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How Driving Records Impact Car Insurance Rates

2018 10 31 Blog Woman In Car Driving With Sunshine

By Madeline Klein on December 14, 2018 in Insurance Basics

Most insurance companies figure rates by looking at a combination of things: you, your household, your vehicle, and your coverage. So, it’s no surprise that your driving record and the records of the people in your household play a role in how much you pay for insurance.

Driving records help insurance companies know how likely you are to have a claim in the future. By understanding how some common driving record mishaps affect your rate, you can get a peek into how insurance companies will determine your rate. The more you know, the better, right?

All tickets are classified as either moving or non-moving violations. Before we get into the good stuff, let’s start with the difference between these two.

What is a moving violation?

Moving violations are exactly what they sound like. It’s when someone breaks the law while a vehicle was in motion. These are things like speeding, DUIs, and texting while driving.

They are the worse of the two types of violations because you can cause more harm when your vehicle is moving. These types of violations will have bigger impacts on your insurance rate.

What is a non-moving violation?

Non-moving violations mean the law was broken, but the vehicle was not moving at the time. These are things along the lines of a burned out tail light.

If you get one of these violations every once in a while, they don’t always impact your insurance rate. However, if you start getting a ton in a short while, they may have an impact on your rate or even your ability to keep your license.

Do speeding tickets affect insurance?

The NHTSA says that almost 27% of traffic deaths are related to speeding.

Because of that stat, it makes sense that speeding tickets will affect your insurance rate. Insurance companies are more likely to pay claims on a reckless driver with a lead foot. So to balance the risk, providers will charge those drivers more.

How much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket?

The more often you get tickets, the more your rate will increase. One ticket every few years isn’t horrible, but, don’t be surprised when your rate increases.

Keep in mind that where you get the speeding ticket and the circumstances around it could matter as well. If you’re caught speeding in a school zone or construction zone, your rate could increase a lot. If you’re only going a few over on the highway, you may not see the same increase in your rate.

Insurance Rates After a DUI

It’s no surprise that some violations have a bigger impact than others. If you have a brake light out, that’s not such a big deal. You’ll just need to fix it and get back on the road. However, bigger violations like DUIs will either impact your rate quite a bit or may require you obtain insurance with another carrier.

How much does your insurance go up after a DUI?

In most states, after a DUI you’ll be required to file a certificate called an SR-22 to get your driving privileges back. That SR-22 may signal to your insurance provider that you’re more of a risk to insure. Some providers may even cancel your policy completely if they don't insure people needing those certificates. (PS: Say is one of those providers that can’t insurer someone needing an SR-22.)

DUI’s typically stay on your driving record for a number of years. You’ll probably see your insurance rate increase pretty drastically for those years. Nerdwallet estimates your rate could increase anywhere between $800 to $2,700 a year.

You won’t be punished forever for a DUI. As the DUI ages, your rate should lower a bit.

MVR Driving Record

Every time you get a ticket, it’s marked on your driving record. Different violations are given a different number of points based on how serious your state considers the violation. These points are then put together into a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR). An MVR is basically a fancy term for your driving record. It will show your violations and possibly any accidents you’ve had over a certain time range.

Because points impact your record, it’s important to keep an eye on them. Make sure you have an idea about what’s on your record by regularly checking it. You can check points on your driving record by requesting a copy of your MVR wherever you go to renew your license or get new tags for your car. The reports typically cost a little bit of money. You’ll definitely want to take a peek at your record if you’re looking for a new insurance provider, or if you’re renewing your current policy.

Keep in mind that not all states use a point system. That may sound like a free pass to get away with everything, but it’s not. These states are still counting offenses in other ways, just not with the typical point system. These states are:

  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

How Often Do Car Insurance Companies Check your Driving Record?

All insurance providers pull an MVR on drivers they insure. Providers will pull an MVR from time to time and may adjust your insurance rate if you have new violations that come up.

Knowing exactly when your provider will pull an MVR and when you should expect an increase in your rate is hard to say. Some providers pull them more frequently than others, so it really depends on your provider.

No one likes paying a ton of money for insurance. The more you know about your rate and what affects it, the better you can adjust your lifestyle and habits to make sure you aren’t paying out the wazoo for car insurance.

Madeline Klein is Say's Digital Content Producer. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism, emphasis in Strategic Communication. Her experience is in writing and digital media. Madeline loves using her creativity to write and design new and exciting pieces of work for Say!