Your driving record consists of information about you, your driver’s license, and your driving history — specifically, traffic violations and points incurred. All of this information affects your insurance rates, and points and violations affect your premiums the most. In most states, points and violations expire from your record after a certain number of years, but you might not want to wait.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can lower or even remove the points and violations from your record such as taking a remedial driving course, retaking your state’s driver license exams, or having your record expunged. As long as your state approves these methods, you can avoid an expensive hike in insurance payments.
- How Your Driving Record Affects Insurance Rates?
- How to Remove Points and Violations from Your Record?
- How to Save Money on Auto Insurance After a Ticket?
- What’s on Your Driving Record?
How Your Driving Record Affects Insurance Rates
The two elements of your driving record that affect your auto insurance rates the most are your driving record points and your traffic violations.
Driving Record Points
Although your driving record points are a product of your traffic violations, we’re going to cover points first.
How long traffic violation points stay on your driving record depends on the violation and your state laws, of course. For example, points from most run-of-the-mill traffic offenses such as speeding tickets and texting-while-driving stay on your record for two or three years. Points from bigger violations, such as drunk driving, can stay on your record for five to 10 years; in some states, much longer.
While car insurance companies do look at your points, they don’t consider them as much as you might think. That’s because most auto coverage providers have their own point system — which comes in handy when insuring drivers in states that don’t use point systems. Providers assign their own points based largely on the traffic violations in your driving record.
Whether or not your state uses a point system, all states list traffic violations on driving records.
Not all traffic violations increase auto insurance rates (or even add points to your record). For example, non-moving violations and “fix-it” tickets (a ticket issued to fix something mechanically inoperable with your vehicle; also known as a “correctable violation”) generally don’t cause any increase in rates. Of course, this depends on your insurance provider’s policies.
However, moving violations can negatively affect your car insurance rates. Whether you were clocked driving a few miles over the speed limit, rolled through a stop sign, or were convicted of driving under the influence, be prepared for your insurance provider to increase your rates.
How to Remove Points & Violations From Your Record?
There are several ways you can remove points and violations from your driving record. We’ve highlighted several below, but be sure to check with your department of motor vehicles or other state motor vehicle agency to find out which methods are approved.
- Handle a “fix-it” ticket immediately. Often, police officers or traffic court judges will drop a correctable violation ticket — such as a citation for a missing side view mirror or broken tail light — if you fix it immediately and present the repaired part.
- Fight the ticket in court. If you believe you’re not guilty of the violation, you can contest the ticket in court; if you win, neither the violation nor the points will show up on your record. Understand that fighting a traffic ticket often costs more than the ticket fine and potential increase in insurance rates, so unless the violation is a big one, fighting it might not be the best option.
- Complete a driving course. This might be a defensive driving course, remedial driving course, traffic school, or some other variation of a driving class. Check with your state’s motor vehicle agency about whether they offer a state-coordinated class or if they accept completion certificates from third-party companies (and which ones).
- Retake the state’s written and/or behind-the-wheel driving exam. Some states, like Pennsylvania, will remove a certain number of driving record points if an eligible driver retakes the written and driving exams they took when they first got their driver licenses.
- Expunge your driving record. Some states will expunge your driving record — if you qualify. For example, you can have your record expunged in Maryland if you haven’t been convicted of a violation in the previous three years and your license isn’t suspended or revoked. Other states that offer record expungement: Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington.
Of course, depending on the state and the violation type, sometimes you just have to wait it out. Points and most traffic violations disappear from your driving record after a certain number of years.
How to Save Money On Auto Insurance After a Ticket?
If your car insurance rates increase after a traffic ticket, it’s time to look for ways to save money. Ask your current car insurance provider or shop around with other car insurers about getting a discount for the following or any popular car insurance discounts that you may be eligible for.
- Accident forgiveness.
- Purchasing multiline policies.
- Meeting “good student” criteria.
- Enrolling in bank account autopay.
- Raising your deductible.
You might also consider working with an insurance broker, especially one that specializes in high-risk drivers and represents multiple insurance companies, both traditional and non-standard ones. Working with such an insurance broker might bring you benefits that you might not know otherwise.
Additionally, you might save money if your agent rescores your insurance, i.e. runs all your information and finds you aren’t as high a risk as before. For example, if your credit score has improved since you first purchased the policy, you might qualify for a lower rate.
Lastly, shopping around with several insurance companies, at least 3-5 ones, is essential to find the cheapest car insurance rates for you. Everything that you reads online are the average estimated rates for some driver profile. Your rates and your quotes may be similar or may be completely different.
What’s On Your Driving Record?
You already have a good idea how the information on your driving record can affect your car insurance rates, it’s also important to get familiar with what’s on your driving record:
Typically, your driving record will include:
- The state and agency from which the driving record comes.
- Your personally identifying information, such as your full name and address, date of birth, and gender.
- Your driver’s license information, including your license:
- Type, class.
- Issue date and expiration date.
- Status (valid, suspended, revoked, or canceled).
- The number of points on your driver’s license.
- Details about your traffic convictions, including the:
- Ticket number and date.
- Date of conviction.
- Offense type and violation code.
Periodically check your driving record and make sure all the information is correct; incorrect information could lead to an unwarranted increase in car insurance rates.
You can order your driving record from your state’s motor vehicle agency or third-party company. Generally, ordering from your state is less expensive but ordering from a third-party company is quicker. Depending on your provider, your insurance company might obtain a copy of your driving record for you.