How a DUI Affects Your Life Insurance Rates

There are a variety of factors that can affect your rates when you apply for a life insurance policy—your health history is the most widely acknowledged; however, one aspect you may not have considered is your driving record, more specifically whether or not you have ever been charged with a serious offense like drunk driving. Here’s how a DUI affects your life insurance rates.
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Author: Brian Greenberg CEO of True Blue Life Insurance
Last updated: June 21, 2021

Driving Under the Influence

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are serious offenses. Both DUI and DWI refer to the illegal act of driving a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs. The primary difference lies in what the letters stand for. They may seem identical on the surface, but according to the website DUI vs. DWI, some states actually classify them as separate crimes:

If you live in a jurisdiction that classifies them separately, DUI is the lesser charge. A DUI charge denotes a lesser degree of impairment than a DWI for a driver charged with drinking and driving. The level of impairment is determined by the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of the arrest. In some cases, the state may agree to a plea bargain, reducing a more serious charge of DWI to DUI.

There are certain conditions that must be met in order to reduce a DWI charge to a DUI. For example, it must be a first offense and the driver’s BAC may not be excessively over the state’s legal limit.

Bottom line—whether it’s a DUI or DWI—it’s a transgression that continues to plague our country. Every day in the U.S., nearly 30 people die in motor vehicle crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver. That amounts to one death every 51 minutes with the annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totaling more than $59 billion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More Risk Equals Higher Premiums

It stands to reason that life insurance companies look at risk when figuring what an applicant will pay for a life insurance policy. The more risk surrounding your lifestyle, the more likely it will be that you will have to pay a higher premium. This includes your driving history.

Lesser traffic violations like running a red light or exceeding the speed limit, while potentially serious in their own right, aren’t considered as severe. A DUI on your driving record, however, is a serious red flag. Therefore, a DUI affects your life insurance rates. Not only could you have to pay more money for life insurance, but you also might not be able to get an insurance policy at all.

Life Insurance With DUI Comparison Table

CompanyDUI/DWI Waiting PeriodCompanyDUI/DWI Waiting PeriodCompanyDUI/DWI Waiting Period
3 years (Standard Rating)Genworth Financial
2 years (Standard Rating)Principal Financial Group2 -3 years (Standard Rating)
American National Life Inurance5 yearsJohn Hancock Life InsuranceSurcharge if less than 3 years.5 years
Aviva Life Insurance5 yearsLincoln Financial Life Insurnace5 yearsPrudential Life Insurance5 years
AXA Life Insurance3 years (Standard Rating)MetLife Life Insurance5 yearsSagicor Life Insurance2 years (Sub-Standard Rating)
Accordia Life Insurance5 yearsMinnesota Life Insurance3 years (Standard Rating)SBLI2 years (Standard Rating)
Assurity Life InsuranceSurcharges apply (Standard Rating)Mutual of Omaha5 yearsSymetra Life Insurance5 years (Standard Rating)
Legal General Banner Life Insurance2 years (Standard Rating)Nationwide Insurance5 yearsTransamerica Life Insurance1 year (Standard Rating) with surcharge
Fidelity Life Insurance2 years (Sub-Standard Rating)North American Life Insurance5 yearsUnited Home Life3 years (Standard Rating)
Foresters5 yearsPacific Life InsuranceN/AVoya Life Insurance5 years

You Have a DUI History—What Now?

Having a recent DUI in your past means you will be labeled as a high-risk candidate for life insurance, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will not be able to get coverage.

When you apply for life insurance, you should be prepared to answer a variety of questions in a phone call interview that takes roughly 20 minutes. One of those questions is whether or not you have ever been convicted of DUI. First and foremost, be sure to answer honestly. If you don’t fess up to your offense, you are then committing what is known as “false material misrepresentation,” which could open you up to a whole new set of legal problems.

Honesty is always the best policy.

If you answer “yes,” your life insurance agent will simply have to look further into your history as a potentially risky person. Here’s how it could play out:

  • If you were convicted of a DUI within the past 1-2 years, it’s likely you will be denied coverage because there hasn’t been enough time since the conviction for the insurance company to confidently assess your behavior. It’s best to check with a licensed True Blue Life Insurance agent to be certain. Just call 1-866-816-2100 and ask how you can get a life insurance policy with a DUI in your past.
  • If your DUI was within the 3-5 year range, it’s quite possible you could qualify for a standard life insurance policy. Your ability to get a discounted rate, however, would be determined by other factors—like your health and any other potentially negative marks. Again, it’s best to check with a licensed True Blue agent to understand your options.

Let’s say you are within the 3-5 year range. You might be asked to take a routine medical exam that would include a blood test. When checking your blood, there is a special test for DUI applicants that checks the Gamma Glutamyl Transferase in your blood to see if you are abusing alcohol. Gamma Glutamyl Transferase is an enzyme that, as its name suggests, transfers gamma-glutamyl functional groups. It’s found in many tissues in the human body, most notably the liver, so you can understand its significance in medicine as a diagnostic marker of alcohol abuse.

At any rate, if your levels are elevated, it’s another red flag and you could be asked to take another blood test called a CDT, short for Carbohydrate-Deficient Transferrin. This test detects heavy alcohol use over the past two weeks. Heavy alcohol use is defined as five or more drinks per day during this time frame. If the results come back positive, it’s a sign of liver damage caused by excessive drinking and there is a good chance that your application will be denied.

What if my DUI conviction is less than a year ago?

It is possible to find life insurance with a DUI that occurred less than a year ago, but the options are fewer than waiting until 2+ years when other carriers are willing to consider you. In many cases with other life insurance agents, the declined applications happened largely because the agent submits to the wrong insurance company. At True Blue, we know who is going to be the best option given the current situation and take the time to help ensure you get the coverage you need.

Will my application be denied because of a DUI?

Possibly. One DUI a few years back may not have a drastic impact on your coverage options and premiums; however, more recent DUI/DWI or multiple DUI/DWI shows a sign of risk that underwriting may not be willing to insure. If there is a concern that your DUI/DWI is a signal of a more troubling issue, the results of the medical exam may help underwriting to best understand if there is an underlying health factor.

What if I have multiple DUI’s?

Still a possibility, but if they are recent then your options will become extremely limited. You would need to work with a team of experts who know which companies work the best with your current situation. It will largely depend on the rest of your MVR and the outcome of your physical (if applicable); however, if you are healthy then our True Blue team should be able to find coverage.

Again it will depend on the rest of your DMV records as well as the results from your physical. But if you are healthy, you should still be able to find coverage.

Life Insurance With a DUI

A DUI charge will likely have an effect on your life insurance rates. When you call on True Blue Life Insurance, you can be sure you are getting the proper information from a licensed agent who knows the guidelines and requirements for getting a life insurance policy with a DUI or DWI in your past.

We represent over 30 outstanding insurance companies without bias toward any one company. We shop with you to find the best rates and we never try to push additional products on you. Our experienced, licensed agents sell over 1,000 policies each year and we do it quickly because we have a refined process that works. We are not a call center. Rather, we act on your behalf to provide personal, ongoing customer service you can count on.

A licensed True Blue Life Insurance agent can help you. Just call 1-866-816-2100 and ask how you can get a life insurance policy with a DUI in your past.

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About the author
Brian Greenberg author
Brian Greenberg
Founder and CEO
Brian is licensed to sell life, health, annuities, and property and casualty insurance in all 50 U.S. states. He is the author of The Salesman Who Doesn't Sell and is a member of the Million Dollar Round Table, an organization that consists of the top 1% of financial advisors worldwide.