Life Insurance for People with a Criminal History

Life Insurance Coverage for Those with a Criminal Record

Can people with a criminal history still obtain life insurance? In most cases yes, they can. If you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor or lesser crime you can still qualify for a life insurance policy at an affordable rate.

However, it’s a little more difficult to find affordable life insurance if you’ve been convicted of multiple crimes or have recently had a DUI or DWI conviction. In those cases, you’ll have to pay a higher rate.

If You Have a Felony

Having a felony on your criminal record also doesn’t necessarily prevent you from obtaining a standard life insurance policy, either. It just may require a little research on your part because different insurance companies have different post-probation time requirements. And they will cost more.

Some insurance companies will approve a life insurance application with as little as two years post-probation. Others will require up to 10 years’ probation free. A knowledgeable insurance agent can help you navigate through the system to determine which policy suits your needs and your budget.

However, if you’re currently under conviction, on parole, on probation, or incarcerated your odds of qualifying for any insurance policy are slim to none. This is also true if you committed a serious felony, regardless of how long ago your probation ended.

Why Do Insurance Companies Charge More for a Criminal Record?

Life insurance companies determine monthly payment rates according to risk. If you’re in good health and avoid risky habits and activities such as smoking and rock climbing, your premium payments are lower because there’s less chance of the insurance company paying out a claim. And statistics show those with a felony have lower life expectancy rates.

Alternative Life Insurance Options

Term Life: If you have misdemeanors or a recent DUI or DWI, consider buying a term life policy. Term life insurance offers coverage for specific lengths of time like 10, 20, or 25 years. While you may pay a bit more than the regular rate in the short term, you can convert your policy to a lower rate later when you are in a better legal position.

Final Expense: For felons unable to obtain a standard policy, final expense insurance may be a good option. Final expense is a type of life insurance policy that is generally used to cover burial costs. It has a lower payout of around $25,000 but costs a lot less than a standard life insurance policy. And they do not require a medical exam.

Be Honest

As tempting as it may be, if you have a criminal record, don’t lie on your insurance application. Life insurance companies do conduct criminal background checks. Even if you have a minor offense on your record, be upfront about it.

If you are honest, a past crime doesn’t have to prevent you from protecting your family.

What to Do If You Are Denied Life Insurance

Can You Get Life Insurance if You Smoke or Vape?

Many people assume vaping isn’t as damaging as smoking. And there may be some truth to that. However, life insurance companies treat e-cigarettes, vape pens and other vaping device use no differently than regular cigarettes.

That is not to say that you can’t get life insurance for your family if you smoke or vape. But you will pay higher rates for it.

Why Do Life Insurance Companies Treat Vaping Like Smoking?

Life insurance companies grant approvals and set premiums based on risk. Underwriters evaluate a company’s risk using mortality rates.

Smokers are more likely to suffer from a heart attack and coronary artery disease. According to the Center for Disease Control, the mortality rate for a smoker is about three times higher than for a non-smoker.

Another study at Johns Hopkins University revealed that in 2020 vaping caused nearly 3,000 lung injuries and resulted in 68 deaths for vapers between the ages of 15 and 75.

But Vaping Is Just Water, Isn’t It?

No. Vape juice contains nicotine, which will show up on the labs you must submit to as part of the underwriting process.

Vape juice may also contain other harmful substances, which studies show can cause cancer. And a history of cancer can affect your ability to get affordable health insurance, regardless of whether you smoke or not.

In addition, vaping has historically been less regulated than tobacco. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified e-cigarettes as tobacco products and are subject to regulation. Thus, life insurance companies classify it that way, too.

How to Find the Best Life Insurance to Get if You Smoke or Vape

Although habits that involve nicotine are some of the hardest to break, the best thing you can do to obtain affordable life insurance is to quit. We recommend you wait to apply until you’ve been nicotine free for one year. Even patches used to help you break the habit contain nicotine that will show up in your labs.

In the meantime, consider purchasing a short term life insurance policy which will protect your family should you succumb to a fatal illness or accident. While you may pay a higher rate in the short term, it will provide long-term peace of mind.

And if down the line you do successfully quit, you can convert that term policy to another one with a lower rate.

One final note, although it may be tempting to hide your smoking or vaping habit on your life insurance application, don’t.

Although it may take a while to catch up with you, insurance companies eventually discover misrepresentation. Should you die after obtaining your policy, your insurance company may deny your family your death benefit, regardless of how you died. The best your family can hope for is a partial payment using the premium amount you would have paid if you’d disclosed your smoking habit.

Be honest. Isn’t ensuring your family has the protection they deserve worth telling the truth?

No-Exam Life Insurance: Who Has the Best Deal?

For those who want to bypass the time and hassle it takes to submit to the lab tests and exam for life insurance most life insurance companies require, a policy with no exam required may be the way to go.

What Is No-Exam Life Insurance?

Put simply, no-exam life insurance is life insurance that requires no medical exam, including blood and urine samples. And some may cover a pre-existing condition if you are otherwise in good health.

Best of all, you can apply online to access affordable no-exam life insurance quotes.

No-exam policies differ in their requirements. Some, like Simplified Issue, require no exam and ask little to no health questions. However, the policy will cost more and provide less coverage because the company collects less data and therefore assumes more risk. Others, like Accelerated Underwriting, ask for a bit more health information but cost less and provide more coverage. Neither requires a medical exam or lab tests.

That said, here are three outstanding life insurance companies offering some of the best life insurance plans with no medical exam required. If you’ve been shopping around for a no-exam policy, these no-exam life insurance options may surprise you.

  1. Ameritas. Ameritas no-exam insurance covers people 60 years old and younger and offers coverage for up to $2 million with term lengths of 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. The wait time is one week and you must be in decent health.
  2. Lincoln Financial Group. Lincoln offers coverage for up to $1 million for people in excellent health between the ages of 18 and 60.
  3. Transamerica. Transamerica offers two no-exam policies. They cover 18- to 80-year-olds, offering 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30-year terms. They pay out up to $2 million for qualifying applicants with an option to convert to a different policy later on.

As good as these deals are, no-exam-required life insurance isn’t for everyone. If you are young and in good health, you may want to look into a term life policy that offers even more affordable premiums with better coverage.

Lab Tests & Medical Exam: Preparation Advice

How to Prepare for Your Life Insurance Lab Tests & Medical Exam

You’ve got your life insurance policy quote, now it’s time for the required blood and urine tests and medical exam.

How it works: Insurance companies work with third-party medical professionals to perform and evaluate lab tests. After you’ve received your life insurance policy quote, someone from a medical facility will call to schedule your appointment. It’s usually up to you as to where you’ll take the test—at home, at work or at an offsite facility.

You spend no money and invest no longer than 30 minutes to complete both the labs and the exam.

Blood Test and Urine Test: Plan Ahead

The best thing you can do for both your health and upcoming tests is to do just what the doctor orders:

  • Drink plenty of water to clear out toxins and to keep hydrated.
  • Eat healthy food – especially cholesterol-friendly ones like nuts and salmon.
  • Avoid sweets.
  • Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake.
  • Go easy on the salt and red meat.

Please set off this paragraph to highlight its message. Although counterintuitive, scaling back your exercise routine will keep the proteins in your bodily fluids and blood pressure low. So go easy in the days leading up to your visit.

What Foods to Avoid Before Your Lab Tests

In addition to avoiding sweets and going easy on the caffeine and alcohol, there are some foods and medicines you also may want to avoid that may cause a skewed lab result, such as:

  • Ibuprofen, high-protein snack bars and Vitamin B12 supplements, including those that boost Riboflavin. These can produce false positives for marijuana use.
  • Poppy seeds: They may look like opiates on your blood panel.
  • Tonic water can falsely reveal cocaine use.
  • Sleeping pills can show up as barbiturates.
  • Cold meds and nasal decongestants can show up as amphetamines.

Prepare for Your Medical Exam, Too

Doing a bit of homework in preparation for your medical exam can expedite this part of the underwriting process.

  • Gather medical histories from your immediate family members.
  • Write down the meds you take and their dosages.
  • Review your own health history and jot down events such as hospitalizations, long-term or life-threatening illnesses, and debilitating accidents and medical events.

Don’t Lie

Life insurance companies rely on resources like the Medical Information Bureau. Lying can at best deny your application or cancel it after it’s been approved. At worst, it can be construed as fraudulent.

Full transparency works in your favor.

Listen, as much as life insurance vetting is another example of gloomy adulting, a medical evaluation just may detect a problem early enough for you to do something about it. Plus, in a competitive insurance market, your medical results arm you with information you can use to determine which life insurance policy works for you. Not just them.

Medical Exam & Lab Tests

Blood Tests, Urine Tests & Medical Exams: The Life Insurance Trifecta

Life insurance is necessary to protect your family. Lab tests and medical exams are necessary to evaluate your risk to an insurance company. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 55 and looking for a plan that provides a benefit of less than $2 million, you may be able to obtain a no-exam policy.

After they provide a life insurance policy quote, insurance companies generally ask for blood and urine samples along with a medical exam.

These companies use third-party medical agencies to perform and evaluate the tests, and someone from the agency will call you to schedule your appointment. You can usually choose to have your exam at home, at work or at an offsite facility.

The tests are free and take no longer than 30 minutes.

The Blood Test

So, what are they looking for?

Insurance companies want to know if you are suffering from any disease or conditions which would shorten your lifespan. Blood tests reveal them. And most require fasting for between 8 and 12 hours. Diseases a blood test screens for include:

• Heart disease
• Liver disease
• Diabetes
• Cancer
• Inflammatory conditions
• Sexually transmitted diseases
• HIV or AIDS
• Drug use (prescription as well as recreational)
• Harmful conditions caused by smoking

They also want to confirm the information you provided on your application.

The Urine Test

Some diseases a urine test can reveal overlap with those a blood panel scans for. These include:

• Kidney disease
• Diabetes
• Liver disease
• Drug use (prescription and recreational)
And:
• Metabolic conditions
• Blood clots

The Medical Exam

During your medical exam the health professional will ask about:

• Your general health during the past five years
• Your family members’ medical histories
• Your lifestyle, including what you do for a living, your hobbies, and habits such as smoking, drinking and drug use
• Prescriptions and dosages

They will also measure your height, weight and blood pressure.

The Don’t Lie Policy

Insurance companies don’t just rely on the results their 3rd-party companies provide. They also depend on information obtained from the Medical Insurance Bureau to assess fraudulent behavior. The bureau collects data about your prior health and other insurance policies you’ve applied for.

Best advice: Don’t provide more information than required. The insurance company can always ask additional questions if they need to. If you have a condition you think may disqualify you, don’t assume the worst. Speak to an insurance agent and see what your options are. You may be surprised.