How do car insurance companies check your driving record?

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Things to remember...

  • All insurance carriers can pull down your driving record
  • Most driving records will have activity in the most recent three to five years
  • Driving records with accidents or traffic violations may result in increased premium

Insurance companies know a lot more about you as a consumer than you probably realize.

When you reach out to an insurance company to buy a car insurance policy, they are going to look at everything that they can to determine what type of risk that you actually are.

Are you a risk that they want to take on at a low premium, or are you a risk that they want to charge a higher premium to, or perhaps even decline?

The driving record is something that is certainly going to come into play here and it is absolutely something that a car insurance carrier is going to be able to pull and look into in detail.

Car insurance companies need to look into everything when they are going through the process of underwriting a policy.

Most insurance carriers will pull driving records, credit reports, among other items in order to paint a full picture to them of the risk exposure that you represent.

This type of extensive research is what goes into car insurance carriers trying to figure out if individual risks fit into their risk appetite.

Even outside of you as an individual, the type of car you drive can have an impact on this risk selection thought process as well.

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Pulling the Driving Record


A car insurance carrier is going to be able to go online and pull down the driving record that is tied to you and your license in very short order. They will be pulling down your full motor vehicle report, also known as the MVR.

When they pull down the full motor vehicle report, what they are going to get is a record summary of all of your most recent driving activity.

Recent driving activity is going to include things such as:

The driving record is something that is going to help an insurance carrier determine if you are a safe driver or one that poses a major risk to them.

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Looking Backwards

The concept of using the driving record of an individual is a way to look backward to determine what forward behavior may entail.

Every state’s department of insurance is going to vary in terms of how long a carrier is able to look back for a driving record.

The general rule of thumb to go by though is a three to five-year window.

Once you get past that three to five-year window, this is when things such as accidents that you have had, traffic tickets, and so on are going to begin to drop off.

When you finally have a clean driving record, you are going to be seen as a highly desirable risk for a carrier to take on.

The Impact on Premium


The impact on premium is pretty straightforward when it comes to your driving record.

When you have a record that is full of accidents, traffic tickets, and so on, this sort of information is going to result in points against your record and increase your premium.

The surcharge on your premium is going to remain there until the point that these negative items drop off of your driving record. Once they do, the surcharge will go away and your premium will greatly decrease.

When you have a completely clean driving record, not only will you be charged the base premium without any surcharge, you may be eligible for discounts.

Many insurance carriers will offer safe driving discounts to those with pristine driving records to help drive down premium and attract the best risks.

Insurance carriers are in a competitive market and always want to have a quality book of business with risks they are comfortable taking on.

The competitive nature of insurance is why they have the ability to take on possible risks; they certainly will pull the driving record of consumers shopping for coverage.

As a consumer, you need to be aware of this and shop around so that you get the most value for your premium dollars in terms of coverage you need and terms you are comfortable with.

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