By James Tobin
LIHD Difficulty Rating
Frequently Asked Questions
Every applicant for life insurance with a DUI on their record can be approved for a policy.
However, the type of policy that can be approved, and the rates charged, will depend on the nature of your DUI history, the time elapsed since the incident, and your overall health.
Because the underwriting standards are different for each type of policy, this review of life insurance options with a DUI on your record is broken into three sections: (click button to go directly to section)
In addition to the usual health questions and exam, underwriting will pull a driving history report (MVR) and look for suspensions and major infractions.
The application will ask if you have been convicted of DUI in the last 5-10 years depending on the carrier. Be truthful, as the MVR will report the incident even if it was expunged in criminal court.
Applications with a DUI will generally be scrutinized for elevated for excessive alcohol use. This scrutiny will be applied to liver enzyme tests-noting that elevated enzymes can be a marker for over use.
Additionally, you may be asked to take a questionnaire about frequency of alcohol consumption
In order to get the best rates possible you may need to take an exam. DUI cases in which there are no obvious medical issues will be eligible for no-exam underwriting. However, applications seen as health risks will require an exam.
The exam is a para-medical exam that collects blood and urine samples. The exam is administered at no cost by a travelling nurse and can be done at your choice of location.
If it turns out that simplified issue or guaranteed issue policies are the best fit for your application, no exam will be required. See How Term Life Insurance Works for more on the exam.
The rates you pay for tem insurance are dependent on the underwriting class you are graded by the carrier.
Assuming that you are otherwise in great health, your underwriting rating will come down to the carrier chosen.
This is because some carriers will not make offers at Preferred/Preferred Best without 7 years between DUI and application. Other carriers will allow for preferred rates after 5 years.
If there is less time between DUI and application, underwriting gets tougher. An application 2 years after only DUI will likely "top out" at standard/standard plus rates.
There are a very limited number of carriers who will go standard with less than 2 years between DUI and application.
Also, note that with the exception of expensive simplified issue policies, there are no "no exam" options for applicants with a DUI history.
These cases tend to find their way into the simplified issue/final expense category. Available, but far more expensive than traditional life insurance.
The cost of your life insurance will depend on the type of insurance you qualify for, please see the examples of
The quotes you receive from the quote tool on this site are 100% accurate for the information inputted. That is to say, if you get the rate class correct- your rate will be correct. The problem with online tools is that people generally think they are inn better or worse shape than is reality.
If you are unsure about rate class you should choose a range and hope to be pleasantly surprised. Alternatively, you can fill out the customized quote form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.
The most effective ways to improve your life insurance rating are to use an agent that has access to the companies that will view you most favorably and to take care of your health.
See Why to use Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance with a DUI to better understand the reason to use an independent agent.
As far as lifestyle goes, if you take diet and exercise seriously along with limiting alcohol and quitting smoking (if you smoke), it should be reflected in your blood markers.
Your liver enzyme results will be particularly scrutinized if you have a DUI as a part of your record.
Life insurance companies have differing appetites for specific risks. These appetites are reflected in underwriting and ultimately pricing. Simplified issue carriers will be state dependent and three of the better known term carriers for dealing with a previous DUI are Prudential, American General (AIG), and Banner.
However, risk appetite can, and does, change and the only way to guarantee the best possible deal is to work with an experienced independent agent. see the case study here to get a clear understanding.
For a comprehensive look at the best life insurance carriers see our post on carrier rankings. This post delves into financial ratings, company history and customer service.
Regardless of your pre existing condition, the application process is largely the same. The life insurance application process is an eight step process that includes choosing your terms, picking a carrier, possibly submitting to the exam, and signing documents (digital signatures accepted). The entire 8 step process is laid out for you here.
So you probably figured that getting a DUI affects life insurance rates, but you need to know how much.
These eight questions should help you get the answers. For a more in depth look at life insurance with a DUI history, continue reading below the quick answers or click the links above.
While preferred rates are possible, it's not uncommon for applicants to receive substandard or "table rated" offers. The severity of the rating, and corresponding price, can vary significantly.
Therefore, it's important that you use an agent that is experienced with DUI/DWI cases, and has access to the carriers most likely to be receptive.
Primarily, term life insurance is available for lengths ranging from 5 years to 30 years with 20-year terms being the most popular. Term policies usually have a minimum face amount of $50000, and the policies terminate at the end of the term period or can be renewed annually at a vastly increased rate.
At the top of this article we stated that any body can be approved for affordable life insurance with a DUI/DWI. Note, however, we mention “affordable” rather than "inexpensive" or “low cost". The reason for the distinction is that all too often, life insurance with a DUI is not cheap life insurance.
In fact, because the coverage can be expensive on a per benefit dollar basis, the benefit is reduced to make the life insurance affordable. While this is often not an ideal situation, the truth is we all have to live within our budgets, and sometimes the way to make life insurance with a DUI history affordable is to reduce either the term of coverage or the benefit amount.
The difficult part of term life insurance with a DUI hisory is finding the best deal. This is because different carriers have differing appetites for certain kinds of risks. As a result navigating this process
is not as easy as using a quote tool or the sample rates below. This is discussed in greater detail in the case study.
$500000 20 Year Term
$100000 10 Year Term
$250000 10 Year Term
$200000 20 Year Term
What Carriers will want to Know...
Because life insurance carriers all have differing appetites for DUI risks, they will want to know everything they can about your DUI arrest history, including the number of arrests/convictions, suspensions,the time elapsed and even the blood alcahol reading in some cases. additionally carrier underwriting departments will want put an emphasis on driving history and any record of drug or alcohol abuse.
Lastly, carriers will want to know about any other health or occupational risks that would be examined in any life insurance application.
Because carriers all have different appetites for specific risks, and they price policies with underwriting classes, the only way to guarantee the best offer is to shop with an agent who has access to lots of carriers.
As an example of the pitfalls of not working with an independent agent, imagine if your the "captive"agent works for a carrier who is more stringent on DUI and takes the application anyway, who does this work out for?
Certainly not you, the customer, or your family.
It only works out for the agent who had a financial incentive to send your application to the "home" company.
If you later found out you could have saved 35% had he been able (and willing) to send your application to a different carrier, how would you feel?
Probably Angry, at both the agent and yourself.
Avoid this situation with an experienced independent agent.
Your underwriting rating for a DUI/DWI history can be anywhere from Preferred plus to Table B or even an outright decline. The determining factors are time elapsed and number of violations.
For instance, applicants with a DUI more than 5 years ago will qualify for a preferred plus rating assuming all other health risks are excellent. If the time elapsed is less than 5 years, the best rating will likely be standard plus.
Applicants with a DUI/DWI less than a year old will likely be table rated.
Similarly, applicants with multiple offences will face table ratings (or declines) without 7-10 years having elapsed.
The current carrier with the most lenient DUI/DWI policy is probably Prudential.
However, this is subject to change at any time due to carriers adjusting their risk appetites. For this reason you should consult an independent agent prior to applying.
\Additionally, you should make sure your agent is aware of anything that may affect the underwriting decision. Every case is different and carriers view them all individually. A great cover letter addressing the issue can be the difference between ratings.
The term life insurance market is quickly adopting accelerated underwriting programs that do not require a medical exam as part of the application process. However, these no exam or non-med policies may not be available if you have had any medical issues related to your DUI. An example of this would be substance abuse treatment.
If the no exam option is not available, you will be required to take a para-medical exam. The exam is usually a 15-20 minute meeting with a nurse. Your exam will consist of a blood draw, a urine sample, and height and weight recorded.
Most term carriers will have the underwriting department do a telephone interview with you. The In the case of previous stroke the conversation will be wide-ranging, and last about 20 minutes.
The purpose of the interview will be to flesh out the information that it has from your exam, medical information, and driving history. Questions will often revolve around diet and lifestyle. Answer as honestly as possible, but never "offer" unrequested information.
In addition to the period of insurance, it is essential to understand the available policy riders. Riders are additional benefits that, often for an additional cost, are included in your policy.
The five most prominent riders are listed below with links to in-depth descriptions.
While there is no waiting period for the insurance to go into effect, the insurance company has a two-year window from the policy start in which they can contest a benefit for material misrepresentation on the initial application. So, honesty is the best policy.
You can dive deep into the ins and outs of term life insurance, learning about available term lengths, riders, financial ratings, and rates. The Life Insurance Help Desk works with the top term life insurance carriers.
The following example demonstrates why using an independent agent when shopping for life insurance with a DUI (or any other situation) is imperative.
Male Non Smoker $250000
Age 50 Perfect Health 20 Year Term
DUI 4 Years Ago
This looks like a preferred/standard plus/standard case. Let's take a look at some rates.
Life Insurance Company
Life Insurance Company
Life Insurance Company
This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates Prudential is 12.5% more expensive than Lincoln.
On it’s face this seems like a pretty straight forward choice and if underwriting grades between carriers is the same, it really can be that simple.
This kind of easy price shopping is particularly useful for younger folks in good health and demonstrates why you want to use an independent Agent.
For people who have a DUI or any other serious issue, it gets much more complicated.
Because life insurers manage their appetite for specific risks by being more lenient or more stringent with underwriting grades, you need to know which company will grade you a preferred plus risk and which ones will grade you as standard.
In the case above Prudential (the most expensive rate) is likely to be the best deal because they would rate the applicant as preferred.
This is something you can’t know by simply looking at the lowest price. In this hypothetical using an independent agent could save you 28.5% (the difference between Pru @ Preferred and Lincoln @ standard.
Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate post DUI term life insurance quote possible, it's time to begin the application process. The term process is outlined "step by step for you in the Life Insurance Buying Guide.
The Help Desk is committed to transparent pricing (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like) and making the application process as painless as possible.
Approved!That was Easy.
Some final expense or "burial insurance carriers are not concerned with DUI. In fact, most don't even ask! These "no-exam needed" burial policies are the next best choice for anyone who will not get through traditional underwriting.
The "final expense" market serves differing consumer needs. There is the need that is made obvious by the name "final expense". This term refers to a funeral, burial and miscellaneous cost tied to the rituals surrounding life's end.
Many of the buyers of these end of life policies simply want to remove any financial burden their funeral and burial would cause to their loved ones, while others want to leave a legacy.
Alternatively, the simplified issue marketplace serves as a safe harbor for people who need some life insurance, but cannot qualify for traditional term underwriting. The lenient underwriting standards of this market allow for people with severe alcoholism history to get coverage.
How the policy works will be dictated by the type of final expense or burial policy it is:
With death benefit face amounts that range from $5000-$100000, the simplified issue or "final expense " life insurance market is mostly made up of whole life insurance products. However, there several policies that have components of term policies starting to emerge. Make sure you know what you are buying!
Whether term or whole life, the calculation of the death benefit depends on if the policy is first-day coverage or graded
First day policies are straightforward, and provide a full death benefit from day 1 of the policy.
Graded policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period.
These policies commonly pay premiums plus interest if you die in the first year of the policy; 50% if you die after one year but before two; and full face amount after two years.
The carriers offer graded policies based on the applicant's health. These provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
Graded or not, a whole life policy has a fixed premium that cannot increase and the policy stays in force until the premiums stop being paid or the insured dies.
In addition to different underwriting standards, final expense pricing is complicated by the fact that a lot of providers only operate in certain states.
As a result the samples below are of limited value. You should use the final expense quote tool found here.
$25000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$15000 Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
$15000 "Final Expense" Whole Life 1st Day Coverage
$10000 "Final Expense" Whole Life Graded Coverage
Many burial policy insurers will have 10-15 minute home office interviews using the telephone. They are looking for the use of prescriptions that do not come up on their prescription check and assessing cognitive function.Be alert!
There are fewer riders associated with simplified issue policies than traditional term, but living benefits such as the accelerated benefit for terminal illness, and chronic illness are fairly common. Additionally, some final expense policies have a small cash component and have loan provisions.
The contestability laws are the same for all types of life insurance policies. That is, the carrier has two years from the origination of the policy to contest the benefit payout on policy where the application contained material misstatements.
As stated before, simplified underwriting is seldom concerned with DUI/DWI. Unlike traditional underwriting that grades on a scale, "final expense" is a yes or no proposition.
Note that "yes" is divided into first-day coverage and "graded" categories. The best DUI offers are generally not "graded". So, full coverage would begin on day 1.
Final expense policies contain "knockout" questions and prescriptions. Since DUI is not a question on many these policies, the only way to get ‘knocked out" is if you answer yes to a different "knockout" question....or a prescription for another malady is associated with a "knock-out" disease. This is a circumstance that your agent can help with.
Knockout questions tend to revolve around organ transplant, heart attack, stroke, cognitive function, insulin use, amputations and some of the heavy drugs these conditions require for treatment.
Because most final expense underwriting rules differ wildly, it's unusual that you can just go to the final expense quote tool and start. However, unless you have other conditions, that is exactly how to start.
Because DUI is not a decline or "knockout" with simplified issue carriers, the best price may actually win. Remember to use the quote tool on the "final expense" page. The quote tool on this page is limited to term quotes.
Upon receiving your quote request, we will be in touch as soon as possible (often in minutes), and we will help you through the process. The whole process shouldn't take more than 30-40 minutes.
We are committed to a transparent pricing process and are happy to share a computer screen with you or send a video of the method used to get your rate. If you have any questions, please contact us.
As a stand-alone condition, DUI does not require the use of guaranteed life insurance. The only time that an applicant would need to go the guaranteed route is if the DUI was paired with a condition that could not qualify for graded a final expense policy.
If this describes your situation, keep reading.
Guaranteed policies should only be used as a last resort. In addition to the benefit grading provisions that make the policies toothless during the two or three year grading period, they are the most expensive policies sold.
With only the requirement of age (50) and citizenship, guaranteed issue life insurance policies have a death benefit that ranges from $5000-$50000. Such plans are exclusively whole life insurance.
However, all guaranteed issue policies are "graded". Generally, the grading represents a 2 or 3 year period that the policy must be in force before a full death benefit will be paid.
Like "final expense" policies, guaranteed policies use a two or three year period in which the benefit increases to the face amount over the contractual time period. These policies commonly pay premiums plus interest if you die if you die after one year but before two; and full face amount after two years.
Also, like the "final expense" write up says, these provisions are a way for the carriers to provide coverage while limiting their risk.
There is no exam for guaranteed life insurance. After all, it's guaranteed to be issued regardless of your health.
Although the contestability laws are the same as other policies, beyond age and citizenship, it's difficult to see where contestability may arise in a guaranteed issue case.
The guaranteed issue process is lightning fast and can be handled over the telephone in a matter of minutes. Give us a call or email us.
In addition to reassuring you that life insurance is attainable with a dui in your past, this article pointed out that insurance companies have different pricing and underwriting standards from one another.
Furthermore, these underwriting differences are a reflection of the company's appetite for a specific health risk. For example, Prudential Financial may have more of an appetite for the risk that DUI presents than say, Banner.
In this case, the underwriting grade will reflect this increased appetite.So, if your Agent only represented one carrier and you found out later that you could have gotten a rate 35% or 45% better, how would you feel? You'd probably be sad like the puppy or mad at the agent or yourself or both.
So it's crucial that your Agent represent multiple carriers. In fact, most good independent agents will have access to over 40 or 50 carriers. This ensures the best chance at the best rate.
Thank you for choosing the Life Insurance Help Desk to research life insurance with a DUI. We are committed to a totally transparent process (we'll even share our computer screen with you if you'd like), and making the application process as painless as possible.
Should you have any question, please do not hesitate to give us a call or contact us via email.
Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate quote possible, it’s time to gather the information and speak to an independent Agent (raising my hand).
Simply give us a call or shoot an email over and we can get you started.
We are committed to totally transparent pricing (we’ll even share our computer screen with you if you’d like), and making the application process as painless as possible.
If you have any questions, give us a call or drop us an email.
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Jim Tobin is the owner of Life Insurance Help Desk, a Fairfield County, CT. life insurance agency. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook. Over the past 10 years, Jim has used his CFP-financial planning designation to help individuals with their life insurance needs. In addition to working with life insurance clients, Jim teaches ESL classes in his spare time. He resides with his beautiful wife Nicole and the 3 cats that rule their lives..
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