Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Aug 10, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • In determining whether to off you auto insurance coverage and what rate you will pay for insurance coverage, insurance companies check your driving record along with other information about you
  • It does not pay to lie about your driving record or try to cover up an accident or ticket because the insurance company can verify all of that information
  • It pays to shop around for different auto insurance companies when trying to get the lowest rate because they may consider your driving record differently in determining the premium that you will pay for auto insurance coverage
  • The amount of time since a driving infraction or claim for an auto accident will matter in terms of your auto insurance rate

It probably comes as no surprise that your driving record has an impact on the price that you pay for auto insurance. It’s the most straightforward way to assess your risk of filing a claim. If you get pulled over and ticketed frequently or if you’ve filed a claim, your chances of filing a claim in the near future go up dramatically.

If you have a clean driving record for a certain period, car insurance companies will typically offer accident forgiveness. In other words, qualifying traffic violations or accidents can be disregarded the first time. But don’t expect this to follow you to another insurer.

Keep in mind that even if you are asked questions about your driving record by an auto insurance agent, the auto insurance company will verify that information independently before signing off on your auto insurance policy.

The length of time that an auto insurance company looks back for your driving record will vary. Enter your zip code above to find the best car insurance rates for your budget!

What is included in your driving record?


Your driving record contains much more than simply a list of the accidents that you have been involved in. Rather, this can be a very detailed report and include plenty of personal information about you.

Basically, though, the better your driving record looks, the lower the premium you can expect to pay for auto insurance and the more auto insurance options will be available to you. Insurance companies look through different databases to find any record of tickets or accidents. Generally, both show up in court records. Smaller accidents or claims that didn’t go to court will still show up in insurance records.

Your driving record will include instances where you have been cited for any moving violations. It will also include auto accidents that you have been involved in. If you have any suspensions or restrictions on your driver’s license, these will also show up on your official driving record.

Crimes involving a traffic offense, such as a DUI, will be visible on your driving record too. While your motor vehicle record is one source, the state may also request an SR-22, which would get your insurance company’s attention. All of the information that can be obtained from your driver’s license, such as your age, date of birth, height, weight and eye color, can also be included in your official driving record.

If you would like to obtain a copy of your driving record as you are shopping around for auto insurance rate quotes, you can contact your state department of motor vehicles.

his will help you verify any information that the auto insurance company may ask about your driving record.

You may also be able to purchase a copy of your driving record from a third party company, but this may not be the official version of your driving record.

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What If You Have Something on Your Record That Is Wrong?

It happens. If you have a similar name as someone else, they may pull the wrong record or add something to the wrong driving record. In some cases, you could also be a victim of identity theft. Whatever the case, you can and should dispute any inaccurate driving records.

What if the traffic tickets and accidents on your record are accurate? Just because your driving record is not as stellar as you would like it to be, does not mean that you are hopeless in trying to get a lower premium for your auto insurance coverage. The longer it’s been, the less impactful it is. Whatever the case, you have options.

First of all, you should ask your auto insurance company about any discounts they may offer for you taking a driving safety course. Upon completion of the course, your auto insurance company may consider you to be a lower risk to insurance and will lower your auto insurance rate accordingly.

In fact, some auto insurance companies also offer a discount on your auto insurance rates if you install anti-theft equipment or devices in your vehicle.

Another thing that you should find out from your auto insurance agent if you have any negative history on your driving record is how far back the look back period goes for your driving record for that particular auto insurance company.

For instance, some auto insurance companies look back for a longer period of time in including accidents and moving violations in their evaluation of your driving record in terms of determining the rate that you will pay for auto insurance.

This is why it is definitely beneficial to shop around as much as you can for different auto insurance rates.

Finally, you can look into telematics programs. Your insurance company will track key driving behaviors for 90 days generally speaking. Some companies offer an initial discount of around 5%. After the 90 days is up, you’ll get a more permanent discount. Some insurance companies will raise your rates if you score as a high-risk driver. So make sure you know what you’re getting into.

What Other Factors Do Companies Consider in Determining Rates?


In addition to examining your driving record, there are many other factors that come into play in determining the rate that you will pay for auto insurance.

Every insurance company uses a different evaluation of these factors to determine the risk that you pose as an insured driver and ultimately the rate that you will pay for auto insurance coverage.

Believe it or not, your credit score can also come into play for your auto insurance premium. Auto insurance companies rely on this information in quoting you a rate because they think that financial responsibility is a good indicator of how safe of a driver you probably are.

It also gives them an idea of how reliable you will be in making your premium payments for your policy.

Your zip code is another thing that determines your auto insurance rates. If you live in an urban area, the auto insurance company will assume that the crime rate and traffic congestion levels are higher, which makes it more likely that you will eventually file a claim under your auto insurance policy.

Unfortunately, this means that you will probably pay a higher rate for auto insurance if you live in a major city.

Along with these factors and your driving record, the type of car you are driving will also affect the rate that you pay for auto insurance. For instance, if you drive a flashy or exotic car, you will probably pay a higher rate for auto insurance than if you drive a minivan.

Your Driving Record and Auto Insurance Companies

Any auto insurance company that provides you a quote for an auto insurance policy will most definitely consider your driving record in determining the rate that you will pay for the policy.

Every auto insurance company considers risks differently, which is why it is important to shop around for multiple quotes. Also, if your driving record is very good, then you may be able to get a safe driver discount from your auto insurance company.

Make sure that you are proactive in asking about all of the discounts that you could qualify for on your auto insurance premium.

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