How does your driving record affect your auto insurance rates? Can insurance companies even check your driving records? Where can I get auto insurance for a poor driving record? These are some of the many questions that might be running through your mind right now. The truth is, there are many factors that go into determining your auto insurance premiums, but what it all comes down to is one’s liability and risk to an insurer.
The most telling sign of a risky driver is one’s driving record. Issued and maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), your driving record lists all moving violations, and includes any accidents and/or collisions on file with police departments. Your driving record is essentially tied to your license, so anything connected is likely to show up on your driving record.
Continue reading our guide on auto insurance and driving records below. Inside you will find:
- If your driving record can affect your insurance rates
- How you can improve your driving record
- How you can maintain a good driving record
Can Your Driving Record Affect Your Car Insurance Rates?
There are many factors the auto insurance companies take into consideration when determining how much you will be paying for car insurance. The car you drive, your age, your gender, your credit score, and many other factors are taken into consideration. As you can expect, one of the most influential of these factors is your driving record. To calculate the premium you pay, the car insurance company must evaluate the financial risk of insuring you. Because the probability of you getting into an accident is what the insurance companies will be insuring you against, you probably can see why your driver history plays such a big role in this calculation.
When performing your evaluation, the auto insurance company is going to look at your driving record for the state you are currently licensed in as well, as any previous driving records from other states. Now they aren’t going to judge you on how you were driving when you first got your license at the ripe age of 16, this would be unfair. It varies from company to company, but they will typically look at your driving record for the last 3-10 years.
Each offense is graded based on severity. Someone with a few traffic violations is going to pay less than somebody with a few speeding tickets. If you’ve gotten in a few accidents, expect your premium to be even higher. On the same note, somebody with a DUI or similar offense on their driving record is likely to pay for more than the previous scenarios.
This can all seem pretty confusing, almost as if there is no determining exactly what you’ll be paying. In fact, there is no way to know exactly what you’ll be paying but there are a couple tools and methods you can utilize to get a general idea of your premium. Looking at your violation points is a simple way to estimate your premium. Every state in the US utilizes the points system. The severity of your violation will determine how many points you receive. Each violation will earn you anywhere from 0 to 4 points, and sometimes more for things such as a DUI. Typically every year, the state will remove one point from your record. The more points you have, the more you are going to pay. This method is fairly reliable for determining how much your driving record will weigh in on your premium. However, in no way will this method give you an exact, or even an estimate number.
The only way to get an accurate estimation of your premium is to apply for free quotes from the insurance company. They will likely ask you about your driving record, which they are likely to double check against your driving record before approval. These tools are generally pretty easy to use and don’t take much more than 10 minutes. This is the only way to get an estimate of your premium and is by far the most accurate.
Improving Your Driving Record
Just because you may have a less than perfect driving history, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still find great deals on car insurance (although some driving infractions could make getting auto insurance a very costly ordeal). Things like a DUI/DWI showing up on your record will wind up being there for at least half a decade and will cause some auto insurance companies to label you as a high-risk driver, resulting in additional fees and higher rates.
Most driving records are based on the popular points system. The more serious the infraction, the more points will be added to your record. And the more points, the more you’re going to end up paying for your auto coverage. The way the points system works is that each type of infraction is assigned a certain point value. The more points you have on your license, the worse your record.
Some infractions, however, can be erased from your record altogether (although it relies heavily on local law, and your sentencing should you have to go to court). Some jurisdictions and departments of motor vehicles will let you wipe negative marks off your record if you agree to take driver improvement classes or something similar, but again, it all depends on your current situation and local law. For the most part, time is the only thing that can heal all. Most driving infractions will be wiped off your record after a certain period of time.
Maintaining A Good Driving Record
Of course, the best defense against high rates caused by risky driving is to drive safely and maintain a clean driving record. Everyone has the opportunity to get low rates on auto insurance – you just need to be responsible on the road and know where to look for the best auto insurance rates.
You won’t qualify for as many discounts with a bad record, but if you do have a bad record, it’s even more important that you seek as many discounts as possible to make up for the higher rates you’ll be paying for coverage. On the same note, those that have taken driving seriously, and kept their driving records clean, have a lot to gain from special good driver discounts; including benefits like accident forgiveness.
To find the best possible insurance rates online, get free auto insurance quotes from us. After entering your zip code above (or below) and filling out our three brief three-page form, you’ll get quotes for different levels of coverage, from a variety of auto insurers. The rates will vary greatly depending on your driving record, as well as many other factors. Get a quote now! Shopping for auto insurance online guarantees you will get the best rates and discounts on your coverage.