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: Jul 25, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • 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 3 and 7 years

Auto insurance companies look back at driving records and other history reports so that they can paint a picture of how responsible you are behind the wheel. In most states, there are limits to how long violations and accidents can stay on a record or be classified as chargeable. How far does car insurance look back? Do all car insurance companies look back?

Learn more about how far car insurance looks back at your driving record and what offenses will cost your 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 above!

Table of Contents

How far back do insurance companies look at driving records?

If a driver in your household has a moving violation, it’s essential that you know time frames 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 can be seen depends on the type of violation that you’re cited for.

The state that you live in might also has their 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 all examples of major infractions. Time frames for major violations are a bit different because they tend to be criminal, and this 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 seven years, but most DUI convictions stay on your driving record for at least ten years.

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Why do car insurance companies care about moving violations?

It’s only 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 prevent preventable and devastating crashes.

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

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

According to Lexis Nexis, companies only run the MVR through agencies 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 will spend up to $27 just to pull your report and see if you have minor or severe violations.

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, though? 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
CompanyClean RecordWith 1 Speeding ViolationWith 1 AccidentWith 1 DUI
American Family$2,694$3,026$3,723$4,330
State Farm$2,821$3,186$3,396$3,637
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.

Progressive appears to be more lenient on one DUI conviction because their annual rate for one DUI on a driver’s record is cheaper than the annual rate with an accident.

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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 major infraction that leads to disqualification, you’ll receive a notification. If the change just 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 so that they can make underwriting decisions.

How long the claims are used for rate calculations 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 on how your credit score is calculated.

This 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 how they’re annual rates are affected by credit.

Top Car Insurance Companies Annual Rates based on Credit History

CompanyGood CreditFair CreditPoor Credit
State Farm$2,174$2,853$4,951
American Family$2,692$3,170$4,468
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 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: How far do car insurance companies look back?

Let’s recap what you’ve learned in some frequently asked questions. Some of these questions appear on search engines across the internet and are asked to reassure concerns about car insurance. Visit our main page for more articles, guides, and reviews.

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#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 can get a good driver discount.

#2 – Do insurance companies report to DMV?

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

#3 – How long are you considered a high-risk driver?

Any DUI, reckless driving, or multiple driving violations may place you in high-risk driving status. Also, driving without car insurance for more than six months will put in a high-risk driving status with car insurance companies.

#4 – Which car insurance companies look back up to three years?

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

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

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