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Depending on why you were convicted, a felony can have a major implications on your car insurance quote.
The answer depends on the circumstances surrounding your conviction — namely, the type of felony of which you were found guilty. If you were convicted of vehicular manslaughter or felony DUI, you might have difficulty finding car insurance. If you were convicted of something completely unrelated to driving, you might still be penalized indirectly.
For the purposes of car insurance, felonies fall into two primary categories: driving-related and non-driving violations. An offense involving a vehicle will typically impact your ability to find a car insurance policy — and your rates — more than will a non-driving violation.
If you are convicted of a driving-related felony, expect some serious insurance implications. "Driving-related felonies” includes the following convictions:
These matter to an insurance provider because their business model depends on predicting and avoiding risk. Auto insurance companies see a potential customer who has been convicted of vehicular manslaughter or several DUIs as too risky to insure. The chances of paying out a large bodily injury claim or being sued for damages make issuing a policy to a driver with a driving felony an unwise investment.
An insurance company can deny you a policy due to the risks associated with your driving history. In most cases, you won't have recourse against the company. Insurance companies are allowed by law to select to whom they will or will not provide coverage.
If your driving profile isn’t deemed risky enough to be denied coverage, your policy can still be affected. In order to decrease the risk presented by covering your vehicle, a carrier may quote a higher premium than it would for a less risky driver. While the rates below take into account one charge — perhaps not as significant as a felony offense — you can see how legal violations can impact car insurance rates.
|Violation Type||Average Annual Premium|
|Driving with a Suspended License||$2,103|
Because insurance companies do not run criminal background checks, a non-driving-related offense will not directly impact your premium. However, your premium can be affected indirectly if one of the rating factors used to calculate your premium changed as a result of your imprisonment. The factors that can lead to elevated premiums include lapses in insurance coverage or changes to your credit score.
If you did not maintain an active car insurance policy during your time in prison — an understandable circumstance — insurance companies may see a lapse in coverage, resulting in higher premiums. While not as costly as a driving-related offense, a gap in coverage is still viewed as an indicator of risk.
|Months with Prior Carrier||Average Annual Premium|
The average difference between having no coverage before requesting a quote (0 months with previous car insurance company) and 12 months of coverage is more than $1,500 per year. Depending the duration of your incarceration, this could lead to significantly higher auto insurance rates.
Another way in which your premium could be impacted is if your credit score dropped. Credit is a major rating factor used to determine your premium. Historical data show drivers with poor credit file more claims — and more costly claims — than do drivers with high credit. Insurance companies will raise premiums to offset this risk.
|FICO Credit Tier||Average Annual Premium|
|Very Poor (300-579)||$2,687|
|Very Good (740-799)||$1,495|
If you were found guilty of a driving offense, finding car insurance can be difficult and expensive. Your best option is to assess as many companies as possible. Consider non-standard companies, which might be less likely to deny coverage. Another option to keep in mind is "Assigned Risk Car Insurance." This policy covers drivers who have been denied insurance from multiple providers. Assigned Risk insurance is state-specific, so consult your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles page for information.
Consider assigned risk insurance as a last resort. It is generally very expensive. You will need to show proof of denied coverage from other insurance companies to qualify for an assigned risk policy. If you’re interested in seeing what is available or need to qualify for an assigned risk policy, enter your zip code below to compare car insurance premiums from popular standard and non-standard companies!
Still got questions? See our related articles below:
In 2017, The Zebra conducted comprehensive auto insurance pricing analysis using its proprietary quote engine, including data from insurance rating platforms and public rate filings. The Zebra examined nearly 53 million rates to assess trends for auto insurance rating factors across the United States, including Washington, DC.
Analysis used a consistent base profile for the insured driver: a 30-year-old single male driving a 2013 Honda Accord EX with a good driving history and coverage limits of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person/$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident/$50,000 property damage liability per accident with a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision. For coverage level data, optional coverage — that must be rejected in writing — is included where applicable, including uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection (PIP).
National property and casualty losses information is from the Insurance Information Institute and the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters report.
For vehicle make and model data, analysis referenced the most popular vehicles in the U.S. by 2016 year-end sales according to goodcarbadcar.net’s automakers’ data.
Finally, some rate data may vary slightly throughout report based on rounding.