Will a criminal record affect car insurance?

Someone with a criminal conviction is considered high-risk by car insurance companies and may be charged higher insurance rates. Find cheap car insurance online and save.

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UPDATED: May 4, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: May 4, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you should know...

  • Car insurance companies may increase their rates if you are determined to be high-risk
  • People with criminal records are viewed as reckless and irresponsible
  • Lying on your insurance application about your criminal record could come with consequences

A criminal record may or may not have a negative impact on your car insurance, depending on what you’ve been convicted of in the past.

Some insurance companies will not cover someone with a criminal record and others may increase the rates.

Shopping for free car insurance quotes? We can help. Just enter your zip code above and we’ll send you local quotes from top insurance providers today!

What do car insurance companies use to determine rates?

Gone are the days when insurance rates were based on your age and driving record only. Now insurance companies look at very specific information when determining car insurance rates.

Here are a few factors that insurance companies take into consideration:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Credit history
  • Location

It is in the insurance companies’ best interest to minimize risk and maximize financial gain.

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Why does a criminal record matter?

Car insurance companies take criminal records very seriously. Someone who has been previously convicted of a hit-and-run crime or a DUI is considered a high-risk customer.

A conviction increases the likelihood that you will involve yourself in reckless behavior in the future.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, over one-third of DUI convictions are repeat offenders.

This is why many insurance companies are leery of taking high-risk customers under their wing, and if they do, the individual is certainly going to face higher rates.

The National Driver Register contains records of those who are considered “problem drivers.”

Your state’s DMV is required to report if you have ever had your driving privileges:

  • Suspended
  • Revoked
  • Cancelled
  • Denied

The records stay on the list as long as your state’s record keeping requirements require.

If you would like to find out if you are on the list, you can send a notarized letter addressed to the National Driver Register requesting a check on your name.

How do I apply for insurance with a criminal record?

On most car insurance applications, you will see a question that asks if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. Whatever you do, don’t lie about it.

Sure you may end up having to pay more for insurance, but if you ever get into an accident and the insurance company finds out that you lied on the application, they may have grounds to dismiss your claim.

Lying on an insurance application is considered insurance fraud.

Insurance companies have a standard lookback period. Depending on where you live, it’s usually a standard 5-year period.

However, if you live in Massachusetts, they can look back up to 10 years on your criminal record.

While reviewing your lookback period, the insurer will most likely consider traffic citations, vehicular crimes, and even accident reports.

Serious offenses such as DUI convictions or vehicular manslaughter could double the cost of your premium.

What kind of insurance should I get if I have a criminal record?

There are the types of car insurance coverage that make up a basic car insurance policy:

  • Bodily Injury Liability
  • Property Damage Liability
  • Personal Injury Protection
  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Uninsured or Underinsured

This list does not mean that you are required to have all of these. If you are concerned about the high costs of insurance associated with a criminal record, then you may consider only purchasing what coverage you actually need.

Of course, you must meet your specific state’s minimum car insurance requirements first.

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How can I get rid of my criminal record?

The good news is there may be a way to clean up your record. While your record won’t disappear entirely from the face of the earth, it will no longer be available to the general public.

It’s important to note that each state has its own requirements for expunging a record.

It is in your best interest to hire a criminal attorney who knows all the ins and outs of the law. Legal counsel can help you determine if your case is eligible for expungement; they can also represent you and help you with filing all court-related documents.

Most importantly, they can plead your best possible case in front of the judge.

An expunged record means a fresh new start. With your records locked away in a vault somewhere, you can now say that you have never been convicted of a crime.

Another benefit is car insurance rates will be much lower than with a conviction on your record.

Before you choose a car insurance company, be sure to shop around. Just because one company doesn’t offer insurance to high-risk customers doesn’t mean that you won’t find one who will.

Comparing multiple quotes will help you determine the best coverage for the best rate. Just enter your zip code into our free search box and find the best policy for you today!

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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