How Does Your Driving Record Impact Your Auto Insurance?

December 21, 2017

Driving record impacts payment

It’s no surprise that your driving record affects your car insurance payment. A driver with a history of speeding tickets or reckless driving generally pays more for their insurance than someone who’s never been pulled over.

Drivers with a checkered driving history are often referred to as ‘high risk’ by insurance companies. High risk drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident than a safe driver with a clean record, therefore the more accident-prone driver ultimately costs more to insure. Many drivers have wondered if certain offenses cause a greater increase in your car insurance payment than others. If you’re one of these drivers, then you’re in luck: Compare.com found an answer.

How Do Insurers Decide How Much to Increase Your Insurance?

Avoiding injury to yourself and others should be the primary factor in how you conduct yourself when you’re behind the wheel. That’s an obvious one. When insurers are judging the quality of a customer, getting a ticket for having one headlight out isn’t too serious, but driving drunk is.

When determining how much to charge a particular customer, the severity of your offence is taken into account. Some insurers will take the ‘moral’ value of your offence into play. For example, not coming to a complete stop at a junction isn’t too serious. Fleeing the scene of an accident is very different.

It’s a similar story for how often and how many times you’ve had an offence. Getting caught speeding, once, 2 years ago, will be treated differently to texting and driving three times. If you’re a one-time offender, insurers may be more lenient and hope that you’ve learnt your lesson. Regardless, you should still expect a premium increase at renewal.

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Insurance companies offer both positive and negative reinforcement incentives to drive this point home (as well as to help protect their investment when insuring you). If you’re a high-risk driver with a poor driving record, the cost to remain insured will increase with each offense. You may also become what is referred to as a ‘non-standard risk’, which means some insurers may refuse to insure you altogether.

If you are already a safe driver, many insurance providers will reward you with a safe driver discount. You can find discounts and get free auto insurance quotes from a wide selection of auto insurance companies. If you’re a not-so-safe driver, insurers will hike up your rates.

What Are The Lowest Impact Violations?

Unfortunately, any ticket will drive your auto insurance payments up. On Compare.com and most other insurance websites, you will be asked for a list of violations within the last 3-5 years (depending on the insurer). That’s right: whatever ticket you’ve received, major or minor, will impact your insurance for up to half a decade.

Getting caught failing to yield at an intersection, won’t generally impact your insurance too much. A study by The NY Times found that a smaller infraction will generally cause an increase of less than 10%. That said, 10% on a $1,000 annual premium is still an extra $100 a year, so not something that you should take lightly.

What Are The High Cost Violations?

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the offenses that drive your premiums up the most are driving under the influence (DUI’s or DWI’s) and reckless driving. These high-risk driving offenses drive your rates up an average of 22 percent (NY Times) and reckless driving an average of 19 percent just for the first offense, not to mention that they put points on your driving record.

If you’re caught speeding more than 30mph over the limit, speeding in a school zone, or going over 100mph, you may need to go to court. Although you can argue your case down to a lesser charge, you’ll still need to hire a lawyer and pay court fees. These can easily add up to over $1,000 very quickly… and that’s not including the increase in your insurance premium.

Whether you have a clean record, a couple of speeding tickets or a DUI, making sure you get good car insurance is vital. Every insurer treats your driving history differently, so it really pays to shop around. Use Compare.com to compare at rates side by side and buy your policy today.

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