Bad Driving Record and Car Insurance Rates

A number of different factors can affect car insurance premium rates including an individual’s credit history and driving record. While having a good driving record can help people receive cheaper rates or even discounts, a poor driving record can adversely affect a person’s rate or their ability to become insured, as well.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) uses a “point” system (that varies from state to state) to track a person’s driving record. Typically, each violation is assessed a point value and when a driving infraction occurs, the person at fault gets a certain number of (correspondent) points to their driving record. The more points a person accumulates, the more insurance companies will view the person as a “risky” driver (and risky to insure, as well).

Depending on the amount of driving offenses and the severity, some individuals with a bad driving history are often denied coverage from certain insurance companies. Most auto insurance companies assess the applicant’s driving history to determine the possible risk to insure the auto owner. If the risk to insure the applicant is too high, the application will be denied by the insurance company. While many insurance companies will not insure a driver if there is too much of a risk, there are some companies that specifically insure individuals with a bad driving record and some that particularly cater to those who require an SR-22. However, many of these companies tend to charge more than traditional insurance companies.

Minor driving infractions such as, failure to stop at a stop light or going ten miles over the speed limit, will not typically affect a person’s rates or coverage. However having accidents, multiple unpaid parking tickets, DUIs, several speeding tickets, traffic violations or moving violations are known to affect insurance premiums. Typically, the insurance companies only use the last three years of driving history to determine a person’s rate or eligibility.

There are a few things that can be done to save money on expensive car insurance premiums:

*Increase the deductible – A higher deductible (on full coverage) results in a lower premium.

*Buy a cheaper vehicle – Less expensive cars are cheaper to insure and rather than paying the cost for comprehensive coverage, cheaper vehicles can have just liability coverage.

*Reduce coverage features – Certain features increase the rates therefore, eliminating features such as, towing coverage and rental car reimbursement can lower the rates.

*Improve credit rating – Bad credit can adversely affect a person’s insurance premiums, however, a person can improve their credit score for lower rates.

*Comparison shopping – Comparing rates is one of the best ways to save money on car insurance. The cost of insurance premiums can vary drastically from company to company; therefore, it is a good idea to shop around to get the best deal.

In addition to checking, an individual’s driving record at the time of application, insurance companies can also check the policyholder’s driving record if they want to make changes to their policy, in the event that the vehicle on the policy is changed and when the policy needs to be renewed. If the insurance company finds negative results in overviewing the driving history, the rates can be increased. Many insurance companies use a point system known as the Safe Driver Insurance Plan, which assesses a point value (from zero to four) to each type of driving infraction based on its severity. The more points that are assigned to a person’s policy, the higher the auto insurance rates will be.

A person’s driving history can either negatively or positively affect their car insurance premiums. While a bad driving record can increase the rate and sometimes it’s difficult for an individual with several points to find an insurance company to insure them, safe drivers can earn a discount by not getting involved in any accidents or receiving any tickets for a certain amount of time. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to practice good driving, not only for safety reasons, but also to ensure that the car insurance rates will be the lowest, possible.

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