Do Past Tickets and Violations Affect Car Insurance Rate?
Insurance companies look at your past driving record as a prediction for your future driving habits. In other words, the better driving habits you exhibit now, the lower your insurance rate will be in the future. A person with a marked up record will have a higher likelihood of making a claim on their car insurance. Because this means a higher risk for the insurance company because they may have to pay out on your claim, they charge you a higher premium in return.
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Just how does your driving habits and record affect your premium? We take a look below.
If you love to speed, you may want to rethink this habit. Speeding increases your chance of a ticket as well as causing an accident. Because of the deadly implications of speeding, insurance companies often inflate the rates for those caught doing so.
The effect of a speeding ticket depends on your other driving history. Do you have a generally clean record? Then one speeding ticket may not affect your premium very much. However, if you have a history of moving violations, that one speeding ticket can have a dramatic effect on your insurance rate.
The excessiveness of your speed will also play a role in your premium increase. For example, a ticket for driving 10 over the posted speed limit will have a lesser impact than a ticket for driving 30 over the posted speed limit. The faster you drive, the more people you put in danger, which in return, puts the insurance company at risk.
Insurance companies don’t mess around when you get a DUI. You were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and put yourself and other people at risk. Your insurance rates will likely implode at the first offense.
Getting a DUI rates you as a ‘risky driver’ with the insurance company. You made an unwise decision and the insurance company gauges that as a guide for your future decisions. Depending on the number of violations you have, you could even face insurance cancellation if you receive a DUI.
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Other Violations Affecting Your Driving Record
Speeding and DUIs are the most common driving violations received. However, there are several others that could affect your premium:
- Reckless driving aside from excessive speeding
- Hit and run accidents (you being the cause of the accident)
- Driving on a revoked license
- Texting and driving
- Not yielding
- Improper lane change
- Following too close
- Not obeying school bus rules
- Expired driver’s license
- Improper use of child restraints
Each of these infractions affects your insurance rates differently. Some don’t have any effect at all, if you have an otherwise clean driving record. Some, however, can have a drastic impact on your rates. Again, it depends on the insurance company and your driving record. If you are consistently a high-risk driver, expect your rates to increase.
How Long Does a Ticket Affect Your Rates?
Every insurance company has different rules regarding how long a driving ticket affects your rate. They call it the ‘look-back’ period. In general, expect a ticket or moving violation to affect your rates for a minimum of 3 years. The date the issue begins depends on the insurance company. Some count the day you were cited while others don’t start the countdown until the date of conviction, if you take it to court.
Major infractions, such as a DUI can affect your insurance rates for as long as 10 years. If you have more than one DUI, expect it to affect your rates for even longer than 10 years. Of course, once you hit that 10-year date or whichever date you are waiting for, your rates don’t automatically change. The insurer will not lower your premium until your renewal period. Even then, though, it pays to follow up and make sure your premiums are changed.
Staying With the Same Insurance Company
Not every ticket becomes known to your insurance company, though. The only way they know is if they check your MVR or Motor Vehicle Report. If you have been with the same insurance company for a while and have had a relatively clean driving record since you were with them, they may not check your MVR. It depends on their policies and the risk level they feel you provide. Some insurance companies check the report with every renewal, while others are more relaxed about it.
You can guarantee, however, when you change insurance companies, the insurance company will check your record. Since they don’t know you and the risk you provide, they need to know what to expect. They base your initial premium on your driving history. From there, they determine what they need to do. Unless your moving violations resulted in a claim because there was an accident, they would not know about it unless they check your MVR.
The best way to keep your rates down is to keep a safe driving record. Obey the speed limit, don’t drive under the influence, and follow the law while on the road. If you happen to get a ticket, do your best to keep your driving record clean moving forward. Again, unless you change insurance companies, the ticket may not even affect your rate. If it does, talk to your insurance provider about what you can do to get it lower again. It may not be as hard as you think.
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