We all strive to be safe drivers. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done. The rules of the road vary, and in many cases, we're tempted to bend the rules. If you get caught breaking the law, the punishment will likely go on your driving record. Frequent driving charges equal tarnished driving records.
One of the negative impacts of a tarnished record is how it will affect your auto insurance. In many cases, drivers who have a lot of violations will see their auto insurance rates rise. Still, drivers can safeguard their policy rates despite being a risky driver. With the right care, you can slow the effects of a tarnished record on your policy rates.
How Driving Records Work
Each state maintains driving records through its DMV or similar agency. These records track a lot of a driver's different information. This may include:
- Identifying information – such as your name, birth date, photo and address
- Your driver's license information, including endorsements or restrictions
- A history of accidents and collisions
- A record of tickets, suspensions or other violations
- The number of points on your license
If you receive a driving charge, it will go on your driving record. Different charges will have different effects on your record. For example, some charges disappear from your record after a couple of years. Other charges — usually more severe ones — remain permanently on your record.
Keep in mind that your record is an important reflection of your capabilities as a driver. If you receive frequent driving charges, you will likely face stiff penalties. Therefore, it is always best to avoid driving charges whenever possible.
The Impact of a Poor Driving Record
If your driving record is poor, you're likely going to face a lot of scrutiny. States don't tolerate drivers who habitually break the law. It is a threat to public safety. Drivers with tarnished records might find themselves facing various financial penalties, as well as license suspensions and other inconveniences.
Your record will also likely influence your eligibility for auto insurance. Car insurers frequently look at your record when setting policy premiums. When an insurer agrees to issue you a policy, it assumes a degree of risk by covering you. If a driver has a higher risk, this means that the driver usually has a higher chance of filing a claim on their policy.
This means that the insurer has a greater chance of having to pay out money for a claim. This means more cost risk for the business. For that reason, insurers frequently charge high-risk drivers more for their coverage. In fact, some insurers refuse to cover drivers who have exceptionally poor records.
Getting Affordable Auto Coverage with a Poor Record
Even if you have a poor driving record, you still need to carry auto insurance. Most states require drivers to carry minimum levels of coverage. Since going without coverage is not an option, drivers with poor records should strive to get the most affordable coverage.
- Work with an independent insurance agent. Independent agents can often compare the policy offerings of various insurance companies. They can usually help you find the lowest prices for your desired amounts of coverage. Carrying only minimum liability insurance is not advisable. You likely need collision, comprehensive and other protection. Talk to your agent about the best way to set your coverage limits for the most affordable and robust coverage.
- Raise your policy deductible. By raising your deductible, you signal for your insurer that you will cover more of the cost of damage in the event of a claim. Your insurer might lower your costs as a result.
- Consider enrolling in a safe driving course. These classes help drivers brush up on their skills. They often help seasoned drivers re-familiarize themselves with safe operating practices. At times, passing one of these courses might qualify you for a discount.
- Ask your insurer about discounts. Drivers often qualify for multiple discounts to help save on their coverage. Even drivers with poor records might be able to get:
- Auto-payment and auto-renewal discounts
- Returning customer discounts
- Retiree discounts
- Coverage bundle discounts
- Military discounts
- Hybrid car discounts
Nevertheless, the best way to prevent marks on your driving record is to become a safer driver. If you work to improve your driving, your chances of tarnishing your record decrease. Do not speed, use mobile devices, or make risky maneuvers behind the wheel. Keep in mind, some charges will disappear over time. So, if you become a safer driver, eventually your record might become cleaner. This could lead to a drop in your insurance costs.
Nothing can understate the importance of being a safe driver. Therefore, resolve to improve your record starting now. In the end, you'll save yourself a lot of trouble, and a lot of money.
Auto Insurance Discounters can help answer your questions about auto insurance coverage. Contact us today for more information.