If you get a ticket or lose your driver's license, this isn't the end of the road. Other driving penalties might follow, and they might hang around for years. As they accumulate, they could raise your auto insurance rates. Why does this occur? What can you do to avoid such penalties?
Driving offenses will likely appear on your driving record. Your record will follow you wherever you drive. Therefore, the best way to reduce your own burden is to put driving safety first. The better you take care of yourself on the road, the lower your safety risks might be. Like a cycle, this will help you maintain more effective car insurance rates.
What Your Driving Record Represents
Each state maintains driving records on those licensed with them. The driving record essentially functions as a type of monitor or tracking device. If you commit a driving offense, the charge will appear on your driving record.
Many offenses will go on the record. These might range from at-fault accidents to speeding tickets to DUI charges. If you accumulate points on your driver's license, the record will likely reflect those as well. Your record connects to your license, so more or less any offense you might commit will appear on the record.
Therefore, your record will appear as a measurement of your risk behind the wheel. To your auto insurer, the record might prove an important qualifier for coverage.
It Impacts Your Insurance Qualifications
A driving record helps show your history as a driver. When you prepare to apply for an auto insurance policy, it will often prove something of a litmus test. The record will help your insurer determine whether they will offer you a policy. It will also help them determine your premium. Why does this occur?
If you make driving mistakes, it indicates a risk to the insurer. It shows them that you might have a higher chance of filing a claim on your policy. Therefore, they could face a higher likelihood of having to pay for damages you accumulate.
So, the higher your driving risks, the better your chances of having to pay more for your coverage. Your insurer will likely have to charge you more for your policy premium. The higher rate will often help the insurer absorb the potential inflated cost of someone who poses more of a driving risk.
Let's look at a real-world example. If you get multiple speeding tickets, that will show the insurer that you might have higher accident risks. Let's say that one day, while speeding, you run a stoplight and hit another car. Your speeding was the cause of the accident. The wreck damages both your vehicle and the other vehicle. It also causes injuries to both drivers. You can likely imagine how high the damage costs might prove. Thus, you'll probably have to file a claim on your insurance policy.
But, filing a claim equals a cost to your insurer. So, if they see a lot of speeding incidents on your record, they will need to protect themselves. They might have to raise your premium to assume more of your cost burden. As a result, you should consider every infraction on your record to add to your insurance risk.
Yet, even if you do accumulate a few record infractions, you could be on luck. Driving records are fluid, living documents. They will change over time. Do your best to change your driving habits, and you might see benefits on your record.
The Record Changes
Not every infraction should follow you the rest of your life. If you get one speeding ticket in your lifetime, it won't remain on your record forever.
Most driving records roll over year after year. With time, most infractions will drop off the record. Thus, your insurance risks and premiums might drop as well.
Most states only require simple charges — such as tickets — to remain on your record for about three years. More serious infractions, like DUIs, however, might remain on file for anywhere from 10 – 15 years. Some might even remain on your record permanently.
If you don't act responsibly, you could easily tarnish your driving record in a short while. And, the more infractions you rack up, the higher your insurance rates might be.
Don't run the risk of paying more for your coverage. Commit to being a safe driver at all times. Keep your license and registration active, follow all rules of the road, and never make risky decisions behind the wheel. Also pay your penalties on tickets as soon as you can. A settled penalty will prove much lighter on your record than an outstanding warrant.