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Life Insurance for Alcoholics Guide 2024

Having a life insurance policy is the best way to protect your family, as it will pay out a significant cash lump sum if you die. Your loved ones can then use this money to pay for important expenses like mortgage repayments or funeral bills. It can be more complicated to apply for life insurance for alcoholics, and there are other specialist policies which can be useful if you can’t get traditional life cover straight away.

Certain insurance companies will work better for people with a history of alcohol dependency, and life insurance can be much cheaper if you apply to the right insurer. Most life insurance applications will ask questions about alcohol, as insurance companies will want to understand if you drink regularly, and if you’ve ever had problems with alcohol.

Our independent guide to life insurance for alcoholics aims to make the process of applying for life insurance simpler and less overwhelming for you. Life insurance can be a confusing topic if you’ve never applied before, so our experts have included real-life examples and step-by-step guidance to help you through this process.

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60-Second Summary – Life Insurance for Alcoholics Guide 2024

There are many options for life cover in the UK, and there will often be policies that work for social drinkers, recovering alcoholics, or people who are currently dependent on alcohol. The right insurance company for you will depend on exactly how much you drink, and the amount of cover that you need.

Certain life insurance companies will view someone who drinks heavily as being at ‘high risk’ of claiming and will either decline to offer cover or will increase the price. This is where a specialist life insurance company can be a better option, as they are often more understanding of recovering alcoholics.

  • If you are currently dependent on alcohol, specialist insurance policies like personal accident insurance can protect you and your family until standard life cover is available again.
  • If you have been sober for 5 or more years, it can be possible to buy life insurance from a ‘standard’ life insurance company. This includes not receiving any advice or treatment for alcoholism during this time.
  • Insurance companies will ask any applicant questions about how much alcohol they drink, as this is standard when assessing your health and lifestyle. They use this information to work out if they can offer cover and for what price.
  • Read our ‘step-by-step’ guidance below to learn more about how the life insurance application process works for people who have experienced problems with alcohol.
  • It is definitely possible for recovering alcoholics to find reasonably priced life cover, and it is important to do some research and shop around for the best quotes.

Life insurance is often available for people who drink alcohol, and many people in the UK enjoy regular trips to a pub or a bar. If you are dependent on alcohol or have been in the past, there will be extra things to think about when applying for life insurance.

Certain life insurance companies will be more accepting of people who have experienced problems with alcohol, based on their own knowledge and experience. Some insurers may be warier of offering cover in case your drinking has resulted in other issues with your health.

There will usually be a certain level of cover available for you, even if you are still drinking regularly. This could be traditional life cover or a specialist policy that can provide a level of protection for your family until standard cover is available.

Is alcoholism a medical condition in the UK?

Alcoholism or ‘alcohol addiction/dependency’ is often classed as a medical disorder or condition in the UK. If you are an alcoholic or a recovering alcoholic, a life insurance company will view this as a ‘pre-existing condition’ when you apply for life insurance.

Misusing or abusing alcohol can also lead to other medical conditions like liver disease, kidney disease, and cancer. This is why insurance companies will ask about how much alcohol you drink when you apply, so they can assess if you are at ‘high risk’ of claiming on your policy.

Who would be considered an alcoholic for life insurance?

When you apply for life insurance, the insurance company will ask about how many ‘units’ of alcohol you drink each week. A life insurance company will consider you to be an alcoholic if you drink over 14 units of alcohol per week on average. This is based on figures and information about alcohol use from the NHS.

Most of us will have an alcoholic drink occasionally, and anything under 14 units per week won’t usually be a problem for life insurance companies.

The number of units is different to the number of drinks per week, and it can be useful to have a rough idea of the number of units before starting your life insurance application. You might find it helpful to use Alcohol Change UK’s ‘Unit Calculator’ to quickly work out this figure for you.

It can be hard to understand how many units each alcoholic drink contains, which is why the NHS released this video to explain this topic in more detail.

A guide to alcohol units (and signs of alcohol dependence) | NHS

It is often tough to answer questions about how much alcohol you drink when you apply for life insurance, as drinking habits can vary dramatically throughout the year. You may only drink socially or on special occasions, or you might drink more on some weeks than others.

It can be more complicated to get life insurance if you regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol per week. There will often be other options for cover though, and the policies that are available for you will depend on things like your age and your overall health.

Recovering alcoholics will generally have far more options for cover, and you might find that you can get life insurance through a ‘standard’ insurance company if you have been sober for 5 years or longer.

Key factors for alcohol life insurance:

  • How much alcohol do you drink in an average week? (this is an average over the year, so make sure you consider all circumstances)
  • Have you ever been advised to reduce your alcohol intake by a health professional?
  • What type of alcoholic drinks do you consume? (e.g. beer, wine, spirits)
  • Have you been referred to an alcohol specialist or alcohol support group?

Note: We appreciate that it might be difficult to talk about any issues with alcohol with a stranger, but it is important to answer any questions that you are asked as accurately as possible.

Do alcoholics need life insurance?

Life insurance is recommended by many financial experts, especially if you have children or other dependents who rely on you financially. Your level of alcohol consumption doesn’t affect whether you need life insurance, and choosing to buy life insurance is a personal decision.

You should consider what would happen to your family if you died, and how they would cope with important expenses like mortgage or rent payments. If it is likely that they would struggle, a life insurance pay out can make a massive difference to them.

Life insurance will be very affordable in many cases and can pay out £100,000’s or £1,000,000’s to support your family if you die.

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Standard life insurance will pay out if you die for almost any reason, and that includes deaths related to alcohol. The only reason why life insurance might not pay out for an alcohol-related death is if you didn’t disclose important medical information when you applied.

There can be certain exclusions applied to life insurance policies, which are things that your loved ones won’t be able to claim for. This doesn’t generally include alcohol, and the most common life insurance exclusion is death due to suicide within the first 12 or 24 months of your policy.

If you haven’t applied for life insurance before or it has been a few years since your last application, the entire process can feel a little overwhelming. Most life insurance applications will follow the same process, regardless of how much alcohol you drink.

Alcoholism will be treated in the same way as other medical conditions, which is why certain insurance companies will work better than others in this situation. Some insurance companies are simply better for people with health issues and will offer lower prices.

Our experts have created this step-by-step guidance to help walk you through the process of applying for life insurance for alcoholics.

Step-by-step guide to applying for life insurance

Number 1

Think about the type of life insurance that you might need (e.g. cover for your family, mortgage, or business). You should also consider the amount of cover that you want (£s) and how long you want the cover for (your ‘policy term’).

Number 2

Do some research and have a look at which life insurance companies seem like a good option for the cover that you need.

Number 3

Apply to the company directly (if you can), through a comparison website, or with the help of a life insurance specialist.

Number 4

Answer questions about your health and lifestyle to help the insurance company decide if they can offer you cover and what price you will pay. You might also be asked for extra information (e.g. a GP medical report) to assess how your alcohol consumption has affected your overall health.

Number 5

If your application is accepted, you can set up a Direct Debit with your bank or building society to pay for your policy – and then you’re covered!

Number 6

In some cases, your application might be declined which can be disappointing or frustrating. There can still be other options though, and another life insurance company may be able to offer you the cover that you need.

In certain cases, standard life insurance may not be available based on the amount that you drink and if there are other medical conditions as well. There will usually still be some options for you, and policies like personal accident insurance and guaranteed life insurance could be a good choice in these situations.

Each of these policies will provide a set level of cover, which would protect your family financially if you died. Guaranteed life insurance will usually provide £10,000 – £20,000 of life cover at most, and personal accident insurance can provide up to £250,000 in accidental death cover.

The way that your life insurance policy works won’t be any different based on the amount of alcohol that you drink. Your policy will protect your family or mortgage and will pay out a cash lump sum to support your loved ones in the event of your death.

The only thing that can be different is that you will normally be asked for more information about your health when you apply. This is standard for life insurance with any kind of medical condition or health problem, and it’s not something that you need to worry about.

It is possible that you could also be asked to complete a medical exam to see how your alcohol use has affected your health. This can include things like a blood test to check your cholesterol and blood glucose levels, and all tests would be carried out by a qualified medical professional.

There isn’t one ‘best’ choice for life insurance for alcoholics, as the policies that you can buy will depend on if you currently drink or if you are a recovering alcoholic. There will usually be different options based on the number of units that you drink (e.g. more or less than 40 units per week).

If you have been told to reduce how much you drink by a medical professional, this will also be considered by insurance companies. This isn’t necessarily a problem, and it really depends on why you were told this and how many times this has been recommended.

It can be possible to buy life insurance through a ‘standard insurance company’ such as Scottish Widows, if you haven’t drunk alcohol or received any advice or treatment for 5 or more years. Ultimately, the right life insurance company for you might be totally different to the right choice for someone else.

It is best to compare multiple quotes or to get specialist advice to find out which companies can offer the cover that you need for a price that works with your budget.

Life Insurance provider reviews

One main thing that many people will worry about is the price of life insurance, as no one wants to be stuck paying more than they should. The price of life insurance can vary dramatically, even without considering how much alcohol drink or have drank in the past.

This is because life insurance companies will also look at other things such as your age, occupation, and any dangerous hobbies when deciding on the price of your cover. Every insurance company works slightly differently, so you will often find that one or two will offer you much lower prices compared to others.

Our insurance experts have put together the tables below, which contain real life examples of customers that we have spoken to who are alcoholics or recovering alcoholics. The aim of these examples is to give you a rough idea of how much your life insurance might cost, and the actual price of your cover will be based on your own situation.

Case Study 1: Life Insurance

Details of applicantMr B. was born in 1986 and is a non-smoker
Alcohol details and informationMr B previously experienced problems with alcohol for around 4 years and has been sober for 12 years
Other health informationHeight: 6’0” / Weight: 14st
Mr B. also enjoys snowboarding off piste which insurers can consider a ‘high risk’ activity
Cover requirementsMr B. wanted £525,000 of decreasing life cover to protect his mortgage over the next 18 years
Monthly premiums (£s)£16.92 per month
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums
Standard insurance company

Case Study 2: Personal Accident Insurance

In this example, the customer was not able to get traditional life cover and instead bought 2 ‘units’ of personal accident insurance. This still pays out for accidental death to protect his family, and also pays out for event like breaking a bone or hospitalisation.

Details of applicantMr B. was born in 1970 and is a non-smoker
Alcohol details and informationMr B still currently drinks alcohol
Cover requirementsMr B. initially wanted decreasing cover to protect his mortgage with a maximum budget of £27 per month
Monthly premiums (£s)£18 per month for 2 ‘units’ of cover
Guaranteed (fixed) premiums
Specialist insurance company
Will life insurance pay out for cirrhosis?

Cirrhosis is a common complication of excessive alcohol abuse and is caused by long-term liver damage. This can be fatal if cirrhosis causes your liver to fail, and your life insurance policy should pay out if this happens.

Does alcohol void life insurance?

Drinking alcohol won’t void or invalidate your life insurance policy, especially if the life insurance company is aware of the amount that you drink. Life insurance is always based on your health and lifestyle when you apply, and a future increase in the amount that you drink wouldn’t affect your policy.

Useful resources

With You

With You is a UK charity that is dedicated to supporting UK adults and young people who are struggling with drugs, alcohol, or their mental health. They provide free and confidential advice, with more than 80 support services across England and Scotland.

This includes help with getting treatment for addiction, and practical support for you and your family and friends. You can talk online with one of With You's trained 'recovery workers', by using the live chat option on their website.

Contact With You

Online Live Chat - Talk to a Trained Recovery Worker

Find a local support service - Find Local Drug and Alcohol Support

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