Can Auto Insurance Companies Deny Coverage to Felons?

Auto insurance companies can deny coverage to felons. With a felony charge, insurance companies will consider you a high-risk driver. If you have a felony charge, start comparison shopping for SR-22 auto insurance quotes to find affordable car insurance for felons. Enter your zip code below and compare now.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Insurance Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years Leslie Kasperowicz

UPDATED: Jun 6, 2022

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Auto Insurance Summary for High-Risk Drivers
High-Risk Driver SummaryFrom the Experts...
High risk drivers can be charged between 25 and 125 percent higher rates than average driversQuadrant Information Services
A DUI can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on your state, previous offense record, and other factorsNolo
High risk drivers who are unable to purchase insurance through traditional means may be able to obtain coverage through their state's high risk insurance programAIPSO
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Auto insurance companies have the right to and can choose from a number of reasons to deny auto insurance coverage to anyone they consider a high-risk driver. Car insurance for ex-offenders can be tricky but we’ve got you covered.

So does criminal record affect car insurance? Yes, but depending on the company this may mean a prohibitively high increase in rates, while in other cases it can mean auto insurance companies deny coverage to felons.

Auto insurance companies don’t have a specific prejudice against convicted felons. Instead, they have a prejudice against high-risk drivers. People with a felony tend to be higher-risk drivers than those without a felony. Thus, auto insurance companies might deny coverage or charge higher rates to felons.

To start looking for affordable rates, even with a felony, use your ZIP code to start comparing quotes today.

Auto Insurance for Convicted Felons

Now that we’ve laid the foundation by spending a few minutes discussing risk, what can contribute to you being considered a high risk driver, and why insurance companies care, we’ll turn our attention to obtaining insurance as a convicted felon. Keep reading to find out more.

Can my policy be cancelled because of my felony?

If you’ve recently been convicted of a felony, then you might receive a call from your insurance company informing you they have dropped your coverage, canceled you policy, or do not plan to renew it. As we’ve already discussed, insurance companies check criminal records, so eventually they’ll find out if you have a felony.

In some situations, people have a 30+ year driving history with no claims and no accidents. However, they get a single felony and their insurance policy is canceled—or becomes prohibitively expensive.

Fortunately, you’re not the only person in the world with a felony. If you’re trying to apply for car insurance with a felony, then you have a options available to ensure you remain covered.

How I purchase auto insurance with a felony?

Can you get car insurance with a felony?

If you have a felony but need car insurance (which is required in order to legally drive), then you’ll first need to shop around local insurance companies. Applying for a quote is always free. Keep in mind that some insurance companies specialize in covering low-risk drivers; these companies are unlikely to accept high risk drivers— which includes felons.

Other insurance companies specialize in covering high-risk drivers. These companies charge higher rates—but for some high-risk drivers, they’re the only option. If you’ve been denied by three or more “ordinary” car insurance providers, then you might consider looking at high-risk auto insurance.

How does high-risk auto insurance work for felons?

Auto insurance companies often deny coverage to felons. However, there’s a caveat: these companies are denying you standard insurance coverage.

Understanding basic auto insurance coverage is critical since it’s one of several insurance tiers. Most companies have two or three tiers of insurance coverage. There’s standard insurance coverage—which most people pay for—along with high-risk insurance coverage, which individuals perceived to have a higher driving risk will pay.

Most companies work on both tiers. Some companies do, however, specialize in high-risk auto insurance. As you might expect, these companies charge considerably higher rates than hybrid insurance companies or low-risk insurance companies.

Search for high-risk auto insurance in your state. Virtually every state has some type of high-risk auto insurance provider or program through which you should be able to purchase a policy, even if it is at higher rates. Remember, there are millions of felons in the United States. You’re not the only one dealing with this problem.

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How can state insurance providers help felons get insurance?

Some states have a vehicle insurance plan available to residents. These states solve a crucial problem in the market: states require drivers to have vehicle insurance, but some drivers (like felons and other high risk drivers) keep getting denied for coverage.

That’s where state car insurance providers can help. All states that legally require drivers to have car insurance also have programs to assist drivers with getting at least the minimum amount of car insurance.

These programs include state car insurance plans or “assigned risk plans.” Typically, you’ll need to meet certain requirements to qualify for these plans. Many states require you to have been denied coverage from at least three providers before qualifying, for example.

There’s a difference between state car insurance plans and “assigned risk plans:”

  • State Auto Insurance Plans: When you get coverage through a state auto insurance plan, your risk is shared between participating insurance companies.
  • Assigned Risk Plan: When you get coverage through an assigned risk plan, you’re assigned to a car insurance company that will provide you with your needed auto insurance coverage.

If you’re applying for car insurance as a felon, then these two plan types may be your best option. You can usually speak to any licensed insurance agent in your area to find out how to apply.

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Auto Insurance and High Risk Drivers

If you’re considered high risk, you may find it difficult to purchase auto insurance coverage. Companies may refuse to sell you a policy, or they might choose to drop your coverage. In other cases, they may choose to significantly increase your rates to balance out the risk level.

So what constitutes a high risk driver? How much can insurance rates increase if you’re high risk? How do companies determine risk level? This video may help.

Read through the next few sections to learn more.

What do insurance companies consider high risk?

With that in mind, here are some of the reasons you might be denied for auto insurance—whether you’re a felon or a high-risk driver for other reasons, which can include:

  • A DUI/DWI conviction or other serious traffic violations
  • One or multiple serious/injury-causing accidents
  • Several traffic violations
  • Poor credit rating
  • A history of insurance violations, including lapses in car insurance coverage
  • Owning a high-performance car

But how do car insurance companies find out if you have a felony conviction?

Can car insurance companies find out about convictions?

Do car insurance companies run background checks? Yes, insurance companies, like Geico, look into your background to help them determine the level of risk you present to them as a potential insured. This means if you’re wondering, do car insurance companies look at criminal records, the answer is yes. Companies look at your driving record, credit history, and criminal record as a part of your background check.

Can my car insurance coverage be canceled, denied, or my rates be increased if I’m high risk?

Car insurance companies can deny anyone who is considered a high-risk driver. Remember: the auto insurance company wants to make money from you. The best outcome for the insurance company is that you continue paying for your policy without ever making a claim. When an insurance company insures a high-risk driver, it significantly increases their chances of paying for a claim.

If they choose to keep you as a driver, your rates will likely increase. As an example of how increased risk can negatively affect your insurance rates, take a look at this table, populated with data from Quadrant, which focuses on driving record as the reason someone could be considered high risk.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates Based on Driving Record
Insurance CompaniesAverage Annual Rates with a Clean Driving RecordAverage Annual Rates with One AccidentAverage Annual Rates with One DUIAverage Annual Rates with One Speeding Ticket
State Farm$2,821.18$3,396.01$3,636.80$3,186.01
American Family$2,693.61$3,722.75$4,330.24$3,025.74
Liberty Mutual$4,774.30$6,204.78$7,613.48$5,701.26
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As the data in the table indicates, while different infractions result in different rate increases, the higher the risk you pose, the higher your rates will be.

The Bottom Line for Auto Insurance Coverage for Felons

Ultimately, there are millions of felons who drive every day in the United States. These felons have been able to find auto insurance. Yes, finding auto insurance as a felon is more difficult. Yes, auto insurance for felons is more expensive. However, it’s still a safer option than driving without car insurance as a felon, particularly since it’s legally required to maintain insurance coverage in order to drive in most states.

If you have a felony, then keep applying for car insurance in your area. If you keep getting denied, then start looking at high-risk insurance companies.

If you can’t find a high-risk insurance company at a reasonable rate, then consider looking for state insurance plans or assigned risk plans, which are state-level programs designed to assist drivers—including felons—who have been denied insurance coverage.

Frequently Asked Questions: Auto Insurance for Convicted Felons

Still have questions about auto insurance coverage for convicted felons? Read through these frequently asked questions to learn more.

Can a convicted felon sell insurance?

Can a felon work in insurance? It depends on the type of felony. Felonies in the first degree, capital felonies, and felonies involving financial services, fraud, embezzlement, or money laundering permanently disqualify individuals from becoming licensed insurance agents of any kind.

However, other felony types may not disqualify people from becoming insurance agents, though there may be a waiting period required before applying for an insurance license.

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Can felons start businesses?

There is nothing legal or otherwise stopping someone with a felony conviction from starting a business. However, there may be certain kinds of businesses that felons cannot own and certain types of licensing they may not be able to obtain with a record.

Does having a felony affect your credit?

You may asking “How does a felony affect your credit score?” According to Experian, your criminal record is not factored into your personal credit score. This means having a felony does not affect your credit score.

Before you go, find the most affordable rates available, even if you have a felony conviction. Start by using your ZIP code to start comparing quotes for auto insurance today.

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