July 12, 2010

Knowing How Far Auto Insurance Companies Look Into Your Record

Every driver makes a few mistakes, and chances are good that you've had a blemish or two on your driving record. Accidents and traffic citations are part of driving, and it sometimes seems unfair that car insurance companies use a driver's record for figuring auto insurance quotes. Statistically speaking, however, drivers that are involved in an accident and traffic law violators are much more likely to be involved in a car insurance claim. From your insurance company's perspective, looking back into a driver's record just makes sense. If you're looking for auto insurance quotes, you may wonder exactly how far insurers look into a driver's record–how far back do they look, and at what point do points on your record stop affecting insurance rates?

The answer is somewhat dependent on your state of residence. In general, states have insurance laws that prevent old violations or accidents from affecting your auto insurance quotes past a certain point, usually two years or so. Some states stop keeping records for violations that are over seven years old, and logically, insurance companies would be unable to use violations older than this, since they won't be able to access them. Some insurance companies simply consider certain old violations to be less important past a certain age. For instance, a traffic ticket might cause a big price hike in your insurance premiums if it's only a year old, but after two years, the effect will be much more modest. Check with your state's insurance commission and your insurance company for exact information.

You can usually assume that violations older than a few years won't have an effect on your auto insurance quotes, but there are exceptions. Major violations like DUIs can haunt you for years. Drivers with serious violations are labeled high risk, and it can take a lot of work to remove this designation. It can be a very good idea to check whether your insurance provider offers discounts for drivers that take special driving classes. These can help to remove a high risk label, and they can help drivers with a few points on their driving records to lower their insurance premiums. Otherwise, the best thing that you can do is to stay safe; the longer you're able to drive without violations, the better you'll look to insurance companies.

Regardless of your driving record, it pays to look around before buying car insurance. Even if your risk level is relatively high, the car insurance market is very competitive, and you should be able to drastically reduce your rates by buying moderate amounts of coverage and comparing auto insurance quotes online.