One of the most important risk factors companies check is your driving record when you apply for auto insurance. It gives them a good indicator of how you drive and how responsible you are behind the wheel. If you are asking yourself how often do car insurance companies check your driving record, you will find all the answers in this post.
Why Car Insurance Companies Check Your Driving Record
When you apply for car insurance, the company will know little about you. They want to know how much risk you carry for them. That’s why they check your driving record. According to Car Insurance Companies, apart from your driving history, they will factor in loads of other conditions to determine your risk level, such as:
- Your location
- Your marital status
- Your employment status
- Your credit history
- Your vehicle
- The miles you cover
- The extra driving courses you took
- Where you keep your vehicle
If you are found to be a high-risk driver, you will pay more, but if the insurance company puts you in a low-risk category, you can save money.
Every car insurance company pulls data from the same database. Your motor vehicle report has all the accidents, claims, and tickets, so the company gets a full picture of your behavior on the roads.
You cannot get car insurance without having your driving history checked by any company. This means that you cannot hide bad driving or previous accidents; it is better to disclose them at the quote stage. While every company checks your driving record, some only check three years, while others will go back for a longer period.
Apart from your driving history, companies will also check your Claims Loss Underwriting Exchange report. It will tell them how often you have made insurance claims on your car and home and help them predict your future claim risk.
Can You Check Your Own Driving Record?
If you are unsure whether or not there is something you should worry about before applying for car insurance, you can check your own driving history. You can request a copy from your local Department of Motor Vehicles for a small fee and see what the insurance company will see.
The only thing that will not be included in the report is your driving outside of the United States. If you lived abroad, some insurers might check international driving records too.
In case you are unsure what your driving record includes, WalletHub confirms that it is a good idea to see the copy before you submit an application for insurance. You can request a copy from LexisNexis.
Do All Car Insurance Companies Check Your Driving History?
The simple answer is yes. You cannot avoid having your driving record checked if you want auto insurance. The company will ask for your driver’s license number and get your records based on you as an individual, not based on the vehicle’s. Your driving record follows you, no matter how often you change your cars.
How Often Is Your Driving Record Checked?
Generally, the company will only check your driving record when they have a good reason to do so. For example:
- You are applying for a new insurance policy.
- You are getting a new quote.
- Your car insurance is up for renewal (they check this a few weeks before the expiry date).
You will, however, need to be aware that if you ask to change the level of coverage, change your car, or add an extra driver to the same coverage, the company is likely to check your driving record again. Finally, if you move, that will change the policy term and the risk will be reassessed. This means that your driving record will be checked again.
If you have a speeding citation or a minor accident during your policy, it is likely to affect your renewal price when your policy expires.
How Long Back Do Companies Check Your Driving History?
How far back the companies check your driving history depends on your state department of insurance. In the majority of states, they will only look into the past three years, but it is possible that the company will check further.
As an example, if you had a major road traffic violation or have had a DUI, this record will stick with you for up to seven years and negatively impact your premium.
While companies generally will check the past three to five years of driving history, you might want to check with the insurer if you have a past violation outside of this period, just in case.
How Your Driving Record Impacts Your Car Insurance Rates
Every accident or speeding ticket will increase your risk level with car insurance companies until they lapse. It is up to the company how far back they look into your records. However, if you only had a couple of speeding tickets in the past few years, it might not have a huge impact on the overall price. Read our guide on how to get cheap car insurance with a bad driving history.
If you are lucky enough to have a squeaky clean driving record, the good news is that you can avoid a surcharge and potentially apply for safe driving discounts.
There are certain activities that will negatively affect your car insurance prices that are included in your report, such as:
- Tickets for traffic violations
- Driving related convictions
- Parking tickets
- Minor and major accidents
- Restrictions placed on your license (medical or optical)
- Suspended or withdrawn license
Criminal history unrelated to driving is not included in your report.
If you would like to get the best rates on your car insurance, you should keep a clean driving record. Make sure that you check your own history and see what the company will see when they assess your risk. For more information on how to save on car insurance check out our comprehensive guide. Remember that driving history is only one factor when insurance companies give you a price, and you can still get a discount if you shop around.
Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.
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