How far do car insurance companies look back?

Car insurance companies look back three to five years at your driving record. Companies can look further back, but many auto insurance companies only look back three years. How far back a driving record goes depends on the offense and where you live. DUIs usually remain on record the longest. Car insurance rates for drivers with a DUI average of $410/mo. To secure affordable car insurance, compare companies and shop around to find the best rates.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 15, 2021

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Here's What You Need to Know

  • Car insurance companies underwrite all applications to assess risk and calculate rates.
  • During underwriting, the underwriter will run a motor vehicle report to look for minor and serious convictions
  • Minor violations for infractions like failure to stop and speeding can only be surcharged for 36 months
  • Serious violations for reckless driving or driving under the influence can go into rate calculations for between three and seven years

Auto insurance companies look back at driving records and other historical reports so they can paint a picture of how responsible you are behind the wheel. There are limits to how long violations and accidents can stay on a record or be classified as chargeable in most states.

How far does car insurance look back? Do all car insurance companies look back three to five years? Understanding your car insurance policy can help you understand how offenses on your record can affect your rates. Read this article to learn more about how far car insurance looks back at your driving record and which violations will cost you the most money on car insurance.

Find affordable car insurance in your area now, regardless of how far auto insurance companies look back at your record. Enter your ZIP code in our free tool to get started before you buy car insurance.

How Car Insurance Companies Use Your Driving Record

Do insurance companies check your driving record? Does your driving record affect your insurance rates? How long does an accident stay on your driving record? Read through the next several sections for everything you need to know about your driving record and your auto insurance rates.

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How far back do insurance companies look at driving records?

How far back does a driving record go? It primarily depends on where you live and the type of offense.

If a driver in your household has a moving violation, it’s essential that you know timeframes and when the insurer can see these.

You don’t want to fail to disclose a violation purposely.

Doing this is called material misrepresentation, and it can lead to claims denials, policy cancellations, or at least a misquote.

How long certain violations remain visible on your record depends on the type of violation you’re cited for.

The state you live in may have special laws surrounding how long serious violations stay on your record.

What do car insurance companies check? Here’s a breakdown of how far back car insurance companies look:

  • Minor Violations – Speeding, failure to stop, improper turn, improper pass, following too closely, and failure to yield are all examples of minor traffic infractions. These infractions will only stay on your record for three years in most states. At the renewal following the third anniversary of your conviction, the surcharge that raises your rates will fall off.
  • Major Violations – Leaving the scene of an accident, driving under the influence, reckless driving, and refusing to stop for an officer are examples of major infractions. Time frames for major violations are a bit different because they tend to be criminal, which is why the period they affect your rates can vary by state. In most states, the violations can affect rates and eligibility for between three and seven years, depending on the nature of the offense.

How far back do insurance companies check for DUI? Some companies go back as far as seven years, but most DUI convictions stay on your driving record for at least ten years.

How long are you considered a high-risk driver?

Drivers are considered high risk for as long as traffic violations and other moving violations are on their record. As we’ve already discussed, the timeframe for violations remaining on record depends both on the severity of the offense and local state laws.

Also, teen drivers are usually considered high risk because of age and lack of experience. And driving without car insurance for more than six months will put in a high-risk driving status with car insurance companies.

Why do car insurance companies care about moving violations?

It’s natural to assume that an insurer will only raise your rates when you cost the company money, but in the world of auto insurance, that’s not the case.

If you get a ticket, it will impact your car insurance. It might not cost the insurer money, but it does affect your risk class as a policyholder.

Getting a traffic ticket shows the insurer that you don’t obey traffic laws that are set to reduce the chances of  preventable and devastating crashes occurring.

According to New Jersey state law, the real-world probability of getting into an accident rises when you have one or more violations in recent years; driving infractions will impact your rates.

How do car insurance companies check for violations?

When you shop for insurance, you agree that any company you apply to can run specific reports.

One of these reports is a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) in the state where you’re licensed.

According to Lexis Nexis, companies only run the MVR when you’re committing to the application process because taking a peek at your driving abstract doesn’t come cheap.

When you first submit your application, the company can spend up to $27 to pull your report and see if you have any minor or severe violations.

What’s included in your MVR? When insurance companies get a copy of your MVR, they’ll be able to see any accidents or moving violations you’ve been involved in, as well as any criminal convictions that may have resulted from these incidents.

If you’ve ever had your driver’s license suspended, that will show up on the MVR as well, along with any restrictions (like prescription lenses) that may be on your license.

How to Check Your Driving Record

Want to check your driving record so you can see what the insurance companies are seeing? In general, you can request a copy of your MVR through your local Department of Vehicles (DMV). Be prepared to pay a nominal fee to get your copy.

How much will a violation affect your car insurance rates?

While an infraction is chargeable, it can drive up your rates and even disqualify you from receiving a good driver or safe driver discount.

How much a violation impacts your rates depend on the type and the company. Companies have conducted studies to see how much weight is placed on violations.

Here’s how much the study found surcharges to be:

  • Reckless driving – 22 percent
  • Failure to stop – 15 percent
  • Improper turn – 14 percent
  • Failure to yield – 9 percent
  • Improper pass – 14 percent
  • DUI conviction surcharge – 19 percent

How do violations affect car insurance rates? Keep reading to find out.

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Best Insurance Companies For High-Risk Drivers

Let’s examine the average annual rates of top car insurance companies based on driving records.

Top Car Insurance Companies' Annual Rates based on Driving Records
Insurance CompanyAverage Annual Rates with a Clean Driving RecordAverage Annual Rates with 1 Speeding ViolationAverage Annual Rates with 1 AccidentAverage Annual Rates with 1 DUI
USAA$1,934$2,193$2,516$3,506
GEICO$2,146$2,645$3,193$4,876
American Family$2,694$3,026$3,723$4,330
Nationwide$2,746$3,114$3,397$4,543
State Farm$2,821$3,186$3,396$3,637
Progressive$3,393$4,002$4,777$3,970
Travelers$3,448$4,261$4,290$5,741
Farmers$3,461$4,079$4,519$4,719
Allstate$3,820$4,484$4,988$6,261
Liberty Mutual$4,774$5,701$6,205$7,613
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Look at how many accidents and DUIs affect car insurance rates compared to a clean driving record. You could pay thousands more for car insurance from violations like DUIs and reckless driving.

If you have a DUI, Progressive may be an option to consider, as it appears the company is more lenient on one DUI conviction. Their annual rate for one DUI on a driver’s record is cheaper than the yearly rate with an accident.

What happens if you don’t disclose a violation?

If you’ve failed to disclose a violation of your application, the underwriter will re-evaluate rates and eligibility before issuing your policy. If you have a major infraction that leads to disqualification, you’ll receive a notification.

If you have a significant infraction that leads to disqualification, you’ll receive a notification. If the change increases your rates, you’ll be given the option to proceed with the issuance or to cancel your application.

How far back do car insurance companies look for claims?

Not only do companies look at your driving record, but the underwriter will also run reports to look at your claims history with other carriers.

Believe it or not, insurance companies communicate with one another to help with application evaluation.

Each company reports to the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange to report when a consumer files an auto claim.

According to Washington State Insurance Commissioners, the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) will provide the company with seven years of personal auto claims history to make underwriting decisions.

How long insurance companies consider your claims when calculating rates will depend, but in most cases, at-fault claims are only surcharged for three years.

How does credit affect car insurance?

In all but a few states, credit can affect your personal auto insurance rating. It’s why companies run your FICO report or another related report to get a credit insurance score when you apply.

Watch this video to learn more about how your credit score is calculated into the overall insurance score companies to evaluate your perceived risk and adjust your rates accordingly.

A credit report looks back into your credit history to show how you pay your bills, how much debt you have, and how recently you’ve applied for credit.

In most cases, information from the past seven years is examined.

It’s important that you also review how your blemishes can affect your eligibility for discounts. So how much does credit score affect car insurance? Let’s have another look at the top car insurance companies to see how annual rates are affected by credit.

Top Car Insurance Companies' Annual Rates based on Credit History
Insurance CompanyAverage Annual Rates with a Good Credit Score Average Annual Rates with a Fair Credit ScoreAverage Annual Rates with a Poor Credit Score
USAA$1,821$2,220$3,691
State Farm$2,174$2,853$4,951
GEICO$2,435$2,987$4,260
American Family$2,692$3,170$4,468
Nationwide$2,926$3,255$4,083
Progressive$3,629$3,956$4,738
Farmers$3,677$3,899$4,864
Allstate$3,860$4,581$6,491
Travelers$4,059$4,344$5,160
Liberty Mutual$4,388$5,604$8,802
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If you’d like to price the cost of coverage to see how your past actions will affect your rates with a handful of insurers, use an online rate comparison tool like the one on this page and start shopping.

By providing all of the infraction details and demographic information just once, you can get dozens of quotes.

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Frequently Asked Questions: Car Insurance Companies Look Back

Let’s recap what you’ve learned with some frequently asked questions. These questions appear on search engines across the internet and are asked to address car insurance concerns further. Visit our main page for more articles, guides, and reviews.

#1 – How far back does Geico look at your driving record?

GEICO will hold a driver record for five years. If you’ve had an accident, GEICO will only issue an increase in your car insurance policy for three years. After three years, you may be able to get a good driver discount.

#2 – Do insurance companies report to the DMV?

No, car insurance companies don’t report to the DMV. Police report accidents with major property damage, injury, and death. These reports make their way to a driver’s state DMV.

#3 – Are there car insurance companies that only look back three years?

Yes, there are car insurance companies that only look back two to three years. These include Progressive, Geico, AAA, and Safeco. It may not be broadcast online, but expect any major car insurance company to look back at least two years for your driving record.

#4 – How often do car insurance companies check your driving record?

Car insurance companies will typically check your driving record every three years.

#5 – Are there car insurance companies that don’t check your driving record?

Unfortunately, almost every company will check your driving record when you apply for coverage.

No matter how far a car insurance company looks back at your record, you can save on car insurance by entering your ZIP code in our free tool to start comparing car insurance quotes today.

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Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by State