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Insurance companies know more about you as a consumer than you probably realize. How do auto insurance companies check driving records? When you reach out to an insurance company to buy an auto insurance policy, the company will look at the available information.
This includes using your driver’s license to look at your driver record. Companies do this to determine your risk level. There are many factors that affect auto insurance rates.
Are you a risk that companies want to cover at a low rate, or are you a risk that gets a higher rate, or perhaps even declined? When it comes to auto insurance, driving record checks are a fact of life.
The driving record is certainly going to come into play here, and it is absolutely something an auto insurance carrier will be able to pull and look at in detail.
Auto insurance companies need to look into everything when going through the process of underwriting a policy.
Most insurance carriers will pull driving records and credit reports, among other items, to paint a full picture of the risk exposure you represent.
Auto insurance carriers use this kind of extensive research to determine if individual risks fit into the companies’ risk appetite. The level of risk you represent will determine whether you can get cheap auto insurance rates or if your rates will be higher.
Beyond you as an individual, the car you drive, where you live, and more can also impact this risk selection thought process.
Auto insurance companies will check your driving record, so be honest, and start comparison shopping by entering your ZIP code in the free tool on this page to find clean driving record auto insurance quotes, bad driving record auto insurance, affordable auto insurance, and more.
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Can auto insurance companies see my driving record? If you’re worried about how your driving record will impact your rates, you might be looking for a way to avoid having your record pulled.
With so many carriers licensed to sell insurance, you might imagine there would be a way around having your record run. Unfortunately, there really aren’t any auto insurance companies that won’t check your driving record. This includes standard, preferred, and even commercial insurers.
Can insurance companies check your driving record? Yes, an auto insurance carrier will be able to go online and pull the driving record tied to you and your license in short order.
Typically, companies will pull your full motor vehicle report, also known as the MVR. You can also get a copy, and MVR online shopping is very easy since most states allow you to order one on their website (more about this later).
Do insurance companies check driving license with the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)? The DVLA is based in the United Kingdom and can be accessed if you held a driver’s license in a foreign country.
What’s included in the MVR? When the auto insurance company pulls down the full mvr check, what they are going to get is a summary record of all of your most recent driving activity.
This recent driving activity will include information like:
Why are driving records so important to insurance companies? The driving record is something that will help an insurance carrier determine if you are a safe driver or one that poses a major risk to the company.
What driving record information cannot be seen by insurance companies? Your driving record will not include tickets for non-moving violations or criminal history beyond driving.
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Where do insurance companies get driving records, and how do insurance companies check driving records? There are a few ways auto insurers can order your driving record.
Each way costs the carrier money, but some methods cost less than others. One of the more popular methods used to be ordering the record directly from the state.
Unfortunately, some states don’t process requests instantly, which can create a delay.
In addition to state records requests, insurers can also order a driver’s motor vehicle report through various risk solutions companies that have access to state records and even car insurance claims records.
The most popular company that offers instant driving record information (for a fee) is LexisNexis. While this option is faster, insurers will have to pay higher administrative fees to pull the records.
The impact on rates is pretty straightforward when it comes to your driving record.
When you have a record that is full of accidents, traffic tickets, etc., this sort of information is going to result in points against your record and increase your auto insurance rate.
The surcharge on your rate will remain there until these negative items drop off your driving record. Once they do, your rate will be readjusted without the surcharge, which can mean a significant reduction in rates.
Let’s look at just how much your driving record will affect your auto insurance rates.
|Average Annual Rates with a Clean Record
|Average Annual Rates with One Accident
|Average Annual Rates with One DUI
|Average Annual Rates with One Speeding Violation
Just one accident can raise your rates an average of $80 per month, and one speeding ticket can raise your rates $45 per month.
When you have a completely clean driving record, not only will you be charged the base rate without any surcharge, you may be eligible for auto insurance discounts.
Many insurance carriers will offer safe driving discounts to those with pristine driving records to help reduce the cost of coverage and attract the lower risk drivers. Other discounts may also help offset any rate hikes if your driving record is less than stellar.
Ask for discounts like multi-car, multi-policy, or good student. You can also get discounts if your car’s safety features qualify. Examples include antilock braking and certain kinds of cameras.
Insurance carriers are in a competitive market and always want to have a quality book of business with risks they are comfortable accepting.
The competitive nature of insurance is why companies have the ability to take on some potential risks. Companies will certainly pull the driving record of consumers shopping for coverage and other available information to form a more complete risk picture.
As a consumer, you need to be aware of the factors that may affect your rates and shop around so you can purchase coverage and terms that meet your needs at the price that best fits your budget.
It’s not necessarily the end of the world when you’re cited for speeding. You will have to pay higher rates for a period of time, but you won’t fall into a risky rate classification forever. There is a cutoff, at which point information on your report can no longer be used.
Using someone’s driving record as a way to determine risk is essentially looking at past behavior data to estimate future behavior.
Every state’s department of insurance varies in terms of how long a carrier can look back at a driving record.
So, just how far back can insurance companies check your driving record? In most states, insurers are only legally allowed to use the past three years of data for minor infractions and accident information to determine your risk classification.
However, if you’ve been convicted of a major violation for reckless driving or driving intoxicated, the information may affect your rate class for five-to-seven years.
The general rule of thumb for past driving records is a three-to-five-year window.
Once you get past that three-to-five-year window, accidents, traffic tickets, and so on will begin to drop off and no longer affect your rates.
When you finally have a clean driving record, you will be seen as a highly desirable, low-risk for a carrier to insure.
Just how often do car insurance companies check your driving record? When do insurance companies check driving records? How often does GEICO check driving records, for example?
Your auto insurance company assesses your rates every time the policy is up for renewal, usually about six weeks before it expires. Compare quotes to reduce your rates.
Auto insurance companies have to assess drivers and predict whether they are likely to file a claim. If carriers didn’t go through this process, there would be no way for companies in the industry to set personalized rates and profit.
Auto insurance driving record checks are perhaps the best way for insurers to predict if there will be a loss, based on the driver’s past experiences.
Your driving record is one of the most effective tools insurers can use for rating purposes. Without a record of your driving infractions, insurers can’t really tell if you’ve maintained a good reputation as a driver or if you’ve had regular issues obeying the law.
If you’re curious about what your driving record says about you, you can request a copy of your driving record or driving record abstract from the local department of motor vehicles (you may have to pay a small fee, and you’ll only be able to request your own driving record or abstract).
Typically if you’ve been driving out of the country, your foreign driving won’t be in the abstract. GEICO, for example, can request your domestic driving record, but unless the company (or you) takes extra steps like requesting your international driving record, it won’t be included.
It’s actually a good idea to request copies of your driving record periodically, as it’s important to know what is listed on your driving record. That way, you can see the same data the insurance companies are pulling. If it’s incorrect, you’ll be able to address the issue and request corrections.
No. At this time, there is not an auto insurance company that doesn’t check a driving record. A majority will review the record at least as far back as three years. It is not uncommon for companies to check for the last decade.
So if you have a poor driving record, you may want to consider looking for an insurer that specifically advertises themselves as a bad driving record auto insurance company.
As we discussed earlier, in the past, companies would pay to order the report directly through the state’s motor vehicle agency in the past.
While this is still an option, more and more companies are requesting instant MVRs through consumer reporting agencies like LexisNexis.
The reports are more affordable for the insurer, and they are available from all 50 states.
Not only is it easier to process the request through a risk solutions company, but it’s also easier to read these MVRs because there is a Standard Violation Code service when the driver has records from more than one state.
Another very popular report that auto insurance companies run to evaluate your application is a Claims Loss Underwriting Exchange (C.L.U.E.) report. The Insurance Information Institute defines the CLUE report as showing the loss history of a home or car.
It’s the one database where all licensed insurance companies can communicate with one another to help with future underwriting decisions.
Here’s what’s included on a detailed loss information report through the database:
C.L.U.E. reports include a seven-year loss history of all of the auto insurance claims you’ve filed under a policy you own. If you’ve filed a claim as a driver under someone else’s report, there’s a good chance that the record won’t show.
If a loss is mistakenly reported under your name, you need to contact the insurer that reported it. You can request a Loss History Report or a Letter of Experience that shows it wasn’t your claim.
The insurer will then use this to remove the claim from your record.
How do insurance companies use your driving record? It’s not a good move if insurance carriers charged someone with a history of speeding the same rate as someone with a clean record for the last decade. The driver with many infractions on their record is more likely to get into an accident.
Since accidents typically turn into claims, the carrier needs to take this into account before offering anyone coverage or the option to renew their current plan.
The insurer could just trust what the applicant has to say about their past, but those answers could be biased.
Ordering each person’s driving record is the only way to really verify that what’s being portrayed is true.
If your driving record isn’t clean, there are a few things to consider.
If you’re shopping around for insurance, your driving record could seriously affect your mission to find low rates.
Consumers who want to buy insurance from a preferred provider aren’t going to be able to meet the underwriting requirements if they have several tickets or accidents. Some preferred carriers won’t insure you with even just one infraction.
You’re better off shopping for coverage through a preferred insurer if you’re an experienced driver with a clean record.
If, however, you have had a blemished past or you’re inexperienced behind the wheel, you’ll have to go through either a standard carrier or high-risk insurer until you’ve proven you qualify for a better rate classification.
If you’re the only driver listed on your policy, only your driving record will be pulled and possibly affect your rates. However, if there are other drivers listed on your policy, their records will also be pulled, and if anyone has a less-than-clean driving record, it can affect your insurability and rates.
In most cases, your driving record will only be pulled mid-term on your policy if you add another driver.
In this case, even though you have guaranteed rates for the term of your policy because you’re changing the terms of your policy by adding another driver (an additional risk), you may see a mid-term change in rates. This can also occur if you change vehicles, add a new vehicle, or move.
Some carriers sell coverage to drivers in multiple risk groups. These risk groups are more frequently called rate classifications.
When a driver gets a quote or renews their current policy, their claims record and driving record will be reviewed to place them into a class that directly affects auto insurance rates. Here are the common risk classes used:
Looking to buy affordable driving record-based auto insurance? Staying out of the high-risk classification can save you a lot of money on auto insurance.
Having convictions on your driving record doesn’t just affect where you can buy the insurance and what class you’ll be assigned to. It can also affect your rates in the form of a policy surcharge.
A surcharge is similar to a penalty that you must pay for being cited and convicted for a moving violation. You can also pay surcharges for accidents.
In most states, each conviction that’s reported on your record can be surcharged for a period of up to three years.
The start date will be considered the date the driver was found guilty of the infraction. Luckily, some states have ordered that the amount of the surcharge must be reduced from year-to-year.
Just like rates, surcharges are set by the insurer. Some carriers might not charge quite as much as others to stay competitive in the standard industry. Others might charge a huge surcharge to their drivers with just one infraction, so they insure a lower-risk pool of customers.
Here are the rate increases that you can expect to pay after specific convictions.
|Driving without a license
|Speeding 30+ MPH over the speed limit
|Failure to stop
|Failure to yield
|Driving without a seat belt
Even though the surcharges from carrier-to-carrier can be dramatically different, there’s still an industry standard. Some convictions are considered less serious, and they come with a lesser penalty than others.
Insurers must pay close attention to dates when adding surcharges to your policy. If you were cited for speeding three years ago but weren’t convicted until last year, you could be surcharged for the remaining two years.
If you’re not convicted of an offense at your current renewal, you can’t be surcharged until the next renewal.
Another date that matters is when your license was issued and whether it or not it’s been suspended. This information can be found on your driving abstract.
If you’ve only recently gotten your license or you’ve had your license reinstated, you can still be a high-risk driver. Know how this impacts your rates before applying.
If you’re getting a quote for coverage, don’t assume that the agent already knows you have a speeding or a failure-to-stop conviction. It’s not out of line to think that your record has been pulled, but you have to keep the costs in mind.
If an insurer is giving you a free quote with no obligation to buy, they aren’t going to spend the money to run your driving record.
If the agent isn’t aware of your driving record when you’re applying for coverage, it’s reasonable to wonder when the carrier will see your convictions. It’s not when you’re soliciting a quote that the record is pulled but instead when you submit your application for coverage.
When the agent who quoted your policy submits the information, they are sending those details to an underwriter. Some agents have the power to run driving records to verify information in their office, but in most cases, it’s the underwriter that will do it.
After everything is reviewed, the final rate is calculated. That final rate could change if any rating information has changed.
If you had a clean record when you bought your insurance and then were cited for speeding a month later, you’re not in the clear for long. Technically, the insurer can’t increase your rates in the middle of your insurance term because those rates are guaranteed.
That doesn’t mean that the infraction isn’t going to impact upcoming rates.
Typically, the insurance company will rerun your record when your renewal is being run.
The renewal is run about 45 days before the policy is set to expire.
You will probably receive your renewal paperwork about 30 days before your new policy is set to start, depending on the state renewal requirements.
If it shows that you’ve been convicted of that speeding citation when the MVR is run, it will impact your renewal rates and eligibility.
Insurance companies can run your driving record during your term, even though it won’t impact your current rates, but may not choose to do so because companies are charged a fee for every MVR pulled.
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When you’re a new client, the insurer will probably run your records each renewal. Some carriers will hold off and skip renewals when you’re a long-time consumer with a clean record. It’s not worth the cost of running a report if the client has kept a clean record.
Making one mistake behind the wheel can cost you for as long as three years. If you’ve been convicted of any type of infraction, make sure you shop around for coverage online by getting instant rate quotes.
Sometimes it’s best to stay with your insurer, and other times you’ll be able to find lower rates through competitors.
Why do insurance companies run your license? Auto insurance companies require a driver’s license so they can assess driving habits. An accident on your record can make your rates jump by more than 40 percent.
You need much more than just a car to buy a standard auto insurance policy; you’ll also need an insurable interest in that vehicle and a driver’s license.
Since you don’t necessarily need a driver’s license to title a car in your name as the vehicle’s owner, it can be a cause for concern that most carriers actually require their applicants to possess an active license before they’ll extend an offer for coverage.
While there are exceptions to this rule, you do need a driver’s license to buy auto insurance in most cases. If you’re wondering why this is a common requirement for standard auto coverage, keep reading to learn more about how licensing works.
You will typically be asked for your licensing information and details about your driving history when you’re looking for insurance quotes. This information is specifically used to assess risk and to classify the driver.
Here are some of the most common licensing questions an agent or quoting form might ask you for:
What’s specifically used can vary from company-to-company.
While you do need a driver’s license or, at the minimum, a provisional license to operate a vehicle, this isn’t the main reason why carriers require a license number on an insurance application.
The reason a driver’s license is an underwriting requirement is because of what it tells the insurer about the applicant.
While it would be nice to think that each person who applies for insurance is forthcoming and honest about their driving history, it would be tempting for people to be dishonest about tickets and accidents if the information weren’t ever verified.
Here are some of the ways that a driver’s license is used for ratings:
By requiring their applicants to provide their license, it’s easier for the company to verify that the picture the applicant has painted of their driving habits is honest.
There are exceptions to most rules, and some carriers do offer policies to named insureds who don’t have a driving privilege of their own.
In most cases, you can only qualify for what’s called a standard personal auto policy without a license when you’ve voluntarily given up your license because of age or disability.
To get insurance, you’ll have to prove you own the vehicle and don’t drive it.
You’ll also have to prove that someone who’s responsible and licensed does use the car on a regular basis.
If you can’t do this, you’ll need to apply for a sub-standard short-term auto policy to buy the coverage that’s required on your car with no license. The only other alternative is to transfer ownership of the car to a licensed party.
Auto insurance companies evaluate your risk in the underwriting period. Companies generally review both your motor vehicle record and your claims history.
Auto insurance is required in most states. Since it’s a product that you both need and must carry, it’s important to understand how companies determine how much you’ll pay for coverage.
While every company has its unique rate filing with the state, the factors that companies use to set prices for each applicant are the same across the board.
When you apply for insurance, the agent sends your application to the underwriting department so that proper reports can be run and all of the personal information you provided on your quote form can be verified.
Auto insurance quotes and applications are two very different things. When you start comparison shopping, solicit several different quotes to estimate how much you’ll pay for coverage.
These insurance quotes are just a starting point. They aren’t a guarantee for specific pricing or an offer for insurance.
After you shop around and you’ve decided on one specific quote, the next step in the process is submitting your application for insurance.
You must provide detailed information about your past claims, your driving infractions, and your habits so the company is equipped with the knowledge it needs to decide if it would like to do business with you.
Applications must go through the underwriting phase before the company decides whether or not to extend you an offer for insurance.
Since auto insurance rates rely heavily on your statistical likelihood of filing a claim, the company will spend its resources to run reports and look for contradictions in the answers you’ve given.
The purpose of the underwriting stage is to assess risk, so a company is better able to charge adequate rates.
In the insurance world, a company will never have dead-on projections, but they can invest in underwriting to avoid losing out on profits at the end of the year.
If there were no underwriting, it would be easy for applicants to say anything they wanted to keep their insurance rates low.
The internet has completely changed the way companies can underwrite an application. In the past, it could take days or weeks to order reports and get results.
Now, underwriters can access virtually all of the information they need to make a final decision by running electronic reports that display instant results.
Underwriters make their decisions based on the underwriting guidelines they are required to use. Each company has its guidelines, which are used to target a particular segment of the market.
It’s normal for an underwriter to review each section of the application for obvious errors or contradictions. After doing this, they will run reports.
What do auto insurance companies check when they run these reports?
You’ll recall that one of the most common reports an auto insurance company will run is the Motor Vehicle Report (MVR). The MVR is a report offered by a state motor vehicle agency that shows if a driver has any minor or major moving violations.
When you’re getting quotes for coverage, you should always let the company know if you’ve been licensed in another state.
Failing to disclose that you’ve been licensed in another state will only work against you because insurers give driving experience credits when you’ve got experience behind the wheel.
You may want to get your own MVR from your prior state to support your claim to more driving experience credits.
This MVR should show when you were licensed and when the license expired. By providing official documents, the company has no choice but to offer you driving experience discounts.
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How rates are set is referred to as the rate-making process in the insurance industry.
When rates are made by the carrier, the carrier takes into account how much it will need to charge in pure rate for a unit of coverage and how much it will need to collect to cover overhead expenses and stay profitable.
After rates are determined, the company then takes on the task of assessing the risk that a single household presents by providing quotes and underwriting applications.
Here’s a list of the most common factors that affect auto insurance rates:
The company uses several different rating factors and risk determinants to predict the likelihood that an applicant will file a claim during a single term. Each determinant affects price in a different way.
For example, let’s look at how your age, gender, and marital status can affect your auto insurance rates.
|Average Annual Rates for a Married 60-Year-Old Female
|Average Annual Rates for a Married 60-Year-Old Male
|Average Annual Rates for a Married 35-Year-Old Female
|Average Annual Rates for a Married 35-Year-Old Male
|Average Annual Rates for a Single 25-Year-Old Female
|Average Annual Rates for a Single 25-Year-Old Male
|Average Annual Rates for a Single 17-Year-Old Female
|Average Annual Rates for a Single 17-Year-Old Male
You can see that younger males are charged much more than older females. The reason is that older drivers have more experience are less likely to be in an accident.
It’s important to be upfront with your insurer when you’re applying for coverage. The most effective way to price rates is to use an online rate comparison tool.
Since you know auto insurance companies will check your driving history, be honest, so you get the correct quotes.
Whether you’re looking for bad driving record auto insurance rates or need to buy clean driving record auto insurance, enter your ZIP code into our tool below. Here you can determine which company offers the best rates based on your driving record.
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