Can I get life insurance if I have a DUI?

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Important things to know...
  • The aftermath of a DUI conviction can be devastating and far reaching
  • A DUI can affect your ability to get life insurance at a decent price, or at all
  • The results of drinking too much can manifest in many illnesses and bodily malfunctions, concerning life underwriters and their willingness to offer insurance
  • It is impossible to hide heavy drinking habits from life insurance companies
  • If an individual was once a heavy drinker, and enough time passes, he or she can be considered for life insurance

DUI and the Ramifications

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If you are arrested for a DUI, whether guilty or not, you will experience consequences that reach far into the future. For a first time conviction, the punishment is far less severe than for any subsequent convictions, but the ramifications can still be very difficult.

There may be a few days of jail, certainly an uncomfortable fine and perhaps a costly and time-consuming driver’s school that must be attended.

You might even be on probation for up to three years, and you may have your driving privileges curtailed for a while.

For subsequent DUI, you will have the book thrown at you, and you are looking at serious fines and perhaps several years of jail time.

For the rest of your adult life, the convictions will follow you affecting your job, your reputation, your car insurance, and your life insurance.

Learn more about DUI and your life insurance below and make sure to use our free insurance quote tool above!

How Does a DUI Affect My Ability To Get Life Insurance?

A conviction for a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) within the past 5 to 10 years will nearly always get you an increase in your life insurance rates. If you have had a second conviction during that time, it is probably going to be an automatic decline for coverage.

Life insurance company underwriters view this activity as being dangerous as they feel that the times that you were caught may not have been the only times you were driving under the influence of alcohol.

Continued behavior that is negative in conduct may indicate to the underwriter that you are an alcoholic, or you are on the way to becoming one.

This can lead to illness and death eventually due to other diseases and potential accidents outside of driving.

Alcoholism

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Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol to the point that an individual cannot stop drinking. It gets to the point where needing a drink becomes the central focal point of the alcoholic’s life, to the detriment of everything else.

Getting a drink of alcohol becomes so pervasive that everything else becomes secondary, and it is easy to see that when this happens, some very negative experiences can begin to take place.

In this state, a person begins to avoid all other responsibilities such as work, family life, and all other areas that are important.

Once this state of affairs is reached, the individual is no longer capable of functioning in a normal manner, and he or she becomes a danger to themselves and others.

A person’s state of health will also begin to deteriorate, which is of major concern to life insurance underwriters.

People Die From Drinking Too Much Alcohol

It is a fact that people who are moderate to heavy drinkers run the risk of dying from the habit.

It may manifest in the form of cirrhosis, stomach ulcers, esophageal cancer, gastrointestinal bleeding and heart-related illnesses.

It is no wonder that life insurance underwriters are concerned whenever they come across an applicant that is involved in more than social drinking.

A rule of thumb for too much drinking is five-plus drinks per day for men and four-plus drinks per day for women.

Any alcoholic consumption in these ranges raises a red flag and is an indicator that a higher rate of mortality occurs with such individuals.

People who drink excessively are also candidates for auto accidents and other mishaps that can cause injury and death above the average for a population.

Alcoholism and Social or Occasional Drinking

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It is futile for an alcoholic to fib when the questions come up about drinking habits. Life insurance applications come right out and ask people if they drink alcohol, and how much.

Believe it; there is usually plenty of evidence around if an insurance company wants to find it about a person’s drinking.

If nothing is in the public eye, then there is a good chance that a person’s alcohol slate is clean.

However, the life insurance company can call for a CDT test (CDT stands for Carbohydrate Deficient Transferrin.).

The test can be given at random, or anytime the underwriter wants to give it. If the test comes up positive, that it will be an automatic decline.

Underwriters and doctors say that the test is very accurate and no retest is permitted. The test shows a long history of drinking as opposed to a few drinks spiking the test.

Social Drinking

Social drinking is just that, and it is usually not a factor in the underwriting process unless the applicant already is suffering from any disease that may have come from drinking, such as cirrhosis of the liver.

The occasional drink at dinner, or a beer or two while watching the ball game in the evening is not normally going to cause a noticeable problem.

The time when social drinking can become a problem is when people go out to dinner at the local restaurant, and have one too many drinks, or they “have one for the road.”

If they are stopped by a police officer, it is possible that their blood alcohol reading may be elevated enough for the officer to take them to jail. That can start an entire process that no one wants to go through.

Primary Concerns Life Underwriters Have With Drinkers

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Most users of alcohol who are social drinkers are not a major concern to underwriters.

Some binge drinkers do get caught driving while intoxicated, and this shocks them into a turning over of a new leaf, which is helpful, particularly if they have not had an accident or hurt someone else.

That is one of the biggest concerns of life underwriters, the possibility that there will be an auto accident.

If an individual has had only one occurrence of a DUI conviction, a lenient underwriter might rate that person slightly, or perhaps give a standard rate if there are no other mitigating circumstances.

However, if an individual in that situation is still drinking, has any elevated liver markers, or there is any evidence of any other damage to organs, a heavy rating to a decline is in order.

If a person is a past abuser, the underwriter may postpone any underwriting action for a year or even two years since the last episode of drinking. It all depends on the degree of drinking and how long it has been since it all occurred.

In Conclusion

The consumption of alcohol can be very detrimental to a life insurance applicant unless he or she is just a social drinker.

If a person imbibes more than that on a regular basis, the resulting judgment can run the gamut from a mild rating to a decline.

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