Believe it or not, your driving record can play a significant role in determining the rate you pay for life insurance. In fact, auto accidents are a leading cause of death in the United States. On average, about 115 people die each day in the U.S. alone from vehicle accidents and from the ages of 2 to 34, motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of death. Therefore, excessive speeding violations, reckless and/or careless driving charges, driving while under the influence and your accident history are scrutinized closely by all life insurance companies. The more violations you have on your Motor Vehicle Report (MVR), the higher your risk and the more you will pay for life insurance.
Your driving record is largely in your control. Therefore, life insurers judge your driving record as representative of your behavioral risk. In fact, every company has its own underwriting guidelines that include their stance on moving violations, reckless driving convictions and DUI’s.
All insurance companies will examine your driving record when considering you for life insurance. If you have a history of excessive traffic infractions, insurers may see a “red flag” and can raise your premium, regardless of your health history. Even if you are not asked directly to provide the details of your driving history, life insurance companies usually obtain the information they need from the Department of Motor Vehicles. Therefore, being honest during your application process is essential to both selecting the right company and getting the best results.
Types of Driving Violations
The most important things life insurance companies are looking for in terms of driving history include speeding tickets, overly aggressive driving history, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) and accidents. Each is discussed briefly below.
Adhering to the posted speeding limits not only reduces your risk for serious injury or death, but it can save you money on your life insurance policy. Drivers who receive repeated fines for excessive speeding have a more difficult time finding affordable rates. Guidelines vary but most life insurance companies will not allow the preferred best rates if you have had 2 or more speeding tickets in the last 3 years. There are exceptions however, and if you are in this category, you should contact MEG with specific details and we can likely find an exception depending upon the exact circumstances.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol- DUI and Buying Life Insurance
Driving under the influence of alcohol is not only a serious offense; it will also be problematic to finding affordable life insurance. The important variable that life insurance companies will want to know when there is a DUI include: Date of occurrence, blood alcohol level, sentence, probation and any other moving violations that may be present.
Most companies will charge you a significantly higher rate or even a flat extra charge if you have had a DUI within the last 12-24 months. Most companies require a waiting period of at least 5 years to get preferred rates after a DUI while some very restrictive companies want 10 years time expired since the last DUI. For more information, see DUI and Finding Affordable Life Insurance.
Keep in mind that you can receive a DUI both on and off land. Driving a boat under the influence is just as serious an offense as driving a car, motorcycle or truck and is equally as detrimental to your life insurance premiums. Furthermore, having multiple DUI’s may keep you from qualifying for life insurance entirely.
Reckless and Aggressive Driving
Receiving fines for reckless and careless driving or continuing to drive after your license has been suspended or revoked will severely hinder your chances of finding affordable life insurance coverage. This type of behavior is cause for alarm for insurers and constitutes a significantly higher risk that most will not want to underwrite.
Although your accident record is considered when qualifying for insurance, accidents that are not your fault do not hold as much weight as those that are your fault. Bear in mind that circumstances surrounding each accident will be examined carefully with respect to who was at fault and why. Unless you have an excessive amount of accidents that are your fault, you will most likely not be penalized when buying life insurance.
Duration of Your Driving Record’s Influence
Time will either work for you or against you when insurers review your driving record. A recent offense, depending on the severity, may result in a temporarily higher premium or rejection of policy. The more time you have between infractions the better. As mentioned, a more serious violation such as a DUI may negatively impact your rates for life insurance for 5 or even 10 years depending upon the insurance company.
With all life insurance companies, your driving record is indicative of your overall risk factor. Being a responsible driver, with few or no moving violations will allow you to be eligible for the best rate classes assuming you qualify medically. However, if you have multiple traffic violations, most companies will not consider you for the preferred classes and you will therefore pay more for your life insurance. If your driving record is a product of your distant past, you will have a much better chance at affordable rates than those who have a tendency to repeatedly violate traffic laws. If you have a situation where your driving record may impact your life insurance rate, please call MEG today at (877) 583-3955. We have worked with all different types of MVR issues and have the expertise to shop the marketplace to find you the most competitive policy. Call today or click here for your instant quote.