Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 23, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • Persons with a criminal record may find their auto insurance rates to be higher
  • Lying on an auto insurance application could bring forth legal jeopardy
  • Competitive rates still may be accessible to someone with a criminal conviction

Purchasing a car insurance policy begins with seeking a price quote. Simply answering a few basic questions verbally or in writing may be all that is required to acquire a decent quote.

Paying a deposit or other type of initial payment is usually the one thing necessary to enact the policy. Questions posed when applying for a policy are fairly routine.

Asking a customer if he/she has filed any claims over the past few years or if he/she has been held liable for an accident are understandable.

Being asked about criminal convictions, however, might catch some by surprise. A person with a criminal record might be worried about how to answer such questions. In reality, the only way to answer the question is to be truthful.

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Requests for Information

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When seeking a quote for an insurance policy, a question may be asked about previous criminal convictions. If asked, the applicant does need to respond with a true answer. Otherwise, the person is lying on the application for an insurance policy.

Misrepresentation when seeking an insurance policy could be deemed a misdemeanor. In the state of Washington, it definitely is. Lying on an insurance policy would not help the cause of filing a claim at a later date, either.

The policy could be deemed null and void due to an approval and rate set based on false information.

A misdemeanor for misrepresentation may not be the end of the problems a driver faces. This charge refers only to lying on the policy.

Executing the policy through filing a claim could open doors for insurance fraud. Ultimately, this outcome would be based on how a district attorney chooses to approach a matter based on the particulars of the situation.

Regardless, it is always a bad idea to lie or misstate any material fact on an insurance policy. Felony charges could result from a very bad decision.

Lying may be foolhardy for a simple reason besides the obvious legal jeopardy doing so creates. Being convicted of a crime may or may not disqualify someone from being approved. A conviction might not automatically increase rates.

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The Issue of Criminal Convictions

Needless to say, someone who has been convicted of a driving-related offense is sure to be looking at quotes with higher rates.

Certain insurance companies may choose to outright not insure someone who has been convicted of DUI, reckless driving, or use of a vehicle in the commission of a crime.

The persons may be required to purchase insurance from a high-risk provider, a very costly option. At least the option does exist.

The DUI Conviction and Complexities

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Those who have been convicted in the past of one or more driving under the influence offenses often find getting their driving privileges restored to be difficult. Finding a low-cost insurance policy becomes even more complicated.

Drivers with previous DUI convictions are not entirely eliminated from consideration. Procuring insurance is possible, but the added expense combined with a few added steps are necessary.

Filing an SR-22 form with the state is going to be required. An SR-22 refers to a “Proof of Financial Responsibility” document.

SR-22 forms are common with high-risk insurance policies and not just limited to those who may have been convicted of a DUI.

Essentially, the SR-22 proves the driver has acquired insurance prior to the state to reissue a driver’s license to someone whose license was revoked.

Clearly, one would have to disclose the lack of a driver’s license and the reason for not having a driver’s license prior to requesting a new insurance policy.

Trying to hide things from the insurance company would be impossible anyway.

Records Exist

Anything related to points that are associated with a driving record will appear in databases the insurance company has access. The following convictions would be reflected in the reports:

  • A DUI
  • A misdemeanor driving conviction
  • A felony driving conviction

Not declaring criminal charges related to the conviction is not exactly going to hide what the various state Department of Motor Vehicles are presenting on their systems.

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The Possibility of Increased Rates

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A criminal conviction could indicate someone is a risky candidate for an insurance policy even if the conviction had nothing to do with driving.

A person arrested for disorderly conduct related to trespassing has nothing to do with driving, but it shows reckless behavior.

Two or more misdemeanors in a five-year period reveal a pattern of behavior. Insurers might be concerned over such behavior carrying over into driving.

Hence, a decision to boost insurance rates is possible.

Take this as a reason to comparison shop for as many different auto insurance quotes as possible. Just because an insurance company offers a particular premium rate does not mean the potential customer has to accept it.

With more than one insurance company operating in a particular state, the customer has the option of going elsewhere. Begin your comparison shopping right here for free!