Choosing to walk a straight and narrow path after making poor decisions that led you into a lot of trouble is not only honorable but can enhance the quality of your life.
However, creating a normal life with a criminal history can be hard and complicated if you are not guided well.
Finding a job, buying a home, and even purchasing life insurance for felons can be challenging with all of the hurdles thrown in front of you. Here is how you can get life insurance after having a history with the court systems.
Do companies offer life insurance for felons?
Though it can be very challenging to obtain life insurance as a felon, it is not completely impossible. Realistically speaking, many insurance providers will turn you down as a client and avoid recommending giving you life insurance if you have been convicted of a crime.
Fortunately, if you know where to look and how to apply yourself, some companies will let you purchase a life insurance policy. The scarcity of life insurance companies willingly insuring felons is what makes getting insured so challenging, but not unachievable.
Some companies do not inquire about your criminal history, but you would need to do careful and thorough exploration to find a life insurance company that is right for you and who is open to insuring felons.
How a Criminal Record Affects Your Life Insurance Application
Out of fear of being denied coverage because of your criminal history, you may feel that being dishonest on your life insurance application will increase your odds of approval. You most certainly should not be dishonest.
Life insurance providers perform rigorous application evaluations, and if you are not truthful about your criminal record, the insurer can discover it through a background check. Dishonesty can lead to your application being denied automatically when you may have been approved despite your record.
Having something as simple as shoplifting on your record might not cause your disqualification, especially if the crime occurred a long time ago.
Aside from being dishonest causing your application denial, here are some other ways having a criminal record will alter the process of your life insurance application:
- You will not be able to apply for life insurance if you are on probation or in jail.
- You can apply for life insurance with little to no application variances if you have been convicted of a smaller infraction or misdemeanor.
- Applying for life insurance as a convicted felon will lead to the insurance underwriter asking questions about the details and timeline of your crimes, charges, and convictions.
- If you are in the process of being charged with a felony, you cannot apply for life insurance until the trial is over or the charges are dismissed.
Why Life Insurance Companies Care About Your Record
When you apply for an insurance policy, insurance providers will look at your criminal records, among other things, to determine if you are a suitable client. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you can find it close to impossible to obtain life insurance.
Data is used by life insurance providers to evaluate applications. They make educated guesses about the chances of a person dying during the lifetime of their life insurance policy using scientific tests and actuarial tables.
According to data from insurers, people with a criminal background appear to live shorter lives, especially those convicted of felonies. However, this risk assessment is also why life insurance providers do not treat any felony the same way.
Each felon is given a different risk assessment based on the crimes that are reported onto their record. So life insurance companies care about your record because it allows them to accurately assess how risky of a potential client you would be.
Felony Crimes Life Insurance Providers Look Into
Insurance providers scrutinize particular criminal offenses. Assault, robbery, and property offenses are similar, and they will all have an effect on your chances of getting approved for a life insurance policy.
Fortunately, if those offenses happened a while ago or only one time, you have a greater chance of getting life insurance than you would by committing other crimes. Convictions and charges for prostitution, drugs, and alcohol are looked at more harshly than the crimes mentioned above and can be more difficult to resolve.
Insurance providers would be hesitant to insure you if there is any evidence of drug misuse in your criminal record after pulling your report. Due to the health risks associated with abusing drugs, you will be assessed as a risky insuree.
Murder, incest, molestation, abduction, and other forms of trafficking are offenses that make the possibility of getting life insurance slim to none.
How to Buy Life Insurance as a Felon
The first approach you should take as a convicted criminal looking for life insurance is to speak with an insurance professional. Speaking with an agent who is not affiliated with any single organization would allow you to work with someone who is not objective and is willing to assist you in weighing your choices.
Outside of seeking guidance from a professional, you must wait at least a year or until your probation term has ended before applying for life insurance.
After applying and disclosing your criminal history, you should expect your quoted premium rates to be higher than if you did not have a criminal record. These steps can serve as a guideline when deciding to apply for life insurance as a felon:
- Wait as long as possible before applying.
- Research companies that insure felons.
- Once you have a list of potential companies, research each company’s waiting period post-probation before accepting life insurance applications.
- Choose an independent insurance agent or broker.
- Weigh your options based on your own research and the information provided by your independent insurance agent.
- Choose the best policy for your circumstances.
Do not apply for life insurance until you are certain they accept people with a criminal history because some insurance firms consider whether you have ever been refused insurance. If you have been denied, your chances of being approved by another company are slimmer.
When you are denied life insurance by multiple companies, group life insurance and guaranteed-issue life insurance are viable options.
You are eligible for group life insurance if your employer provides it, despite your health status or criminal background. Guaranteed-issue life insurance is also known as final expense insurance or funeral insurance, which does not require a medical test, inquire for your health history, or look into your criminal background.
However, most group life insurance benefits have less coverage than you will need. Guaranteed-issue life insurance benefits are low and premiums are expensive, as opposed to term life insurance.
Imani Francies writes and researches for the life insurance comparison site, EffortlessInsurance.com. She enjoys helping people find the insurance coverage that fits their individual needs.