriting process can also increase your chances of finding coverage that meets your needs.
What Happens If the “Applicant” is Still Using Drugs?
If the applicant is still using drugs, it can be challenging to qualify for a traditional life insurance policy. Most insurance companies will require a medical exam as part of the application process, which may include a blood or urine test to detect drug use.
If the test shows the presence of drugs in the applicant’s system, the insurance company will likely deny coverage or offer coverage at a much higher premium. Some insurance companies may also require the applicant to undergo a drug rehabilitation program and show evidence of being clean for a certain period of time before considering their application.
In some cases, applicants who are still using drugs may be able to obtain coverage through a guaranteed issue or simplified issue policy. These types of policies typically have higher premiums and lower coverage limits, but they may be an option for those who are unable to qualify for a traditional policy.
It’s important to note that lying about drug use on a life insurance application is considered fraud and can result in a denial of coverage or even legal consequences. It’s always best to be honest about drug use and work with an experienced insurance agent to find the best coverage options available.
What if I lie about my prior/current drug use?
Lying about prior or current drug use on a life insurance application is considered fraud and can have serious consequences. If the insurance company discovers that the applicant lied on their application, the policy could be canceled or voided, and any premiums paid could be forfeited.
In addition to losing the policy, the applicant could face legal consequences, including fines or even criminal charges. Furthermore, any future life insurance applications will likely be scrutinized more closely, and the applicant may find it more difficult to obtain coverage.
It’s always best to be honest about drug use when applying for life insurance, as this can help ensure that the policy is valid and that any future claims will be paid out to the beneficiaries. If an applicant is concerned about their drug use affecting their ability to obtain coverage, they should work with an experienced insurance agent or broker who can help them find the best options available.
How would a life insurance company know if I lied?
Life insurance companies are going to use 6 techniques to learn about your drug use.
- The life insurance application.
Within your life insurance application, you will be asked: “Have you used any drugs or narcotics within the past 12 months?” and “Do you have any history of drug or alcohol abuse ever?” Now you can choose to lie and not disclose any prior usage, however as we discussed before, this can and often will lead to several negative consequences.
- The medical exam.
During your medical exam, you will be required to submit to a blood and urine sample which will be used to test for the presence of any drugs or alcohol. If found, these results can be used to disqualify you from being able to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
- Your doctor’s records.
Many times, your medical records may be requested for review by an insurance underwriter. Which means that if at any time, you tested positive for drugs or have had discussions about your drug use with a doctor, these may be used in determining the outcome of your life insurance application.
- A prescription database record.
Insurance companies will also order a copy of your complete prescription medication history. Now you’re not likely to find any “illicit” drugs on this report, however if you’ve been abusing any prescription medications in the past, evidence of this may be found by analyzing your prescription medication history.
- A DMV report.
DMV reports may also provide insurance underwriters with an idea if there may be a substance or alcohol abuse problem. For example, if you have 5 DUI’s on your record in the past 2 years, an insurance underwriter will probably want to learn a little bit more about what’s going on in your life prior to approving your life insurance application.
- A criminal background check.
Here again, having a prior misdemeanor or felony on your record my not reveal much about the presence of a past drug history, but if you’ve been arrested for possession of a narcotic, this will probably be something the insurance underwriters will want to learn more about.
- The medical information bureau report (MIB).
The medical information bureau report or MIB report, is an internal report used by life insurance companies to track the outcome of life insurance applications from one company to the next. So, if you have applied for life insurance in the past and were turned down due to drug use, other insurance companies will have access to this information and be able to use this information in determining if they want to approve you for coverage.
So as you can see, insurance companies are going to first ask you if you have a history of drug use/abuse, but they’re also going to use a serious of utilize a series of other tools at their disposal in order to “flush” out any hints of prior usage.
What happens next when a life insurance company refuses to underwrite my policy due to my drug history?
It’s certainly going to be more difficult for an individual who has a history of drug abuse to qualify for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy. Common causes that will lead one to be denied coverage may include:
- Not enough time has elapsed since they used last. Insurance companies will want to see a minimum 3 years before the will approve coverage for a traditional term or whole life insurance policy.
- Too many “relapses” in the past.
- Other pre-existing medical conditions linked to their previous drug use could prevent one from being able to qualify for coverage.
- Previous felonies related to their drug us may also prevent one from being eligible for coverage.
- Etc, etc…
In cases where a traditional term or whole life insurance policy isn’t possible, applicants may want to consider an “alternative” insurance product like a guaranteed issue life insurance policy.
Guaranteed issue life insurance policies are insurance policies that won’t require an applicant to take a medical exam or answer any health-related medical questions.
Unfortunately, these policies are generally limited to around $25,000 dollars in coverage but are often times a perfect alternative for those who simply cannot qualify for a traditional life insurance policy.
How can I get the “best” life insurance policy if I have a history of drug abuse?
Here at JustBuryMe, what we’ve found to be the most helpful technique in helping our clients find the best life insurance policy that they can qualify for is to exhaust as many available options as possible!
You see, not all life insurance companies are going to follow the same rules and guidelines when it comes time to determine who the will and won’t insure. This is why we’ve worked so hard at establishing quality relationships with dozens of different life insurance companies so that when it comes time to helping our more “challenging” life insurance applicants, we don’t have to simply rely on one or two different options!
So, what are you waiting for? Give us a call today and see what we can do for you!
Frequently Asked Questions
Will my drug use automatically disqualify me from obtaining life insurance?
No, having a history of drug use does not automatically disqualify an applicant from obtaining life insurance. However, it may impact the underwriting process and could result in higher premiums or a modified policy.
How will the insurance company know about my drug use?
Insurance companies typically ask questions about an applicant’s medical history and may also require a medical exam as part of the underwriting process. They may also check an applicant’s prescription drug history or conduct a drug test.
What information should I provide about my drug use on my life insurance application?
It’s essential to be honest about drug use on a life insurance application. Providing accurate and complete information can help ensure that the policy is valid and that any future claims will be paid out to the beneficiaries.
What if I have completed a drug rehabilitation program?
If an applicant has completed a drug rehabilitation program and can demonstrate a period of sobriety, some insurance companies may be willing to consider their application.
Can I still obtain life insurance if I am currently using drugs?
It is unlikely that an insurance company will approve a policy for an individual who is currently using drugs, as drug use is considered a high-risk behavior that increases the likelihood of premature death.
Will my premiums be higher if I have a history of drug use?
Yes, having a history of drug use may result in higher premiums or a modified policy. The exact impact on premiums will depend on the severity of the drug use and other factors, such as age, gender, and overall health.
What if I am denied coverage due to my drug history?
If an applicant is denied coverage due to their drug history, they may want to shop around with other insurance companies or consider alternative coverage options, such as accidental death and dismemberment insurance or graded benefit life insurance. Working with an experienced insurance agent or broker can also help increase the chances of finding coverage that meets the applicant’s needs.
Will the insurance company require a medical exam if I have a history of drug use?
Possibly. Depending on the insurance company and the specific policy being applied for, a medical exam may be required. In some cases, the medical exam may include drug testing.
Can I get life insurance if I have a criminal record related to drug use?
It may be more difficult to obtain life insurance with a criminal record related to drug use, but it is not impossible. An applicant may need to provide additional information about their criminal record and demonstrate a period of rehabilitation and sobriety.
How long do I need to be sober before applying for life insurance?
The length of time an applicant needs to be sober before applying for life insurance can vary depending on the insurance company and the specific policy being applied for. Generally, insurance companies prefer to see a period of at least one to two years of sobriety before approving a policy.
Can I apply for life insurance if I am in a drug treatment program?
It is possible to apply for life insurance while in a drug treatment program, but the application may be postponed until after the treatment program is complete and the applicant has demonstrated a period of sobriety.
Should I work with an experienced insurance agent or broker if I have a history of drug use?
Yes, working with an experienced insurance agent or broker can be helpful in finding the right coverage and navigating the underwriting process. An agent or broker can help identify insurance companies that are more likely to approve an application with a history of drug use and can provide guidance on the application process.