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When you get auto insurance, the amount you pay for your insurance premium will depend on a long list of factors. Some of these factors include your past claims, credit score and driving history. With this in mind, you may be wondering how far back car insurance companies look when searching your records. Discover the answer to this question, as well as how you can check your records yourself.
In addition to creating this handy guide, our expert team also extensively researched all of the major car insurance providers. We gathered all of the information available to find the best auto insurance companies and created a quote comparison tool to help connect you with the ones in your area to receive quotes. All you need to do is enter your zip code, and you can start getting free quotes from local providers right now.
How Does Your Driving Record Impact Your Car Insurance?
Your driving record is one of the many factors that affect the car insurance quotes you’ll get. Auto insurance providers look at your driving record to determine your risk level. Based on that risk level and other factors, the companies will offer you a rate.
This means that if you have a driving accident or traffic violation, your insurance company will consider you to be a higher risk, which will increase your rates. You can expect the company to factor this information into your insurance rates for a set amount of time.
How Far Back Do Insurance Companies Look at Driving Records?
There is no set answer to how far back insurance companies look at your driving record. It depends on the state you live in and the type of violation the company is searching for.
It will also depend on whether it is a major or minor driving violation, as each affects your record and car insurance premiums differently. The following are a few of the most common examples of minor violations and infractions:
- Failure to stop
- Illegal parking
- Overloading a vehicle
- Running a red light
Major violations can include reckless driving, DUIs and DWIs.
In most states, minor traffic violations will stay on your record for about three years. By contrast, a DUI or DWI will typically stay on your record for between five and 10 years. Each state should have its own guidelines that you can look up if you want to know the answer for your specific state. Remember, you will have a higher premium from your insurance agency for as long as they are on your record.
How Long is a Driver Considered High-Risk?
This will vary based on your insurance provider. Nearly every insurance company will consider you to be a high-risk driver if you still have a violation on your record.
This means that you will have to wait until your violation is no longer on your record to be rid of your high-risk classification and qualify for lower insurance premiums. Although it varies by state, that means you can expect to be considered high-risk for about three years after minor violations and for up to 10 after major ones.
It is also worth noting that some groups are automatically considered high-risk. One example is teen drivers. If you’re 17 years old and have violations on your traffic record, you may have even higher rates.
How Do Auto Insurance Companies Check Your Driving Record?
During the process of applying for auto insurance, you will have to give your insurance company permission to run various reports. One of these reports is the Motor Vehicle Report (MVR), which includes any violations or accidents.
Remember that you should never lie to your auto insurance company. Always disclose any violations or accidents when you fill out the paperwork for your auto insurance policy. If your insurance company finds out you lied, this will reflect poorly on you and will have consequences.
In the best-case scenario, the company will raise your car insurance premium. However, it is more likely that the company will cancel your policy and refuse to offer you any insurance coverage at all, leaving you to search for a new insurance carrier and try to switch auto insurance companies. There is also a risk of your facing civil fraud penalties.
How to Check Your Driving Record
If you want to make sure that there are no surprises when it comes time for you to get auto insurance, you can check your driving record yourself beforehand. Doing so is as simple as visiting your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and requesting a copy of the MVR. You may also be able to request this report online. You should expect to pay a small fee in order to see the report.
How Much Do Violations Affect Insurance Rates?
While accidents and violations will always increase your car insurance rates, the extent to which it rises depends on the insurance company, the specific state and the type of violation.
For example, getting a speeding ticket will increase your rates by an average of 21% to 31%, and reckless driving can increase the rate by about 77%. This is in comparison to having a clean driving record.
It is also worth noting that older drivers, including SSI recipients, tend to have higher increases due to violations.
How Far Back Do Insurance Companies Look for Prior Claims?
Your car insurance company will not just look back on your driving record. The company will also look for past insurance claims. The company wants to know how many claims you previously filed and how often they were filed. This is true even if you were previously with another insurance company.
The idea is that if you filed claims in the past, you are more likely to file additional claims with the new insurance company going forward. This leads the company to classify you as higher risk. As such, your rates will increase to reflect this.
In most cases, your insurance company will only look back three to five years when checking for claims.
Our Recommendations for Auto Insurance
The best way to minimize your insurance costs is to compare various companies. We make this easy with our quote box, as you just need to enter your zip code to get started.
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We also recommend GEICO, USAA and State Farm based on our team’s extensive research.
GEICO: Best Overall
GEICO earned an overall rating of 9.1 out of 10.0 from our experts. This reflects a 9.0 rating for coverage, an 8.5 for coverage, a 9.4 for cost, and a 9.8 score for industry reputation.
USAA: Best Military Provider
USAA earned an overall rating of 9.6 out of 10.0. This reflects an 9.5 score for coverage, a 9.3 for industry reputation and customer experience, and a 10.0 for cost.
State Farm: Best Student Discounts
State Farm earned an 9.1 out of 10.0 overall rating. This reflects a 9.0 score for coverage and cost, a 9.9 for industry reputation and an 8.8 for customer experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far back do auto insurance companies check?
Insurance companies typically look at past claims from the last three to five years. The companies will check for any violations or accidents that still appear on your record.
Which car insurance companies look back only three years?
State Farm and Progressive are among the companies that only look back three years.
Does car insurance go down after five years?
If you have a violation that no longer appears on your record after five years, then your rate will go down.
Are there any insurance companies that don’t check your driving record?
No, every insurance company will check your driving record.
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.