How Driving History Affects Auto Insurance Rates

Along with your age, your driving history is one of the biggest things affecting your car insurance rates. Understanding what insurance companies look for and learning how to tweak things in your favor can increase your chances of getting an affordable, full coverage car insurance policy now and in the future.

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With that in mind, let’s look at the way that your driving record impacts your auto insurance premiums.

What is a Driving Record?

A driving record is a short, detailed record of your driving activity, one that typically spans the last five years. It’s like your credit report, and it’s used by auto insurers to judge what kind of driver you are and how much of a risk you are behind the wheel.

Think of it like your credit report, only instead of being used by creditors to determine if you’re a good fit for a new credit card, it’s used by insurance carriers to check your eligibility for car insurance. 

A driving record contains all the following information:

  • Your name and date of birth.
  • Your gender and your address.
  • Your driver’s license number.
  • Any restrictions that you have as a qualified driver.
  • Any points that you have on your license.
  • Information concerning all moving violations and infractions.

All these things impact your car insurance premiums. Underwriters know, for instance, that teen drivers and seniors are more likely to claim, male drivers pose a greater risk than female, and that anyone with points on their license is more likely to commit further offenses.

Your address, believe it or not, is also important, and if you live in an area with a lot of car accidents and thefts you will pay the price with higher rates.

The Offences that Can Damage Your Driving Record

All traffic violations and motor vehicle offenses are not treated equally. Some car insurance companies even have forgiveness programs that ignore speeding tickets and other minor infractions if they are the first ones you have had.

  • Speeding Tickets: Will remain on your record for three years.
  • At-Fault Car Accidents: Remain for three years but could impact insurance costs for up to 5 years.
  • DUIs/DWIs: Can stay on your record for up to 10 years.

To see what’s on your driving record simply visit your state DMV website, look for Driving Records, and make a request. You will need some basic personal information, including a driver’s license number and Social Security number, and you may also be asked to pay a nominal fee.

Average Insurance Quotes with Bad Driving History

If you have speeding tickets that are not forgiven, you can expect to pay higher premiums. It’s reckless driving and insurers will deem you a higher risk as a result. However, when compared to drunk driving incidents, the rate increases for speeding tickets are minimal. 

To give you an idea of how much more you will pay with a speeding or DUI offence, take a look at these average auto insurance quotes across the US.

  • Alabama – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,400; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $550; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,670; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,500.
  • Alaska – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,200; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $450; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,500; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,800.
  • Arizona – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,400; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $600; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,780; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,800.
  • Arkansas – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,450; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $550; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,400
  • California – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,650; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $650; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $2,400; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $4,000
  • Colorado – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,600; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $650; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $2,500; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $3,400
  • Connecticut – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,700; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $850; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $2,300; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $3,200
  • Delaware – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,550; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $850; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,600
  • D.C. – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,550; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $750; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,600
  • Florida – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $2,350; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $1,100; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $3,000; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $3,700
  • Georgia – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,600; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $700; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $2,200; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $3,000
  • Hawaii – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,200; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $500; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,400; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $4,200
  • Idaho – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $950; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $350; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,300; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,500
  • Illinois – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,150; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $450; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,400; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,900
  • Indiana – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,000; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $400; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,300; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,500
  • Iowa – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,000; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $300; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,280; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,700
  • Kansas – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,300; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $450; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,650; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,200
  • Kentucky – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $2,150; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $1,000; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $2,100; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $3,600
  • Louisiana – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $3,000; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $1,150; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $2,700; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $4,200
  • Maine – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $900; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $350; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,300; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,500
  • Maryland – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,600; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $800; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,600
  • Massachusetts – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,300; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $550; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,350
  • Michigan – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $2,300; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $1,300; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $3,400; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $5,800
  • Minnesota – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,300; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $550; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,700; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,350
  • Mississippi – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,400; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $500; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $2,000; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,300
  • Missouri – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,300; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $500; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,400; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,900
  • Montana – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,250; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $400; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,100
  • Nebraska – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,200; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $400; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,650; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,750
  • Nevada – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,900; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $900; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $3,000
  • New Hampshire – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,050; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $400; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,850
  • New Jersey – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,800; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $1,000; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $3,000
  • New Mexico – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,250; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $500; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,800; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,000
  • New York – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $2,000; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $1,000; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $3,000
  • North Carolina – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,100; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $400; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,200; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $4,400
  • North Dakota – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,250; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $400; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,350; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,200
  • Ohio – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,050; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $450; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,250; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,700
  • Oklahoma – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,600; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $600; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,500
  • Oregon – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,250; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $650; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,400; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,850
  • Pennsylvania – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,150; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $400; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,850
  • Rhode Island – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,700; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $800; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $2,500; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $3,350
  • South Carolina – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,450; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $650; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,200
  • South Dakota – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,200; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $300; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,500;  Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,200
  • Tennessee – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,200; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $400; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,550; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,100
  • Texas – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,500; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $650; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,900; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,300
  • Utah – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,250; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $600; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,900
  • Vermont – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,000; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $300; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,350; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,050
  • Virginia – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,000; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $400; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,200; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,550
  • Washington – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,250; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $650; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,600; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,000
  • West Virginia – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,300; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $500; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,750; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,100
  • Wisconsin – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,000; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $350; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $1,450; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $1,950
  • Wyoming – Average for Full Cover Car Insurance = $1,200; Average for Minimum Cover Car Insurance = $350; Potential Cost Following a Speeding Ticket = $2,000; Potential Cost Following a DWI = $2,200

How to Improve Your Driving Record

The best way to keep a clean driving record is to avoid accumulating any tickets or violations whatsoever, but that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. 

If you’re already made a mistake and suffered the consequences, you’ll be happy to know that there are a few solutions, ways that you can improve your record and your chances of getting lower rates:

  • Pay for Minor Damages: To avoid accumulating too many insurance claims, pay for minor issues out of your own pocket. If you don’t make a claim, the accident is null and void in the eyes of the insurer.
  • Contest Tickets: Anytime you feel like you have a case to fight against parking tickets or speeding tickets, contest them. Even if you don’t win, you could reduce the fines.
  • Take a Course: Defensive driving courses look great to insurance companies. These courses are proof that you are committed to making a change and that you’re now a better driver than you were.
  • Wait: Time is a great healer, and eventually, all those blemishes will disappear from your driving record. If you focus on maintaining good driving habits in the meantime, then when those marks are removed from your driving record, everything will be spick and span!

Best Auto Insurance Companies for Drivers with Bad Records

If you have a number of minor violations, at-fault accidents, and traffic tickets, your options are somewhat limited when it comes to affordable insurance. You’re deemed to be a high risk, and as a result, insurance companies will either charge you extortionate premiums or reject you outright.

You can speak with an independent insurance agent to discuss your options, but we also recommended getting quotes from insurance providers like Esurance and The General, both of which offer car insurance policies to drivers with poor records.

Bottom Line

Knowing what your driving record is and understanding what shows, what doesn’t, and what the insurers look for is essential if you want to present the best possible case to the insurers and get the lowest possible rates in reply. Your driving record is almost as important as your credit report, so make sure you give it the attention that it deserves.