How Does Your Driving Record Affect Your Car Insurance?


Authored by Nickie Fleming in Insurance 
Published on 04-03-2009

When you want to apply for a car insurance, the manner in which you drive matters a lot – along with your gender and your age.

An insurance company, like all other companies, wants to make a profit – hence they’ll calculate the risks involved and then decide on the premium you need to pay. The higher they consider this risk, the higher your premium will become.

Your risk potential is calculated by several varied factors:

  • Your age (younger drivers will pay more than older ones)
  • Your gender (women drivers usually get a lower premium than male drivers)
  • The type of car you drive (a big, powerful car will have a higher premium), along with the type of fuel you use
  • How many miles you drive each year (those who don’t drive a lot, will pay less)
  • Your driving record

Especially this last factor is of great importance. The DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) of your state keeps a record of your driving. This record will list:

  • The number of car accidents you have been in. In the USA, every single accident (whether or not you are in the fault) counts, while in Europe those accidents that were not your fault are not included.
  • The number of traffic violations. If you have a habit of driving through red traffic lights, you will have difficulties in getting a good deal for your insurance. It is advisable to keep a clean slate, and never commit any traffic violation.
  • The time between violations and accidents. If an accident or violation is longer than two years past, it won’t affect your insurance policy. If, on the contrary, there are only months or weeks between two violations or accidents, than you’ll see your premium go up.

Most insurance companies will ask questions about your driving record. They won’t take your word for granted too, and will check if you speak the truth. They’ll contact the DMV and see for themselves. They will use this information to see if you meet the minimum standards for insurability (according to their company), and also use the info to decide on the height of your premium. Of course, this means also that you are eligible for a ‘safe driver’ program if you have none or practically none points on your record.

In the course of years, your driving record may be reassessed. This can happen when you buy a new car or make a change to the amount of coverage included in the policy., or when the policy needs to be renewed.

The least expensive car insurance is that for a driver with a good driving record. If you drive carefully and have few accidents, insurance companies will reward you. The benefits may include:

  • Lower deductibles for a clean personal driving record
  • Accident forgiveness: some companies will forgive you just one accident
  • Special discounts: some companies will offer free items (like free hotel stays) or additional discounts on your premium

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