The cost of car insurance premium rates has been on a steady climb. This year (2022), the average inflation could hit 5%. Of course, these are average figures showing market trends. Car insurance premiums vary from one person to another, and various factors affect the final quote.
You could have the same car model and driving experience with your friend, but the car insurance premiums are different!
One of the most significant factors affecting car insurance premiums is your driving record. An excellent driving record often translates to lower premiums. On the other hand, a dotted driving history means you’ll have to pay more.
You may be wondering if insurers treat all infractions equally. Questions like “do speeding tickets affect your insurance?” and “how far back do insurance companies look?” could be bogging your mind. This article will help you understand how poor driving affects your insurance premiums.
The Frequency and Duration of Infractions Affect Premiums
Car insurance companies will check out your driving record to determine your premium rates. Frequent traffic violators are treated differently from the occasional violator. The more violations in your driving record, the higher the risk of accidents.
Also, if your history shows traffic violations spanning many years, that would indicate that you are a high-risk driver and are yet to amend your ways. You will pay more for car insurance.
But you may ask, how far back do insurers check?
Typically, insurers only check the past three years. Thus offenses and accidents that occurred more than three years ago are unlikely to affect your premium rates. However, there are exceptions.
Serious offenses, like DUI convictions, could affect your car insurance premiums for longer. For example, in California, a DUI conviction lingers on your driving record for ten years and affects your car insurance rate throughout the period.
The Severity of the Violation Also Matters
Not all reckless driving is the same. Violators of traffic rules are not treated equally. Car insurance rate hikes will directly correspond to the severity of the violation. Minor offenses, like parking tickets, will ordinarily not affect your car insurance rates.
Other offenses like speeding, ignoring a stop sign, or making an illegal U-turn are likely to cause slight increases in your premiums.
Illegal U-turn insurance could trigger about a 15% hike in your premiums. However, serious traffic offenses like DUI trigger steeper hikes in car insurance rates. Such drivers present a much higher risk to the insurer.
Offenses like DUI could see your rates hiked by 40% or more. In some cases, it could disqualify you from getting coverage.
The Location of the Traffic Violation Matters
Although traffic rules are largely the same between different states, each jurisdiction has unique ways of handling offenders. An offense in one state may not attract the same penalties as it would in another state.
A traffic offense in Lincoln, Nebraska may not be penalized the same way as it would in Detroit, Michigan. Thus the impact on your car insurance could also be different.
Novice Drivers Will Also Pay More
Novice drivers have a much higher risk of being involved in a car accident than more experienced motorists. New drivers are often younger and more prone to making judgment errors. They are also still mastering traffic rules and getting used to operating their vehicles smoothly.
They have a higher chance of causing collisions and their insurance options reflect this. Since inexperienced motorists present a higher risk of accidents, car insurance companies charge them higher rates. Student drivers also need to get insurance with their learner’s permit.
What if You Are Not At Fault?
Even when you are not at fault in an accident, it could affect your premium rates in some cases. Keep in mind that car insurance companies are in business, and they have an objective to make a profit. If you are involved in an accident, you are more likely to make a claim. Although it will not appear in your driving record, it will show in your insurance record.
But you are not helpless. You can mitigate the effects of a bad driving record on your premiums by doing the following:
- Strictly abide by the traffic rules.
- Sign up for extra learning. For example, taking a driving improvement course could qualify you for special discounts.
- Check if your insurer has a “good driver” discount and strive to meet the criteria.
Higher Insurance for High Risk Drivers
Your driving record affects your insurance rate. Traffic violations could trigger significant hikes in your premium rates. Serious offenders (like DUI) and frequent offenders receive the highest rate increases. Minor offenses also have an effect. Violations like making an illegal u-turn will affect your car insurance premium.
Your ability to abide by traffic rules directly corresponds to your car insurance rates. A bad driving record means a higher risk, thus more expensive premiums.
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