Car insurance is expensive — and if you have negative marks on your driving record, you’ll likely end up paying even more for your insurance. While you can’t stop your insurance company from checking your driving record, there are a few steps that you can take to save money when applying for car insurance.
Let’s take a look at a few of the factors that insurance companies consider when they check your driving record to determine your premiums. Review a few of our favorite car insurance companies that offer affordable rates for drivers with marks on their record.
Car Insurance Risk Assessment
When you apply for car insurance, the insurance company collects public data and uses it to predict the probability of whether you will file a claim that year or not. This process is referred to as “risk assessment.” Risk assessment is used to determine the premium amount that the company is going to charge you for insurance coverage.
There are a number of factors that the insurance company looks at during the risk assessment process. These factors can include your credit rating, age, gender, where you live, whether you commute to work or not, your driving record, the type of vehicle you drive and its safety features, your marital status, the type of coverage you want and the deductible you’re willing to pay.
Unfortunately, most of the factors that go into your car insurance risk assessment are out of your control. For example, many drivers are surprised to learn that their location plays a major role in how much they’ll pay for car insurance. If you live in an area where vehicle theft and uninsured drivers are common problems, you’ll pay more for insurance — even though you have no control over these factors.
Drivers Licence Number
Insurance companies use your driver’s license number to assess your driving history, which will greatly affect your insurance premium rate. The insurance company will also ask for the driver’s license numbers of anyone else who will be on the policy. The driver’s license number is the identifier for an individual’s driver’s license.
All car insurance companies require you to provide your driver’s license number in order to assess and provide an accurate quote. You can’t get car insurance if you don’t already have a driver’s license.
Driving Record Information
When insurance companies look at your driving record, they’re looking for incidents that might indicate that you’re more likely to be involved in an accident and need to file a claim.
Some of the items that insurance companies will be looking out for include:
- Speeding tickets. The more miles per hour you were driving over the speed limit when you were pulled over, the more you can expect your insurance rates to increase.
- Previous claims and accidents. If you’ve been involved in a car accident in the past, you’re statistically more likely to be involved in another car accident in the future. This increases the price that you pay for insurance.
- Parking tickets. Like speeding tickets, parking tickets indicate that you might not always follow the rules of the road. Parking somewhere unsafe can lead to an accident, so too many parking tickets will likely increase your rates.
- DUI charges and convictions. If you have a DUI conviction on your driving record, you will pay significantly more for your insurance. You may also be denied coverage by major insurance providers.
Maintaining a clean, safe driving record is the easiest way to lower what you pay for insurance.
Insurance Companies That Do Not Check Driving Records
If you have negative items on your driving record, you might think that you can save on insurance by purchasing your insurance from a company that doesn’t check driving records. After all, with so many car insurance companies operating throughout the country, there must be at least 1 company that doesn’t check your driving record — right?
Unfortunately, every car insurance company will check your driving record before offering you coverage because your previous driving experiences are a key indicator of how likely you are to be involved in a future accident.
Motor Vehicle Report (MVR)
A Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) is your driving record. You can obtain one from your local DMV, usually for a small fee, either online or in person. The MVR contains a record of your previous traffic violations, convictions, accidents, suspensions, point history and the expiration date of your license. Insurance companies usually consider information on your MVR when determining your insurance eligibility and premium rate.
How do Auto Insurance Companies Check Driving Records?
Car insurance companies check your driving record, also referred to as your MVR, through your driver’s license number. Checking your driving record is usually part of the underwriting and pricing review for your policy. They check driving records to assess the risk, your accident history and claims history.
Depending on the state, your driving record (MVR) will have a history of the last 3 to 5 years. However, it’s up to the insurance company how far back they want to look into your driving history. The company has access to your driving record just like you do, and both you and your insurance provider can easily obtain it from your DMV.
Driving Records and Insurance Prices
Your driving record will affect the price of your insurance directly. When you have accidents and points on your driving record, your insurance rate will go up.
According to AutoInsurance.org, your average annual rate will change with accidents, DUIs, speeding violations, license suspensions and anything else that may indicate to your insurance company that you’re more likely to be involved in a future accident.
Shopping around for quotes, regardless of the status of your driving history, can help you ensure that you’re not paying too much for your coverage.
Insurance companies will assess your driving record and place you into 1 of 3 risk categories. Let’s take a look at the 3 major risk categories and how your classification will influence what you pay for insurance.
Preferred Risk Driver
This risk category is considered to be the safest driver category. People who have carried insurance for at least a year and have not had to use their coverage are placed in this category. Those who have no at-fault car accidents and a low number of not-at-fault accidents will also be eligible for this category.
Drivers in this category usually have a clean driving record, as well as good credit and are usually over the age of 25. They may also drive less yearly and have less people with access to the insured vehicle than those in other categories. Preferred drivers get the best rates.
Standard Risk Driver
Most vehicle owners will fall under the standard risk category. The drivers in this category do not have a clean enough driving record to be a preferred driver, but are still out of the high risk zone. This means they may have one or two traffic violations or a single at-fault accident. In addition, they will have a decent credit score and will have had insurance for at least six months.
Standard risk drivers will have higher rates than preferred drivers. The good news for standard risk drivers is that there is room for improvement and ways to move into the preferred risk category. For example, improving your credit score and going 3 years with no traffic violations or accidents can bump you up into the preferred risk category.
High Risk Driver
Drivers in the high risk category pay the most for their car insurance coverage. Drivers in this category usually have multiple at-fault car accidents on their driving record. They may instead, or in addition, have multiple tickets from traffic violations or have a major violation like a DUI on their record. Those who have never had insurance before or have very low credit can also be considered a high risk driver.
Best Car Insurance Companies
Are you shopping around for the most affordable car insurance? Consider starting your search with a few of our favorite car insurance providers below.
- Best For:AARP members at least 50 years oldRating:
Save on Your Car Insurance
Every individual car insurance company uses its own formula to determine how much you’ll pay for coverage. This means that it’s possible to find the exact same insurance coverage from 10 different companies at 10 totally different price points.
Review our picks for the best providers, gather quotes and save on your car insurance today.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many years back do insurance companies check driving records?
Auto insurance companies may look back up to 5 years on your driving record.
Does an insurance claim go on your driving record?
Though insurance claims aren’t typically listed on your driving record, any accidents reported to the police will show up on your record.