How your motor vehicle report (MVR) affects your life insurance rates

Your MVR helps insurance companies assess how risky you are to insure. Multiple violations, especially in the last five years, could lead to higher premiums or denied coverage.

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Amanda Shih

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius, where she covered life insurance and disability insurance. Her expertise has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Little Spoon, and J.D. Power.

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Most people applying for life insurance know that health issues can earn you higher life insurance premiums. But your driving record also impacts your rates.

During the underwriting process, your insurer looks at your motor vehicle report (MVR). You’ll pay more for life insurance if you have recent moving violations, license suspensions, or DUI and reckless driving violations. You can be declined a policy if you have multiple DUIs or several moving violations in your driving history.

Key takeaways

  • Your driving history is one of several factors life insurance companies consider when setting your rates.

  • Most insurers look at the past five years of your MVR, but some look at up to 10 years.

  • It’s harder but not impossible to get coverage after certain violations, like a DUI.

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What is a motor vehicle report (MVR)?

Your MVR is a record of your driving history.  Your state’s DMV maintains your record, which includes:

  • Accident reports

  • DUI/DWI convictions

  • Traffic citations

  • Vehicular crimes

Violations don’t stay on your record forever, but how long they remain on your MVR varies by their severity — a DUI will stay longer than a speeding ticket, for example — and your state. You can order your MVR from your state’s licensing agency.

How does your MVR affect your life insurance rates?

Most life insurance companies consider the past five years of your driving history when setting your rates. Every insurer has its own guidelines for evaluating applications, but generally the more violations on your record, the lower your insurance classification and higher your rates will be. 

To qualify for the lowest rates at most life insurance companies, you need to have no:

  • Driver’s license suspensions or revocations in the last three to five years

  • DUIs or DWIs in the last five years (up to 10 for some insurers)

  • More than two to three moving violations (e.g., speeding) in the last three years

  • Reckless driving charges in the last five years

If you have any of the above on your MVR you won’t qualify for the most affordable premiums, but you’ll still be able to get life insurance in most cases. Some providers will give you a lower insurance classification or charge you a flat extra fee of $2 to $4 per $1,000 of coverage you buy. 

For example, a 35-year-old with no violations could pay $25 to $30 for a $500,000, 20-year term life insurance policy. With a few recent moving violations, they might pay $38 to $47 per month at a lower insurance classification. And if charged a $3 flat extra due to more than three moving violations or a recent DUI, they could pay $150 to $155 per month. 

However, if you have multiple DUIs or DWIs on your record, you’re more likely to have your application postponed or declined.

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Can you get life insurance after a DUI or DWI?

One DUI or DWI won’t disqualify you from buying life insurance but if it happened less than two years ago, it will be very difficult to find an affordable policy. Once you reach two to three years after your DUI, you’ll qualify for a Standard Plus or Standard health classification — i.e., third- or fourth-best rates — with many insurance companies. 

Only two of Policygenius’ partner insurers might offer coverage to people with DUIs or DWIs that occurred less than one year ago: Prudential and Transamerica. You’ll be charged steep premiums if you qualify. After two or three years have passed you can shop for a new policy or apply for reconsideration to get lower rates. 

Even if your application is declined, you may be able to get some coverage through your employer or with final expense insurance. Both options are likely to leave you with less coverage than you need, but they will provide some financial protection until you can qualify for a more comprehensive policy. 

If you have any violations on your MVR, a Policygenius agent can work with you to compare different policy options. They'll consider your entire application and recommend the best insurance provider for your circumstances.

Frequently asked questions

What does MVR refer to life insurance?

Your MVR is your motor vehicle report, a record of your driving history maintained by your state’s DMV that includes any violations or accidents within a certain timeframe.

How do life insurance companies use your MVR?

Insurance companies consider violations on your MVR when setting your rates because unsafe driving makes you riskier to insure.

Will a bad driving record keep you from getting life insurance?

You can usually get life insurance even with some violations in your driving history. If you have many recent violations or multiple DUIs, you could be declined coverage.

Author

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

Amanda Shih

Editor & Licensed Life Insurance Expert

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Amanda Shih is a licensed life, disability, and health insurance expert and a former editor at Policygenius, where she covered life insurance and disability insurance. Her expertise has appeared in Slate, Lifehacker, Little Spoon, and J.D. Power.

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