Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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UPDATED: Sep 13, 2021

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Important facts to know...

  • Auto insurance premiums are determined by looking at several different rating factors to assess risk
  • The risk factors represent how likely you or a driver rated on your policy are to file a claim that cost the company money
  • Most drivers are aware of the fact that their driving record can affect their rates
  • When you have a minor or a major moving violation on your DMV record, the insurer can surcharge you for three years
  • When you apply for insurance, you are signing a waiver saying that you give the insurer permission to run your MVR

When you make mistakes behind the wheel and officers are around, you can get pulled over and cited for that violation. Some mistakes are a bit more serious than others.

If you’re caught slightly speeding or rolling through a stop sign, you’ll pay a fine for the minor violation you were cited for. If you’re cited for reckless driving or driving under the influence, you’ll have to do more than just pay a fine. The higher the risk of you causing an accident which endangers other people, the greater the penalty.

The first thing you have to deal with after a ticket is paying the fine or appearing in court. While both of these things are important, you can’t overlook how the encounter with the officer will affect your insurance.

Even though high-risk drivers are going to end up paying more for their policies, an affordable insurance premium can still be found. It may just take some research. Whether your record is good or bad, you can save money by comparing car insurance quotes. Enter your zip code above to get started.

When you’re applying for coverage, there is no hiding bad driving records; an agent is going to learn everything there is to know about you. That means that your driving history becomes part of the process. Motor vehicle records, or MVR, are important to a provider, because it tells them what to expect out of you being their customer.

When do you need to disclose your tickets?

When you start to comparison shop for auto insurance, your quotes are only as accurate as the information that you provide for the quote.

When you’re getting insurance quotes, the agent is going to ask if you have tickets. You should know what the ticket was for and the month and year when the ticket was written.

If you don’t disclose your speeding tickets or serious moving violations while you’re getting quotes, your rates will change when the policy has been reviewed and is issued.

It’s important not to lie, because the truth will eventually come out because of your MVR. We cover this below, but your MVR isn’t gone over immediately; they rely on you to provide details to show if you’re interested in their services first. If you lie and they end up finding out, your rates won’t just change, you’ll receive a letter saying your coverage will be canceled because you don’t qualify for insurance. By being upfront and honest if you have a poor driving record, you’re not going to end up with a shock in the mail like that.

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Do agents run your driving record when you’re getting a quote?

It’s not common for auto companies to ask for driving record requests before the client applies for coverage. Running an electronic request, even as an insurance company, costs money.

If the company were to run your MVR and you don’t proceed and complete an application, the carrier would spend too much money trying to acquire you as their customer.

In some states, it’s not legal for the carrier to run your driving record at the time of the quote because you haven’t agreed to it.

When a disclosure is required to show that you give the insurer permission to run your records, the insurer can’t actually run the electronic report until you sign the document. That’s why it’s so important for you to be honest with them at the start. You want to show them that you’re an honest person. Plus, if the provider you’re looking into ends up spending resources on you only to discover you did in fact have traffic tickets on your record, they’re going to be less likely to work with you to get you an affordable insurance policy.

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How do insurance companies run your MVR?

How do insurance companies run your MVR?

They can either get the report by filling out a request form through the state Department of Insurance or they can hire a risk solutions company to collect data from all of the motor vehicle agencies in the US.

The most common solutions company used currently is LexisNexis.

The carrier will only run a record for each of the drivers rated on the policy one time when you’re applying for insurance.

After the policy has been issued, the carrier won’t run your MVR again until it’s time for the policy to renew. If you’re a preferred risk, some carriers won’t even run your record again for two years because of the cost. This generally classifies those who are not high-risk drivers. Even though it sounds like the opposite, being a preferred risk means you’re less likely to file a claim – they prefer you over someone who may actually cause an accident.

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How far back is the carrier looking when they assess your driving record?

If you know you have a violation in the past but it’s been a few years, that record won’t impact your quote. It’s important that you’re aware of how far back the company is looking when they are determining your rates. If you haven’t had a ticket in a while, all that provider might see is your clean record.

In most states, companies can only penalize policyholders for minor violations for up to three years after the citation date. If you have a more serious violation, like a DUI, carriers can look at the conviction and penalize you for it for longer.

In some states, it’s five years and in other states, it’s as long as 10 years.

Can the insurer see a ticket if you just got it?

When you’re issued a ticket, there’s a process. Your Motor Vehicle Record doesn’t automatically update showing you have a pending ticket in the books. Here are the situations where your insurer won’t see your ticket:

  • You are not convicted of the offense when you go to court.
  • You complete traffic school.

It’s not until after the offender goes to court or pays the fine to admit guilt that they will be convicted.

In some events, offenders win and are determined to be not guilty.

An insurance carrier can’t see the infraction or violation until after you’re convicted. After the conviction, the file is updated to show the date that you were ticketed, what you were ticketed for, and that you were found guilty.

Anytime you fight a ticket and win, the insurer will not be able to see the violation.

If you are eligible to complete traffic school, you should complete it. If you only have one or two infractions in the past three years, most judges will allow you to complete school through an approved provider.

Doing this erases the ticket from view. The ticket still shows in the agencies’ systems, but the insurance company can’t see it or charge for it. High-risk drivers with bad driving records in their past can still be doing things to turn their records around, and should absolutely look into these options in order to find cheaper coverage. It’s the same as taking a defensive driving course to lower your premium; there is always a way to save money.

How will the violation impact your rates?

If you have a clean driving record, some companies will forgive the first ticket. This isn’t common when you already have a spotty record.

How much your rate will go up all depends on the following:

Your annual premium rates could go up anywhere from five to twenty percent after just a ticket. This is why you need to start comparing rates with some of the leading providers in the state when you see a rate increase. You’ll be able to get an average cost across the board, and take your pick from there.

Insurance costs can be one of the slipperiest slopes when it comes to paying out, because there are so many factors that determine how much your payments will be. Premium increases can happen for any number of reasons; it’s a good idea to shop around.

You can get quotes instantly if you use an online quote tool that connects you with multiple companies at once. Enter your information into our tool, disclose your violations, and see if you can save money by switching your coverage.