How Your Driving Record Affects Life Insurance Rates
We get it. Nobody is perfect.
8 people are slapped with speeding tickets every minute in the US.
A simple speeding ticket may not seem like a big deal. “I’m a safe driver” you are thinking.
The truth: Your life insurance company will care.
But they won’t care in the same way your driving insurance company will. If you have a current life insurance policy in place, your rates will NOT increase. However, if you are applying for a new policy or additional coverage, driving record is one of the factors life insurance underwriters will be looking at.
Health history, occupation, dangerous hobbies, and driving record will be the main 4 factors that are considered when determining your risk profile and ultimately the premiums you pay.
Don’t worry: This article will tell you exactly what you need to know.
- How life insurance companies look at driving records
- What exactly is the MVR?
- How your rates will be affected by the MVR
- How you can improve your chance for lower rates with a bad driving record
- Best life insurance companies for bad driving records
How Life Insurance Companies Look at Driving Records
Life insurance is all about the numbers and percentages.
What is the chance you’ll meet an early death?
Insurance companies don’t like early deaths because that means they pay out before collecting many premiums. Therefore, they need to charge higher rates for the “risky” among us.
What they look for on your driving record
DUI or DWI
This should be pretty obvious. 31% of driving fatalities have alcohol involved. If your driving record shows you were caught driving intoxicated, it’s going to have a significant impact on your premiums.
A recent DUI will be more problematic as will multiple DUI’s. We have devoted a separate article entirely to obtaining life insurance after a DUI or DWI.
License suspension or revocation
The thinking is pretty simple here. If your own state driving department took away your license to be on the road, it was probably for good reason. This is considered HIGH risk.
It is possible the suspension/revocation may have nothing to do with your driving record. Reasons may include forgetting to pay a fine or a health condition.
In some cases, if done properly, your insurance agent can minimize the impact of the suspension. The underlying reason will need to be clear and considered separately.
Again, pretty self-explanatory. Driving recklessly is not only a risk to your life but demonstrates the type of person that may be reckless in other things you do. This adds considerable risk to your profile and therefore increased premiums. Some cases may even be felonies.
- Texting while driving
- Speeding – has been a factor in about 30 percent of crash deaths since 2005.
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Improper lane change
- Failure to wear a seatbelt
- Others depending on your state of residence
Some of these may seem minor. To the insurance company, they demonstrate a disregard for safety and increase your risk profile.
Parking tickets – these have no effect on your life insurance rates and will be ignored. Just don’t ignore paying them so they double and triple on you!
What Exactly Is the MVR?
MVR – Motor Vehicle report
You may see this term referred to in life insurance literature. It’s just the report on your driving record.
Each individual state maintains this information and they will submit it to the insurance carrier upon request. You authorize this as part of your formal application.
Typically, minor violations such as rolling through a stop sign will stay on your record for less time than something serious. A DUI or reckless driving can remain for 10 years or more. This will vary from state to state.
Our Advice: If you are unsure what is on it, order a copy of your own MVR. You can do this from all 50 states. Many will deliver it immediately online.
Prices range from $2 for California up to $25 for Oklahoma and Deleware. The majority are under $10 and Iowa and Indiana are completely free.
How Your Rates Will Be Affected by the MVR
With life insurance, you will be placed in a certain health classification. This determines the rate you’ll pay.
DUI/DWI is the most serious. If you have a conviction in the last 2 years, your options will be limited and your rates will be higher.
There are some companies that will still consider your application. A good independent broker can help determine if these are right for you.
Reckless driving and license suspension or revocation are also considered major infractions. To qualify for the top rate class, Preferred Plus, you need to have no majors in the past 5 years in your MVR.
If I apply for a no exam policy, will my driving record still be checked?
YES. Going the no exam route will not hide your driving record. This will be checked electronically. In fact, for policies without the medical exam, it can be argued the other factors are MORE important since the insurance companies don’t have a chance to check out your current health.
What if I have no major infractions but multiple speeding tickets?
Having no majors is GREAT for your life insurance premiums. But too many moving violations can hurt you as well.
Typically, most insurance companies won’t care about 1-2 speeding tickets. You can still be considered for the top classification provided your health history is excellent.
More than 2 moving violations in the past 3 years and your rates will go up.
More than 4 moving violations in the past 3 years and you may be declined at most carriers.
Doesn’t seem fair? Well, insurers view the higher number as a pattern and a cause for concern. Let’s be honest…if you were caught 4 times, how many times did you ACTUALLY speed?
If the answer is “4” you are either A) lying or B) the most unlucky person in the world.
How You Can Improve Your Chance for Lower Rates with a Bad Driving Record
First off, start driving more carefully!
If you quit adding negative marks, time is your best friend. The older infractions will age enough to no longer count against you, or at least have their impact minimized.
Jane is 35 yrs old and wants $500,000 in coverage for a 20-year term. She has 3 moving violations on her record in the past 3 years.
Her best option is Lincoln Financial Group. She will pay $32.38 per month.
One of her 3 moving violations is 2 years and 9 months old.
After 3 more months, she can get the same EXACT coverage from Principal Financial for $24.50 per month.
This is a 33% savings and $1,891 over the life of the policy.
To be clear: We are NOT suggesting you wait to apply. Any number of things could happen during those 3 months. Please don’t risk it by waiting.
- You could get another ticket putting you in a worse position.
- You could get sick, hurting your health rating.
- You could die. Won’t need life insurance anymore but your beneficiaries are left struggling.
Our advice: Get coverage now. A good independent broker can help you file a reconsideration request once your situation improves. This can lower the rate you are already paying.
Your broker can also help you switch to a lower-priced insurance company if it makes sense.
Best Life Insurance Companies for Bad Driving Records
Finding the lowest life insurance is ALWAYS about finding the insurance company that views your situation most favorably. It truly does pay to shop around.
Our experience and knowledge of the industry tell us that currently, a few carriers stand above the rest when it comes to being lenient on your driving record (MVR).
Please be aware: The below table assumes excellent health and no other risk factors. With other issues, please consult your trusted independent broker to discuss options.
Life insurance rates are fixed by law. Going directly to the insurer does NOT save money. You just won’t have anyone to guide and represent you.
Major = DUI/DWI, reckless driving, license suspension/revocation
MV = Moving violations
All items are listed as the maximum number you can have on your driving record to qualify.
Underwriting guidelines subject change without notice. Above intended as reference only. Consult your broker for accurate rates.
If you are serious about finding affordable life insurance with negative marks on your driving record, we can help.
There is NO reason to go it alone vs the big insurance companies.
The secret to finding the best coverage is:
- Knowing all the insurance carriers underwriting guidelines, inside and out.
- Working directly with the underwriters.
We know EXACTLY how to do this. We can help if you are ready. There is NO cost to use our service and life insurance is all we do, every day, all day long.
We welcome the opportunity to have a no-pressure chat about your options.
I hope your day is going well.