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DUIs, DWIs, and Life Insurance
Founder & CEO

There are a variety of factors that can affect your rates when you apply for a life insurance policy. One factor you may not have considered is your driving record. If you have ever been charged with a serious offense like drunk driving, it can be a red flag for carriers when you are later seeking life insurance. Here’s how driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) impacts your ability to get life insurance and the rates you’ll pay.

What matters most on your application when you have past DUIs or DWIs?

If you have a DUI or DWI in your record, carriers will ask several key questions:

  • How long ago was the DUI/DWI?
  • How severe was the DUI/DWI?
  • Did you have one instance or multiple instances?
  • Have you struggled with substance abuse, or was the DUI/DWI a rare lapse in judgment in the context of an otherwise healthy relationship with alcohol?
  • Do you have any other diagnoses that can be compounded by alcohol misuse (liver disease, depression, etc.)?

Can you get life insurance if you have a DUI or DWI?

A single DUI/DWI that happened more than 10 years ago is unlikely to have any negative effect on your life insurance options. You will be eligible for Best-tier pricing from almost any carrier if all other aspects of your health are qualified for Best-tier pricing.

In fact, many carriers will consider you for Best-tier pricing once your single DUI/DWI is more than 5 years in the past, assuming all other aspects of your profile are qualified for Best-tier pricing.

What happens if the DUI/DWI was more recent?

If your DUI was more than 2 or 3 years ago, and you have no other issues with alcohol misuse, a number of carriers will likely be open to considering you for their Standard-tier pricing, with no permanent surcharges (aka “table ratings”) or temporary surcharges (aka “flat extras”). 

If your DUI / DWI was within the last 2 years, and your medical and driving records support the idea that you had a momentary lapse in judgment in the context of a generally healthy relationship with alcohol, then you will likely still have some options available. You should expect your policy to have a table rating or a flat extra added to the pricing, depending on the specifics of your situation.

If your recent DUI/DWI is part of a broader struggle with alcoholism, then you will likely be uninsurable until you can demonstrate at least 2 years of sobriety. The silver lining is that there are many options available for recovered alcoholics, which we talk about in this post.

What happens if you have had multiple DUIs or DWIs?

If you have multiple infractions, the timeline and the “total picture” become even more important. If you can demonstrate (and your medical records support) that your struggle with safe use of alcohol is firmly in the distant past, then Best-tier and Preferred-tier pricing may be available from certain carriers, if you are otherwise qualified.

For clients where the “total picture” includes a number of factors that might not be obvious from a driving record or criminal record alone, including a cover letter with your application can help put past events in context. See how we helped one dad place his past indiscretions and multiple convictions in context here.

Multiple DUIs/DWIs can be part of a broader struggle with alcohol misuse, including alcoholism. We talk more about the life insurance options for recovered alcoholics in this post.

Top 3 Tips for Getting Life Insurance When You Have a Past DUI/DWI

Honesty is the Best Policy 

If you have a DUI or DWI in your past, definitely do not try to hide it. Be honest about it. Insurance carriers can easily check your driving record, so the idea that anyone could hide a DUI or DWI from an insurance carrier is very far-fetched.

Additionally, if a carrier discovers that you lied about a clearly important, concrete thing like a DUI or DWI, they will almost certainly reject you and add your name to a list of people who have done things consistent with insurance fraud. Other carriers can see this list when you apply in the future, and being on it is bad news.

On the off chance you were able to sneak something big like a DUI or DWI past a carrier, this could seriously jeopardize your loved ones by rendering your coverage void should they need to use it in the future. 

Just be honest. We can help you find your best option when you share the facts with us. 

Don't Wait To Get Coverage

Even if a recent DUI is significantly raising your insurance premiums, the best strategy is to lock in a policy now, rather than waiting for time to pass. We recommend getting your Minimum Acceptable Coverage in place and then aiming to replace it with a better-priced policy in the future. You always have the opportunity to improve on your coverage, but once you have a policy your cost cannot go up, as long as you pay your premiums on time. For example, if you accept a policy priced at Table B-tier pricing (two notches more expensive than Standard-tier pricing), and you develop colon cancer while you’re waiting to re-apply for Best-tier pricing, your Table B pricing is locked in and cannot be taken away from you, as long as you’ve been paying your premiums on time.  

Work with an Independent Brokerage Agency

At AboveBoard, your insurance concierge can explain all your options and will help you share your “total picture” with insurance carriers. We also work with multiple carriers, so we can comb the market for your best options. 

Get an online quote or schedule a call with an AboveBoard agent to learn more about your options. We are happy to guide you through the questions that will be most important to your application for life insurance and help you find the carrier most receptive to your unique profile.

Wallis is the Founder & CEO of AboveBoard Financial, a company reinventing investment advice and insurance with revolutionary transparency and honesty. Wallis spent over 10 years at Goldman Sachs as an investment banker and hedge fund investor in financial institutions. She founded AboveBoard to cut through the BS and present important choices with clarity and compassion. Wallis lives in New York City with her husband and two young children.

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