February 8, 2011

How Your Driving Can Affect Your Auto Insurance Rates

Auto insurance rates directly reflect how your insurance company regards your driving record. Unfortunately, it’s just about impossible to obtain cheap auto insurance if that record has more than a couple black marks. It is possible that an insurer won’t be made aware of you driving history. That could occur because the company may not check your record on an annual basis. It’s also possible that administrative snafus could keep tickets and accidents off your record, as it is detailed by state motor vehicle departments. But don’t count on it. Insurance companies aren’t in the habit of making sloppy risk appraisals.

Driving under the influence (DUI) is about the worst item that could appear on your driving record. Just a single DUI can cause an insurance company to not only refuse to offer cheap auto insurance, it can also prompt an insurer to drop your policy and decline to do any more business with you. Some states don’t require someone charged with a DUI to get an SR-22 from their insurance companies, which could at least delay or even prevent your insurer from finding out about the charge.

It you do get charged with a DUI, and you know your insurance company will learn of it, begin immediately to look for another insurance company – your present insurer will either rocket your premiums to very high levels, or drop you altogether. Don’t expect any insurance company to offer reasonable auto insurance rates. But there is a chance that another insurer will be a little more flexible regarding your need for auto insurance. Should an insurance company immediately miss learning of a DUI charge, it can still raise auto insurance rates if the charge shows up in later years. A DUI on your driving record could also have an impact on any life insurance policy your might have, causing the policy issuer to raise your rates.

Even in states with “no-fault” insurance laws, the chances are still good that driving violations of any kind could send insurance premiums higher, especially if several tickets and/or accidents tend to occur in a short time frame. Drivers who get multiple speeding tickets will find their auto insurance rates going up. By the same token, a good driving record can put a policyholder in position to demand the best rates an insurer can offer. Drivers with long-term clean records can often expect to see their deductibles lowered or completely eliminated. Expunge the ills from your driving record and someday your premiums may drop. If not, look on the Internet to see if an insurer can offer a better deal.