How a DUI Can Hurt Your Chances of Getting Life Insurance
It shouldn’t take a blog to convince you that drunk driving has terrible side effects. According to the CDC, 10,497 car crash deaths were linked to alcohol impairment in the U.S. in 2016. That adds up to 29 avoidable deaths every single day.
Nothing matches the loss of life or injuries attributed to driving under the influence. However, there are other consequences tied to getting behind the wheel after putting a few back—like getting a DUI.
Over 1 million people were arrested for driving under the influence in 2016. A DUI conviction means many negative personal and financial repercussions. One significant effect that impacts the people in your life, and your wallet, is the increased difficulty in getting life insurance when you have a DUI.
So, why do DUI convictions make it more difficult to get life insurance? And is it possible to get covered again at all, or without expensive premiums?
Why Do DUIs Affect My Life Insurance Eligibility?
It’s all about risk. When a life insurance company evaluates a new application for potential coverage, they must take into account the applicant’s history. Frankly, life insurance is very much a for-profit business. They want to cover people who lead healthy, stable lifestyles with a high likelihood of long lives.
Life insurance companies will take a DUI as evidence of a high-risk client. A DUI conviction is a clear sign of recklessness and poor decision making. Not only do they put themselves in precarious situations that can end in death, but they also are likely regular drinkers.
Though moderate alcohol consumption of one drink a day for a female and two for a male may actually have health benefits, excessive drinking accounts for about 88,000 deaths per year. Receiving a DUI is a clear sign of irresponsible alcohol consumption.
In addition, reoffenders make up nearly one-third of all drunk driving arrests. That means that if you’ve been caught drinking and driving once, there is a high likelihood of it happening again. And maybe that’s the time you won’t survive.
History, research, and common sense shows that those with recent or reoccurring DUIs are at a much higher risk of death than those without. However, though there will be additional challenges and costs involved, if you get a DUI, that doesn’t mean you’re forever out of luck.
How Will My DUIs Affect My Life Insurance?
It depends. Many life insurance companies will flat out refuse to cover someone convicted of a DUI from anywhere between 0–5 years from the time of arrest. If there is a re-offense, expect that timeline to start over. Enough convictions could cause permanent ineligibility.
Once a life insurance company does decide to cover someone convicted of a DUI, expect higher rates for up to 10 years, even with a clean driving record. Depending on the applicant’s history, they are ranked within various risk categories. The highest ranking gets the best premium rates. As rankings get lower, the premiums get pricier. At a certain point, an applicant is considered ineligible.
Don’t think ineligibility, or even high rates, are a life sentence. As time passes with no new violations, expect to regain eligibility and see fewer residual effects showing up on your monthly premium.
How to Get Life Insurance After A DUI?
So you got a DUI and you want life insurance coverage. Though you may be facing a substantial challenge—especially within the first year of conviction—getting decent coverage after getting caught drunk driving is possible. Here are a few tips on getting life insurance post-DUI.
1. Don’t Reoffend!
By far, this is the most important piece of advice. Essentially, no more breaking the law. This doesn’t only include repeat DUIs, but also any other traffic violations, or even convictions non-vehicle related that involves alcohol or drug abuse.
Life insurance companies will see additional violations as a clear pattern of reckless behavior and make getting insurance hard, or even impossible. If having a life insurance policy is important to you (Hint: It should be), learn from this mistake and avoiding repeating it in the future.
2. Don’t Lie
When you apply for life insurance, you’re going to be asked many questions to help evaluate your eligibility and/or premium. It may be tempting to minimize your DUI conviction, fudge some facts, or leave out important details.
Don’t waste their time, or yours. Agents or underwriters are going to run multiple background checks and pull your driving records. Rather than hide it be honest. A DUI is a life changing event for you, but part of the job for them. A good agent or underwriter can be incredibly helpful in finding you the best rates, or give advice on gaining eligibility if you’re not there yet.
3. Shop Around
Life insurance companies are notorious for providing wildly different coverage and premium results for identical applications. This makes comparison shopping for life insurance especially important if you are in the high-risk category.
Compare as many companies as possible. Though nine places may reject you, the tenth could be a charm. Prices can also vary vastly, so don’t pick the first company that accepts you without checking other rates. Taking a little more time can save $100s every year.
Ready for the easiest way to comparison shop for life insurance? Download the JennyLife app and we’ll find you the best rates available—no exams necessary. We believe life insurance should be accessible and uncomplicated so your family can be financially protected, no matter what.