“I have a criminal record; can I still get life insurance?” This is a question we’re often asked. The solution is not cut and dry, but the simplest answer would be to say “probably.”
Why is this topic so complicated? Well, because the answer depends on a few issues such as the insurance company, the nature of your conviction, and how long ago your conviction was.
However, there’s a critical point to keep in mind: these issues mainly affect the cost of what you’ll pay for life insurance protection, not necessarily whether you can buy life insurance in the first place.
If you’re wondering if life insurance companies check criminal records or what happens if they do, let’s discuss this topic further so you can get the answers you’re looking for.
Below, we’ll look at how life insurance companies view criminal records, and then we’ll briefly look at your options.
How life insurance companies view criminal records.
Life insurance companies operate on risk—it’s how they make the majority of their decisions on who they’ll cover and how much they’ll charge (premiums) for this coverage.
There are several things that can deem a policyholder high-risk other than a criminal record. To learn more about them, click here.
Here are some things life insurance companies look at when considering the risk of an individual with a criminal record:
- Life insurance companies view criminal records much like other risks, including type of occupation, age, and health.
- However, they also view a criminal record as having its own set of risks—some criminal activity leads to premature death, such as DUIs, gang-related activity, and drug-related crimes.
- The type and severity of your crime is important, along with the number of convictions you have on your record.
- An important aspect is if you were incarcerated, and how long you were incarcerated for. Life insurance companies consider how incarceration may have affected your health (i.e., stress, drug use, and the contraction of certain diseases).
- A criminal record can also be an indicator of a high-risk lifestyle. Here are 3 other signs you are a high life insurance risk.
Probability of reoffending.
Life insurance companies look at how likely you are to commit further crimes. For example, if your criminal record is from one offence ten years ago, chances are good that you probably won’t re-offend, which is useful if you’re applying for life insurance.
However, if you have a criminal record with various offences, with the last one a few years ago, it may seem like you’re likely to re-offend. If your criminal record stems from an incident just a few months ago, this is a red flag for insurance companies.
How a criminal record affects your life insurance options.
After insurance companies look at these risk factors, a few things can happen:
- They will either approve your application with standard rates,
- Deny your application,
- Or accept your application with higher premium rates than individuals without a criminal record.
It’s important to note that a criminal record doesn’t disappear after a certain time, and it’s easy to find with just a little research. It’s important that you don’t try to hide it if it was a long time ago—insurance companies will take this into consideration and may not even recognize an older criminal record.
Many people incorrectly assume a criminal record means they can’t get life insurance. Here are 5 other things you might not know about life insurance.
How can I get life insurance with a criminal record?
If you have a criminal record and wonder if you can still get life insurance, your best bet is to speak with a life insurance professional.
At Shelter Bay Financial Corp., we understand that life insurance applications are stressful, and it’s even more intimidating if you have a criminal record. We are life insurance experts and pride ourselves on making insurance very simple to understand and obtain. We look forward to doing the same for you.
To learn more, please call us directly at 1.888.498.5288.
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This article was originally published on June 1, 2017, and has been updated.