Alcohol Consumption and insurance, what you should know.

Most people in Australia have an alcoholic drink at some time or another. You could say we have one of the stronger drinking cultures in the world with alcohol being a regular part of most social events and commonly found in many homes.

A good percentage of people would class themselves as social drinkers; they don’t drink to excess and don’t drink regularly, or at levels that could cause long term harm.

For this group, their alcohol consumption habits will not have any noticeable effect on their insurance cover, either in availability of policies or in the premiums offered.

For other people that may not be the case. Their alcohol consumption habits may have a significant effect on their health and their day to day performance. But before we look at what these effects might be, and how they could in turn affect your insurance, let’s define what a dangerous level of drinking might be.

The National Health and Medical Research Council define consuming over two standard drinks a day by either males or females as representing a risk over an individual’s lifetime.

Risk is defined as potentially effecting health in the short and long term, including mood and anxiety problems and chronic conditions caused by injury. It may also affect a person’s performance at work or ability to work period as well as their participation in other aspects of family and community life.

In terms of how risk might impact your ability to take out insurance policies and the levels of premiums you might pay the biggest factor is of course the effect of alcohol consumption on health. Insurance companies generally will accept applications at standard rates if you have up to 28 standard drinks per week, as long as you have not sought counselling for alcohol abuse.  

If you have an existing alcohol related health condition, such as cirrhosis of the liver, it might raise life premiums offered to you to take into account the greater risk you offer to an insurance company.

Similarly if your consumption of alcohol has caused excessive weight gain, which in turn has impacted on respiratory or circulatory performance you may find your premiums “loaded” due to these secondary spin-off results of alcohol consumption.

How about if you have income protection or trauma insurance? How might drinking alcohol to a risky level impact on your policy? Well unless you have a pre-existing alcohol related medical condition, and drink less than 28 standard drinks per week, you’d be unlikely to face higher premiums. But if you go to make a claim and your inability to work, either through injury or illness is deemed to have been caused by alcohol related issues you may find your claim being contested.

As with all insurance applications it’s best to be up front and open in disclosures you make. Often our helpful Rate Detective consultants can discuss your concerns and help you avoid extra premium loadings by discussing your case with multiple insurance companies.

The first step is to make contact today and create a plan and timeframe around your insurance requirements.

Call or contact us today and take the first steps towards peace of mind regarding your insurance needs.

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Published on August 8-th, 2014 in Insurance
Damon Rasheed is the CEO of Rate Detective, an Australian financial service comparison sites specialising in Life Insurance, Income Protection Insurance and home loans. Damon holds a Master's Degree in Economics from the University of Melbourne and has been involved in many start-up internet businesses.

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