Life Insurance and Alcohol
The Hidden Costs of Alcohol – UK Statistics
There is no denying that us Brits love an alcoholic tipple, with more than half (55%) of all adults in the UK drinking alcohol within the past week, according to research by the NHS.
At Protect Line, a leading UK life insurance broker, we have studied our internal underwriting data to understand your chances of either being required to pay increased premiums, or possibility of being denied insurance cover, due to your regular alcohol consumption.
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?
The NHS recommends that men and women drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, which is the equivalent of six pints of average strength beer. Drinking more than this amount of alcohol a week could lead to both short and long-term health problems and can seriously affect the quality of your daily life.
The painful truth is that there is no safe level of alcohol, and the 14 unit limit is simply considered to be low risk, and exceeding that limit over a prolonged amount of time can increase the chances of developing heart and liver disease, stroke, cancer, and brain and nervous system damage. The chances of being involved in an accident or being seriously injured also increase exponentially when we’ve had too much to drink, as alcohol reduces our inhibitions and ability to adequately assess and judge risk. (For financial protection against serious illness and life-changing accidents, look into Critical Illness Cover. Always check the policy wording to ensure you are aware of what the Critical Illness Insurance does and does not cover.)
The Cost of Alcohol on the NHS
One of the major hidden costs of long term over indulgence in beer or other alcoholic drinks is the devastating impact on the NHS. Between 2019 and 2020 there were 280,000 hospital admissions directly related to alcohol, and between 2020 and 2021 the NHS dispensed 167,000 prescriptions for medication to treat the effects of alcoholism in England alone.
Even though the chances of being admitted to hospital, or treated, for an alcohol related injury or disease are relatively low, they are still a very real reminder that as far as beer and other alcoholic drinks are concerned, moderation is key to enjoyment.
The Wider Reaching Impact Of Excessive Booze Consumption
One of the lesser-known consequences of excessive beer and alcohol consumption is the impact that it can have on your life insurance application. How much alcohol you regularly drink per week can have a direct impact on the price of your monthly premiums, and even cause you to be declined for cover.
How Much Alcohol Is Too Much To Qualify For Life Insurance?
Each insurance provider has different criteria, but generally speaking, if you drink less than 20 units a week you should have no problems qualifying for life insurance, subject to other health and lifestyle factors not being an issue. If you drink between 20 and 69 units a week you will likely qualify for life insurance, however the premium that you’ll pay for your policy may be increased. If you drink more than 70 units a week you will likely be declined life insurance.
If you inform Protect Line that you drink more than 20 units per week some insurers will request information about whether or not you attend, or have ever attended, AA or other alcohol counselling services or have ever received therapy or treatment for any other addiction or addictive behaviour. Your answers to these questions can affect the outcome of your application.
Try Protect Line’s Alcohol Insurance Calculator
Simply input your average weekly alcohol consumption into the tool and we’ll let you know whether you’re likely to have any problems obtaining life insurance, or whether you’ll likely be faced with higher premiums. The data within this tool is comprised from underwriting data of Protect Line’s life insurance panel of leading UK insurers.
- 55% of the UK population: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/health-survey-for-england/2021/part-3-drinking-alcohol
- NHS recommends: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/alcohol-advice/the-risks-of-drinking-too-much/
- 280,000 Brits hospitalised: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-alcohol/2021
- 167,000 prescriptions: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/statistics-on-alcohol/2021