How Your Driving Record Affects Your Rates
Your driving record is a key part of how your insurance company will assess your premiums. They will normally get a copy of your driving record from your states motor vehicle department. Then, they will use your driving record as part of how they assess you for insurance, under their underwriting rules. Since your driving record can have a direct impact on how much you pay, it is essential to keep your record as clean as possible.
Generally, the motor vehicles department has a "point" system, which they use to track your driving record. Under the typical point system, each type of infraction (moving violations, parking tickets, at-fault accidents, driving under the influence, etc.) is assigned a certain point value. When you are found guilty of one of these infractions, the appropriate number of points is added to your driving record.
If you are discussing the score of your favorite sports team, points are good. However, when you are discussing your driving record, you want to avoid points. The more points you have, the worse your record.
Typically, an auto insurance company has the right to review the driving record of anyone who applies for an auto insurance policy from that company. They do this to determine two things:
- Whether you meet their guidelines for insurance and are eligible for a policy under their guidelines.
- Your risk potential to them (which will affect how much you will pay).
Having said that, every insurer has unique underwriting guidelines for evaluating prospective clients. As a result, the points on your record may have a more significant impact with one insurer versus another. As always, it pays to shop around.
Once you have insurance with a particular company, your insurer likely has the right to review your driving record. Some insurers will review your record very regularly; they may review as often as once a year on your policy renewal date. Other insurers may be less diligent. There are, however, certain times when you can be relatively sure an insurance company will be checking your record. These include:
- When you initially apply for coverage.
- When you request a change to your policy, such as an increase in coverage.
- When you add a vehicle to your policy or change vehicles.