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Driving Record: Good vs. Bad

A person’s driving record is the single most important factor impacting how high or low their car insurance premium will be. Other items such as age, marital status, gender and location can also play a part in determining the monthly payments. But none can affect the cost of your insurance rates as much as your driving record can.

Bad Record

A bad driving record can come in many forms. Generally speaking, incidents on your record are lumped together in different categories. Each category carries its own significance.

Minor Violations

Consider these the tiny mishaps that befall all of us. A parking violation is one of the most common examples. While they are not looked at favorably by insurance companies, they are not considered a major problem if taken care of properly. Minor violations can quickly become more serious if not taken care of, i.e. paid for.

Moving Violations

As the name implies, any type of ticket you may receive when the car is moving is considered a moving violation. Getting a speeding ticket and running a red light are some examples. Upon receiving a moving violation, depending on your previous point record and the number of years between each violation, the option to pay a large fine and attend driving school may be available to you, in which points would not accrue and insurance rates not increase. Furthermore, insurance underwriters take these types of violations very seriously as it provides a glimpse into how careful a driver you are and your overall driving behavior.


Accidents cause some of the greatest hikes in an insurance premium. An insurance company will look at your record to see if there is a significant chance that you will have an accident costing the insurance company to pay out on a claim. Moving violations and prior accidents are big red flags and the insurance companies will be sure to protect themselves by raising your rates.

Serious Charges

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, be prepared to pay a very high premium to cover your vehicle. This type of charge carries the highest weight on a driving record and is very costly.

Good Record

On the contrary, if you have kept your record clean you can enjoy some nice perks.

Lower Premiums

The most important benefit of having a clean record is lower premiums. By maintain a record clear of accidents and/or moving violations will result in the best rates. In addition, maintaining a clean record will be highly beneficial if ever you do find yourself in an accident or pulled over for speeding. Many times the DMV will allow you to pay a fine and attend traffic school to erase these violations from your record. Again, more than one violations in a few years span will begin to dampen your clean record and you will find yourself paying more.

Possible Forgiveness of Accidents

If you have driven for a considerable period of time without any accidents many companies will remove the accident from your history with their company. This can mean an immediate reduction in premiums. The amount of time that must pass since the last accident will vary among companies.

Lower Deductible Amount

Many insurance companies are now offering really good monthly premiums with lower deductible amounts for drivers that have exhibited good driving habits over a long period of time. For years the only way to get a really cheap monthly premium was to agree to a higher deductible. People with a good driving record may not be able to get around that obstacle.

If you are a safe driver that has driven for a few years without any violations or accidents then you are in good shape to get some of the best premiums available. And if your driving record has a few blemishes on it, don’t fear. The passage of time and the use of better driving habits will eventually lead to lower premiums for you as well.