I have vivid memories of a DUI accident that I witnessed when I was in my 20’s. 30 years later I can still feel the disbelief that flooded my brain that day as I was crossing the Montana border going north on a four lane highway. I was in the right lane and a semi was in the left lane, side by side northbound, and suddenly, from nowhere came a pickup. He was on our side of the four lane and headed straight toward us, fast. In a few quick seconds I veered off the right side of the road and he hit the semi head on.
I jumped from my car and ran to his truck. The semi driver was dazed but not hurt. As I got to the truck this guy fell out of the door, got up, looked me straight in the face and asked if I could give him a ride home. He had no idea what had just happened.
It happens that way a lot. The person who is blasted out of there mind walks away. Far too many times the people on the other end of the accident don’t. Several years later a friend lost his wife and three children to a drunk driver in New Mexico who was driving the wrong way on the interstate with no lights on. The drunk walked away without a scratch. My friend lost everything that was important to him.
Over half of the traffic fatalities in the US last year were alcohol or drug related. Most of those deaths were not the people on alcohol and drugs.
So, why do life insurance underwriters worry about DUI, and specifically multiple DUI’s? Primarily because it shows a reckless disregard for your own life and for the lives of others. There are two mortality issues they look at. Will you kill yourself in an accident and if you kill someone else, will you die while in prison where the mortality experience is substantially shorter than on the outside.
Most companies, as long as a person responds properly, will allow good rates after a period of time after one DUI. Multiple DUI’s is a different story. If a person has two, they can expect to be required to be sober and attending AA for years before they will be considered for life insurance even at high rates. Three or more and you can just forget about life insurance.
I was looking for statistics about DUI deaths and came across an on line ad for Total DUI, DUI Attorney’s Nationwide. I would offer a link to their website so you could read this one paragraph yourself, but they were advertising how to beat DUI charges, so I will just offer this graphic example of what I have been talking about.
“After 11 previous drunken driving offenses, James Cline of Geauga County was driving his girlfriend’s truck without a license when he killed 18-year-olds Andrew Hopkins and Grace Chamberlain last March. Cline was later sentenced to 38 years in prison for the fatal car accident. Both victims were students at Hiram College, a small liberal arts college in Northeast Ohio.”
Bottom line. People who drink and drive scare underwriters. People who don’t learn from their first DUI conviction really scare underwriters. People like the guy above should scare everyone. How can someone like that be allowed to keep on driving until he kills people?
This post is somewhat dated. Life insurance underwriting is changing and evolving continually. For more updated information check out some of the key word links. If you have a specific question or topic you need information for do a search. If you don’t find the answers you need contact me and we’ll make sure you get the information that is important to you.