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Why Do Insurers Care About How Much I Drink?
Why Do Insurers Care About How Much I Drink?
04 Oct 2019

If you are someone who enjoys sipping on an ice-cold beverage over the weekend or during the week, it could affect your health. Here is what you need to know when it comes to drinking and your life cover.

The see-saw effect of drinking and your health

The sobering reality is that if you want to live a healthy lifestyle, you will have to decrease how many units of alcohol you consume. Increasing how much you drink could create a domino effect in terms of your health which matters during the underwriting process. 

South Africa has a drinking culture that has infamously placed us as the nation that consumes the most alcohol in Africa. According to the World Health Organisation, South Africans start drinking as young as 15 years old despite the legal age for drinking starting at 18 years old. On average, South African's consumed 11 litres of pure alcohol which is higher than the continent's average of 4.6 litres. While the amount we consume has decreased over the years, dropping to an average of 7.1 litres, it still impacts our health long after we have put the bottle down. 

Some of the health complications that can arise from drinking are:

Liver disease

Elevated blood pressure levels

Long-term heart damage


Being prone to be involved in a fatal accident or injuring yourself

Being charged for driving under the influence (DUI) can lead to you not being able to get cover as you will be seen as a high-risk individual.

How alcohol consumption is treated by insurers

During the underwriting process, insurers will look at your health to help them determine your premiums. You could be asked lifestyle questions regarding your drinking habits. If you are someone who drinks excessively, your chances decrease when it comes to finding an insurer that will cover you due to the risk excessive drinking has on your life.

It is less likely to get cover if you are an alcoholic, but some insurers will be able to cover you if you are a recovering alcoholic. Answering these questions truthfully will help an insurer create a life cover that is tailor-made for your needs and will adequately cover your loved ones.

Letting the good times roll without letting your life go

According to the drinking guidelines of South Africa, men are advised to consume less than 21 units of alcohol per week and not more than three units in a day. Women are advised to drink less than 14 units per week. While there may be reports claiming that a glass of red wine a day could have health benefits, it is still essential to stick to the legal unit requirement to avoid harming or injuring yourself.


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Terms and conditions apply. Eligibility, cover and benefits are determined on individual risk profile. MiWayLife is an authorised FSP (No. 45741) and its product offering is underwritten by Sanlam Life Insurance Limited, a registered long-term insurer. MiWayLife is a division of Sanlam Life Insurance Limited - Reg No. 1998/021121/06