Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • Your driving record is one of the biggest factors that comes into play when an auto insurance company figures out what rate you need to pay for car insurance
  • At the time that you request a new quote for car insurance, the company that you are checking into will evaluate your driving record as of the date that you submit the quote request
  • Your auto insurance company may also examine your driving record, including any accidents that you have been involved in as well as tickets from police for moving violations, when you go to renew your auto insurance policy
  • If you go to make a change to your current auto insurance policy, such as insuring a new car or adding or removing another driver, then your driving record may come up
  • The average amount of time that a ticket or accident remains on your record for the purposes of auto insurance is typically three to five years

Your driving record is a critical factor in determining the rate that you pay for auto insurance.

Whenever you apply for a quote for a rate on car insurance, the company that provides the quote will examine your driving record to see what kind of risk you are as a driver.

If you have a clean record and have not gotten into any accidents, then you are more likely to pay a lower rate for auto insurance coverage because it is less likely that you will have to file a claim down the line.

This makes providing your coverage that much cheaper for the insurance company, and they pass these savings to the driver.

Compare top insurers and see how much you could save on car insurance. Enter your zip code above to begin.

The Major Considerations in Your Driving Record


When an insurance company looks into your driving record, they are mostly interested in the following:

  • what accidents you have been involved in
  • whether you have received tickets for any traffic violations

This means that a ticket that you got for speeding is much more important in determining your auto insurance rate than having a few parking tickets. In fact, an auto insurance provider typically would not even consider any parking tickets that you receive.

However, if you have many unpaid parking tickets on your record that have resulted in your license being suspended, this is something that could ultimately end up affecting your driving record for auto insurance purposes.

If you have been involved in a car accident, it will matter whether you were responsible for the accident in terms of whether it means that your auto insurance rates will ultimately go up.

This means that if you were simply hit by another driver who caused the car crash, then you would not be penalized with respect to the premium that you pay for auto insurance coverage.

If a certain amount of time has passed since any negative incident in your driving history, then it may not even come into play for your auto insurance rate.

In general, if three to five years have passed since you have received a traffic ticket or were involved in a car crash, then this incident may not even be considered by the car insurance provider.

Some states in the U.S. even have laws that dictate how long an incident can be held against you for determining the rate that you will pay for auto insurance in that particular state.

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Events that Trigger Your Auto Insurance Provider to Evaluate Your Driving Record

In addition to when you first apply for auto insurance coverage, there are many other situations that will cause an auto insurance company to examine your driving record for traffic tickets and accident activity.

If you are making any changes to your car insurance policy, the insurance company will naturally pull up your driving record.

Also, when your insurance policy term is coming to a close, the insurance company may evaluate your driving record before either choosing to renew you for an additional term or notify you that you will no longer be covered under that policy.

If you receive notice from your car insurance company that you will no longer be receiving coverage at the end of the current policy term, then you have a limited amount of time to find another source of car insurance coverage.

The insurance company will be required to give you enough lead time to find another source of car insurance coverage before the expiration of your current policy. This required notification period will be set by state law.

If you do not receive proper notice of non-renewal or cancellation, then you should go to your state department of insurance right away.

At all times, you need to make sure that you are covered by the minimum amount of auto insurance coverage required in your state.

If you are encountering a problem with getting this coverage, then you should get in touch with your state department of insurance as quickly as you can to see what other options are available for drivers in your particular situation.

What to Do if You Find Out that Your Rates are Going Up After an Auto Accident or Traffic Ticket


You may also find that your auto insurance company chooses to raise your rate if you have been involved in the following:

  • an accident
  • filing of a claim
  • receipt of a traffic ticket during your current period of coverage

If you find that the amount of the increase in your auto insurance premium is too much for you to afford, you should look into alternatives from other auto insurance providers before you decide to reduce your current coverage.

Information is your best ally when you are looking to get a more affordable rate for an auto insurance policy. The more quotes that you receive from an auto insurance company, the more certain you can be that you are not paying too much for the coverage that you need.

At the time that you are requesting quotes for auto insurance coverage, you should ask any questions you may have about the types of coverage that you should be getting.

If you have an older car that has already been damaged in an accident, getting collision coverage may not be as important to you as if you had a brand new car.

These are perfect questions for your auto insurance agent when you are finding the right balance between having enough coverage and not paying too much for your car insurance policy.

When you apply for insurance or make a change to your policy, this could trigger your auto insurance company to look into your driving record. Incidents on your record probably stay there for insurance purposes between three and five years.

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