When you’re buying life insurance, your medical status isn’t the only factor underwriters consider when qualifying you for coverage. They look at other indicators of your mortality risk, like your lifestyle and driving history, including any record of a DUI or DWI.
People who have had minor traffic violations, like a speeding ticket, shouldn’t be looking at higher rates for life insurance. However, if you have a DUI or DWI in your driving record, you may pay more for life insurance.
The fact is, you can get life insurance with a DUI on your driving record, but it can cost quite a bit more if you choose the wrong carrier.
This article will help you navigate the ins and outs of applying for life insurance with a DUI or DWI, so you can get the best rates at the best price, even if the insurance company considers you to be a risk.
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The Facts About DUI and Life Insurance
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 111 million adults confess to driving while under the influence of alcohol every year. About one percent of them are arrested for a DUI or DWI offense.
MADD reports the typical person who is arrested for a DUI or DWI has driven drunk about 80 times before their arrest.
This indicates to a life insurance company the offense is likely to occur again. In fact, about 30% of people arrested or convicted for a DUI or DWI are repeat offenders.
Most drunk drivers who caused fatal accidents in 2014 were between the ages of 21 and 44. In addition, more males are usually arrested for drunk driving than females.
Because drunk drivers may perform this life-threatening mistake over and over again, life insurance companies consider them to be more likely to die prematurely, and the numbers are present to back it up. This is why they charge more.
Applying for Life Insurance With a DUI on Your Record
Although a DUI or DWI will put you in the category of high-risk life insurance, it won’t necessarily disqualify you completely.
Most insurance companies have similar application guidelines. They are required to ask you questions about your lifestyle and medical history. These questions will involve inquiries about your driving history.
A DUI serves as a warning to life insurance companies that you may be the type of individual who consistently makes poor—and sometimes dangerous—choices.
Underwriters will want to know:
- Was the DUI/DWI a one-time incident?
- Did the DUI/DWI follow a pattern of reckless behavior?
- Do you regularly abuse alcohol or drugs?
An arrest for drunk driving might serve as a red flag to an insurance underwriter that you have other risk factors associated with substance abuse.
You may be more likely to suffer an accident at work if you are regularly under the influence of narcotics or alcohol. You may also have problems with your physical health. Alcohol abuse can lead to cancer, liver disease, kidney problems, and cardiovascular issues.
Research shows people who deal with substance abuse are more likely to die from motor vehicle accidents, industrial accidents, suicide, and criminal activity. According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, alcohol is the leading cause of death in people ages 15 to 24.
As an applicant for life insurance with a DUI/DWI, you will have to prove the incident was due to a one-time mistake instead of a lifelong pattern.
Insurers view illegal drug use as even more concerning than alcohol abuse, and coupled with alcohol, will likely result in a decline.
A history of drunk driving will cause underwriters to look at other risk factors in your life more closely.
Rates You Can Expect After a DUI
When you purchase life insurance, you’re paying your premiums for a coverage you hope to never use. But, should you need it, the insurance company is on the hook for thousands, hundreds of thousands, or more. It’s why life insurance underwriters will assess your mortality risk when assigning the rate for your premiums.
Having a DUI on your record will cause underwriters to view you as a high-risk candidate. However, you may still be able to qualify for life insurance coverage.
Most insurers will increase your premiums if you have been arrested for a DUI or DWI within the past 3 to 5 years. Time frame is one of the key indicators of a successful approval.
If the insurance company offers you coverage, it will include a table rating. This means you will pay more based on your risk factors. Insurers will take into account your medical history and other lifestyle risk factors when assigning this table rating. The higher the rating is, the higher your premium will be.
The best health class ratings available are Select Preferred and Preferred. You will usually not qualify for these ratings within 5 years of your DUI or DWI.
However, if you have only had one offense and can show you don’t have other risk factors, you may receive a Standard rating, which indicates you have an average life expectancy, plus the flat extra fee.
Your rating will only get worse with more offenses or other health concerns.
Other Factors To Consider
Most traditional life insurance policies require you to undergo a medical examination.
If you have had a DUI, the insurer may request a special blood test which checks for alcohol abuse. You may also be required to complete tests which check for liver disease.
If you feel the results of these tests will disqualify you from obtaining life insurance, you can choose a policy which doesn’t require a medical exam.
Guaranteed issue policies will generally provide coverage to anyone within certain age limits. No medical exam is required, and few questions are asked of the applicants.
These policies have higher premiums and lower payouts, but they may be the only option for someone with a substance abuse problem and repeat DUI/DWI offenses.
Whatever you do, don’t lie about your DUI/DWI on the life insurance application. When the underwriters review your medical and/or driving records, they will find out about the offense. Tell your agent ahead of time so they can choose the carrier most suitable to your situation.
Your best bet is to tell the truth, and make sure the life insurance company understands you will not make the same mistake again.
Adding a cover letter to your application, explaining everything in detail, is suggested.
Finding the Best Life Insurance After a DUI
The best way to find affordable life insurance with a DUI/DWI is to compare different life insurance companies.
An experienced insurance agent can help you shop around, saving you time and finding you the best coverage and rates.
Another way to reduce your premiums is to wait it out. If you have had a DUI or DWI arrest, make sure you have recorded the dates of the offense accurately.
After 3 to 5 years, your ability to qualify for discounted life insurance premiums drastically improves if you can show you live a safer and healthier lifestyle.