When shopping for life insurance, you may be wondering if your driving record and other aspects of your personal history can affect the cost of your premiums. The answer is yes – life insurance companies do look at your driving record when determining your premiums. Their reasoning is that your driving habits indicate how much of a risk you are to insure – if you have good driving habits, their chances of having to pay out a claim as the result of a fatal accident are much lower, and therefore they can charge you lower premiums. Here’s everything you need to know about your driving record and how it can affect your insurance premiums.
What’s On My Driving Record?
You may be wondering – what exactly is on my driving record? Many people are actually unaware of what their driving record looks like. If you want to check yours, you can go on your state DMV’s website and look for their records page. They will give you the option to request a copy of your records, usually for a small fee. There’s typically no limit on how often you can check your driving record, but you will have to pay the same fee every time. Here’s what you can expect to find on your driving record – and what insurance companies will have access to.
– Your personal details like your legal full name, your address, your date of birth, and your gender
– Your driver’s license number, your driver’s license class, and any legal restrictions that have been put on your license
– Detailed information about any driving convictions you may have. These can range from small infractions like parking and speeding tickets up to accidents and DUIs.
– The number of points on your license. Every state has their own driving points system to indicate someone’s driving record. Each time you have a driving-related infraction, it is assigned a certain number of points. The more serious the infraction, the more points you will get. When you hit a certain number of points your license will be suspended.
How Do Insurance Companies Consider Driving Record?
When you apply for life insurance, your insurance company will do a thorough assessment of all of the information above to get an idea of your health history, your family history, and also what kind of driver you are. In addition to the information we’ve already discussed, insurance companies can also look at unpaid tickets and bills related to driving and auto insurance, as well as how many auto insurance claims you have made in the past. All of this information is used to determine how much of a risk you are to insure, and therefore how high your life insurance premium is going to be.
Each insurance company is different, but most will charge you higher premiums if you have more infractions on your record. However, life insurance companies don’t look at your entire driving record – they only consider the most recent part of your records. If you’ve gotten a few minor parking tickets, there’s not much cause for concern – it’s more dangerous driving infractions that could become a problem. DUIs are the hardest violation to overcome – they stay on your record for a very long time, and most insurance companies are very hesitant to overlook them.
How Do I Improve My Driving Record?
Luckily, even if your driving record isn’t squeaky clean, there are still things you can do to improve it. Here are some ways to make your driving record look more attractive to potential insurance companies.
– Take a driver’s safety course. This is particularly helpful if you have been in several accidents. A driver’s safety course shows your insurer that you are taking steps to make smarter, safer driving decisions.
– Contest any tickets you get that seem questionable. If you make a good case, you may be able to get the ticket removed and avoid having to pay it. If you’ve already paid a ticket, you can still request to get a driving violation expunged from your record. The rules for this differ from state to state, but it’s a good solution if you have a driving violation that’s been following you around for a long time.
– If you get in a minor accident and can afford to pay for the damages out of pocket, it might be worth it. Since insurance companies look at the number of claims you have made in the past, not filing one can keep your premiums down in the future. Even though you might pay a little bit more out of pocket than you would with insurance, you might save more money in the long run.
– Wait it out. Most driving infractions won’t stay on your record forever, particularly if they are minor ones like traffic tickets. The most minor infractions usually will only stay on your record for two or three years, while accidents can stay on your record for around five years. DUIs are considered the most serious and can stay for up to 10 years.
In short, your driving record does affect your life insurance premiums. Keeping a clean driving record is a great way to keep your premiums down, but there are always things you can do to improve if you’ve made driving mistakes in the past.