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How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Insurance?

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By Makenzie Crutcher on May 21, 2021 in Insurance Basics

You might be here because you were in an accident recently and want to know how long it’ll impact your driving record and your insurance premium, or maybe you’re just curious about the ins and outs of insurance. Either way, we’ll give you the answers you’re looking for and a bit of extra information, because, why not?!

How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Insurance?

When we’re talking about “insurance” here, we mean claims history!

The short answer: About 3 years or 36 months.

Long answer: The specific length of time an accident stays on your record varies. Most companies only focus on the last 36 months. Luckily, even if it appears on your claims history, whether it affects your premium may depend on who is at-fault vs not at-fault, location of your home, and the severity of the accident. So, while many insurance companies won’t raise rates for an accident you weren’t found at-fault for, others do. This is why it’s important to clarify the specifics of your rate post-accident with your provider.

How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record?

When we say “your record” we’re not referring to a manila envelope in a room filled floor to ceiling with filing cabinets. Although, that would be pretty neat and would give us some serious secret agent vibes. However, we mean MVR motor vehicle record, also known as driving record.

Let’s use Missouri (our home state) as the example when talking about records. If you want to request driving records, you’d go to the Missouri Department of Revenue’s website. Here you can request records with or without personal information. Driving records with personal information, including name, address, driver's license number, SSN, phone number, and more, can be attained by submitting your driver’s license or by completing a form with the requested driver’s signature. Both of these requests have an associated fee, so be sure to look into that before requesting ALL of your driving records.

You may be wondering what is considered a clean record. Auto Insurance Quote says that it is one without accidents, traffic violations, or points. However, this can vary from carrier to carrier.

So, when we answer, “How long does an accident stay on your record?” this is what we’re talking about.

Does Being in an Accident Affect Your Insurance Premium?

Again, we have a short answer and a long answer.

Short answer: It can. (We know this might not be the most helpful but unfortunately, we can’t say for sure how your accident will affect your insurance without knowing the nitty-gritty details of your situation).

Long answer: Because your driving record and claims history is one of the factors considered when an insurance company gives you a rate, your accident may have an impact. Depending on the nature of the accident, some car accidents stay on your claims history and, in turn, cause your premium to increase. However, the severity of accident with a possible rate increase differs from company to company and state to state. If an accident does cause your premium to rise, it’s typically considered an accident surcharge, so be on the lookout for those!


Let’s cover the highlights one last time. Accidents stay on your record for about 3 years or 36 months. During this time, depending on certain factors surrounding the accident, it could affect your insurance rate.

The tried-and-true way to understand how much your specific accident will affect your car insurance rate is to communicate directly with your insurance carrier.

Do you have additional questions you’d like answered? Reach out to us on social media and we’ll give you the inside scoop.

Makenzie Crutcher is the Brand Strategist for Say Insurance. She graduated from Westminster College with a degree in English, emphasis in Literature. Prior to joining Say, Makenzie was an insurance underwriter specializing in policy risk analysis. Having nearly a decade of experience in the insurance industry, she brings a unique perspective to the Say marketing team. Makenzie loves to use her industry expertise and charismatic personality to bring everyone the scoop on Say!