Life Insurance for Felons

In this article...
  • Life insurance for felons is available. Read about how a criminal record impacts eligibility and get tips on how to apply if you were convicted of a felony.

Health, lifestyle and your criminal record can impact the cost and availability of life insurance. If you have a criminal record or are currently facing charges, you should learn about life insurance for felons before applying for a policy.  

Can You Get Life Insurance if You Have a Felony?

You can still apply for life insurance if you have a felony conviction. Life insurance for felons is available, but a felony record is likely to result in higher life insurance premiums. Additionally, you may have more difficulty finding a policy that will accept you. 

In some cases, you may not be able to get life insurance. Insurance companies are less likely to offer a policy if: 

  • Your conviction was for a crime that is considered particularly high risk 
  • You have multiple convictions 
  • You're currently facing charges or in jail 
  • You finished your sentence very recently 

Learning about your life insurance options and the best way to approach the application can improve your chances of obtaining a good policy. 

Why Does a Criminal Record Affect Life Insurance? 

Insurance companies use complex data and statistics to calculate the risk involved in offering an insurance policy. This process is known as underwriting. For life insurance, higher risk means that the beneficiary is more likely to die during the policy term. If an insurance company decides that an applicant is high-risk, it may: 

  • Decline to offer life insurance coverage
  • Offer a life insurance policy at a higher premium 

The data used by life insurance companies shows that people with felony convictions statistically don't live as long as people without criminal records. However, insurers do review the details of each application, and a variety of factors can affect the cost and availability of life insurance. 

Insurance companies don't consider misdemeanor convictions to be as risky. Misdemeanors and lesser infractions often don't impact life insurance at all, but there are exceptions. 

Can You Get Life Insurance If You're on Parole?

You probably can't get a life insurance policy if you're currently on parole. Insurance companies rarely offer life insurance policies to applicants who are currently on parole or in jail. You'll also be unable to get life insurance if you're facing criminal charges or awaiting trial. 

Most life insurance companies require an applicant to have finished their sentence, including any probation or parole, and be back in the free world for at least one year before their application. Some insurers require a waiting period of five or 10 years before an applicant will be eligible for a policy.  

After completing parole, you'll need to wait at least as long as a company's waiting period to apply. You may benefit from waiting even longer because insurance companies can more confidently assess the risk involved in offering a policy if more time has passed. If many years have passed since you completed your sentence and you're otherwise a good applicant for life insurance, the insurer may be willing to offer a policy at better rates. 

Finding Life Insurance for Felons 

Learning about available life insurance options and how to approach the application process can increase your chances of getting approved for a policy. 

Consider Working With a Professional to Find the Best Options 

You may want to consider working with an experienced insurance professional who can help you learn about available policies. Some insurance companies will consider applicants as early as one year after completing a felony sentence while others require a much longer time. Other companies may have a reputation for rarely insuring felons.  

Finding information about all your policy options and the reputations of various insurance companies can be extremely difficult without help. A professional may be able to help you apply to the companies that are most likely to offer you a policy with a fair premium. 

Insurance companies do review each application, and they don't treat all felonies or applicants the same. Someone with industry experience can offer advice on how the details of your record will impact your life insurance application.

Completing an Application 

Life insurance applications usually ask:

  • Whether there are currently felony charges pending against you 
  • Whether you have been convicted of a felony in the past

Although a felony can impact your eligibility and insurance rates, you should provide accurate answers to these questions. Insurance companies conduct thorough research as part of the underwriting process, and a dishonest or incomplete response can result in automatic rejection. An untruthful answer can also stop you from getting life insurance from another company in the future. 

As discussed above, you may need to wait for time to pass after your conviction before applying for life insurance. However, age and health conditions can negatively impact your eligibility for life insurance, so you may wish to weigh these factors against the impact of any criminal record. Speaking to an insurance broker or professional may assist you in making the best decisions for your circumstances. 

Alternatives to Life Insurance

Even if you can't purchase an insurance policy due to a felony, some options may be available. If your application for whole or term life insurance is declined, you can still purchase guaranteed issue life insurance. Applications for this insurance don't ask questions about your lifestyle, health or criminal record. Guaranteed issue insurance also offers lower premiums than whole or term life policies. The payout from these policies is typically low, and maximum benefit amounts are often no more than $25,000. However, the policy can help cover outstanding bills and funeral expenses in the event of your death.

You may also be able to obtain group life insurance through an employer. Employees are eligible for this coverage even if they have a felony record or health conditions. However, not every workplace offers this coverage as an employment benefit. 

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