Car insurers charge you premiums based on the cost risk you pose to them. Often, they determine this risk based, in part, on your driving record. Every driver is different, and some have more complicated records than others. Still, though you may have a poor driving history, that doesn't mean you will have to pay higher prices forever. In fact, there are many ways you can still save on coverage regardless of your record. What are some of these?
All drivers can benefit from a few practical driving tips. These can translate in to savings for their coverage.
What's A Driving Record?
Your driving record is a file of infractions you commit behind the wheel. Your state maintains the record on an ongoing basis. It will likely reflect:
- Tickets and citations
- Charges like DUI or reckless driving
- Wrecks and Collisions
- License information, including suspensions, restrictions and existing points
Different charges will carry different weight in the eyes of the law. For example, a speeding ticket will likely reflect less strongly on your record than a DUI or hit-and-run charge. Still, to your insurer, they might prove equally harmful to your auto insurance rates.
Why Insurers Charge Drivers With Bad Records More
Whenever we drive, we create a degree of safety and property risk for ourselves and others. Since auto insurers pay claims for harmful accidents, the level of risk you create matters to them, too. Your driving risks help calculate their likelihood of having to pay on your behalf.
As you become a riskier driver, your insurer will face more of a cost risk by insuring you. Thus, most insurance companies will increase your premium prices to cover the difference. They'll know they need to charge you more based on your risk profile. While they'll consider many factors when setting your premium, your record will likely be a main determinant.
If your record reflects poorly on your reputation as a driver, you'll probably wind up paying more. Still, you can take steps, regardless of your record, to improve insurance prices down the road.
Improving Your Record With Better Driving
Your driving record is a living document. It changes depending on if you commit offenses on the road. Still, because it changes, you'll have many opportunities to improve your record over time.
Often, minor driving violations will disappear from your record after a few years. So, if you have these, you'll eventually have the chance to make your record cleaner. This might show your insurance company that you are a much better driver than you were once. As a result, they might reward you with a lower rate on future policies.
The best way to improve your record is to focus on being a better driver. You can do this through simple adjustments to your driving practices.
- Avoid speeding
- Pay attention to the road
- Never use a mobile device behind the wheel
- Become familiar with distractions in the car, such as the radio or a GPS system
- Refrain from engaging in excessive conversation
- When you stop the car, always come to a complete stop before proceeding
- Always use your lights and blinkers, and make sure these items work appropriately. Broken lamps and accessories might lead to tickets otherwise.
These and other small adjustments to your driving environment can help keep you safe. More than that, they can also make you less threatening to other people. That can help you reduce insurance costs.
Ask About Insurance Savings
Beyond changing your driving habits, also consider making changes to your insurance coverage. You can often qualify for policy discounts and other savings by taking a few extra steps to get coverage.
- Certain insurers offer lower policy rates than others. Ask your agent to help you compare different rates to get the best prices.
- Ask about policy discounts. You might be able to get automatic savings through various avenues, such as having good grades. Furthermore, if you pay your premium up front, rather than in installments, you might be able to save.
- Consider taking a safe driving course. It can help you re-familiarize yourself with the tenets of safe driving. Many insurers reward policy discounts if you prove you passed a course.
Keep in mind, we don't recommend cutting back on coverage just to save a few dollars. Let your agent help you seek alternative sources.
Don't Forget To Police Your Record
You expect your driving record to be accurate. Nevertheless, mistakes can happen. Most drivers have a right to challenge and appeal certain tickets and violations. If you can get the penalty dismissed, you will likely see no effect on your insurance.
Furthermore, be sure to pay all fines and complete any sentences on time. That will help ensure penalties disappear.
Don't let a poor record get you down. You can improve your driving record and still afford the best insurance coverage. It might take time, but you'll likely see the benefits if you pay close attention to simple road safety.