General Insurance Article - Make mine a double

New research from Direct Line Life Insurance reveals doctors apply an ‘alcohol multiplier’ when asking patients about their drinking habits. With doctors doubling the average amount of alcohol patients say they drink, to get a more accurate figure. In fact, doctors believe only 40 per cent of patients accurately represent how much alcohol they consume, with young women (aged up to 30) most likely to underestimate their intake.

 When Brits were asked why they lied to medical professionals about their alcohol consumption, excuses included; never keeping track of how much they drink (20 per cent) and claiming everyone misrepresents how much they consume (16 per cent). One in seven (14 per cent) Brits didn’t tell the truth about their consumption because they didn’t feel it was relevant and the same number were worried their doctor would judge them.

 One in five2 (20 per cent) Brits admit they regularly exceed the UK Chief Medical Officers’ recommended maximum consumption of 14 units (CMO) per week. This is mainly because almost a third (32 per cent) of Brits has no idea the maximum number of units of alcohol the UK Chief Medical Officer recommends adults consume in a single week.

 Table one: Why Brits misrepresent the units of alcohol they drink to medical professionals    


 Source: Direct Line Life Insurance

 Jane Morgan, Business Manager at Direct Line Life Insurance, commented: “Most of us enjoy a drink from time to time, but no matter how much alcohol you consume it’s important to be honest with your doctor about it. Without all the correct information about your lifestyle you may not get the right diagnosis or treatment.”

 “You should not only ensure you are honest with all medical professionals but if you’re asked about how much you drink when purchasing a health or life insurance policy it’s important to be truthful on your application so you can ensure you have the cover that’s right for you.”

 Worryingly, doctors believe a quarter (25 per cent) of their patients exhibit symptoms of low level alcohol dependency, while 21 per cent display symptoms of high dependency. In consultations, doctors advise almost a third (31 per cent) of their patients to reduce the amount of alcohol they drink. However, the majority (63 per cent) of drinkers have no plans to reduce their intake; meaning millions of Brits are risking liver disease, pancreatitis and other alcohol related conditions.

 The NHS recommends a GP visit is a good place to start if someone is concerned about their relationship with alcohol. To find local alcohol support groups people can visit

 Morgan continues: “Direct Line Life Insurance offers an affordable way for families to help look after loved ones financially if someone passes away, paying out a lump sum, to help deal with every day money concerns such as household bills, childcare costs and mortgage payments.” 

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