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Life is complicated.

Getting on with life is even more complicated; so it's important to talk about what matters most and know where we stand.

  • In 2019, around 3.4 million Australians reported using an illicit (recreational) drug in the last 12 months.1

So how does having a history of personal drug use affect your ability to create a safety net for yourself and your family?

Here's what you need to know ahead of time when you're needing to get your life insurances sorted.

Jump Ahead

Here's another question we get asked a lot

  • "If you have used recreational drugs in the past, how does this affect your ability to get life insurances and set up a safety net for yourself or your family?"

The most important thing to understand when it comes to recreational drugs and applying for life insurances is that for the most part it really does depend upon your individual situation, your occupation, your overall health and whether your drug use was intravenous or otherwise.

Understand it's Chemical; not Moral

Underwriting life insurance applications is all about understanding the big data behind all of life's activities, and not so much the reasons for the decisions we make.

  • This means that if there is not yet a lot of available actuarial grade big data available about a particular drug/activity/occupation and its predictable outcomes, it's either off limits or very hard to work with.
  • Understanding the underlying increased chemical risks of drug use, is the driving force here.

A past drug use history of past recreational drug use, when understood better and its context explained in detail, can often be disregarded if the use is in the past.

How long is 'in the past' you ask?

Well that goes back to my earlier comment about it depends on your individual situation, your occupation, your overall health and whether your drug use was intravenous or otherwise

  • As a rule of thumb, at least three years of being drug free is usually needed when working with a single type of drug use, might mean a person's medical and health history has become predictable to the point where their life insurance options are within reach.
  • A five year drug free period is usually needed when we’re working with repetitive drug use, depending upon; your individual situation, your occupation, your overall health and whether your drug use was intravenous or otherwise

Current drug use brings additional unknowable health risks into play, one of which is you simply have no control over the composition (purity) of an non-prescribed drug and how it might affect you and any associated health issues that you may or may not know about.

You do need to be aware that some particular types of drug are statistically seen as leading on to ‘harder’ drugs or might be showing significant health risks in emerging big data studies and bring a combined risk that is usually too difficult to clearly understand so would trigger an automatic decline in an application for cover.

How does the growing legalisation of Cannabis (Marijuana) affect the question of recreational drug use?

As Cannabis/marijuana use becomes decriminalised in more and more Australian states, some life insurance companies have started to soften their underwriting attitude towards current cannabis use.

  • But, along with Vaping and smoking eCigarettes, you should be prepared to have to pay smokers rates on their life insurance policy premiums.

Here are eight sample questions you'll need to be prepared to answer during a life insurance application.

  1. What are the types of recreational drugs you have used?
  2. What was the period of use (approximate dates from and to etc.)
  3. Have you ever had any health condition or impairment relating to the use of drugs (e.g. Hepatitis, HIV infection, mental illness)?
  4. Have you ever sought medical treatment or advice or been referred for drug counseling?
  5. Have you ever been treated on a methadone or other controlled withdrawal program?
  6. Have you ever taken time off work because of your alcohol or drug use or have your working duties ever been affected or restricted in any way?
  7. Are you now drug-free?
  8. When did you stop?

The important message is, Take Action Today

While it's impossible to provide a one-answer-fits-all-insurance-companies statement here about the effect of past drug use will have on a life insurance application - the important message is this:

Don't ignore an opportunity to understand your position and begin to get your insurance sorted today, just because you don't yet know all your options.

Give us a call and we can do a confidential pre-assessment for you to test the water before we both jump in together.Drew Browne

Start up a conversation and send us an email today to see if we're the type of people you'd like to work with.

[1]Data Source: National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2019.

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About Us

Unusual Risks Insured provides support to those people who big insurance companies leave behind. We believe in giving every person the power to use life insurance products to protect & provide for their loved ones, their businesses, and their legacy — free from barriers of stigma and discrimination.

We know, as an LGBTQIA+ person (or someone who goes without labels entirely), you probably have specific financial advice, life insurance, and privacy needs.

  • We're committed to serving the LGBTQIA+ Community and its Allies.
  • For us, it's about change leadership and #AdviceEquality.

Why not make us part of your story, so if the unexpected happens to you or whoever is family to you, you'll have a backup plan in place to help you financially recover and life can still get better for somebody you love.

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Drew Browne, Senior Advisor

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