Life Insurance For Felons

    How Convicts Can Get Affordable Coverage

    Life insurance companies frequently perform a background check as part of the underwriting process. Unfortunately, because of this, being charged or convicted of a crime can make it harder to get life insurance coverage. Some life insurance companies will even reject individuals with a criminal history outright, no matter how much time has passed.

    Find out why life insurance companies care about a criminal background by reading this easy guide. We'll discuss how companies factor felonies into their quotes, as well as how felons can get covered even if they don't qualify for traditional policies!

    Can You Get Life Insurance If You Have A Conviction On Your Record?

    Yes, you can still get life insurance with a criminal record. However, a felon will have a much harder time applying for life insurance policies. The strictest companies will reject applications immediately because they deem felons too high-risk to insure.

    Many life insurance companies will still offer coverage to felons but at much higher quotes – premiums are scaled depending on the gravity of the crime and the number of offenses. While they won't reject the application right away, the final life insurance quotes may end up prohibitively unaffordable.

    For those facing steep premiums for traditional life insurance, it is still possible to get insured via guaranteed issue life or group policies. Consult with life insurance experts to find out which option may be most affordable and will give you the most coverage possible.

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    Why Life Insurance Companies Ask About Your Criminal Record

    In your application, your potential insurer will ask several questions about your lifestyle and health. Your answers will help them determine your mortality rates and adjust your final quotes for coverage. The shorter your projected lifespan, the higher your premiums.

    Insurer data has shown that convicted felons have shorter lifespans in comparison, but how much shorter depends on the crime committed and the number of times they've been convicted. 

    Here are some felony-related factors that insurers consider before computing your final premium rates.

    Poor Health Due To Incarceration

    Many convicted felons develop health issues while in prison, partially due to limited access to healthcare and a poor diet. The longer the sentence served, the more likely they are to have developed a health condition that shortens their lives.

    Risk-Seeking Behavior

    Whether a felony was committed years ago or more recently, companies treat felons as applicants with a high-risk lifestyle. However, this is treated on a case-to-case basis and largely depends on the nature of the crimes. For example, many misdemeanors are unlikely to result in serious injury, but they do indicate a potential risk for insurers.

    Drug Or Alcohol Abuse

    Drug and alcohol-related felony convictions are taken very seriously by life insurance companies, as they indicate a potential history of substance abuse and major health risks. If you're convicted of a felony under the influence of drugs or alcohol, this can increase your life insurance rates.

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    How Specific Criminal Records Affect Applications

    If you've committed a felony or other offense, life insurance carriers will ask additional questions to weigh the risk of insuring you. The more serious the felony and the more jail time served by an applicant, the harder it will be to get insured. 

    Here's how a criminal past may affect your chances of getting insured:

    Misdemeanors

    People who have committed misdemeanors can still apply for traditional life insurance. Misdemeanors or similar or lesser crimes are unlikely to raise your premiums or get an application denied. If you're uncertain how your history may affect your life insurance quotes, ask an insurance professional or financial expert about your situation.

    Convictions Versus Charges

    Being charged with a felony means that you are still pending investigation and undergoing a trial. Until the trial ends or the charges are dismissed, you will not be able to get life coverage. We do not recommend that you apply for life insurance if you are presently facing charges.

    If you were already convicted of a felony in the past, your life insurance company will ask you questions about the charges and convictions. This may include:

    • The severity of the offense
    • How long ago the crime happened
    • Length of jail time served, if any
    • The number of crimes committed

    Whether or not you can get insurance with a felony conviction varies on a case-to-case basis. Convicted felons should consult a life insurance agent first to avoid getting denied. 

    Repeat Offenses

    Companies will also look into the number and length of sentences served. 

    Statistics show that going to prison once makes you more likely to be imprisoned again at a later time. If you were already convicted of a felony, insurance companies are going to assess the likelihood you will return. Being a repeat offender means they will have to factor in how another prison sentence will affect your lifespan – potentially raising your premiums.

    Probation

    Life insurance companies typically do not approve applications from individuals in jail or on probation. If you are currently on probation, it's better to wait until the period is over before making life insurance decisions.

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    What Happens If You Lie On Your Application?

    Even if you have a serious felony conviction, it's better to be honest with the insurance company when you apply for a life policy. Companies double-check your information with other insurers, usually through life insurance industry partnerships. 

    A life insurance company can quickly verify your information. If they find out that you concealed or lied about your felony convictions, not only will your current application be denied – you may also be denied coverage in the future.

    And even if you get away with hiding your felony conviction, the truth may come out when your beneficiaries claim your policy's benefit. In every life insurance policy, the company has two years to contest the death benefit claim and uncover any misrepresentations you might have made in your application.

    Concealing conviction information is fraud. Fraud allows your insurer to deny your beneficiaries' claim on the death benefit, leaving them with nothing. It's not worth the lowered quotes to take this chance, so disclose all material information when you buy life insurance!

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    How Accidental Death Affects Coverage

    Once you're covered by a life insurance policy, the company can't change your premium rates. If you commit a crime while you're insured, your coverage will remain in place and can still protect your finances. Upon your death, your beneficiaries will still receive the death benefit from your policy.

    An exception to this is an accidental death claim. If your policy had an accidental death benefit, the company usually pays out if you die due to an accident. However, this type of benefit comes with exclusions – for example, claims cannot be paid out if the accident was caused by certain situations.

    A common exclusion in many accidental death claims is participating in a felony. If you committed a crime or an illegal activity that caused your death, the company can deny your beneficiaries' claim.

    How To Find Affordable Life Insurance As A Felon

    You can still get life insurance with a felony conviction, but your rates will be much higher than applicants without a criminal past. Here are some tips that can help you lower the cost of your life insurance policy.

    Consult A Life Insurance Agency

    A life insurance agency can help you with policy comparison shopping, especially since getting insurance with a criminal record can be significantly more tedious and confusing. An agent can also request quotes anonymously for your situation, allowing you to make the best choice for your budget. 

    Wait As Long As Possible Before Applying

    Each insurer has a different probation waiting period. Once that waiting period is over, they will accept applications from convicted felons. Some insurers will accept applications a year to two years after probation, while others will require at least five years to elapse before issuing you a policy. Waiting longer may increase your rates due to age, but your rates will even steeper if you apply too soon after the end of your probation.

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    Get A Group Or Guaranteed Issue Life Policy

    Apart from a traditional life insurance policy, you can get group insurance coverage or guaranteed issue coverage. Group insurance is a workplace benefit that grants life insurance coverage to all employees, regardless of medical issues or criminal past. While the amount of coverage isn't high, you can supplement it with additional coverage or riders.

    Guaranteed issue policies also don't require you to disclose information about your criminal or medical history, but they offer limited coverage and charge higher premiums. Despite these drawbacks, they’re still one of the most convenient forms of life insurance for felons – providing financial protection for those who can't get covered by a personal or work policy.

    Conclusion

    Getting life insurance for felons can be more challenging, but there are still different ways that you get affordable coverage. If you need help with a life insurance comparison, talk to a financial expert for advice! Wesley Insurance, LLC can help you find the best quotes for your situation.

    Written By Cameron McDowell
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