How Your Driving Record Affects Your Insurance Premium

By Compuquotes Team on October 16th, 2009
Auto Insurance

Do You Deserve Lower Auto Insurance Rates?

That depends on what kind of driver you are! While many states have adopted "no-fault" insurance reporting methods, chances are good that your car and truck premiums will rise if you're issued a ticket for a violation, or if you report a motor vehicle accident to your insurance company.

Insurance companies look at your driving record over an established time period. The occurrence or number of reported accidents or tickets in a short time frame definitely impact how much you pay for vehicle insurance. On the plus side, a clean driving history can help you qualify for discounts on car insurance. Depending on your insurance company, if you're a safe driver, you may even see lower deductible levels when they repair your car or replace items from theft.

Lower Premiums and Insurance Perks

Even if you had accidents in the past, your insurance company may provide accident forgiveness if you have a clean driving record for several years. If your rates go up following citations or accidents, they may go down again if you re-establish a good driving record. It's up to you.

Safe drivers are offered lower auto insurance premiums than risky ones. Most companies establish rates on a points system. Add points, your premiums go up; drive safely, and your points go down. If you currently enjoy a "safe driver" rating but want to shop for new auto insurance quotes, it's a good idea to see if your rating transfers to the new company. They often do.

Traffic tickets typically remain on your records from three to five years, however the penalties you face from your insurance company may be based on the severity of your infractions. A driving-under-the-influence arrest, for example, may gravely affect your rate, while a minor traffic violation ticket may be forgiven the first time. A major violation can push up your rates by as much as 26 percent.

Discounts and Reduced Deductibles

Drivers with long-term clean records may see their deductibles reduced or eliminated entirely. It depends on your record and your car insurance company. Just like the points system on your record, insurance companies add or shave percentage points on deductibles based on how you drive. An at-fault accident usually adds 2 points for the first occurrence, going up a point with each successive incident.
Chronic speeders should expect their insurance premiums to increase. The first occurrence can add more points than a minor accident.
If you had a high-deductible premium following a poor driving record and now have established several years free of citations and accidents, you might want to shop around if your insurance company doesn't reduce your premiums.

To build clientele, many insurance companies now offer safe-driver rewards programs modeled after credit card programs. Your clean driving record can qualify you for travel discounts or cash-back deals pegged to an annual driving record.

Premiums are typically set according to driver age, gender, location, marital status, and type of vehicle. But your driving record may ultimately have the greatest influence on how much you pay for coverage.

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