If you have a criminal record, you can still purchase a life insurance policy. When applying for life coverage, you need to provide the requisite information. Remember your insurer will use such information either approve or decline your application. The insurance company needs to know if you have ever been charged with any crime. For example, they may want to know about your driving behavior or history of any felonies you might have committed in the past.
It is good to understand that a person cannot be classified as a criminal simply because they have been charged with a felony. But they can be categorized as felons if and only if they have been proved guilty. The insurance company may want to know how long it has taken since you were convicted of the crime. Also, they may need to know more about the sentences you served for the said crime. More importantly, they would want to know the nature of the charge you received.
You need to proceed with caution when shopping around for life insurance with felonies. Finding the right type of coverage can be an overwhelming task, especially if you are first-timer. However, you need to look at a few scenarios before you commence your shopping process. For instance, you may not be able to purchase a life insurance policy if you are either in jail or waiting for trial. As such, you will have to wait for at least one year so that the probation period can come to an end.
After the probation period is over, you can now apply for your life insurance policy. If you get accepted, your insurer might be forced to charge an extra flat fee on top of your annual premiums for the first five years after the probation period. This additional fee varies from one carrier to another.
Why is the Extra Fee Charged?
To begin with, life insurance companies do not insure people based on their character or personality. Instead, they carry out extensive research so they can get adequate information about potential applicants. In fact, they use scientific studies, such as medical tests to help them make the best judgment. The essence here is to get data about the likelihood that someone may die during the term of their life insurance policy. In short, the information they gather helps them to judge how risky you are to insure according to the information they have gathered.
In the same vein, insurance companies regard individuals with criminal records as more vulnerable to death than people without felonies. People who are criminals tend to live shorter lives as compared to non-criminals. This is because most of them have been tortured in prison and can die anytime. Especially those who want to obtain life insurance immediately after the probation period, the insurance companies regard them as highly vulnerable, and that is why an additional fee is charged.
Bear in mind that life insurers do not view every crime the same way. For instance, criminal cases, such as crime with violence, drug trafficking are classified as major felonies and can get you declined. It is, therefore, advisable to either allow for some time to elapse after probation before applying for life insurance or opt for alternatives, such as guaranteed issue and accidental death life insurance policies.
How Can You Avoid the Extra Charge?
The best way to buy life insurance for someone with a criminal record is by extending the probation period. You need to wait as long as possible after your probation period before applying for life insurance. By so doing, you are likely to eliminate the extra flat fee and save money on your entire life insurance policy.
Another great option is to buy the policy for a short term. If you purchase a life insurance policy with a short-term, say ten years, you can later buy life insurance again from the same insurer without major concerns about your previous criminal records.
What Do Companies Look at?
It is worth to note that insurance companies view convictions from different perspectives. The underwriting process varies from one company to another. Once you send your application, the insurer will pay keen attention to things, such as the type of crime committed, the severity of the felony, crime frequency, and the time that has elapsed since the crime was committed.
When it comes to felony type, the insurance companies become keener. Remember having committed crimes and served sentences makes you a high risk to the insurance company. This is because you are more vulnerable to death than before. So, the insurer has to do some investigations to know how the circumstances under which the crime occurred, and also the steps that were taken after the incident.
For crime frequency, the insurer would want to know how frequently you have been involved in crime. If several years have elapsed since your last felony, then there is a likelihood of qualifying for the coverage.
But if the records show that you are a frequent felon, then chances of getting coverage are way too slim.
About probation, insurance companies want felons to wait for a certain period after probation before they can apply for life insurance. Remember that insurers cannot approve applications from people who are currently on probation. Most of the life insurers demand for 2-3 years after probation. This grace period is enough for the company to gauge the lifestyle of a potential applicant. But if you need the coverage immediately, you may opt for guaranteed issue or accidental death life insurance policies.
What Crimes Do Insurers Take Seriously?
While misbehavior can be a problem when applying for life insurance, criminal activities can be more serious. The situation can even worsen if a criminal record shows multiple felonies. Some of the major crimes include rape, murder, drug trafficking, assault, participating in organized crime, and acts of terrorism, among others.
Most of the prisons are full of people who have committed such felonies. Such crimes pose the greatest concern to life insurance companies. Although some of the incidences may not be life-threatening, the length of time they spend in prison can be life-threatening. This is because they might have been exposed to severe health conditions. Also, the punishment they get as prisoners is severe, and this can affect their wellbeing.
The insurance companies usually categorize major crimes as high risk and therefore find it hard to warrant approval, even with high premium rates. But if the traditional life insurance carriers decline your application, you may opt for either accident death or guaranteed issue life insurance policies.
What Should You Do to Get Accepted?
Being a criminal, the chances of your application being declined are way too high. Especially if you have been convicted with drug-related or rape felonies, it is hard to have your application approved. This is because the insurer will look at the type and nature of the crime committed alongside other finer details before making the final judgment. If you were denied approval by the traditional life insurance carrier, you have these three choices to opt for:
As the name suggests, there is a guarantee that you will get the coverage you need regardless of the nature of the crime you committed. But the policy comes with a 2-3 years benefits clause. This means that if you die within 2-3 years, there will be no death benefit to be paid to your beneficiary.
Group life insurance through your employer. If you work for a certain company and they provide life insurance, you can get coverage via that particular program. But remember the coverage holds as long as you work for them. If you quit the job, the policy becomes invalid, and this means your family will remain uncovered forever.
Accidental death policy.
This particular policy pays benefits for deaths that occur as a result of accidents. If you die of heart attack or any other health complication, there will be no death benefits. This is not a perfect choice for felons, but it is better than nothing.
Sometimes you will be required to answer the following questions in order to get accepted:
Have you ever been imprisoned?
If you were incarcerated, how much time did you spend there?
When were you released from prison?
Are you currently on probation and for how long?
If you have been on probation, when was it terminated?
The kind of answers you give will determine your likelihood of qualifying for life insurance coverage. Mostly, insurers look at the time that has elapsed since you were released from prison. This is very important to them because they may want to know how your lifestyle has changed since the time you bought your freedom. People who have been out of prison for long are likely to be considered for life insurance. But if you have been released just the other day, you may not be able to qualify for life insurance at that particular moment.
How Felony Affects Your Life Insurance Rates
If you have committed a felony, you should expect to pay more for your life insurance. The insurer sees you as a high risk to the company. Remember you might have suffered a lot while in prison, and this could be the reason why you are being regarded as highly vulnerable to death. So, the insurer will have to increase your premium rate to help offset the death benefit.
You should count yourself lucky if you qualify for life insurance with your type of felony. Most of the people with major felonies do not qualify for life coverage. Insurance companies see them as high risk and never want to offer any coverage to them whatsoever. You can get low rates by allowing a period of not less than 3 years after probation. Also, choosing to work with an experienced life insurance independent agent can enable you to get favorable rates. A reputable agency knows those insurance companies with the most affordable rates. So, make sure you partner with one that has been around for the past several years.
How to Get Life Insurance with a Criminal Record
If you are looking to apply for life insurance for felonies, you need to be as candid as possible when filling out the application form. If you fail to disclose information about your past criminal activities, your insurance company will find out the truth later. The company will carry out a criminal background check and will have to catch you by all means. If they eventually discover the truth, then your application will be declined.
Remember that the severity of your felony and the time that has elapsed since are going to affect the kind of policy you are about to get. So, the best thing to do is to work with a seasoned broker who understands the market pretty well. Ensure you disclose all the required information to your agent so they can be able to find the right coverage for you. Always work with an agency that has helped a lot of people who needed life insurance for felons.
For those individuals with criminal records and want life insurance, taking time to find the right insurance carrier is of utmost importance. Bear in mind that not all insurance companies will offer coverage to convicted felons. However, there are some that will be willing to offer you life insurance coverage. It is, thus, important to use an independent agent to research on your behalf. An experienced agent knows which insurers agree to provide life insurance for felons. Actually, the quality of the agency you use is just as important as the insurance company you choose to apply to. It beats logic to send your application to a company that has a history of denying coverage to people with felony records. So, consider using an independent agent that has represented countless individuals who needed life insurance for criminals.
Lucky for you we specialize in getting people life insurance with a criminal record. Give us a call today or use our life insurance quoter here to run a quote and request a call. We shop around with all of the companies on the market to get you the best rate, at no extra cost to you, welcome to CFAinsure!