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Drug use life insurance

One of the more significant factors involved in setting up a life insurance policy is whether you currently use recreational drugs or have a history of drug abuse. Depending on your circumstances, there are options available for drug use life insurance and the key is knowing how to get the best cover at the fairest price.

In the UK, it is estimated that about 9.4% of adults aged 16 to 59 had taken a drug in the last year (that’s 3.2 million, or about 1 in 11). In the 16 to 24 age group, approximately 1 in 5 people had taken a drug in the last year (around 21% or 1.3 million people). These statistics and more can be found on ons.gov.uk.

Even if you have been denied life insurance because of drug use, this doesn’t mean that you can never get cover. Most insurers need you to remain abstinent from drugs for a certain period (usually 2 to 5 years) until they can accept you. In the meantime, however, there are other products that can offer valuable protection even if you’ve had a failed life insurance drug test.

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If you are someone who has used drugs in the past but have abstained for the required amount of time and taken out a life insurance policy, then it will pay out if you later pass away from something unrelated.

If you were to pass away due to drug use or an overdose after you take out the policy, however, it is possible that your cover may be void. It is important to understand how insurers treat situations such as this, so speaking with a life insurance expert will help clarify things.

Does critical illness cover pay out for drug use?

Critical illness cover is designed to pay out if you get diagnosed with a serious life-threatening condition. As drug use falls into a different category, it is generally not included within the terms of a critical illness cover policy.

Similarly, if you have a history of drug abuse and wish to take out a critical illness cover policy, then you may find that exclusions are applied to your cover in case any implications of the drug use arise. Each insurance company treats drug users a little differently so again it’s a case of knowing who to go to. In these instances, however, you’d still be covered for other conditions that aren’t related to drug use.

Some of the most common conditions which trigger a critical illness payout are:

In the event that you get diagnosed with a serious condition, critical illness cover can help to alleviate the financial burden caused by loss of income, treatment, medication, and ensures you can keep up with bills and expenditure.

Will income protection pay out for drug use?

Similar to the above, you may find that you need to wait for a period of time after taking drugs before you can get income protection insurance. Again, for a history of drug abuse there may be exclusions applied to your policy to cover the additional risk.

If you successfully take out an income protection insurance policy, it can be extremely beneficial and will cover a percentage of your gross wage if you need to take time off work because of injury or sickness.

Income protection can help to pay for:

  • Bills and outgoings
  • Medical treatment
  • Mortgage and rent payments
  • School fees

Most income protection policies will pay a monthly benefit whilst you’re off work and can cover you for 12 or 24 months, until you are fit to return to work.

Medical conditions linked to drug use

Several conditions have been linked to drug use which is the main reason it is tricky for insurers to classify it. Some related conditions are:

Here are a few of the most common questions about drug use.

Can ex drug addicts get life insurance?YES – life insurance is available to people who’ve previously been addicted to drugs but have overcome their addiction.

Most insurers will want to see at least 2 years clear of drugs before they can consider offering life insurance.
Do doctors tell insurance companies about drug use?This all depends on whether your history of drug use is noted on your medical records. Insurance companies reserve the right to request medical information from your GP practice in order to full underwrite the policy.

It is always best practice to be honest and upfront about your medical history including any drug use as this will ensure that your policy is valid and will pay out.

Remember that your doctor could have made notes on your records about drug use, or if you’ve had any tests in which these substances show up then this will be recorded in your GP report as well.
What are the statistics for substance abuse in the UK?According to the Office for National Statistics, in the year ending June 2022 around 2.6% of UK adults used drugs frequently.

This is around 862,000 adults between 16-59 years old.

Useful resources

Here are a few useful links for people living with drug use or looking for more information about it:

NHS Choices – Drug Addiction

Action On Addiction UK – Charity

Nacro – Charity

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