You probably already know that your driving record will influence your ability to get car insurance. What you may not know is how providers check your driving record. It is important to understand how this process works if you want to find the best insurance rates and save money.
Below, we discuss how auto insurance companies check your driving record. We’ll also explain the importance of avoiding traffic violations like speeding tickets and other incidents while on the road.
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How Exactly Do Auto Insurance Companies Check Your Driving Record?
Insurers will conduct a check of your driving record any time you apply for a quote or renew your existing policy. Remember that insurance companies are assessing risk when preparing a quote. The company is calculating the chances that you will need to file a claim by reviewing your driving record, vehicle information and even your place of residence.
Insurance providers will pull your motor vehicle report (MVR), which can be obtained from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Insurers can also obtain your MVR from risk solution companies like LexisNexis.
What Do Companies Look at on Your Record?
As the name implies, an MVR contains virtually everything about your history with motor vehicles. Insurers look for traffic tickets, convictions, accidents (including not-at-fault crashes), parking tickets and more. Insurers may also check to see whether your driver’s license has ever been suspended.
While your MVR includes vehicle-related criminal convictions like DUIs, it does not include other criminal histories. The MVR also excludes any non-moving violations, such as things like citations for having an expired registration or other offenses that do not reflect on your ability to operate a vehicle.
How Important Is Your Driving Record When It Comes to Insurance Rates?
Your driving record is one of the most important factors that influences your insurance rates. People with a poor driving history can expect to pay higher rates than someone who has a spotless driving record.
It is important to note that not all infractions are weighted in the same way. For instance, getting a speeding ticket will raise your rates, but only slightly. On the other hand, a DUI or serious at-fault accident can cause a huge jump in your rates. You might even have trouble getting insurance from a reputable company, especially if you have had more than one DUI offense on your record.
Do the Dates of Incidents on Your Record Matter?
Every state has different regulations that dictate how far back a carrier can look at your driving record. Generally, insurance companies will not receive notice of minor infractions that occurred more than three years ago.
Serious violations stay on your record a bit longer. Depending on your state’s guidelines, insurance companies will be able to review serious infractions for five to seven years. After the designated time has passed, then your rates should go back down.
Are There Any Car Insurance Companies that Don’t Check Your Driving Record?
Every auto insurance company checks driving records. When an insurance company provides you with a policy, the company is opening itself up to serious liability. If it fails to check your driving record and you are involved in a serious accident, then the company could potentially be sued for negligence.
Every insurance company will check your driving record each time that you apply for a policy or renew your existing coverage. This includes standard, preferred and even commercial providers.
Other Factors that Influence Auto Insurance Rates
While your driving record is a key factor that can influence your auto insurance rates, it is not the only criteria that providers consider. Insurers also review a variety of other factors in order to conduct a thorough risk assessment. These factors include:
Age and Marital Status
Typically, younger people are considered to be higher risk than more experienced drivers. Married couples also tend to receive cheaper rates than singles.
Insurance companies consider your location when providing you with a quote. If you live in a highly-populated area with lots of cars on the road, your rates will likely be higher. Drivers who live in rural areas are less likely to be involved in a crash and may receive discounted rates. For example, drivers in New York generally receive higher average rates than those who are in Montana.
Vehicle Make and Model
The newer and more expensive your vehicle is, the higher your rates will be. This is because high-end vehicles are more costly to repair or replace in the event of an accident.
Your driving habits affect your insurance rates. If you drive a high number of miles every month, your coverage may be more expensive. If you drive for Uber Eats or another delivery service, then your insurance will also be more costly. In fact, if you are a driver for a service like Uber Eats, you should make sure that you purchase a rideshare insurance policy to cover you while making deliveries.
Type of Coverage
When you’re building a policy, you may choose full coverage auto insurance or just the minimum requirements in your state. Different levels of coverage come at different price points.
Our Recommendations for Auto Insurers
Now that you know how insurance companies check your record, it is time to find a great rate. If you are ready to compare rates now, enter your zip code below. Our quote comparison tool will provide you with car insurance policy quotes from some of our top-ranked providers, like GEICO and Progressive.
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GEICO: Best Overall
We ranked GEICO as the best overall insurance provider for most drivers. The company earned a cumulative score of 9.5 out of 10.0 in our comprehensive, industry-wide review and has an excellent reputation. GEICO offers numerous discounts and customizable coverage including options like mechanical breakdown insurance.
USAA: Best for Military Families
USAA earned an 8.9 out of 10.0 in our review and is known for providing exceptional customer service. The insurer offers many discounts and flexible coverage options that are designed to meet the unique needs of military personnel and their families.
FAQ: How Do Auto Insurance Companies Check Your Driving Record?
How can you check your own driving record?
The simplest way to check your own driving record is to contact your state’s department of motor vehicles. The DMV should be able to provide you with a copy of your driving record, including any records of accidents and traffic infractions. Some states even allow you to obtain these records online.
Can your driving record make you ineligible for insurance coverage?
Due to the vast number of auto insurance companies in existence, virtually anyone should be able to find coverage. However, drivers with DUIs or other serious infractions may have a more difficult time finding coverage and will likely have to pay higher rates. The most reputable companies may decline to insure you altogether if your driving record is especially poor.
Is your driving record checked every time you get a quote?
Yes, insurance companies will generally check your driving record every time you request a quote. Insurance companies base your quote on a risk assessment, which requires a review of your driving record.
Will your insurer check your driving record each time you renew a policy?
Yes, your current insurer will likely check your driving record every time you renew your policy. Insurance companies review your driving record to ensure that you have not received any traffic infractions during the previous policy term.
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, pricing, 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.