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Your auto insurance company needs information at various points, including when you first sign up for coverage and when you file a claim. Drivers rarely realize it, but car insurance companies can check police records to discover important details attached to your policy number.
If you’re switching car insurance providers or looking for a new insurance policy, you might appreciate our list of the best auto insurance providers. Nearly all insurance experts recommend comparing quotes from various insurers before picking the one that’s best to cover your vehicle.
How Do Car Insurance Companies Check Police Records?
Since car insurance companies can check police records, you may be wondering how they do so. Typically, they access police reports via your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV).
Police reports of car accidents include the law enforcement officers’ observations and conversations with witnesses, along with other relevant details. Every accident report is submitted to the state, so the DMV will have the records on file whether you’re in California, Florida or elsewhere in the country.
What Details From Police Records Can Insurers Check?
Many drivers wonder what types of information can be released to auto insurance companies from police records. Below are a couple of the most common details handed over to insurers:
Police reports are a standard part of the procedure following a car accident. They include relevant information such as the date of the accident, its location and the extent of the vehicle damage or bodily injuries. The report submitted by police officers will also indicate who caused the accident and whether it was obvious.
Your car insurance company can check police records to get contact information for witnesses after an accident. Then, the insurer can contact these witnesses as part of the investigation into your auto accident claim.
When Do Insurance Companies Check Police Records?
There are two main instances when car insurance companies check police records: when they’re investigating your claims and when they’re figuring out potential insurance premiums.
Investigating an Insurance Claim
If you have a car insurance claim history, you can always expect your provider to look at the police report. Companies do this as a standard anti-fraud measure and as a way of confirming that you reported the accident accurately.
Always be honest with both the police and with your car insurance company after an accident. There are extremely serious consequences for insurance fraud, and the truth will come out. Motorists who lie about the accident could receive a disclaimer from their agency denying coverage due to providing fraudulent insurance information.
Setting Your Rates at Sign-Up or Renewal
Most companies will check police records to figure out what car insurance rates to charge you. They look at your accident history, including whether you were at fault in those instances. Insurers may also look at police records to learn about your driving history or to discover the current status of your driver’s license.
Insurers may also check for warnings that you could be a high-risk driver. These red flags include DUI violations, felonies on the road, instances of reckless driving and hit-and-run convictions. Auto insurance companies usually assume that you’ll be a higher risk behind the wheel if you’ve broken the law before.
How Far Back Do Insurance Companies Look?
Most car insurance companies look three to five years back into your CLUE report to get information on your driving history. Additionally, your motor vehicle report (MVR) will list any minor driving violations you’ve received in the last three years.
How Can I Minimize the Impact of My Driving Record?
It can be tough to find competitive rates for bad driving record auto insurance, but shopping around can help. If you’ve got a criminal record, it may help to have a letter from a counselor, case worker or attorney indicating that you’ve completed a rehab or counseling program.
Showing car insurance companies that you’re taking steps to improve yourself may lead them to believe that you’ll be a smaller risk to protect. Still, expect to pay higher-than-average rates if you have a criminal record.
Should I Lower My Coverage To Reduce Rates?
It might seem like a smart choice to reduce your coverage level to find cheap auto insurance. After all, car insurance companies can check police records and may increase your rates if you’ve got a bad driving history. This usually isn’t a smart move, though.
If you’ve previously shown high-risk behaviors, you have a stronger chance of doing so again. In that case, having robust bodily injury and property damage liability insurance is probably best. You could also consider adding medical payments coverage or personal injury protection (PIP). Raising your deductible may be better than reducing coverage if you want to save money.
Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance
If you’re in the market for a new auto insurance provider, we suggest considering GEICO, Progressive and State Farm. All of these companies are known for offering excellent rates, even to policyholders with less-than-stellar records.
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GEICO: Best Overall
GEICO is noted for offering some of the lowest prices in the insurance industry to a wide range of drivers. Plus, you can find extra options such as rental reimbursement, classic car coverage and mechanical breakdown insurance coverage from GEICO.
Progressive: Best for High-Risk Drivers
Those with speeding tickets, DUI violations and at-fault accidents on their records often have less issues getting covered by Progressive than with other insurers. The company is also known for having relatively competitive insurance premiums for high-risk drivers. To learn more, consider reading our full Progressive insurance review.
State Farm: Best Student Discounts
State Farm is noted for having excellent student discounts which can lower the cost of coverage for this often pricey group. Customer reviews for State Farm are pretty solid, with drivers mentioning satisfaction with the company’s easily accessible car insurance agents.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can insurance companies find a police report?
Yes, auto insurance companies have access to police reports. They have several methods of getting access and tend to use them when investigating claims and setting your premiums.
What information do car insurance companies have access to?
Insurance companies can access plenty of information about you. Details they can uncover include your driving record, mileage, vehicle registration, others living with you, your current insurance carrier and whether or not you’re a homeowner.
Why do I need to submit a police report to an insurance agency after an accident?
This makes it easier to file a claim and speeds up the process of your claim being paid out by underwriting agencies. It simplifies the process if you submit a police report after an accident.
What do insurance companies look at when they are investigating a claim?
Insurance companies can check police records to find recorded statements about the accident from you, other drivers and witnesses. The insurance adjuster can also perform background checks, visit the accident scene, request access to your medical records and ask for phone numbers along with cellphone records.
The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car insurance provider to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Our in-depth rating system takes into account market share, coverage, auto insurance rate estimates generated by Quadrant Information Services, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each insurer is given a weighted score in four categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto insurance companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.