Will a criminal record affect my car insurance?

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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

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.

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 bring your rates back down.

Start by comparison shopping! Enter your ZIP code above and find the best auto insurance rates for you!

Insurance Companies are Looking for Specific Things

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When setting rates, insurance companies look for particular information. In addition to reviewing your driving record, they 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

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

In many states, insurance companies can easily access this information to take a closer look at your past.

Most companies follow a standard 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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The 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.

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

Whether this information will be used to charge you higher rates 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.

It’s All About Risk

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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 a 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.

An Expunged Record

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Once you’ve served your sentence, it may be possible to have your 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.

Compare at least three to four policies today to find the most affordable rates for you! Enter your ZIP code below to begin!

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