Does a Felony Affect Your Car Insurance?

Depending on why you were convicted, a felony can have a major implications on your car insurance quote.
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Ava Lynch

Insurance Analyst

  • 7+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior insurance contributor, providing insights and data a…

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Kristine Lee

Insurance Analyst

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty
  • 4+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a…

Can you get car insurance with a felony on your record?

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.

Does a felony affect car insurance rates?

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.

Driving-related felonies

If you are convicted of a driving-related felony, expect some serious insurance implications. "Driving-related felonies” includes the following convictions:

    • Vehicular homicide/manslaughter
    • Repeat DUIs or multiple DUI convictions
    • Repeat traffic offenses, such as reckless driving or driving without a license
    • Certain hit-and-run offenses

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.

Accident/Violation Avg. Annual Premium
None $1,759
Reckless driving $3,187
Driving with a suspended license $3,195
Racing $3,291
DUI $3,441

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool data methodology

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool for home and auto insurance rates utilizes the latest ZIP code-level rate filings from across the U.S., sourced from Quadrant Information Services and S&P Global. These filings, typically updated annually or biennially by insurers, are verified through Quadrant’s QA process and then integrated into The Zebra’s estimator.

The displayed rates are based on a dynamic home and auto profile designed to reflect the content of the page. This profile is tailored to match specific factors such as age, location, and coverage level, which are adjusted based on the page content to show how these variables can impact premiums.

For a comprehensive understanding, see our detailed methodology.

Non-driving felonies

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
0 $4,086
6 $1,509
12 $2,532
24 $4,970
36 $1,524
60 $1,409

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.

Credit Tier Avg. Annual Premium
Poor $3,147
Fair $2,071
Good $1,760
Very Good $1,627
Excellent $1,506

Where to buy car insurance after a felony

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!

Compare quotes from over 100 providers.

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.