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Car insurance companies check your driving record periodically. What they see could help or hinder the cost of your insurance premiums.
Knowing the frequency in which car insurance companies check your record and what you can do about can help you dramatically.
Even if you have less-than-flattering content on your driving record, you can still control the cost of your premiums to a degree.
One great way to pay less for insurance is to compare car insurance quotes and switch to a company that offers lower premiums. Start the process now by entering your ZIP code into our free car insurance comparison tool.
Okay, on to one of the most common questions we hear: How often will car insurance companies check my driving record? Let’s dive in!
Why Car Insurance Companies Check Your Driving Record
When you get quotes from insurance companies and once you obtain their policies, they have access to your driving record. Insurance companies use reports from software tools that use advanced algorithms. It allows a score to be generated for drivers based on the data within the report.
A lot of statistics are used to not only determine what the cost of your car insurance will be, but also to demonstrate what you are like as a driver on the road. Some of the statistics that have the most relevance towards car insurance include:
- A DUI or DWI
- Reckless driving
- Speeding 30 mph or more above the limit
Studies show that six or more violations on a driving record could boost the death rate to 79 percent.
These statistics are important because insurance companies calculate the cost of insurance based on risk.
As insurers check your driving record and see information that indicates you could harm others while behind the wheel, this will have an enormous impact on what you pay in rates. Without the driving record, insurance companies would have to take your word for everything that you tell them.
Not sure how to access your driving record? Check out the helpful video below:
A large number of factors go into the calculation of insurance premiums. This includes:
- Your age
- Your gender
- The car you drive
- Your driving history
Some information is pulled from your driver’s license number, as well as other information that you provide. For instance, many insurance companies will need your Social Security number as part of the insurance quote process.
Your Social Security number will allow insurance companies to pull more accurate reports and do so faster. Otherwise, you run the risk of paying more because they have to make assumptions based on the data that they do have access to within their systems.
What Your Driving Record Reveals to Car Insurance Companies
Your driving record has the potential to show a lot of different details. It will include a lot of your basic information, such as your name and address. It will also provide your driver’s license number, the state it was issued, and when the license expires.
Endorsements will also be identified, such as if you can drive a motorcycle or if you have a CDL.
Other information shown will have an impact on the cost of your insurance premiums:
- Driver’s License Status: Insurance companies will check your driving record to see what the status of your license is, and has been. Insurers will be able to see if you have a permit or a standard license, if you are in good standing, and if there are points on your license.
- Suspensions and Revocations: If your license has been suspended or revoked at any time, car insurance companies will be able to see when and why. If you have been convicted of a DUI or DWI, those charges will stay on a license for longer than other suspensions and revocations because of the severity of the crime.
- Collisions: If you have been involved in any collisions with other vehicles, insurance companies will be able to see when it happened. These incidents are often linked to the police report, which allows insurance companies to read all that happened during the accident.
- Violations and Convictions: Speeding tickets, failure to signal when changing lanes, and other violations will be reported. If the violation was severe enough and you had to go to court – like with vehicular homicide – those convictions will also be reported.
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How far back do car insurance companies look at your driving record?
Generally speaking, driving records will go back at least three years, and usually up to five. But this can vary depending on the state you live in. For example, New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles reports that residents have suspensions and revocations on their driving record for four years.
If you are nearing the end of the period, knowing the dates of all infractions will make it easier. It will allow you to contact your car insurance provider so that they check your driving records again and make updates once the infractions are no longer displayed.
Knowing what your driving record shows is important so you know the severity of various violations and suspensions. If you end up with an accident, a speeding ticket, or anything else, you can be sure that it will show up on your driving record. The only question is when the insurance company will choose to review your record and use it to recalculate the cost of your insurance premium
Here’s the deal: your driving record has a significant amount of impact on your life as a whole, including your car insurance premiums.
It’s why you should be doing everything you can now to avoid driving recklessly while you’re behind the wheel. That includes slowing down, knowing and understanding the distracted driving laws that govern your community, and remaining focused as you drive.
It’s one of the major reasons why you need to be sure that all information is accurate on your record. It is possible to order a copy of your driving record to ensure that all information is accurate. In some instances, there will be accidents listed that belong to a spouse (or an ex-spouse) because of sharing the same insurance policy at the time of the accident.
There might also be other information that is incorrect because of identity theft or other issues. One of the best ways to dispute information is to contact your provider. They can usually help you pinpoint exactly what information is wrong, and quickly update it with you over the phone.
It might also be possible to file a dispute directly with the DMV for your state. Contact the DMV to see if they have a form for you to submit that allows you to argue an error listed on your driving record.
How often do car insurance companies check your driving record?
Insurance companies have the ability to check your driving record at any time. When they choose to do so will vary by company. You should know the various times they could check so you can be prepared. Otherwise, you could end up being surprised by a sudden increase in your insurance premiums.
They Check Randomly
A random check is not very common, but it does happen. Once you sign on with an insurance company, they could choose to pull the driving records of everyone they insure at any time.
Insurance companies might even choose a specific time every year. If you have been insured by a company for a long time, you might have figured out the month in which they pull. However, this can always change.
Many insurance companies will choose to pull the records of teens and first-time drivers more frequently. The reason for this frequency is because teens are higher risk. In fact, the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that teenage drivers between 16 and 19 have a higher risk of motor vehicle crashes than any other age group. Further, they are more likely to receive traffic citations, which can drive up the cost of premiums.
Speaking of high-risk drivers, it’s important to note that not all car insurance companies offer high-risk car insurance. If you’re considered a high-risk driver – such as someone who has had a DUI or DWI – you’ll need to do your homework in discovering which car insurance companies will be willing to work with you.
They Check When You Make Changes to Your Policy
Any time that you make changes to your policy, it prompts the car insurance company to check your driving record. Whether you update your address, change your coverage, or add another driver, insurance will review your driving record to see how it is going to impact your premiums.
Without pulling the information, they run the risk of providing an inaccurate quote. They need to see the information on your driving record again because it is part of the overall formula that goes into how insurance companies determine what you pay.
If you have recently been involved in an accident or you have received a traffic violation, it’s important to determine if you really need to make a change.
Minor changes, such as dropping some coverage, could end up costing you more because the insurance company would be able to see the traffic violation sooner than they would otherwise see it. To the same effect, if you know that your driving record has improved over the past year, you might want to make a small update as a way of triggering insurance to pull your driving record.
They Check at the Renewal Period
Your insurance policy is likely to renew every six months to a year. The actual renewal period will depend on your policy as well as the insurance company you have your policy with.
Since insurance companies almost always check a person’s driving history when they renew their policy, many people see a rate increase with each renewal.
When you renew your policy, you have the choice to get rate comparisons from other companies. Although all of the other insurance companies can view your driving record as well, they might calculate the details differently.
You have the potential to save money by changing insurance companies. The next time your driving record is pulled, you can always choose to go through the process again.
What You Can Do Once Your Driving Record Has Been Checked
A lot of things can happen once your driving record has been checked. It could cause your insurance to go up or down based upon what the insurance company sees on your record.
If your insurance goes up, you can decide to continue paying the premiums with the increase.
You can also choose to do some comparison shopping with other car insurance companies. Find out what the other insurance companies will charge for the same level of coverage.
If your insurance goes down, you can save money on your premiums. You might also want to consider adding coverage so that you have more financial protection.
For example, if you don’t have comprehensive coverage (or you want to know how comprehensive car insurance works), now might be the time to add it because you are paying less on your insurance. With more coverage, you are better protected if something happens on the road or off.
There’s a greater chance of insurance accepting the claim because you have the coverage in place on your policy.
Frequently Asked Questions: Car Insurance Companies Checking Your Driving Record
Still have unanswered questions?
Insurance is complicated and your driving record is personal. Put these together and you have a hot button topic surrounded by several questions you deserve to have answered.
We’re wrapping up with some must-know answers to your frequently-asked questions below.
#1 – Do insurance companies report to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles)?
The short answer? No, car insurance do not report incidents such as car accidents to the DMV. However, the DMV can still receive information about car accidents in other ways, such as through police reports.
#2 – How do insurance companies know when you get a ticket?
Once you get a speeding ticket and you’ve been convicted of the offense, it appears on something called a Motor Vehicle Report, also referred to as an MVR. While your insurer likely isn’t checking your MVR each month, they will pull it up when it’s time for renewal.
Depending on the severity and the circumstances surrounding your ticket, you may end up seeing your rates go up.
#3 – How long does a point stay on your DMV record?
This depends on what you got the point for, and what state you live in. For instance, in the state of California, one-point convictions include speeding violations. In California, one-point violations can end up staying on your record for three years.
To learn more about your state’s point system and how long they can remain on your record, visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicle site.
#4 – Are there insurance companies that don’t check driving records?
Because your driving history is factored into your rates, you can count on every car insurance company checking your driving record. This really becomes an issue for those who are considered high-risk drivers, because not all car insurance companies are willing to insure them.
If this is the case for you, you may need to consult with your state’s department of insurance to see what companies offer high-risk car insurance.
Car Insurance Companies and Your Driving Record: A Final Word
You can also do a few things between now and the next time your driving record is viewed by the insurance company. This primarily begins with making improvements to all of the information they see, such as:
- Watching your speed
- Avoiding traffic violations
- Taking a defensive driving course, which can also lead to discounts
You should also look to improve your credit score by paying bills on time and avoiding going over your credit lines.
Some companies might pull more frequently than others based on their own preferences as well as the driver demographic that you fall into. It’s important to know what they will see once they do pull the record and the various times in which they might pull your record.
Once the record is pulled, there is no way to hide the information that is visible to them. Be sure the information on your record is accurate so that your insurance is quoted properly.
Compare car insurance quotes to make sure you’re not overpaying for coverage. Simply enter your ZIP code into our free comparison tool below to get started.