A DUI or DWI carries many consequences regarding your driving license, employment, personal life and even mortality. Were you surprised to be asked a question on the life insurance application regarding a DUI? You may be baffled by the idea of why they care about your driving history.
To a life insurance carrier, a DUI is worse than diabetes. You can have a perfect health history, no medications, no family history and still be declined for a policy if you had a DUI in the last year or two. Let’s find out if you still have a chance to get life insurance with a DUI on your record.
Why Do Life Insurance Companies Care About DUIs?
It’s very simple. If you play with fire too long, you will get burned. We are not here to lecture, but driving while intoxicated is likely to lead to death, something the carrier must pay for via death benefit to your beneficiaries.
Insurance companies hate risks. If you pose a higher risk, they will say “pay more” or “sorry, we are not interested.” According to the CDC, in 2015, 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (29%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.
DUIs aren’t the only thing that will get you rated up or declined altogether. Reckless driving, license suspensions or more than three moving violations in the last three years will get you similar results. But make sure you don’t hide your DUI or DWI on the application or from your agent. The company will run an MVR report where they can find everything regarding your driving history, so hiding it makes no sense, and you may risk the company rescinding the policy for misrepresentation or lying on the application.
Can I Get Coverage If I Had a Dui?
That depends. If you had a DUI or DWI within last 12 months, you will be postponed for one year regardless of agency. If you had a DUI two or more years ago, Prudential will offer you a Standard Plus rating provided there are no other health conditions. After three years, you can get Standard with Banner Life or Fidelity Life. After five years or more, you could get Preferred Plus or best rating with most companies such as Mutual of Omaha or Transamerica.
Another important factor is rehabilitation attempts. The insurance company will need to see that you have taken constructive actions to make sure that there are no further incidents down the road. Evidence that you have completed specific programs, such as driving courses or substance abuse programs, is also helpful. If your DUI is over 10 years old, it won’t negatively impact your rates.
When Will I Be Declined?
Underwriting guidelines for life insurance with DUIs vary from one company to another. However, generally speaking, insurance carriers want to see that a DUI is at least two years old. If you are buying a traditional life insurance plan that requires an exam, you will be required to have blood work done, which will reveal any alcohol or liver abnormalities.
They even may order a particular test for individuals with a DUI to examine the levels of Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase in the blood to determine if alcohol abuse is showing up. If the levels are elevated, this is usually a reason for concern to the underwriters. You could be required to do a more extensive test called a CDT.
If this test comes back positive, it is a sign of liver damage due to abusive drinking, and there is a pretty good chance your application will be turned down. If you have two DUIs, you could face a two- to three-year postponement from most companies.
What the Underwriter Will Ask
You must be honest about your DUI with your insurance broker and on your life insurance application. Any lies on an application form are considered fraud and can result in the insurance company rescinding the policy, which means they’ll refuse payment to your beneficiaries. The insurance company will look at the following:
- Your current age
- Any other health conditions
- How many DUIs you have had
- Time of the last occurrence
- Any history of alcohol abuse
- Steps taken toward recovery
- Driver’s license suspension
- Any criminal record
How Long Do I Need to Wait to Get the Best Rate?
I made a sample underwriting guidelines table with a few of the life insurance companies on the market. This table is only for DUI or DWI, but keep in mind that reckless driving, suspension, and moving violations are very similar in nature to DUI, although companies do allow two or three occurrences before they are considered as bad as a DUI. Use this table as a general guideline; it is not exact. For example, with AIG, to qualify for the preferred plus best rate, you must not have had a DUI in the past seven years, but, to get a preferred rate, it’s only six years, and, for the standard, it’s only three.
|Carrier||Preferred Plus||Preferred||Standard Plus||Standard|
|AIG||7 yrs||6 yrs||5 yrs||3 yrs|
|American National||5 yrs||5 yrs||5 yrs||N/A|
|Assurity||7 yrs||5 yrs||N/A||N/A|
|Banner Life||3 yrs||3 yrs||3 yrs||3 yrs|
|Foresters||5 yrs||5 yrs||5 yrs||N/A|
|John Hancock||10 yrs||5 yrs||N/A||N/A|
|Lincoln Financial||5 yrs||5 yrs||N/A||N/A|
|MetLife||5 yrs||5 yrs||5 yrs||N/A|
|Mutual of Omaha||5 yrs||5 yrs||5 yrs||N/A|
|Nationwide||5 yrs||5 yrs||N/A||N/A|
|North American||5 yrs||5 yrs||N/A||N/A|
|Principle||5 yrs||5 yrs||N/A||N/A|
|Protective||5 yrs||5 yrs||N/A||N/A|
|Prudential||5 yrs||5 yrs||Based on driving history||Based on driving history|
|SBLI||7 yrs||5 yrs||5 yrs||2 yrs|
|Transamerica||5 yrs||5 yrs||5 yrs||N/A|
How to Get Life Insurance After a DUI
The one and only tip I could give you is NOT to apply by yourself. Any time you apply and get declined coverage, this increases your odds of being declined again. As stated before, all insurance companies have very specific underwriting guidelines that aren’t even shared with consumers (underwriting guidelines are available for broker use only).
Every client has a different health risk, and only an experienced broker can match him/her with the right company. So, you may want to run the quotes yourself to have an idea, but don’t be fooled by the lowest preferred rate if you have a DUI on your record. And keep in mind that DUI or DWI isn’t the only thing that can contribute to higher rates; lifestyle, hobbies and health history are just a few criteria companies use to determine the final rates.
Check out my other post about why you get conflicting life insurance rates.
The good news is that, if you can qualify for life insurance with DUI, your broker will tell you the rates, coverage, and terms without you knocking your head against the wall. And if you can’t, you will get his/her recommendations on what to do next. And it’s all within a few minutes.
You can run the quotes yourself on this page.