Will a criminal record affect my auto insurance?

Auto insurance companies do background checks and a criminal record will affect your auto insurance rates. You may need special insurance for high-risk drivers. Criminal charges like a DUI will raise your rates an average of $1,795, or $149 a month.

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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
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UPDATED: Jul 3, 2020

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Things to Remember...

  • Insurance companies look at credit reports and criminal records
  • Criminal records provide the companies with a greater look-back period than standard driving records
  • In general, felons will pay higher insurance rates than people with clean criminal records

Will a criminal record affect my auto insurance? A criminal conviction can have a lasting effect on your life. In addition to making it harder to find a job, you may find that certain living expenses also become more costly. Most drivers wonder, though, can insurance companies find out about convictions? The answer is yes.

Due to the perceived higher risk you represent to insurers, you can expect that you’ll face higher rates on your car or truck. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to find cheap auto insurance.

Start by comparison shopping to find cheap auto insurance for people with criminal convictions. Enter your ZIP code above and find the best insurance for convicted drivers.

Criminal Record and Auto Insurance Rates

Do criminal convictions affect auto insurance? Absolutely. One of the most common criminal records that will affect auto insurance rates is a DUI charge. Take a look at the table below to see how much companies will raise rates for just one DUI charge.

DUI Auto Insurance Rates
CompanyRates with Clean recordRates With 1 DUIPrice Increase
Allstate$3,819.90$6,260.73$2,440.83
American Family$2,693.61$4,330.24$1,636.63
Farmers$3,460.60$4,718.75$1,258.15
GEICO$2,145.96$4,875.87$2,729.91
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$7,613.48$2,839.18
Nationwide$2,746.18$4,543.20$1,797.02
Progressive$3,393.09$3,969.65$576.56
State Farm$2,821.18$3,636.80$815.62
Travelers$3,447.69$5,741.40$2,293.71
USAA$1,933.68$3,506.03$1,572.35
Average$3,123.62$4,919.62$1,795.99
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Auto insurance for drink driving offenders can be expensive. On average, your rates will increase by $1,795, or $149 a month. Read on to learn about can insurance companies find out about convictions.

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How Insurance Companies Check Driving and Criminal Records

How do auto insurance companies check your driving record? Insurers will use your driver’s license to pull a full motor vehicle driving report. When setting rates, insurance companies look for particular information on your driving record.

This brings us to the real question, do auto insurance companies look at criminal records? In addition to reviewing your driving record, insurers may also look for a criminal record. A criminal record will shed light on criminal traffic offenses, including:

  • Hit-and-run charges
  • Reckless driving citations
  • DUIs

These types of charges may disappear from your driving record after three to five years, but they will remain on your criminal record for a much longer period.

Charges that did not result in a conviction will not appear on the driving record, but they could still show up on other searches.

If you’re concerned about this, then you may want to do your own search of public records to see what type of information appears.

Duration of Criminal Records

In some states, felony convictions can remain on your record for a long time — unless there are expunction or non-disclosure rules on your drunk driving conviction.

In many states, insurance companies can easily access this information to take a closer look at your past. The table below shows how long a DUI charge will stay on your record, as well as the classification of the crime.

Drunk Driving Laws by State
StateCriminal Status by OffenseFormal Name for OffenseLook Back Period/Washout Period
Alabama1st-3rd misdemeanors, 4th+ in 5 years class C felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)5 years
Alaska1st-2nd class A misdemeanors, 3rd+ in 10 years class C felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI) / Operating Under the Influence (OUI)15 years
Arizona1st-2nd class 1 misdemeanor, 3rd+ class 4 felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)7 years
Arkansas4th+ within 5 years is a felony. (otherwise unclassified)Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)5 years
CaliforniaNon-injury DUI are misdemeanors. 4th+ felony if offender sentenced to incarceration in state prison.Driving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Colorado1st-3rd misdemeanors, 4th+ class 4 felony.Driving Under the Influence (DUI)no official period
Connecticut1st misdemeanor, 2+ within 10 years felonies.Driving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Delaware1st-2nd unclassified misdemeanors, 3rd class G felony, 4th-5th class E felonies, 6th class D felony, 7th class C felony.Driving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years for 2nd offense, unlimited/lifetime for 3rd+
Florida1st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ within 10 years is 3rd degree felony.Driving Under the Influence (DUI)10 year for 3rd offense, unlimited/lifetime for 4th+
Georgia1st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd high and aggravated misdemeanor, 4th+ felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Hawaii1st-3rd petty misdemeanors, 4th+ class C felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI) / Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant (OVUII)5 years
Idaho1st-2nd misdemeanors, 2nd or subsequent with BAC > 0.20 felony, 3rd+ felony. DUI with bodily harm or disfigurment is felony.Driving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years for DUI, 5 years for HBAC
Illinois1st-2nd class A misdemeaor, 3rd-4th class 2 felony, 5th class 1 felony, 6th+ class X felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Indiana1st class C misdemeanor, 1st High BAC class A misdemeanor; subsequent convictions within 5 years class D felonyOperating While Intoxicated (OWI)5 years
Iowa1st serious misdemeanor, 2nd aggravated misdemeanor, 3rd+ class D felonyOperating While Intoxicated (OWI)12 years
Kansas1st class B non-person misdemeanor, 2nd class A non-person misdemeanor, 3rd+ non-person felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Kentucky1st class B misdemeanor, 2nd-3rd within 5 years class A misdemeanors, 4th+ class D felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Louisiana1st-2nd not classified, 3rd either misdemeanor or felony, 4th felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Maine1st-2nd class D crime, 3rd+ within 10 years class C crimesOperating Under the Influence (OUI)10 years
Marylandall misdemeanorsDriving Under the Influence (DUI)5 years
Massachusetts1st-2nd unclassified, 3rd+ feloniesOperating Under the Influence (OUI)unlimited/lifetime
Michigan1st-2nd unclassified, 3rd+ feloniesOperating While Intoxicated (OWI)7 years for 2nd offense, unlimited/lifetime for 3rd+
Minnesota4th degree offense w/no aggravating factors is misdemeanor; 3rd degree offense w/one aggravating factor is gross misdemeanor; 2nd degree offense w/two aggravating factors is gross misdemeanor; 1st degree offense w/3+ aggravating factors is felony (Aggravating Factors: 1) any prior drunken driving offense 2) driving with BAC > 0.19 3) driving w/passenger <16 yo if passenger is more than 36 months younger than driverDriving While Impaired (DWI)10 years
Mississippi1st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ felonies with 4th automatic felony carrying 2-10 yrs. in prisonDriving Under the Influence (DUI)5 years
Missouri1st intoxication offense class B misdemeanor, first per se offense class C misdemeanor, 2nd class A misdemeanors, 3rd class D felony, 4th+ class C felonyDriving While Intoxicated (DWI)5 years
Montana1st-3rd misdemeanors, 4th+ feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years for 2nd offense, unlimited/lifetime for 3rd+
Nebraska1st-3rd w/in 15 years class W misdemeanors, 4th w/in 15 years class IIIA felony, 5th+ w/in 15 years class III felonies, Injury related DUI class IIIA felony. If driver with prior felony conviction with BAC >0.15 caught driving with BAC >0.02, class IIIA misdemeanor in addition to any other penalties.Driving Under the Influence (DUI)15 years
Nevada1st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ in 7 years category B feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)7 years
New Hampshire1st class B misdemeanor, 2nd-3rd non-injury Class A misdemeanors, 4th+non-injury felony, DUI with serious bodily injury class B felonyDriving While Intoxicated (DWI)10 years
New Jerseydrunken driving is a "violation" not a "crime"Driving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
New Mexico1st-3rd not classified, 4th-5th fourth degree felony, 6th+ third degree felonyDriving While Impaired (DWI)unlimited/lifetime
New YorkDWAI:1st traffic violation, 2nd+ misdemeanors; DWI: 1st misdemeanor, 2nd in 10 years class E felony, 3rd+ in 10 years class D felonyDriving While Intoxicated (DWI); High BAC Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated (ADWI)10 years for 2nd offense, 15 years for 3rd+
North Carolina1st-3rd classified as level 1-5 based on sentence length, 4th+ class F felonyDriving While Impaired (DWI)7 years
North Dakota1st and 2nd offense within 7 years are class B misdemeanors. 3rd offense within 7 years is a Class A misdemeanor. 4th and subsequent offenses within 15 years are Class C felonies.Driving Under the Influence (DUI)7 years
Ohio1st-2nd first degree misdemeanors, 3rd misdemeanor, 4th in 6 years fourth degree felony, + in any time period third degree felonyOperating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI)10 years
Oklahoma1st misdemeanor, 2nd+ in 10 years feloniesDriving While Intoxicated (DWI)10 years
Oregon1st-3rd class A misdemeanors, 4th+ class C feloniesDriving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII)10 years
Pennsylvania1st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ second degree misdemeanorsDriving After Imbibing (DAI)10 years
Rhode Island1st-2nd non-injury misdemeanors, 3rd+ non-injury felony. DUI w/serious bodily injury is felony.Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)5 years
South Carolina1st misdemeanor, 2nd in 10 years class C misdemeanor, 3rd in 10 years class A misdemeanor, 4th+ in 10 years class F felonies.Driving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
South Dakota1st-2nd class 1 misdemeanors, 3rd in 10 years class 6 felony, 4th in 10 years class 5 felony, 5th+ class 4 feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Tennessee1st-3rd class A misdemeanors, 4th+ in 10 years class E felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Texas1st class B misdemeanor, 2nd in 5 years class A misdemeanor, 3rd+ third degree feoniesDriving While Intoxicated (DWI)unlimited/lifetime for sentencing; 5 years for 2nd+ when determining need for IID
Utah1st-2nd class B misdemeanors, 3rd+ in 10 years third degree feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Vermont1st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)unlimited/lifetime
Virginia1st-2nd class 1 misdemeanors, 3rd+ in 10 years class 6 felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Washington1st-4th gross misdemeanor, 5th+ class B felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)7 years
West Virginia1st-2nd misdemeanors, 3rd+ in 10 years feloniesDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Wisconsin1st municipal offense, 2nd-3rd misdemeanors, 4th in 5 years and 5th-6th anytime class H felony, 7th-9th class G felony, 10th+ class F felonyOperating While Intoxicated (OWI)10 years
Wyoming1st-3rd non-injury misdemeanor, 4th+ non-injury in 10 years felony, serious injury DUI is felonyDriving Under the Influence (DUI)10 years
Washington DCall are misdemeanorsDriving Under the Influence (DUI)15 years
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How far back does auto insurance look? Most companies follow a standard auto insurance look-back period where they will review this period more carefully to get a better feel for your current habits and risk level.

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Definition of a Criminal Conviction

Insurance companies can look at all types of criminal convictions, so it’s important for you to know the actual definition of a conviction.

There are three different stages that you’ll move through as part of criminal proceedings. You may be:

  • Charged with a crime
  • Placed under arrest in association with the charges
  • Convicted by a jury of your peers

When it comes to your criminal record and insurance companies, any court hearings can appear on your record. You should be aware of how to check an auto criminal record, as this can affect your rate.

Even if you’re charged with DUI but found not guilty, the information may still appear on your criminal record.

How a DUI impacts your auto insurance is difficult to say, but the fact is that the insurance company can still find out that you were suspected and accused of driving while intoxicated.

This information would not be available on the driving record, but it may appear on the criminal records. You can visit your local police station to acquire a copy of an auto criminal record.

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Insurance Companies and High-Risk Drivers

Insurance companies are in business to make money, so they take the time to assess risk levels carefully. People with a criminal record are viewed as a higher risk, so they’re going to face higher insurance rates.

The conviction is viewed as evidence that you’ll engage in irresponsible behavior.

In some cases, the criminal record can even result in complete denial of insurance. As long as the information appears on your public record, the insurance companies can use it against you.

Your insurance rates can also be driven up by the criminal records of people around you.

If you reside in a high-crime area, then your insurance company may mitigate their risk by charging you higher rates.

Specifically, you can expect your comprehensive coverage fees to rise if you live in an area that sees a good deal of crime. You can overcome this problem to some extent by shopping around for a company that will provide you with the best rates.

Expunging a Record

Once you’ve served your sentence, it may be possible to have your criminal record expunged. The laws vary from one state to the next, but the goal with an expungement is to wipe the record clean so that you can say you have never been convicted of a criminal offense.

It’s a chance for a fresh start, and it can also lead to lower insurance rates for you when you’re shopping around for a new provider.

Before you sign with a company, take the time to look at other quotes. Felons face an uphill battle in many areas, including the cost of insurance. However, there is hope for bringing your rates down and making them more affordable.

Frequently Asked Questions: Criminal Records and Auto Insurance

Keep reading to find answers to commonly asked questions about auto insurance and criminal records.

What is Look! auto insurance?

Look! insurance agency is a company that specializes in high-risk insurance in Michigan. However, don’t just pick a company because it specializes in high-risk insurance. Make sure to shop around to ensure you are finding cheap auto insurance with convictions.

Can I be an insurance agent with a felony?

People can not apply for an insurance license if they are convicted of a first-degree felony, capital felony, or any felony that involved money (such as laundering).

Is a driving conviction a criminal conviction?

It depends upon the driving conviction. A speeding ticket won’t count as a criminal conviction, but a reckless driving charge or DUI will count as a criminal conviction.

Can you get house insurance with a criminal conviction?

Yes, it is possible to get home insurance for those with criminal convictions. Like auto insurance, home insurance will be more expensive for convicted criminals.

Are there insurance companies for banned drivers?

There are insurance companies that offer high-risk auto insurance for disqualified drivers who were banned from driving for a period of time. Keep in mind that while you are banned from driving, you won’t need auto insurance if you aren’t driving.

Compare at least three to four policies today to find the most affordable auto insurance for criminal convictions. Enter your ZIP code below to begin.

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