Drunk Driving and
It's Impact on Life Insurance

By now you've probably seen Budweiser's adorable, positive anti-drunk driving commercial featuring the Budweiser puppy. If not, watch here for another great episode from Budweiser:

As Budweiser points out, when you drink and drive, you can leave your loved ones behind.  This also impacts your ability to get life insurance, and provide for your family if something were to happen to you.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before the next time you plan on going out drinking with friends. This information should remind you to remember those you may  leave behind, and what you can do to help them if something traumatic were to happen:

Why does DUI – DWI
Affect Life insurance?

When you apply for life insurance, it isn’t just your health history that the insurance company is looking at. They are also looking at behavioral factors, which includes potentially dangerous hobbies, a history of injuries, and prior episodes of drug and alcohol abuse. They will also look closely at you criminal background and driving histories, as these are indications of potential substance abuse sufficiently severe that law enforcement had become involved.

DUI – DWI comes under this category. It is substance abuse in combination with the operation of a motor vehicle, and this represents a high level risk factor. The insurance company must consider the possibility that premature death is greater if there have been one or more episodes of DUI – DWI.

Can I purchase
Life Insurance After a DUI?

A couple factors your underwriter would take into consideration are how often you drink now and your GGT (Gamma Glutamyl Transferase) levels from your blood profile. There is a question on every life insurance application that asks how often you drink alcoholic beverages, what type, and how many ounces. Normally, if you say that you have a glass of wine 5 times per week with dinner, that’s fine, but if you once had a DUI, that could be a red flag for the underwriter.

Then from the blood work, they do a GGTP test, which measures the level of irritation in the liver. If you take a lot of medication or drink a lot, your GGT level may be elevated. According to, normal levels are from 2-65 U/L. If your number is above 65 and you had a DUI, your underwriter could look at that as an indication that you drink more than you are owning up to on the application. Then he/she would most likely order a CDT. If that is positive, you’ll be declined.

But if your DUI was a one time incident more than 5 years ago and you rarely drink now, you should still qualify for the best rates with most carriers. There are a handful of carriers who won’t allow a DUI in the last 10 years, such as Minnesota Life and Lincoln Benefit. Stay away from these two carriers if your DUI was between 5-10 years ago. AXA is another super stringent carrier on this issue.

Will I be Declined
Because of My DUI?

Most insurance carriers stipulate that if you have had a DUI or DWI in the past 5 years, you cannot qualify for their best health ratings, such as preferred elite or super preferred, or preferred. Some examples of these carriers are American General, Banner Life, Genworth, ING, West Coast Life, and Met Life. If your DUI or DWI was more than 5 years ago, however, it will be overlooked, so long as all signs point to you being a responsible person who doesn’t abuse alcohol.

DUI – DWI and
Life Insurance Rates?

In order to deal with the increased risk that DUI – DWI poses for insurance companies, your life insurance premium rates will be adjusted accordingly. If you have had a previous episode, rates will be based on the following:

  • The number of DUI – DWI events in your past
  • The severity of those events
  • How recent the last episode was
  • Any efforts at rehabilitation since the last occurrence

Obviously, the more recent and more frequent the episodes are, the higher the premium rates will be. A recent episode, in combination with one or more previous events, could result in prohibitively high life insurance premiums.

For more information about
DUI-DWI's impact on
Life Insurance, contact your
local insurance representative.

*Source: Why Does DUI - DWI Affect Life Insurance?; DUI- DWI and life insurance rates, term life insurance saver- Kevin Mercadance

*Source: Can I purchase Life Insurance After A DUI?; Will I Be Declined Because of My DUI?, How a DUI Affects Your Ability to Get Life Insurance, Huntley Wealth Insurance Agency, Chris Huntley