Do auto insurance companies check police records?

Insurance companies do run background checks on most people who apply for insurance. If you have a record and get a policy, expect to pay much higher premiums.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 26, 2022

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Things to remember...

  • Insurance companies do run background checks on most people who apply for insurance
  • They have to protect their level of loss and criminal behavior is a big risk
  • Prove yourself by showing documentation of improvement or rehabilitation if you are in this situation
  • Look for insurers who are willing to take on the risk and give you a chance to prove yourself

When looking for car insurance, one question some people ask is whether car insurance companies check police records. There are many reasons people worry about this.

Perhaps they had a DUI years ago, and they wonder whether this could influence their acceptance or rates with a car insurance company. They may have a record due to something they did in their past and wonder what they can do.

The short answer to this is, “yes.” Car insurance companies do check police records because convicted felons tend to be at a much higher level of risk for accidents.

This risk is proven with various statistics regarding people with a criminal record, even when the person has rehabilitated or seems to have shaken off their former bad habits that got them into the situation in the first place.

Compare car insurance rates today to find out how much you could save on the coverage you need.

High-Risk Factors for Car Insurance

The following are some of the riskiest factors that insurers consider when granting insurance policies and determining your rates.

  • Dangerous or violent criminals – Dangerous or violent offenders are more dangerous on the road, and there is a possibility that they could use their vehicle for criminal behavior that endangers the welfare of others including both pedestrians and other drivers.
  • DUIs (more than one, especially) – DUIs (especially repeated offenses) are a red flag to insurance companies. They tend to prefer people who have never had a DUI, but one is different than two or more. Once a person gets a second DUI, the tendency is to believe that the person has developed a pattern for this offense.
  • Serious crimes such as kidnapping or abduction charges – Some of the most concerning crimes from an insurer’s perspective are those which involve the endangerment of others.
  • Reckless or unpredictable driving – A criminal record also indicates that you may be a risk for reckless driving or unpredictable driving patterns that may put yourself or others at higher risk. This may result in much higher premiums due to your past behavior.

As you can see, insurance companies do not like to insure people who are convicted felons. You are a much higher risk to yourself and those around you when you have engaged in criminal behavior in the past.

Even if your crimes had nothing to do with vehicular crimes or kidnapping, insurance companies still view you as a higher risk.

The result of this view is that they may not insure you at all if they feel you are too high of a risk to take. If you get denied for coverage with the company you are applying for, apply for another company instead.

If they do accept you, you can expect to pay much higher premiums than someone who does not have a criminal record or who has had no DUIs.

Misdemeanors such as speeding tickets or other infractions do not count as a criminal offense in most cases.


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Applying for High-Risk Auto Insurance Coverage

One thing you can do if you are denied by the main company is to ask if there is a high-risk insurance department within your company of choice.

High-risk insurance (sometimes called an indemnity company) is willing to take on higher risk drivers than those who are on the normal insurance plans.

If no such situation is available within that company, shop around some more until you find one. There are companies who are willing to take on the risk of having a driver who has a criminal record as long as you are legal to drive and have legal proof of this.

If you do have a police record, you may be asked to provide some proof of your rehabilitation.

This proof may be in the form of court documents stating that you are legal to drive.

It may be a court order for counseling services or rehabilitative services, showing that are seeking help for your behavior.

A letter from your attorney or counselor may suffice to show what you are doing to improve yourself and your behaviors that got you into trouble before.

Any of these documents will go in your favor because they show that you are doing everything you can to improve yourself and to lower the risk to others due to your former violation of the law.

From This Day Forward

The truth is that no one can do anything about their past. But you can do something about the future. If you can get car insurance (which is the law), be thankful and use this opportunity to vow to never get into the bad situation that you did before.

Promise yourself that you will do everything within the law from that day forward and that you will not even get a parking ticket. The more you can get away from racking up points on your insurance; the lower your premium will be.

Give it Time

Over time, you will see your rates start to drop somewhat, once you have proven that you can be trusted again.

Make sure that you have the minimum requirement state coverages and that you carefully consider some of the optional coverages such as comprehensive or collision to cover your car.

If you do not have a felony record, good for you! Maybe you just want to know what the criminal background check will reveal about you.

Remember that credit card debts or any other civil issues you may have had are not crimes and these will not show up on your record.

As long as you have no criminal offenses, you will come out clean. If you are in this situation, congratulations. You will likely get the best rates available for your class once your age, driving record, and other information is factored in.

You can search specifically for high-risk insurance online to compare policies and prices. You will most likely find multiple companies willing to insure you, giving you the opportunity to decide on your best option. Enter your zip code here to begin your search now.



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