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Life Insurance with a Felony

Researcher & Writer
January 15, 2017

The reality is, most people that have a felony on their record do not want to talk about it. However, not mentioning a previous felony can ruin your chances of getting life insurance. At Termlife2Go we will not judge. We are your advocate, seeking out the cheapest coverage by focusing on the best life insurance companies for you. In some instances, you may even qualify for no physical exam life insurance. The following two questions will shed some light on if this article is for you or not:

  1. Do you have a felony on your record?
  2. Have you been denied life insurance because of a felony?

If the answer to either question is yes, then keep reading because you can get life insurance even if you have had a felony. The key is how long you have been out of jail and off parole. In most cases you will need to have been out of jail and finished with any parole or probation for at least a year before a life insurance company will consider you for a typical life insurance policy.  We will get into the specifics below.

Getting life insurance with a felony

Most, if not all, life insurance companies are going to ask if an applicant has a criminal history --- especially if you are applying for traditional Term or Whole life coverage. There really isn’t much you can do about that.

What you can do is understand which felony friendly life insurance company will be the most lenient when it comes to looking at felony charges.

Not all life insurance carriers are the same

Let’s face it, most felony charges nowadays are going to center around drugs and alcohol.  As you can see by reviewing the top 5 reasons for receiving a felony, drugs and alcohol related crimes are right there on top and probably also play a role in the other felonies as well.

  1. Drug abuse
  2. Property crimes
  3. Driving while intoxicated
  4. Larceny
  5. Assault

Drugs and alcohol related crimes also account for over half of the U.S. prison population, which is why insurance companies are very hesitant about insuring those with drug and alcohol related felonies. Why you ask? Because insurance companies don’t want to find themselves insuring someone who runs the risk of being sent to prison.

Ironically, with crimes that may involve assault, larceny and vandalism, the insurance industry doesn’t view them as high of a risk as those involving drugs and alcohol.  For these applicants dealing with felonies other than drug and alcohol related, getting insured isn’t as difficult. The key is knowing who to apply with so that these clients are able to secure the best rate.

However, for those clients applying for life insurance with a felony linked to either drugs or alcohol, knowing which carrier to choose will mean the difference between getting approved or being denied life insurance coverage altogether.

The good news is that not all insurance carriers use the same underwriting guidelines when determining who they will and won’t insure. So be sure you choose wisely from the start because the life insurance carrier you choose is the most important decision you can make.

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What felonies will preclude someone from getting life insurance?

If you have committed the following crimes you will most likely have to wait a minimum of ten years, And in some cases you may never be able to get typical life insurance and will need to consider accidental death or final expense insurance:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Drug Trafficking
  • Kidnapping
  • Child Molestation
  • Conspiracy to commit any of the above

Drug Related Felonies and Life Insurance

If you’ve already been denied life insurance due to felony possession of drugs or due to intent to sell or the manufacture of narcotics (which are the most common charges for drug possession), it may not mean that you’re totally "uninsurable".  In fact, you may actually be insurable but you may have tried to get coverage with the wrong insurance carrier.

It is true that many life insurance carriers will deny anyone with a drug related felony, which is why you may have already been denied life insurance due to your felony, but that is not always the case.  There are a few felony friendly carriers that are more interested in the following:

  • Was there any jail time served?
  • How long we you incarcerated?
  • How long ago was the felony?
  • How long have you been out of prison?
  • Was there a parole/probation period?
  • When did your parole/probation end?

The key is how long ago and the type of drug related felony. Possession of marijuana is not going to be frowned upon as highly as possession of cocaine or heroin. Also, possession is not going to be frowned upon as much as the trafficking or distribution of narcotics will be. Basically, the farther away you are from the felony and the type of felony you were convicted of will have a huge impact on if you can get life insurance and what the price tag will be.

Getting approved for life insurance with a drug felony on your record typically isn’t going to be easy, but knowing which carrier to choose so that you have a chance at being approved is much better than the alternative, which is1) either going without coverage or  2) moving forward with an Accidental Death Policy (ADD) or 3) Choosing final expense life insurance.

Many companies promote accidental deaths policy as an alternative to traditional coverage. However, an ADD policy is not life insurance. It only covers accidents and does not cover sickness, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.

Alcohol Related Felonies, Certain Violent Felonies and Life Insurance

Alcohol related felonies usually revolve around driving while under the influence or some type of violent act such as assault and/or battery.  In either case, life insurance companies are going to require that you wait at least two years since the felony and or end of probation before being eligible for life insurance.

If it has been two years and you have been declined or postponed for life insurance don’t just assume that you are completely out of luck, because that simply may not be the case.

Why is it so hard to get life insurance with a felony?

That’s a tough question. It’s probably because these policies are generally going to require your insurance agent to do a lot more work to get you approved.  So if you’re only applying for a $100,000 or $250,000 policy, it may just make more “financial” sense for the “agency” to offer you an accidental death policy rather than go through all the necessary underwriting steps to get you approved for a traditional life insurance policy.

After all, if you’re calling into one of the larger nationwide agencies out there that operates as a call center, your application will generally be considered “a high risk application”, meaning that your application is  less likely to go in force as opposed to someone who is young, healthy and isn’t applying for life insurance with a felony.  For this reason, its usually easier to recommend an accidental death policy that doesn’t ask any questions regarding criminal history and then move on to the next client rather than take on the challenge of getting you approved for life insurance with a felony on your record.

Since we at TermLife2Go already specialize in these harder to place cases, we know that when done right, helping those who have felonies on their record qualify for life insurance really isn’t that difficult or time consuming if you know what to do and where to look. In fact, we love helping individuals obtain life insurance who were previously told they could not qualify, because when we succeed, we gain a loyal client for life!

Be sure to check out our Life Insurance Quotes page and take a look at these other articles to see if there might be something that will work for you!

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We are a team of life insurance experts with the simple mission of helping you find the best coverage for your unique situation. We research, review, and rank life insurance companies to make that process easier.