Yes, insurers check for driving-related convictions. Non-driving related convictions, on the other hand, will only affect premium rates indirectly. Companies view your driving record to determine how risky you will be to insure, so they will see convictions like DUI or reckless driving. If you’ve been convicted of a serious driving offense, expect to pay more for insurance and have a harder time finding coverage. DUI or similar charges will stay on your record for three to 10 years in most states, and even longer in some.
A non-driving conviction can affect your car insurance premium indirectly if it impacts your driver’s license status or a leads to a lapse in your insurance coverage. If your license was suspended as a result of your crime or your insurance coverage has not been continuous, insurance companies will consider you more of a high-risk driver.
The best approach if you’re worried about your previous convictions is to compare quotes. If you’re having trouble finding an insurer willing to take you, you can look in your area for high-risk insurers, also called nonstandard insurance companies. Or, if you have been turned down multiple times, look into your state’s assigned risk program, which is designed to provide high-risk drivers with the mandatory minimum insurance. In any case, if an insurance application asks about your criminal background or driving record, be honest. Any omission or false information on an application qualifies as insurance fraud, which can lead to retroactively higher premiums, denied claims, fines, or even jail time.
Finally, it’s a good idea to check your state’s laws to see when your convictions will no longer be considered. This will enable you to ask for a new quote when you reach this date.
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