Does drug use affect life insurance?

Yes, if you declare drug use to your insurer, it’s likely this will impact your ability to secure cover.

While it may seem tempting to withhold this information, this can have a negative effect in the long run as your cover could be deemed invalid if drug use is found out.

Honesty is essential in securing the right cover and insurers won’t judge you for any current or previous drug use.

There are two types of drug use that will need to be declared to insurers at the point of application:

  • Use of prescription drugs
  • Use of recreational drugs

Prescription drugs are drugs that are taken for medical purposes and that are prescribed by a medical professional.

Recreational drugs are drugs that are taken without medical requirement for leisure purposes.

Any form of drug use will need to be declared, whether it’s prescription or recreational, otherwise, any cover may become invalid when it comes to making a claim.

It's unlikely that declaring prescription drugs will prevent you from securing life cover, but what impact will declaring recreational drug use have?

Keep reading to get answers to the commonly asked questions regarding life insurance for drug users...

Expert help from Reassured

It may be nerve-wracking to discuss your drug use with others, but rest assured that insurers are not here to judge.

Any questions asked about your drug usage are only to determine the level of risk you may pose to the insurer.

Using a broker service, like the one we provide at Reassured, gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about securing cover.

Our award-winning service is FCA-regulated and we don’t charge a fee for life insurance quotes.

Can drug addicts get life insurance?

Unfortunately, life insurance is very rarely offered to those who’re actively taking drugs.

Insurers class drug use as risky behaviour and, therefore, anyone who’s actively taking or addicted to drugs will be deemed too high risk to insure.

What defines a drug addict?

Drug addiction is a disorder that can be characterised by compulsive drug seeking, continued drug use and long-lasting changes in the brain[1].

If you’re struggling with drug addiction, there’s a list of helpful support organisations located at the bottom of this article.

Do I need to tell the insurer about my drug use?

Yes, you’ll need to disclose your drug use, or any previous drug use, to the insurer at the point of application.

Full disclosure is important during any life insurance application and especially so when it comes to drug use.

This is because it will be a key consideration as to whether you’ll be offered cover or not.

If you’re actively taking drugs, or addicted to drugs, it’s likely you’ll be declined.

However, if you’re no longer taking drugs and have been clean for a minimum of two years, it may be possible for you to secure cover.

You’ll most likely need to provide some additional information, such as:

  • Which drug(s) you took
  • How long for
  • When you last used drugs
  • Whether you developed any medical problems as a result

Insurers are more concerned with frequent and recent drug use (often within the last 5 years).

Drug use that happened in the past (perhaps 10 or 20 years ago) shouldn’t prevent you from securing affordable cover and you’ll most likely be offered standard cover.

If you’re taking prescription drugs for medical reasons, you’ll also need to disclose this at the point of application.

It’s unlikely you’ll be declined for taking drugs prescribed to you by a medical professional.

It may seem tempting to lie about your drug use on your application, but this can have an even more detrimental effect in the long run.

If you pass away (from a drug-related death or not) and it’s found that you lied about your drug use on your application, insurers can deny a pay out being made to your loved ones.

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The average personal debt of UK adults has risen to £34,566 (not including mortgage debt), with credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts being the most common forms of debt.

Factoring in any debts into your life insurance cover means that, if they need to be paid back from your estate after your passing, your loved ones won’t miss out financially.



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Funeral costs have increased by 116% since 2004 and are a significant cost which should be factored into the amount of life insurance you secure.



When factoring in cover for your children, you may wish to calculate the amount based on how long it is until they reach financial independence.

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2 in 5 adults say they are relying on an inheritance to fund their retirement.

Factoring in an inheritance to your sum assured could allow loved ones to live a more financially comfortable life. Alternatively, you could leave a cash gift to a charity of your choosing.



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Will I be declined life insurance for taking drugs?

Yes, if you’re actively taking drugs, it’s likely you’ll be declined for life insurance.

However, if you’ve taken drugs in the past and no longer do so, it’s possible to secure cover.

Once you’ve disclosed your previous drug use, it’s likely you’ll need to provide more details, such as what drug you took, how long for and the last time you used it.

Insurers will be more concerned with frequent and/or recent drug use (often within the last 5 years).

For example, someone who took recreational drugs once or twice more than 15 years ago will most likely be able to secure cover on standard terms.

Whereas someone who’s frequently used recreational drugs within the last 2 years may find it harder to secure cover.

Each insurer will have different terms and conditions regarding drug use and each application is likely to be judged on a case-by-case basis.

For many providers, you’ll need to have not taken drugs for at least 2 years in order to be offered cover, but this time period can vary.

Cannabis is the exception to this, as it can be treated more leniently by insurers. The following section will look into this in more detail.

Taking drugs that are prescribed for you won’t prevent you from securing life insurance, but you’ll need to inform insurers about your prescription at the point of application.

If you’re worried about being declined due to previous drug use why not speak to Reassured?

We’re an independent life insurance broker who can compare quotes and let you know of the providers most likely to offer you cover.

Cannabis and life insurance

While it’s unlikely you’ll be accepted for life insurance while actively taking recreational drugs, cannabis tends to be treated differently.

Depending on the provider, insurers tend to be more lenient when offering cover to cannabis users than users of harder drugs (such as cocaine, ecstasy and heroin).

Some providers may even offer cover on smokers terms.

This is because some insurers see smoking cannabis as no riskier than smoking cigarettes.

Some insurers may also be more lenient for cannabis use due to the legalisation of the drug for some medical uses.

What is meant by the recreational use of drugs?

Recreational drugs refer to drugs that aren’t prescribed to you by a doctor for medical reasons.

Most commonly these include cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and cannabis.

Using them recreationally refers to taking them for pleasure or leisure, rather than for medical purposes.

While some insurers judge cannabis use differently from other recreational drugs, not all insurers will.

Ultimately, it will depend on their terms and conditions as to whether they will offer you cover.

Using the help of a broker, like Reassured, can help you to discover the insurers who are most likely to offer cover to cannabis users.

Does drug use void life insurance?

Drug use will only void your life insurance policy if you weren’t truthful at the point of application.

Being an active drug user can mean you’ll be declined for cover, so it may seem tempting to withhold this information during the application process.

Not telling the whole truth on your application is known as non-disclosure and it can prevent a life insurance pay out from being made to your loved ones.

Regardless of whether you pass away as a result of a drug-related death or not, insurers have the right to deny a pay out.

What’s more, non-disclosure is actually a form of insurance fraud and you could be subject to a hefty fine.

That’s why it’s always important to be completely honest at the point of application.

Insurers won’t judge you for your drug usage, they just need to know all the necessary information to assess the risk of providing life insurance.

Does life insurance pay out for drug overdose?

Typically, a life insurance policy won’t pay out for death due to an overdose.

However, the circumstances of the overdose will be taken into consideration by the insurer. Insurers will need to know:

  • What drug was found in the policyholder’s system
  • Whether this drug (or any other drug use) was mentioned on their application
  • If the overdose was accidental or intentional

If you’ve disclosed any previous drug use on your application, it’s likely that insurers will add an exclusion for any drug-related deaths to your policy.

This means that if you pass away due to a drug overdose, a pay out won’t be made to your loved ones.

It may also be written into your policy that, upon your death, autopsy and toxicology reports can be obtained so insurers can check what drug was found in your system.

Intentional drug overdoses may fall under the suicide clause. This is a clause that is added to a policy where if you pass away due to suicide within the first 2 years of your policy, a pay out won’t be made.

Generally speaking, most overdoses that occur as a result of taking recreational drugs will most likely be classed as an intentional overdose.

This is because the user will most likely be aware of the dangers and risks involved with taking the drug.

A death due to an overdose of lawfully prescribed drugs is more likely to be viewed as unintentional, although this view can vary between providers.

Can a life insurance claim be denied for drug use?

A life insurance claim can be denied due to drug use if you didn’t declare your drug use at the point of application.

Regardless of whether your death is as a result of drug use or not, insurers have to right to deny a claim if it was found that you weren’t truthful about your drug use on your application.

Honesty is always the best policy and it can prevent your selfless investment from being wasted.

Why do life insurance companies drug test?

Life insurance companies drug test because drug use is a key factor in deciding whether you’ll be offered cover.

As part of the application process, you’ll be asked some health and lifestyle questions. Often, this will include questions about any current or previous drug use.

If you’ve disclosed any drug use, insurers may require you to do a drugs test to confirm that your drug use isn’t recent.

Alternatively, they may ask you to complete a medical examination.

This will include a blood test that will detect any drugs in your system, as well as provide information about the general state of your health.

How do life insurance companies test for drugs?

There are a number of ways insurers can test for drugs.


  • Blood and urine drug tests
  • Saliva drug test
  • Standard medical examination

If you’ve disclosed any previous drug use at the point of application, insurers may ask you for a drugs test in the form of a blood or urine sample.

Your sample will then be tested for both prescription and recreational drugs. Some of the drugs tested for include (but are not limited to):

  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines
  • Cannabis
  • Opiates
  • Nicotine
  • PCP
  • Methadone

Saliva tests tend to be less common, but they can be useful in helping insurers detect very recent drug use.

Saliva tests can be used to detect traces of cocaine, cannabis, amphetamines and methamphetamines.

Alternatively, some insurers may simply ask you to complete a standard medical examination.

This process usually lasts for 20 minutes and involves checking your weight and blood pressure.

You’ll also be required to give a blood or urine sample; this will be able to detect if any drugs are in your system.

This test will also be able to detect HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis. These all have connections to taking hard drugs, such as heroin, through the use of needles.

How do life insurance companies check medical background?

If you’ve declared any current or previous drug use, insurers may want to request additional medical information.

This will typically be done by obtaining your medical records from your GP. Your records will include information such as:

  • Any visits to your GP (reason for visit and advice given)
  • Any treatments received
  • Any prescribed medications
  • Any referrals that have been made

You’ll need to give permission before your records can be passed on to the insurer and you can request to see the report beforehand.

If you disagree with anything in the report, you can request changes to be made.

Your doctor can refuse to make these changes, but you can add a statement of your objections to the report for insurers to see.

If you're aged 50 - 85, it’s possible to secure life insurance with no medical information with an over 50s plan.

Why not get in contact with our award-winning team to find out more?

Life insurance drug questionnaire

Once you’ve disclosed your drug usage to an insurer, it’s likely that you’ll need to answer some more detailed questions.

You may be required to fill in a questionnaire to give a better understanding of your personal circumstances.

You may also be asked to take a drugs test or a medical exam.

What questions will you need to answer?

As part of the detailed questionnaire, you may be asked to provide information regarding the following:

  • Which drugs(s) you’ve used or are still using
  • How long you took the drug(s) for
  • How long you’ve been clean for
  • Whether your drug use has caused any health complications
  • Whether you’ve received counselling support
  • Whether you’ve ever taken time off of work due to your drug use

You may find it difficult to answer these questions, but they aren’t being asked to be intrusive.

The insurer is just trying to better understand your personal circumstances so they can assess the risk of insuring you.

Life insurance for ex-drug users

It’s possible to secure life insurance as an ex-drug user, the insurer will simply need to see there has been a significant period of time where you haven’t been taking drugs.

Most commonly, this is a minimum of two years. However, this can vary between providers.

The longer you’ve withheld from taking drugs, the less risky you’ll appear in the eyes of the insurer.

For example, if you declare drug use from 15 or more years ago, it’s likely you’ll be able to secure cover on standard terms.

If your drug use has led to any medical complications or conditions, this will need to be disclosed at the point of application.

These will be treated as pre-existing conditions.

It may also be written into your policy that upon your death, autopsy and toxicology reports can be obtained, as well as an exclusion from drug-related death being added to your policy.

Comparing quotes will allow you to find the insurer from our panel who can offer the most favourable terms.

Why not let Reassured compare quotes without costing you a penny?

Drug use in the UK

If you're a drug user, you're not alone - drug use is actually extremely common in the UK.

2022 data from the Office of National Statistics show that in England & Wales:

  • 1 in 11 adults (aged 16 to 59) had taken drugs within the last year (approximately 3 million people)
  • 2.7% of adults (aged 16 - 59) had taken class A drugs in the last year
  • 2.6% of adults (aged 16 - 59) were classed as ‘frequent drug users (this means they had taken drugs more than once a month in the last year)
  • Cannabis was the most commonly used drug (7.4%), followed by cocaine (2%)[2]

Drug abuse help & support

If you’re currently living with a drug abuse problem, there are a number of organisations that can provide help and support to you.

Compare life insurance quotes for drug users

Due to the different underwriting processes used, most insurers will have different terms and conditions when it comes to drug use.

If you’re worried about being declined for cover, why not let Reassured help?

We’re a broker who works with a panel of the UK’s largest insurers.

We can guide you through the application process and provide the details of the insurers that are most likely to offer you cover.




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