Life Insurance for Felons

Having a felony on your record makes applying for life insurance difficult. However, traditional whole or term life insurance for felons is attainable through some providers depending on the severity of your crime, your medical history, and how much time has passed since your conviction. If you were convicted of a violent crime, you will not be approved for a traditional policy. Instead, consider purchasing guaranteed issue or accidental death insurance. Keep reading to learn all of your options and how to find life insurance rates for felons.

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Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has two years' experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. He is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Reviewed by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Quick Facts

  • If you were convicted of a non-violent felony, you might still qualify for standard rates for whole or term traditional life insurance depending on the severity of your crime, your medical history, and how much time has passed since your convection.
  • If you were convicted of a violent felony, you will not be approved for a traditional life insurance policy and should instead consider a guaranteed issue policy or accidental death insurance.
  • If you are currently being convicted of a felony, or are serving time, you should wait to apply for life insurance until after your probation has ended and a few years have passed.

Having a felony conviction on your record can make applying for life insurance tricky. However, traditional whole or term life insurance for convicted felons is attainable through some companies, depending on the severity of your crime, your medical history, and how much time has passed since your conviction.

Read through our complete guide to learn more about what types of term life insurance and whole life insurance policies are available to you. We’ll help prepare you for applying for life insurance for prisoners, including rate data, what questions to expect from the underwriting process, and more.

Ready to buy life insurance for felons? Just enter your five-digit ZIP code into our FREE online tool above to immediately compare rates for life insurance for inmates.

Can felons get life insurance?

Can felons get life insurance? Yes, there are a few viable life insurance options available for convicted felons. But what is the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor crime or infraction? According to the law experts at FindLaw, a felony is classified as a conviction that is punishable by jail time of more than one year, and the sentence is often served in a federal or state penitentiary instead of a county jail.

Misdemeanors are punishable by less than one year of jail time if any at all, and are usually served in county prisons. Infractions are the lowest level of crime and usually, there is no associated prison sentence.

Insurance providers look at each crime on a case by case basis, which means that less serious offenses will be treated differently than violent crimes.

Therefore, some convicted felons who served their time and maintained proper health and behavior for several years will be able to qualify for traditional term and whole life insurance policies for felons, possibly even at the standard rate.

However, if you have any pre-existing health conditions or concerns, you will probably receive a substandard rate for life insurance, which will be at least 25 percent more than the standard policy rates.

If you fall into this category, check out possible standard and substandard monthly rates you could end up paying for a whole term life insurance policy for felons from Foresters Financial with a death benefit of $250,000 in the table below.

Average Monthly Life Insurance Rates for Convicted Felons: Standard Rates versus Substandard Rates
AgeAverage Monthly Standard RatesAverage Monthly Substandard Rates (25% increase)
25-years-old$156.80$196.00
30-years-old$188.96$236.20
35-years-old$230.52$288.15
40-years-old$277.99$347.49
45-years-old$349.30$436.63
50-years-old$429.14$536.43
55-years-old$549.89$687.36
60-years-old$700.83$876.04
65-years-old$912.58$1,140.73
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Life insurance companies are more accepting of white-collar felony crimes, like fraud, tax crime, or counterfeiting. However, violent crimes, like murder or kidnapping, are not tolerated and usually lead to a denial of traditional coverage.

There are other types of life insurance that you can consider purchasing if you do not qualify for a traditional life insurance policy. Keep reading to learn more.

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How do I buy life insurance as a felon?

Following the traditional life insurance underwriting guidelines, an underwriter will cross-reference the information you provide them with, and will sometimes perform a background check and a medical history check. The underwriter will then assess your risk level and place you in a rating class.

Healthy, younger adults are more likely to be placed in the preferred category and will receive the lowest rates. Folks perceived to be in average health will be placed in the standard category and will receive the base-level of rates.

Anyone with pre-existing health risks or issues with their life insurance background checks will be placed in the substandard category and will receive the highest rates, or be denied coverage.

Convicted felons need to put in some extra research when buying a life insurance policy, as some companies will deny coverage for anyone with a criminal background. Other providers can see if you’ve been denied, which will increase your rates. If you are unsure of a company’s crime policy, call and ask an agent directly what the protocol is for convicted felons.

Be sure all of the information you provide on your application is honest and accurate, especially in regards to your felony conviction. Expect to be asked the following questions:

  • When were you convicted of your crime?
  • Have you been convicted of multiple felonies?
  • What were you convicted of?
  • Are you currently awaiting parole or charges?
  • Do you have any history of drudge or alcohol abuse?
  • In the past two years, have you been hospitalized for any reason?
  • Are you currently working?

Do not lie when answering questions on your life insurance application. You will get caught, and there are consequences. What happens if you lie on your term life insurance application is that your coverage could be denied, or your rates could increase substantially.

See more consequences to lying on a life insurance application in the following video.

White lies or mistakes might get dismissed by the insurance provider, but serious lies could even lead to your beneficiary losing the death benefit if the truth comes out after you pass away. Especially with a felony conviction, you are better off just telling the truth.

Finally, comparing rates from multiple companies is the best way to ensure you’re getting the most affordable policy with the right coverage. However, make sure the companies you compare will not flat out deny you because of your criminal past.

In the next sections, we provide specific life insurance policy options and information for non-violent felony convictions, violent felony convictions, and on-going charges.

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Non-Violent Felony Convictions and Life Insurance

According to LegalMatch, non-violent felonies are crimes that result in economic, financial, or property loss as opposed to the physical injury of a victim. If your felony conviction was for a non-violent crime, you might be able to qualify for a traditional whole or term life insurance policy.

You can work with an agent who specializes in high-risk life insurance for more personalized assistance. Otherwise, research the companies you are interested in thoroughly so you know your application will not be denied.

Our advice is to wait as long as you can after your probation has ended before applying for life insurance. Even though life insurance rates increase as you age, convicted felons still need to wait a few years after probation ends before you can be approved for a traditional life insurance policy.

You might find a few providers who will sell you a traditional policy after only one or two years, but most will not approve your coverage unless it’s been at least five years. Some will deny you unless it’s been 10 full years.

Larceny, property crimes, and in rare cases assault will be easier to overcome than drug or alcohol-related convictions, especially if the crime only happened once and was a long time ago. Drug and alcohol-related convictions are taken more seriously because substance abuse is a high-risk concern for life insurance providers.

Violent Felony Convictions and Life Insurance

As we touched upon previously, if your felony conviction was for a serious or violent crime, you will not be approved for a traditional life insurance policy. Even if the conviction happened over ten years ago and you’ve served your time, traditional life insurance providers will deny you coverage.

Serious crimes include but are not limited to murder, rape, acts of terrorism, and in some cases, drug manufacturing, and trafficking.

If you are in this situation, your only options are to purchase guaranteed issue life insurance or an accidental death policy. A guaranteed issue life insurance policy for felons will be more expensive than traditional policies.

Usually, it has a smaller death benefit, around $25,000 in total. You must pay your premium on time to maintain this type of policy.

There also may be a graded benefit associated with your guaranteed issue life insurance policy. A graded benefit means there will be a waiting period, usually of 24 months.

If you were to pass during the first 24 months of your policy, your beneficiary will only receive a refund for the premiums you’ve paid on the policy. If you pass after the waiting period is over, your beneficiary will receive the full death benefit.

An accidental death policy is technically different from a standard life insurance policy because death by natural causes or illness will not be covered. However, death by a motor vehicle crash, a slip and fall, or other fatal accidents will be covered. Rates for accidental death insurance is usually lower than other types of life insurance.

What if I am currently being charged with a felony and want life insurance?

If you are currently being charged with a felony, you should put your life insurance plans on hold until after the charges have been declared and the trial is over.

If you are found guilty and face jail time, do not apply for life insurance until you’ve served your full sentence. Traditional life insurance underwriters will perform a background check and will see the timeline associated with your crime and conviction. It’s better to wait until 5 years after you’ve been released from jail before you apply for a traditional life insurance policy.

At that time, if you are healthy and have maintained good behavior, you might qualify for the standard rates for life insurance.

However, if your crime is one of the serious offenses mentioned above, then a guaranteed issue policy or accidental death life insurance policy will be the best and only options for you.

You are now prepared to find affordable life insurance for felons. Depending on the severity of the crime, your options might be limited. However, the right life insurance policy is out there, and you’re ready to find.

Find out how much life insurance for prisoners will cost you by entering your five-digit ZIP code into our FREE quote tool below, and start comparing life insurance quotes for felons.

Which life insurance company for felons is for you? Find out now.

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