For Gen Xers like me (people in their mid to late 30’s, 40’s, and early 50’s born between 1965 and 1984), alcohol can have a massive effect on life insurance rates, a moderate effect on life insurance rates, or no effect at all on life insurance rates, depending on that particular Gen Xer’s level of alcohol consumption.
What is Alcohol, and what does it do to your Body?
Alcohol is a liquid that is the by-product of the natural fermentation of sugars. For example, beer is made from the sugar in barley, wine from the sugar in grapes, vodka from the sugar in potatoes, etc. Alcohol is classified as a central nervous system depressant even though alcohol masks itself as a stimulant when you first have a couple bottles of beer, for example. It’s downhill from there.
The short term, immediate effects of alcohol are as follows. This is what is called “being buzzed”:
- Increased confidence
- increased redness in the face
- feeling intense excitement
- chatty (even if you are not a typically chatty person)
As you increase your drinking that night, the buzz turns into “getting drunk”:
- Significant reducion in coordination
- Losing control of five sense
- Bad Judgment
- Slurring words and staggering walk
And, of course, we know what happens if you continue drinking alcohol if you are already drunk—you can’t walk, you vomit, and then you pass out. And, the next day, when you think the worst of it is over, you get the dreaded alcohol “hangover” which is basically a result of severe dehydration. Symptoms of the alcohol hangover include headache, difficulties in concentrating, lack of motivation, body aches, and depression just to name a few. It takes roughly 24 to 48 hours to get the hangover out of your system, depending on your age. It really is amazing that alcohol is the #1 recreational drug-of-choice for Americans considering it’s long down-side as opposed to its short upside. Here’s one of my favorite drinking quotes from my favorite comedian, Rodney Dangerfield, “I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample, it had an olive in it.” I just wanted to throw that quote in there….well….because it’s from Rodney Dangerfield.
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Since we’ve discussed the short term effects of alcohol on your body—i.e. getting buzzed, getting drunk, then the next day hangover—now, let’s discuss the long term effects alcohol on the body.
- brain damage and memory loss
- liver damage and cirrhosis
- heart damage
- skin damage
Alcohol, in heavy doses over an extended period of time, reeks havoc on you. Of course, alcohol, consumed in moderate amounts, can be beneficial to your body, for some people. HERE’S A STUDY that shows moderate alcohol consumption is good for your brain for all you Gen X naysayers reading this who may think that this is an alcohol-hating article. It’s not. Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty on how alcohol effects your life insurance rate.
Here are some of the things that life insurance companies look at when evaluating a life insurance applicant who drinks alcohol:
- LEVEL OF CONSUMPTION—how much does the Gen Xer drink on a daily or weekly basis. The Mayo Clinic recommends that men have, at most. two drinks a day while women have, at most, one drink a day. It’s all about moderation. Here’s a link to the Mayo Clinic ALCOHOL GUIDELINES.
- HOW LONG—the length of time/number of years the Gen X applicant has consumed alcohol is an important consideration for many life insurance companies. Has the applicant been a drinker for just two years or for twenty years or more? Age and years of alcohol drinking is an important consideration for life insurance companies when considering your life insurance application.
- DUI/EMPLOYMENT ISSUES/ABUSE—Typical signs of alcohol abuse for members of Generation X include a history of unstable employment, DUI’s, and unsuccessful stints in rehab. Underwriters at Life Insurance companies will most definitely take these into account when determining the life insurance rate of someone who consumes alcohol, especially a Generation Xer.
- COMORBID WITH OTHER HEALTH OR MENTAL ISSUES–Alcoholism is often comorbid with other mental illnesses likes depression—alcohol is a short term masking agent for depression. It makes you feel better short term. However, masking depression through alcohol exacerbates depression over the long term. As illustrated above, long term, heavy alcohol consumption damages your brain, liver, heart, skin, etc.
- MEDICAL EXAM LIVER TEST—And finally and most importantly for Gen Xers, the life insurance medical exam—which is a prerequisite for most larger life insurance policies—is going to test for elevated liver enzymes. Elevated liver enzymes are a sign of alcohol abuse and damage to your liver. The result of the blood sample at the exam which tests for elevated liver enzymes is probably the most important consideration for life insurance companies regarding your alcohol consumption and your life insurance rate.
I hope this has been a helpful article for Gen Xers like me (people in the mid to late 30’s, 40’s, and early 50’s born between 1965 and 1984) on how alcohol consumption effects life insurance rates. This is by no means a comprehensive article but is a good overview and starting point. All in all, alcohol’s effect on life insurance rates ranges from no effect at all, to a moderate effect, to a large rate increase.
If you would like quotes for term life insurance from many different life insurance companies, all A-rated, HERE IS THE LIFE INSURANCE QUOTER. Just enter in how much life insurance you need in the quoter, over what term (i.e. 10 or 20 or 30 years), your height, your weight, etc., and you will be able to self generate your term life insurance quotes within about 5 minutes. Some of the life insurance companies the quotes are generated from include Prudential, AIG, Mutual of Omaha, SBLI, etc. SBLI, by the way, offers up to $500,000 life insurance without having to take a medical exam (i.e. no blood test which means no elevated liver enzyme test). If you prefer to contact me in regard to your life insurance needs instead of the quoter above, my phone number is (615) 525-6165 and my email is Robert@weigelinsurance.com.
Until next time and until next life insurance article,
Term Life Insurance Agent for Generation X