Is there auto insurance for the unemployed?

If you are unemployed and you don't drive your car much, you may qualify for a low mileage discount. The national average rate of auto insurance is $118/mo.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates...

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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...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 22, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • When you buy auto insurance, the insurance company will review the information that you provide to assign you to a rate class
  • Some of the rating factors that can affect your rates include age, driving experience, credit-based insurance score, driving record, claims history, vehicle type, mileage, and driving habits. Rates are higher for individuals who are considered more likely to file a claim
  • While your occupation can qualify you for a credit with some insurers, the company won’t penalize you for being unemployed. Both working and unemployed drivers can qualify for preferred or standard auto insurance
  • Being unemployed can help you keep your rates down. Since you don’t use your vehicle to commute to and from the office, you will qualify for a pleasure usage rating
  • You may be able to keep your mileage low when you’re unemployed. If your annual mileage is below what the average vehicle is driven, you can lower your premiums by taking advantage of a low mileage discount

If you’re out of work, it’s difficult to qualify for things like auto loans or credit cards. Lenders and credit card issuers only offer credit to people who have a regular and reliable source of income.

While you might assume that auto insurers do the same, your employment status has little to do with your eligibility for coverage through any carrier.

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While being unemployed won’t affect your ability to qualify for preferred or standard auto insurance policies, it can have an impact on your rates.

You need to understand exactly how auto insurance rates are calculated and personalized when you’re shopping around for coverage.

Here’s how being unemployed might have an impact when you buy a policy:

Understand How Your Rates are Personalized


Auto insurance rates are personalized. This is why you, your friends, and your family members all pay very different premiums. Auto insurance carriers invest time and money into rate making. This helps the company determine how much they must charge to stay profitable.

This helps the company determine how much they must charge to stay profitable.

After rates are made, the company will use rating factors to come up with a custom price for the coverage that you select.

Each factor that’s used to personalize rates affects the policyholder’s probability of filing a claim based on what the statistics say. Some factors are beyond your control and others aren’t. Here are the most common rating factors used:

Here are the most common rating factors used:

  • Age, gender, and marital status
  • Occupation
  • Driving experience and driving record
  • Claim history for at-fault and non-fault claims
  • Mileage and driving habits
  • Vehicle usage (pleasure, commute, or business)
  • Garaging zip code and claims reported in the area
  • Credit-based insurance score (only used in some states)
  • Vehicle size, claims data, and safety features

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Your Employment Status Can’t Affect Your Ability to Buy Insurance

If an insurance company were to deny applications because their applicants were unemployed, the state regulating officials would penalize them.

Using someone’s employment status to qualify or rate a driver is discriminatory in nature. This is why there isn’t insurance specifically for someone who isn’t employed.

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Unemployment Can Directly Affect Some Rating Factors

Your employment status isn’t a rating factor, but if you go from employed to unemployed, there are a  few rating factors that can change.

Since your income will be limited, it’s nice to know that your rates can go down when some of these factors change. That’s because you may qualify for some new mileage and usage discounts.

When Your Annual Mileage Goes Down Your Premiums Can Go Down

Insurance companies have different mileage rating bands. The higher your annual mileage, the higher your premiums will be.

When you commute five days per week, you will accumulate miles over the weeks and months.

After you cut out that commute, your annual mileage will go down. If it goes down enough, you can qualify for a low mileage discount.

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When You’re Unemployed, Your Vehicle Usage Could Change


Your agent will ask you how you drive your vehicle regularly. It might sound like a silly question depending on how it’s phrased, but what they’re inquiring about is whether or not you commute to and from work or school.

There are three usage categories. These include pleasure, commute, and business use. If you go from driving as a commuter or for business, you’ll see your rates drop when you become a pleasure user.

If Your Credit Score Goes Down, Your Rates May Go Up

A majority of states allow insurance companies to look at your credit when calculating rates. The company uses insurance scores that are calculated by an agency like FICO or LexisNexis to grade a person’s credit.

While delinquencies and credit mix will affect your score, there are factors that can’t be reported. One of these factors is employment status. The company can raise your rates at renewal if your credit score has gone down.

Covering your regular bills can be difficult when you’re living on a limited income or no income at all. If you’re looking to lower your bills, it’s important to shop around for the best rates. Make sure to update your rating information, solicit quotes, and then you can lower your monthly budget to cover your car.

Enter your zip code below to access car insurance rates from multiple companies!

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