How Your Driving Record Affects Your Insurance Rates?
Insurers use many statistical factors to determine how much you’ll pay for your insurance premiums, but as important as these statistics are in determining how much of a risk you are to insure, to the insurance company nothing is more definitive than your driving record.
Your driving record, which is maintained by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), contains a list of every moving violation you’ve ever received, as well as a record of any collisions and/or accidents that’ve been reported to the police. In essence, your driver’s license is a running tab (history) that’s maintained by the DMV as to the liability and/or risks you, as a driver, present to an insurer. That history, among other factors, plays an extensive part in the calculation of your insurance rates.
While there are other important factors such as: age, gender, make and model of your car, where you live, park, and drive, it’s your driving record for the last three to ten years that will have a dominant influence on how the insurer views you as a potential customer/risk.
Every infraction you may have incurred during those ten years has been graded based on a point system; the amount of points for the infraction (typically 0 to 4) is based on the type and severity of the offense. The accumulation of points during those ten years will be a large part of determining your insurance rates. For example, someone who’s had a few minor tickets will pay less for insurance than a person who’s had a few speeding tickets or didn’t come to a full stop at a stop sign. While those who have had a few accidents can expect higher rates, someone with a DUI will pay even more or may even be considered uninsurable altogether (not all insurers will cover someone who has had a DUI).
How You Can Improve Your Driving Record
For those who have accumulated points on their driving record you will be happy to know that the DMV typically removes one point per year for most infractions, so if you drive safely from then on you can clean up your driving record.
Some driving citations (and points) can be erased completely from your record by the DMV; some local law enforcement agencies and/or jurisdictions will give you the option of attending a driver improvement course, if you agree to attend driver improvement classes the DMV will remove the negative points against your record or if you have to appear in court for the ticket(s) you received and have agreed to attend classes the judge can adjudicate (erase) the points from your driving history.
Eventually any infraction(s), with the exception of a DUI/DWI, will be erased from your driving record after a particular amount of time. Those who have had one or multiple DUI or DWI conviction(s) may lose their driving privileges completely, for a period of years, or be limited to certain driving restrictions. At minimum your driving record will reflect the DUI/DWI for as long as five years and cause insurers to consider you a high risk driver if they do insure you.
How You Can Ensure Lower Cost Insurance Rates
Naturally the easiest way to get the best rates on your auto insurance is to always obey the rules of the road, drive safely and defensively and keep your vehicle in proper operating condition at all times.
Another way to lower your insurance costs is to be sure to ask each company you get quotes from what discounts they offer for people with a good driving record, no accident history, and membership in certain military groups, organizations (i.e. AAA or AARP) and/or other special discount programs. Insurance plans that offer special programs such as accident forgiveness plans will also lower your insurance premiums.
Remember just as with any important financial decision, doing your homework on the prospective insurers and shopping around to compare quotes is your best guarantee to more affordable rates.