Women get the short end of the stick when it comes to life insurance and alcohol consumption. Life insurance companies are notoriously conservative when it comes to medical evaluations.
To that effect, the amount a woman can drink in a week before being penalized for excessive alcohol consumption is half that of what a man can.
That being said, there are a few ways to save money. You can also take the following steps to reduce rates if you drink more than the listed amount above.
How to Save Money on Life Insurance with Alcohol Abuse
There are a few ways that anyone can use to save money whether you drink a little, a lot, or not at all.
Use Software to Run a Life Insurance Needs Calculation
Knowing exactly how much you need can save you thousands of dollars. Instead of using a ballpark figure like 5x your annual income, just fill in the blanks.
Using a life insurance needs calculator is easy. It takes away the doubt. "Am I buying enough?" or "Is this guy selling me too much to make a bigger commission?"
Now you are the one in control. Knowing exactly what you need means you can look for policies that will offer you that amount and not pay a penny more than you need to.
We make it easy for you to calculate the recommended amount of coverage. Use our life insurance needs calculator.
This calculator takes into account your needs and subtracts coverage or assets that you already have. Questions? Give us a call. We're happy to help.
Use an Independent Agent to Shop the Market for You
Instead of calling 50 insurance companies to compare rates, wouldn't it be nice if someone else could do it for you at no charge? What if that someone was a machine and you didn't have to call anyone at all?
Using the Instant Quotes tool on the left (top if you're on mobile) will compare rates from the best insurance companies for you. Wondering if these are the lowest rates? Yes, life insurance rates are set by the insurance companies. You will not find a lower rate for the same policy on any other website.
Independent agents are different than company agents. They can offer the products of hundreds of insurance companies. Captive (or company) agents can only sell you the products from the one company they represent.
One call to one captive agent means you only get one set of rates. One call to one independent agent means you get rates from dozens of insurance companies all competing for your business.
Also, the life insurance companies that work with independent agents tend to be more lenient than the captive life insurance companies. If you've been declined by a captive company or received a high rate, let us provide a second opinion. We have gotten many people insured who were previously declined.
Be Willing to Jump Ship
You go through all the trouble of getting quotes, filling out the application, taking the medical exam. Then what happens? The company sends you a letter after a few weeks saying, "Sorry, the first rates weren't right. Your new rates are 30% higher than quoted."
That stinks. Taking the offer can be tempting. After all, you've gone through all the work. Just accepting the first offer you receive can seem to be the easiest way to deal with it. We have even seen cases where people said their agents urged them to take the offer.
We believe in something different. (Also one of the perks of working with an independent agent.) If a company comes back with a higher premium than they initially quoted, then we will shop the market for you again. With any new information that has come to light, we can pit the insurance companies against each other.
Most of the time, someone is willing to make a better offer. Plus, your medical exam is good for six months at least, so you don't have to do that all over again!
How Does Alcohol Consumption Affect Life Insurance
Excessive alcohol consumption can have a negative impact on other parts of your body beyond a beer belly.
Alcoholism (and just drinking a lot) can lead to anemia and other blood abnormalities. There is a whole host of neurological issues that can occur like:
- Delirium Tremens
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Brain Damage
- Balance & Gait Impairments
Many people are familiar with both the first and last items on the list. After all, those both come with the territory of drunkenness. The others can be a little scary.
Cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation, and hypertension also occur in people who drink regularly.
There are also plenty of gastrointestinal issues to contend with in addition to all of the above.
Social & Mental Issues
Finally, there are the social and psychiatric components of excess alcohol consumption that most people associate with alcoholism.
- Violent Behavior
- Marriage Problems
- Family Problems
- Work Problems
- Abuse of Additional Drugs
Everything above creates concern for life insurance companies. If something can increase your risk of death in any way, then the life insurance company considers you a higher risk. Then they charge accordingly.
How Much Alcohol Do Life Insurance Companies Consider Normal or Reasonable?
Most companies follow the guidelines set by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. They say people at low risk for abuse do not binge drink and limit their weekly intake.
For men, excessive alcohol use starts to worry insurance companies when they drink either more than 4 drinks in a day or more than 14 drinks in a week.
Women get a stricter regimen. A woman starts presenting a risk when she has more than 3 drinks in a day or more than 10 in a week.
So that glass of red wine a night that experts say is good for the heart is right on the borderline or worrisome.
Does Life Insurance Cover Alcohol-Related Deaths?
Yes, for the most part. As with most insurance contracts, there are exceptions.
The biggest problem with alcohol-related deaths is drunk driving. Some insurance companies will attempt to argue that drinking above the legal alcohol limit is a crime. If the contract says they will not pay out while the person is committing a crime, then they can try to argue that in court. Not all companies have this on their life of exclusions.
The other problem is fibbing on applications. If the life insurance company can prove someone was lying (a material misrepresentation) on the application and it would have resulted in different rates or offer of coverage, then they will not pay.
For example, Sally might say she only has 3 drinks a week. She then dies of liver cirrhosis 4 years later. The life insurance company is going to question the validity of that statement before paying.
Underwriting Factors for Alcohol Consumption
If you consume alcohol in excess, then you are looking at a 50% to 100% increase in premiums. That assumes you have no underlying health issues or other alcohol-related problems.
If you have DUIs, take other drugs recreationally, received treatment for alcoholism, or show any evidence of work/family/social problems, then you might have your application postponed. Postponed means they will not offer you a policy for a few years until you can show evidence of sobriety with no relapse.
These ratings are tentative and vary by company. Underwriters take into account other factors including the following:
- Amount consumed in excess per week
- Severity of complications (life and medical)
- Evidence of alcohol dependence
- Proof of alcohol withdrawal symptoms
- Legal issues
- Other recreational drugs
- Participation in programs like Alcoholics Anonymous
Life Insurance after a DUI
Have a DUI? Don't worry. There are still some companies that will insure you even if you had a DUI last week. They will want to know that this is your one and only DUI and don't have any chronic alcohol issues. You won't get their best rate, but you can get coverage. Contact us with the specifics of your situation and we'll go to work for you.
What You Can Do to Mitigate Life Insurance Alcohol Ratings
There are some scenarios which will improve your favor with the underwriters. It may not entirely get you out of a rating, but it can reduce the amount of extra premium.
- Voluntarily going into treatment
- Financial stability
- Family stability
- Only one period of treatment/hospitalization
- Regular (long-term) employment
- Participation in programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous
- No police record
Keep in mind you can always ask for a reevaluation of your situation once you've had the policy for a few years.
People do this all the time when they lose weight or stop smoking. It can save money as well over waiting to buy the policy for a few years.
Life Insurance Alcohol Questionnaire
Most applications will only ask how many drinks per week you consume. If you are in treatment for alcoholism or have a series of DUIs, then there will be further questions.
Your life insurance agent or company will need answers to the following:
- Date of initial treatment or diagnosis
- Legal problems (including DUIs)
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Positive alcohol marker
- Withdrawal Seizures
- Medical complications related to alcohol
- Current medications
- Current drinks per week/day
- Other drug consumption
- Participation in Alcoholics Anonymous or similar group
- Other health problems
Some of the least followed advice when applying for insurance is being upfront with your agent. Tell your agent before you start the application process that you have some concerns. That way he can prescreen your consumption level (and answers to the above questions) to see which company will give you the best offer.
Is There a Life Insurance Blood Test for Alcohol?
There is. It is rarely part of the regular life insurance medical exam. Most companies will look at your liver enzymes which are markers for excessive consumption.
If the underwriter has some concerns about the amount you drink, she will often order an extra test.
A Carbohydrate Deficient Transferring test gives the underwriter more accurate information about excessive alcohol consumption.
It's a simple part of the blood test and does not take any extra time on your part.
Why Use Abrams Insurance Solutions?
We specialize in helping folks find low-cost life insurance, particularly people with pre-existing conditions. We believe it isn't fair so we build relationships and keep track of the companies who are more willing to accept people with certain conditions. It's rarely their fault after all.
We are a group of independent agents. So we can choose the company that best fits the family. Since we work with over 70 of the best-rated companies in the nation, we can find something for everyone.
You won't have to do any guesswork about whether you got the best deal or not. You will never be pressured into taking an offer that is unfair to you. We don't put up with that nonsense. You shouldn't have to either. If an insurance company is unreasonable, then we promise to keep searching until we find a better one.
The Bottom Line
As independent agents, we work for you and not the life insurance companies. Every family is in a unique situation. Our agents focus on finding the lowest price possible for the coverage that best suits you.
If you have any questions about life insurance and alcohol, give us a call at 858-703-6178 today. Our friendly agents are standing by to help you save as much money as possible.