How Often Car Insurance Companies Check Driving Records?
To understand how often car insurance companies check driving records, we need to start with some background information about how car insurance companies work.
Essentially, car insurance companies pool money from people who want to be insured and then use that money to pay out claims from people who are injured in accidents or damage other cars in an accident that they cause.
How frequently car insurance companies check driving records affects their ability to accurately assess which drivers are likely to file many claims and thus require higher premiums.
What Are They Looking For?
Insurance companies look for a few things when they check your driving record: accidents, traffic violations, and any other incidents that may indicate you’re a high-risk driver.
They use this information to help determine your rates. The more accidents or violations you have, the higher your rates will be.
Violations could include tickets such as speeding or running a red light. Accidents typically include any car accident, regardless of who is at fault, where it happened, or how serious it was.
Whether you were driving below the permitted speed limit on a one-way street and there were no people on bikes in the area, getting a ticket for running a red light might not be a problem for you.
However, if you got the same ticket while racing down a crowded city street during rush hour, your insurance company would take note of that incident and charge accordingly!
Applying for coverage with a new insurer will likely ask you about any significant violations and accidents in the past three years.
If there’s anything significant on your record, it may impact whether or not you can get coverage through them. You can find out your options by checking out our insurance marketplace!
How Often Do They Check Records?
At least once a year, the majority of auto insurance providers will look at your driving record. However, some may check it more frequently if you have had recent violations or accidents.
Unless you’re in the market for a new policy, the underwriting process that the company will use will most likely involve pulling your record.
Having said that, your premiums might go up if the insurance provider discovers something on your background that they weren’t aware of when you first signed up for coverage with them.
For example, suppose you got a speeding ticket while living in New York and now live in California. In that case, your rate could go up even though you’ve never driven in California.
In these cases, the company would ask you to provide documentation of any traffic violation committed in other states before approving coverage.
While every insurer is different, insurers share information to maintain fairness and competitiveness in the marketplace.
A good rule of thumb is to shop around each time you renew your policy. Just because an insurer gave you a good deal this year doesn’t mean they’ll give you a good deal next year if they find out that there’s been an accident or violation on your record since last time.
Shopping around can save you money and help you get a fair price. After all, why should you be penalized for something you did six months ago if the company knew about it but wasn’t charging you enough?
As long as you tell them about any changes to your driving history, you should be able to get a competitive rate that reflects what’s happening today rather than what happened six months ago.
Otherwise, you might pay too much for coverage when a cheaper option is available. You don’t want to overpay just because you forgot to mention that speeding ticket from four years ago.
At least once a year, the majority of auto insurance providers will look at your driving record. But some might do it more frequently, such as renewing your policy or making a claim.
And suppose you have an at-fault accident or moving violation. In that case, the insurer may pull your record during the policy term to help determine whether to renew or cancel your coverage.
And hence, it is in your benefit to keep the power of your driving record. The fact that you have a good driving record can lead to financial benefits.
For example, Allstate recently announced plans to provide discounts for drivers with good records in 22 states and Washington D.C., which could save $150 annually for those customers.
An excellent way to keep tabs on your report is by signing up for OnPoint from Insurance Panda: It provides alerts about tickets and accidents so that you can take care of them before they become issues with your insurer.
On Point will also notify you if any tickets or violations go unpaid. You have the option of getting these notifications sent to your email, your mobile device via text message, or both.
Ways to Pass the Check and Save Money
- Review your driving record. If there are any errors, get them corrected as soon as possible.
- Maintain a good credit score. A high credit score could result in a lower premium.
- Shop around for the best rates. Compare rates from at least three different insurers.
- Drive safely and avoid accidents or traffic violations. A clean driving record will help keep your rates low.
- Take advantage of discounts. Many insurers offer discounts for things like having a clean driving record or being a safe driver
- Ask about surcharges. Some insurers may charge a surcharge if you have had accidents or violations in the past three years. Remember to ask about surcharges before committing to a policy.
The best way to know how much car insurance costs is to contact a few providers and compare quotes.
Checking your driving record is one of the many ways car insurance companies determine your rates. To find out how often they do this, let’s go to some statistics: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, one of the largest U.S. car insurers, checks in on a customer’s history every year.
Farmers Insurance Group also does it annually, but Progressive and Geico can take a peek at your past six months for about $10-$15. Allstate does it every three years except for bad behavior (driving without a license or drunk driving). Allstate also occasionally asks for an applicant’s previous three years of their record if they apply within 12 months of moving to a new state from another country.