Life Insurance with Drug History: Hope Exists for Low Rates

Life Insurance with Drug History: Do You Qualify?

If you currently use illicit drugs or have used in the past, you might be wondering how this will affect your application for life insurance.

Maybe you’ve already applied for life insurance but got declined because of your drug history.

Either way, we hope to simplify this process for you and answer some important questions along the way. Our goal is to help you navigate what can be a very sensitive issue, and provide information that will maximize your chances of getting approved for life insurance with drug history policy that you can afford.

First, let’s take a look at what types of drugs life insurance companies will test for as part of the application process:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Opioids: powerful prescription pain relievers (examples include oxycodone, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and codeine among others)
  • Amphetamines: prescription stimulant medication used to treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Examples include Adderall
  • Barbiturates: sedating prescription medications used to treat conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. Examples include phenobarbital, pentobarbital among others.
  • Other stimulants: other prescription medications used to treat ADHD such as Ritalin or Concerta.
  • Benzodiazepines: powerful prescription medications used to treat anxiety. Examples include Xanax, Ativan, Valium among others.
  • Nicotine: if you smoke, cigarettes, chew tobacco, or enjoy a celebratory cigar, there will be considerations specific to these habits.

Will These Drugs Result in Denial of Your Application?

If you have a prescription from a medical doctor for one of the medications mentioned above to treat a legitimate medical concern, then you shouldn’t have to worry about getting denied for a life insurance policy solely on the fact that you take the drug.

moneyBut keep in mind that because these medications are used to treat certain medical conditions, you may wind up paying a higher premium compared to someone who is otherwise healthy without your medical condition.

warningAs you might expect or already know, actively using cocaine or heroin will most likely result in an automatic decline of your life insurance application.

Due to the enormous array of health risks associated with these illegal substances, most notably overdose, and sudden death, no life insurance company in their right mind will approve a policy for an active user.

We’re not trying to be harsh or condescending, but we owe it to you, to be honest, and give accurate information.

If you are currently using cocaine or heroin, your best course of action would be to seek out professional help to sober up and kick your habit, so you can re-apply for life insurance in the future. Shortly, we will list some options for seeking out this help if you’re interested.

What if you don’t actively use, but have used heroin or cocaine in the past?

Well, the key here is how heavily did you use previously, and when was the last time you used?

Most companies will require that you have been sober for at least a year before considering approval of a policy for life insurance with a drug history. This goes up to 3 years for any of the highly addictive drugs.

Different companies will vary on the period of sobriety required. It’s important to seek out the insurance company that is most lenient in this regard.

Marijuana use is a different animal altogether. With more states legalizing it for medicinal and recreational use, this issue has become a little hazy (see what I did there?).

We have devoted a separate article entirely to how marijuana use affects your life insurance application. 

How Life Insurance Companies Test for Drug Use

The most common method used is a urine drug screen. These are simple and convenient tests that are comprehensive and can simultaneously test for all of the drugs and substances mentioned earlier in this article.

Basically, you tinkle in a cup, and your specimen is sent off to a laboratory to be analyzed. Some companies with tighter rules may require that you get a blood or hair follicle test for more definitive testing.

warningThis may go without saying, but it doesn’t hurt to emphasize: Do NOT be tempted to try to “cheat” the system. And by cheating the system, we mean do not be tempted to try to cheat your urine drug test.

Look, we’re NOT saying that we think you would ever do this. But the fact is, sometimes people do dumb crap, and stuff like this has probably been attempted before, so it warrants discussion.

  • First off, this would be insurance fraud.
  • Second, even if you succeeded in “fooling” the life insurance company with your drug test and got approved for a policy, this will probably come back to bite you in the arse.

You need to understand that life insurance companies go to great lengths to obtain detailed medical records and prescription histories. They pay good money to third-party companies to collect this information for them. Honestly, it’s a little creepy how much they can find out about our personal medical information.

But just like any other business, life insurance companies are in the game of “making money” so you can be sure they will do their due diligence. And if you’re an active or previous user of an illicit substance, chances are you’ve tested positive on another drug test before, even if it was years ago….and you can bet the life insurance company will find out.

warningEven if you successfully pull the wool over their eyes and get approved for a policy, in the unfortunate event of your death, they can refuse to pay out your death benefit if they discover you lied on your application. Certainly, you don’t want to risk leaving your loved ones in this type of situation.

Hope is Not Lost and Help is Available

We can’t pretend to truly understand the challenges and suffering someone experiences when engaged in dangerous substance abuse. And the last thing we are going to do is preach about all of the significant dangers and health risks associated with illicit drug use…chances are you’re already aware of those risks.

But what you need to know is that professional help is available if that’s something you are interested in. You don’t need to go through this alone.

According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, you can easily get information about treatment programs in your area by calling 1-800-662-HELP. You can also visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Which Company is Best for my Specific Drug Use History?

In your case, our quote engine won’t apply.

These are special situations that require an expert to pair you up with the right insurance company for your situation.

Please keep in mind that underwriting guidelines can and DO vary greatly between carriers and this is often a complicated maze for consumers to navigate.

The secret to getting the lowest rate is placing you in a policy with the company who views you in the most favorable light.

If you are applying for life insurance with a history of drug use, it’s critical that you work with a broker who understands the underwriting guidelines and will fight on your behalf to get the lowest rate for your situation.

We are one of the rare independent brokers that only sells life insurance. Our specialization gets our clients the best rates, every time.

If you are ready to get started, please fill out a quote request or always feel free to contact us with any questions.

We are here to help and will never pressure you in any way.

Please don’t go this alone.


  • Ty Stewart

    Ty Stewart is a founder and contributor of He started researching and studying about life insurance when he got his first policy for his own family. He has been featured as a life insurance expert speaker at agent conventions and in top publications. As an independent licensed life insurance agent he has helped clients nationwide to secure affordable coverage while making the process simple. Stewart Ty
  • Bennett Bier

    I’m Bennett Bier, owner, author and fact checker of Simple Life Insure. I believe working with a small independent broker offers consumers more personal attention and superior customer service. As an independent agent licensed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia I have access to many of the top A+ rated life insurance carriers. This lets me locate a plan that you will qualify for while saving you money at the same time. Over the years I have mastered the art of underwriting, getting approvals even for my highest risk clients. I’m also likely the person that will answer the phone when you call. Bier Bennett