It’s no secret that having a clean driving record is a good thing. Not only does a good driving record suggest that you’re a safe driver, and you’ll stay out of dangerous situations, but it helps keep your car insurance premiums down.
Your driving record lists everything on your driving history. If you have a clean record, then you should have no traffic tickets, accidents, reckless driving, or even minor violations associated with your driver’s license.
Your car insurance company uses your driving record to calculate your risk factor when determining how much you need to pay on your premiums. If you have too high of a risk factor, your car insurance company could charge you a higher premium or even refuse your insurance coverage altogether.
Your driving record is the biggest factor when it comes to your car insurance rate. Every auto insurance provider looks at driving record as a pivotal determinant when calculating auto insurance premiums for motor vehicles and drivers. While the best way to keep your insurance costs down is to drive safely, unfortunately not every driver has a clean driving record. If you’ve accumulated a driving record that is less than ideal, you can still find decent car insurance, but it’s important to know as much as possible about the situation.
Here’s how your driving record could change your rates, how long the penalties or points can stay or your driving record, and what you can do about it.
How Car Insurance Prices Are Impacted if Your Don’t Have a Clean Driving Record
In the first place, car insurance companies make money by charging for their services. They lose money when you have to use their service due to an accident. Therefore, they try to charge you more than they will spend on you in order to make money. Because of this, they charge more for what they deem high risk situations.
Drivers who don’t have a clean record are seen as high risks for auto insurance companies. If your record isn’t clean, they’ll charge you a larger sum for your premiums, because you are considered more likely to be involved in a serious accident.
In addition to your name, address, and gender, your driving record also includes any incidents that can place you in a higher risk group. Some of the more common information on your driving record includes is:
- Traffic and speeding tickets
- Driving without car insurance
- Driver’s license suspensions and revocations
How Long Do Points Stay on Your Driving Record?
While any convictions for speeding, DUI, or other violations while driving stay on your driving record forever, points from those violations only affect your car insurance premiums for a relatively short time. While car insurance companies look unfavorably on any kind of moving violation, including traffic or speeding tickets, generally you will only feel the penalty for up to three years in most states. (On the other hand, insurance companies in California look as far back as 10 years for a DUI.)
Points stay on your record depending on the state where you receive them. The following table from DMV.org details the length of time points stay on your record by state:
How Can You Remove Points from Your Driving Record?
When cleaning up your driving record, you have a few options for removing points depending on the state where you get them. The following details the two ways you can get points removed from your driving record:
- Driver safety course: Many states offer drivers the opportunity to remove points from their driving record by taking a state-approved driver safety course or defensive driving course. To find an approved driver safety course in your state, visit DMV.org for more information.
- Maintaining a clean driving record: In addition to a driver safety course, you can remove points from your driving record the old-fashioned way, by maintaining a clean driving record. States that use a point system remove those points after a certain length of time, as detailed in the table above.
Maintaining a clean driving record can help you keep your car insurance premiums low. In addition, if you get too many points, you can lose your license. While you do have some options when trying to clean up your driving record, for the most part, expect to pay higher premiums for at least three years following a violation that accrues points on your driving record.
How to Lower Your Car Insurance Rates if You Don’t Have a Clean Driving Record
Just because you don’t have a clean driving record doesn’t mean you can’t improve the cost of your auto insurance. There are three things that you can do that can help lower your car insurance premiums even if you driving record isn’t very clean.
- First, you can improve your driving record. This won’t happen overnight, but over time, you can make your record look a lot better. Auto insurance companies will always look at your recent driving history first, so if you can show improvements behind the wheel, that can mean a lot to your provider.
- Second, ask your car insurance company if they have any accident incentives. Some companies are willing to offer reduced rates or other financial incentives if you can go a certain amount of time without an accident or a driving violation.
- Third, consider a low mileage driving plan. Most companies offer reduced rates for drivers who stay below a certain number of miles. If your driving record isn’t clean, this is a great way to limit how much you pay. The fewer miles you drive, the less of a risk you are to a car insurance provider, so they’ll almost always be willing to cut your rates.
Having a driving record that isn’t clean doesn’t need to be a huge hindrance. Yes, it will raise the rates of your car insurance package, but it doesn’t need to cripple you financially. Shop around and work on some ways to reduce the price that you pay, and you can make it more financially feasible to have car insurance regardless of what your driving record looks like.
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