Life Insurance

Can You Get Life Insurance with a Criminal Record?

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Life insurance forms an integral part of many families' financial security. With the right policy, you can ensure that finances are available to care for your loved ones if the worst were to happen. It's an unpleasant thought, but one necessary for financial planning, especially when you're considering retirement or end-of-life planning.

Sometimes looking for life insurance with a criminal record can complicate things. While you may not specifically need to seek out life insurance for felons, it may be worth searching for an affordable high-risk life insurance policy. 

Whether your record includes a felony, misdemeanor, or is clean, it's always essential to be honest on your application. In many cases, a criminal record won't result in an automatic insurance denial, but lying on your application could lead to worse outcomes. 

Since the process generally includes a life insurance background check, there's no reason not to be forthcoming. When and how a criminal record impacts your rates and eligibility can be complicated and varies by insurer. However, there are some general rules and norms to consider.

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Criminal record and eligibility

Have you wondered, "Can felons get life insurance?" Or perhaps you've questioned whether certain types of crime may disqualify individuals from policies. Life insurance is based on risk factors, and criminal records are folded into these calculations. Approvals for individuals with a criminal record are typically case-by-case.

Because of how risk-focused these products are, it can make sense to search for companies specializing in high-risk policies when considering life insurance for convicted felons.

Can you get life insurance if you have a criminal record?

In many situations, yes. The specifics of your record will matter, and insurance companies have different rules and criteria for eligibility. Repeat offenses and greater severity of crimes can contribute to application denial. Certain types of crime, like insurance fraud, are more likely than others to lead to a denial.

Can you be denied life insurance because of a felony?

Yes, although it doesn't always mean you'll be denied. If you're currently being charged with a crime, you'll have to wait until afterward before applying for most life insurance policies. Likewise, if you're in jail or prison or on probation, most companies will deny your application until you're out and past probation.

Do life insurance companies do background checks?

Yes, it's common for insurers to do background checks on insurance applicants. This is one of the primary tools used by insurers to prevent insurance fraud.

Do life insurance companies ask about criminal records?

Insurers do usually ask about criminal records to help determine rates and eligibility. Insurers can use the number and types of offenses and the severity in determining how risky an applicant is. The riskier an applicant, the higher their rates will be. Some insurers will deny coverage to high-risk applicants.

How to handle a policy denial

If you've been denied a policy, now what? It's frustrating to deal with denial, but there may still be options for you. Insurers use different criteria for eligibility, and some even specialize in policies for high-risk clients.

Suppose you faced an application denial with one company. In that case, you may be able to find out why and then shop around for an insurer that doesn't weigh that factor as negatively. 

If you're looking for life insurance with a criminal record, you may want to ask potential insurers upfront how that will impact your eligibility. Doing so may save you time and allow you to focus on applying only to those companies that won't deny you based on your record. 

Life insurance when unemployed

Can I get life insurance if I'm unemployed? In general, you can get life insurance while you're unemployed if you can meet the premiums. Depending on your finances and what you can show the insurer, there may be restrictions on coverage limits. If you're between jobs, it's a critical time to budget. If you already have a policy, you may want to talk to your insurer and see if you can negotiate lower rates until your income picks up. Whether this is allowed will depend on the policy and the insurer.

Applying for life insurance

Before you decide on a policy, there are a few things to consider. First, ask yourself: how much life insurance do I need? Coverage limits represent the policy payout and determine (combined with your rate) how much you'll pay in monthly premiums.

Although all life insurance policies include coverage limits, some types have other special features, too. For instance, many permanent life policies — like whole life — include an investment component. 

Wondering how Ethos works?  We offer term and whole life policies to qualifying applicants through a fully online application process. Many applicants with a criminal record may qualify—it's always worth applying.

Whole life policies are built for older applicants, while term plans are designed for younger policyholders not yet nearing their retirement. Most applicants looking for life insurance online can apply without a medical exam; simply fill out a health questionnaire included in the application.

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