Getting Life Insurance with Poor Driving History

By James Tobin 


Underwriting  Takeaways

  • Rate Impact Can Be  Significant
  •  Pricing  Based on The Time Elapsed, and the Number of Incidents, License Suspensions  or Criminal Charges
  • Declines are  Possible with  Multiple Incidents or Active Suspension 


Whole Life

No Exam


LIHD  Difficulty Rating

If you are interested in life insurance with bad driving records you have come to the right place. The degree to which a spotty driving history will effect your chance at a good policy offer has everything to do with the number of,  and nature, the violations.

Life insurance carriers assess the risk to their profitability by assigning a risk grade to all insurance applicants. This is true no matter what the existing condition of the applicant may be. 

So, regardless of whether your application poses a risk to the carrier due to  depression, atrial fibrillation, or even smoking marijuana, the insurance company will assign a risk grade to the overall application.  

The purpose of this post is to help you navigate the life insurance process with a poor driving record.

What Information Insurance Underwriters will Use to Make a Decision.

Insurance underwriters generally will divide moving violations in major and minor categories. the majors are DUI, Reckless Driving, and license suspension.

Traffic violations, including speeding, blown lights/stop signs, no seat belt, improper lane change,and  distracted driving are viewed as less severe. However, having multiple moving violations can have the same net effect as a major violation.

Motor vehicle violations can differ significantly. Speeding, in particular, is dealt with very differently from state to state. 

In some states, going more than 20 miles an hour more than the speed limit could result in a major charge and cost you $26942 more on your life insurance policy.  

Yes, They Thow About Your Driving History

Although most life insurance applications will have questions about DUI/OUI and any suspension, underwriters will rely on information gathered from the motor vehicle report (MVR). This is a driving history from the Department of Motor Vehicles that you authorized  when applying for the application.

If you are unsure of what is on your motor vehicle record you can request a copy from your state's DMV. This is a good idea because the cost is usually under $20 and you will have the knowledge before applying.

It's important to know before applying because different carriers have different tolerances for poor driving records. If you don't know and apply anyway, you will most likely not get the best rates available. 

If you are thinking about applying for a no exam policy, please know that your MVR record will still be a part of the underwriting process.

Possible Underwriting ratings for Life Insurance with Bad Driving Records

If you have a major infraction in the last 2 years you will likely be looking at a substandard rate. After 2 years there is a sliding scale that is carrier specific that will give you an opportunity for preferred plus after five years. An independent agent with access to multiple carriers is the best way to make a decision on where to apply. 

Less severe, or minor, violations work the same way based on the number of violations over a period of time ...usually 3 years. For example, it is difficult to get a preferred plus rating with more than 2 moving violations in the last three years, whereas, you could be allowed as many as four or five over the same period and be rated standard.

How Much will Life Insurance with a Bad driving History Cost?

Because every situation is unique, it is hard to generalize without knowing specific. However, The example below will show you why it is important to know your driving history and use the services of an independent agent. 

Male Age 43 Non-smoker

20 Year Term , $500000 Benefit

Excellent overall health, 3 moving violations in the last 30 months

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Enter your text here...

lincoln financial

$ 87.80 

banner William Peen

$ 87.82

$ 91.34

$ 107.10

This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available illustrates the difference in rates. Lincoln has the best preferred best rates and it so happens they will tolerate 3 moving violations in 3 years.

However if you went to an agent that did not have access to Lincoln, you would be paying more. The next best priced carrier Banner, would have rated your policy as preferred  and you would have paid a little more than $2400  more over the life of the policy. not exactly couch change.

What's worse is that Principal would have likely rated you as standard and you monthly bill would have more than doubled. It is this kind of simple example that shows you how important it is to work with an agent with multiple carrier at his or her disposal. most good independent agents will have the ability to work with 50+ carriers.

Next Steps

Your nest move in obtaining life insurance with a poor driving record is to get a driving history if you are unsure of the violations. Next, contact an experienced independent agent and go over your options. You can do a step by step review of the process here.

Thank you for using The Life Insurance Help Desk as a resource to research life insurance with bad driving records and please don't hesitate to call or contact us.

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About the Author James Tobin, CFP

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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