There are many reasons why taking non-prescription drugs is a bad thing. Many of the reasons are well known such as addiction, a higher risk of associated health problems such as alcoholism and depression and possibly an impact on personal relationships and employment.
Not being able to obtain Life Insurance doesn’t naturally spring to mind, but each year we deal with many people who have just discovered that they have been declined cover at a time when they realise they really need and want life insurance. It doesn’t mean that if you have previously taken drugs you are automatically declined but you will need to make sure you are applying to a company who is at the very least going to consider you.
Many insurance companies will not offer cover to anybody who has not been clean for at least 5 years, and then they will go through a stringent medical underwriting process. We have been able to get cover for many after they have been clean for 3 years, and occasionally 2 years. In cases of mild cannabis use with no other complications we are sometimes able to get cover even if there has been some recent use.
Even if you have been clean for some while the insurer is likely to look for long term damage to your health. If the customer has previously had bouts of depression then that is likely to cause concern.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that because they are now being treated by their GP and are receiving legitimate substitute medication while they kick the habit, that this means they are not classed as a drug user – this is wrong. While factually they are not taking the illegal drugs that caused the problem in the first place, the insurer at least makes no distinctions. All the while you are taking drug substitutes you will not be offered life insurance.
If there is any good news arising from this it is that the waiting period to the point where an insurer is willing to consider your application can be shortened. As an example people who are taking “Subutex” a heroin substitute will not have to wait the full 5 years after coming off the Subutex, but we can normally get them cover after 3 years.
Rhoda Lawrence is a customer support member at Life Insurance Help, she explains “Drug use is one of those things that people tend to do in their younger years, but it can come back to haunt them when they least expect it. Many people who still occasionally use non-prescription drugs, but in every other way lead a normal life, can nevertheless be in for a shock. If you have used it only once in the last 12 months you are still very likely to be declined.
“Just because a customer has reached the point where they have been clean for long enough to be eligible for cover, it doesn’t mean that they will automatically be offered insurance. My job is to work with them to make sure that when we do apply for life insurance for a drug user they stand a very good chance of getting it. While we can never guarantee acceptance, once we are at the stage where we think an application would be successful, we don’t get too many declines and those that we do tend to be where the client has accidentally failed to disclose something”.
The days are gone where all mortgage lenders insist on the borrower having life cover in place before they will give the loan, but there are still the odd cases where the lender does require life insurance cover to be in place. Imagine the heart ache of being able to easily afford your own home but because you have been a previous drug user no insurer will offer you cover and therefore you won’t get a mortgage either.
If you have a history of drug use, the team at Life Insurance Help are friendly, approachable and perhaps most importantly non-judgemental. They will be happy to talk through your situation and give you an indication whether you will get cover and if so how much you will have to pay for it. You can call the team on 020 33 55 4831 or use our on-line life insurance quote form and we will be helping you in no time !!