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Life insurance jeopardised by excessive alcohol and drugs consumption, declares moneynet


Drink and drug abusers pay the price for their pleasures in higher life insurance premiums – and many will be declined outright

* Moneynet survey finds that a heavy drink or drug habit can cost more than just your health

* 300 per cent premium increases for 90 plus units a week

* Class A drug abusers will not get cover at all

Insurers are taking a hard line on drinkers and hard drug users, as new research from Moneynet ( ) shows that exceeding 40 units of alcohol a week can result in a 50 per cent rise in life insurance premiums. And, for drinkers whose fondness for a tipple runs into the 90 units* a week, premiums are likely to be loaded by some 300 per cent, although surprisingly they are not turned down outright and can still get cover at a price. To be declined outright by most insurers they must be exceeding 98 units of alcohol per week!

Whilst insurers can make life financially uncomfortable for regular, above average intake drinkers, users of the really hard stuff – Class A drugs such as cocaine and heroin – may find they cannot get life insurance at all.

“Life insurance firms have been really tightening up their act, and users of hard drugs such as cocaine or heroin will be declined outright for cover unless they have been clear for at least three years,” said Richard Brown, Moneynet’s Chief Executive.

“After the applicant has been ‘clean’ for the three years, most insurers will still impose an additional 200 per cent loading – more or less the same criteria applied to someone who has previously had a heart attack,” he added.

“Another interesting point here is that habitual users of sleeping tablets can also be declined for cover until they have been clear for at least three years,” said Brown.

“Life companies now request applicants fill in their forms very assiduously, and payouts will be refused if the applicant is found not to have declared their drug or alcohol usage.”

Recreational cannabis or marijuana users are invariably accepted for life insurance, although typically at smoker rates (see table). Smoker loading rates tend to be around 60 per cent,” he said.

“As with any financial product it is important that customers don’t take the first quote, as prices can vary significantly from one insurer to another. In addition, where someone has a particular problem such as drug or alcohol abuse or even a history of illness, some insurers may be more sympathetic than others and impose a lower loading,” added Brown.

* 1 unit = half a pint of beer or a standard sized glass of wine, according to BMA (British Medical Association) classification (Life insurance quotes) (Life insurance consumer guide)

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About moneynet: ( ) is the UK’s most established personal finance research and data website. The company offers consumers a wide range of low cost financial products: from mortgages and personal loans; to car, home and medical insurance; credit cards; savings accounts and best-buy fixed rate products. is an ethical, impartial and comprehensive source of consumer finance information, covering the whole of the personal finance sector.

Moneynet was founded in 1997 by Chief Executive Richard Brown to simplify the personal finance market and provide consumers with impartial and interactive information on financial products and services.

Press and consumer enquiries:


Contact: Richard Brown, Chief Executive
Telephone: 0208 313 9030

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Contact: Rachel Lane
Telephone: 0131 561 2251


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