Denied Life Insurance Drug Use

Health conditions high risk insurance drug users

We understand that being an active drug user is not always a conscious choice and in many cases, people have the desire to stop and will seek professional help.

For some people, using drugs is a way to escape the stresses of life. For others, it was associated with the crazier days of youth and trying to be cool with friends. So whether you're an active drug user, or it's something in your past, we can support you through the insurance journey.

And although it's easier to get cover if you are no longer taking drugs, it doesn't mean it's impossible if you are an active drug user, you just need to be selective over the choice of insurers.

Some are ok if you use marijuana. It tends to be the more serious stuff like ecstasy, heroin, cocaine and speed that will cause a red flag.

But our job is to obtain a full picture of your circumstances and look into the best possible option for you, we'd just need to know a few things to get started:

  • Details of the drugs that were being taken
  • How often they were used
  • Any long-term complications that have developed
  • The length of time since you last took drugs

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. In some cases, 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.

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How does it work?

Any application for life insurance from someone who has experienced drug abuse will be looked at individually because no two cases are the same and each one is considered on individual merit.

So, a marijuana user for example, can apply for life insurance and will be placed with a specific insurer, selected by us. The cover is likely to be provided at standard rates and the individual will probably just be classed as a smoker and placed on an appropriate premium to reflect this.

Stronger drug use, such as cocaine, heroin or steroids will need to have been stopped for a number of years before life insurance can be applied for. The cover you are able to secure will depend on your previous usage levels and frequency as well as how long you've been clean.

If the drug that you used can be injected, there is the additional consideration that you may be asked to undergo an HIV test which is a simple blood screen.

In summary, life insurance after drug use is a possibility and our experts can work through your options with you but you should be aware that where drug use has been severe and/or recent, your application may be declined by standard insurers.

Critical Illness Cover Drug Use

Similarly to life insurance, critical illness cover for people actively using drugs such as cocaine, heroin or steroids is not currently available on the standard insurance market. But there are other options for us to explore.

If this is the case, our experts will take the time to understand your current situation and then explore critical illness insurance options with our specialist providers. It may just mean that your policy incorporates exclusions for any claims relating to your drug use.

If you smoke marijuana, you will be classed as a smoker and will probably receive the same premium rates on your cover as a tobacco user.

As with life insurance, the longer you have been clean of drug use such as cocaine, heroin or steroids, the better chance you have of obtaining critical illness cover. It is likely that this will be with a specialist insurer and even after a number of drug-free years, they will want to obtain a clear picture of your health, including any long-term complications.

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Income Protection for Drug Use

If you are an active recreational drug user and are looking for income protection cover, you will need to speak with a specialist insurer. For instances involving use of cocaine, heroin and steroids, all drug use must have stopped before making an application; you will find that the longer the time period since the drug use ended, the better the terms are likely to be on the policy offered.

But our experts have lots of knowledge in this area and can guide you through your options once they have a full understanding of your current situation.

As with life insurance and critical illness cover, marijuana users can have their applications considered by a few select insurers, and will simply be classed as a smoker. This might only restrict your policy options slightly but it does mean your premium will reflect that of a smoker (which means more expensive).

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There is also the option that we can look into arranging Accident, Sickness and Unemployment Cover for you 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 drug use 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 drug dependency.

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

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What is Drug Use

Drug use in this context involves the use of any drug that has not been prescribed for you by your GP, or has been a valid prescription for yourself but there has been instance of dosage misuse. When we think of drug users we often think of the more hardcore drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine and heroin. However individuals who use non-prescribed steroids, or overmedicate on prescription medicines, also need to consider the implication of the drug use upon their insurance applications.

Also: Stimulants, depressants, analgesics, hallucinogens (psychedelics), anabolic steroids

Linked with: Mental health problems, kidney failure (rhabdomyolysis), heart attack, stroke, permanent lung damage, ulcers

Possible Effects on Lifestyle

Some potential problems experienced by individuals who have used drugs include:

  • Nasal perforation
  • Perforation of the stomach or intestines
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech
  • Jitters
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of fine motor skills
  • Restlessness (akathisia)

Medications and Treatments

  • Counselling (solo and/or group)
  • Drug replacement therapy
  • Going cold turkey (this should be discussed with your GP first)
  • Professionally managed withdrawal

Further Reading and Research

Common Questions

1. How do you define 'drug use'?

'Drug use' in this context refers to the use of any drug that has not been prescribed for you by your GP, or has been prescribed for you but there has been an instance of dosage misuse. This not only includes people using the more hardcore drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine and heroin but those using non-prescribed steroids, or overmedicating on prescription medicines. Regardless of the category, drug misuse can have a negative implication on insurance applications.

2. I have had issues with drugs in the past, do I need to tell the insurer when I apply for life insurance?

It is likely that you will have to because insurers need to obtain a full picture of your situation, even if you no longer take drugs. They will also be interested in whether you have ever been advised to reduce your drug consumption, even if this was a brief comment from a GP or other medical professional during a routine appointment. This is likely to be recorded on your medical notes and so not declaring it to an insurer could affect the value of any claim you make in the future.

3. I was declined life insurance recently because I am a recovering drug user, are there any options for me?

Yes there are a number of options that we can look at because we have access to a range of specialist insurers. It may be that the one you have approached is not the most suitable because you are unable to meet certain elements of their acceptance criteria at this point. You may not have been drug free for long enough or your drug test readings may be outside of their limits. But every provider is different and, with a full understanding of your situation, we can look into the best one to meet your needs.

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