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How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record?

How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record

By record, we don’t mean your permanent or personal record; we mean your driving record. Car insurance companies won’t usually look at your permanent record, but they will want to see at least three to five years of your driving record to assess how much of a risk you are to insure while driving your motor vehicle. Any noticeable markups can result in your auto insurer setting higher rates for car insurance coverage.

The good news is that neither the car accident on your driving record nor your high car insurance premiums last forever.

But how long will it stay on your driving record? And, how much is your car insurance premium before and after? This guide to driving record marks and car insurance rates answers these questions and more.

What Is The Relationship Between Car Accidents And Auto Insurance?

It’s everything, actually. When an auto accident occurs, car insurance is called on to be the first line of financial defense. They handle your car accident claims and provide a payout for your active car insurance policies, as long as you pay your auto insurance premium rates.

The amount of car accident claims you file is directly proportional to how much you pay monthly for your car insurance. Because you have gotten into an auto accident, the car insurance company may come to expect this kind of driving from you and raise your car insurance premiums.

However, drivers can sometimes prove their auto insurance providers wrong by practicing safe driving or taking a driving course. These are just a couple of measures you can take to lower your car insurance premiums.

Having a car accident on your driving record within five years of buying new car insurance has the same effect even though you haven’t filed a car insurance claim through your auto insurance company. So, it’s an ongoing task of keeping your auto insurance premium rates affordable.

How Long Does a Car Accident Stay on Your Driving Record?

Every driver with a license and registration in the United States has a motor vehicle record or MVR. This record isn’t attached to the car you drive, but to your driver’s license, so it follows you wherever you go.

Your MVR keeps track of all the car accidents and traffic violations. Even something as simple as a speeding ticket will show up. However, when a certain markup appears is based on how severe the traffic violation was.

How Long Will a Car Accident be on a Driving Record?

The severity of the traffic violation is just one factor that determines how long the violation will remain on your driving record. It also differs from state to state. What’s more, each state also has a different practice for how many years back on someone’s driver’s license they look at.

An example would be that Massachusetts doesn’t look any more than six years on a potential car policyholder’s record, while New York may only look at three years or less. In most states, though, a car accident or violation usually stays on a driver’s record for anywhere from three to five years. However, major violations such as a hit-and-run or a DUI will stay on for 10 years.

Does it Matter if The Auto Accident Was Your Fault?

Car accidents of any nature will appear on your driving record, even if it wasn’t your fault. At the same time, it will have an effect on your car insurance rates.

It’s unfortunate, but even if your car insurance provider looks at the police report and sees that you legally didn’t cause an auto accident, your auto insurance premium rates may see an increase of up to 17%.

However, check your state to see if it has laws in place which prevent car insurance rates from increasing after a car accident where you aren’t at fault.

Suppose you wish to avoid car accidents with other drivers by taking a defensive driving course. Not only is it a great way to be a safe driver, but it also helps you be aware of other drivers on the road. Another option you have is to check with your car insurance provider to see if they offer car accident forgiveness.

How Can You Lower Your Car Insurance Rates After a Car Accident?

While the passage of time is the only resolution for car accident markups on your driving record, you can do some things to help lower your auto insurance rates after an auto accident causes them to rise. In addition to car accident forgiveness, there may be other discounts you qualify for. You could even be able to tailor your auto insurance policy to suit your budget until the car insurance policy rates return to normal.

Here are ways you can lower your car insurance rates:

  • Improve credit score - Your car insurance provider looks at your credit score and partially bases your car insurance rates on it. Having a good credit score by paying your bills on time may help lower your auto insurance premiums in the long run.
  • Insurance discounts - Check with your auto insurer to see if you qualify for any discounts. This can include students, multiple cars, new drivers, military, seniors, or bundled insurance discounts.
  • Take a defensive driving course - As previously mentioned, completing a defensive driving course will help lower the auto insurance premium rates of a high-risk driver, even after a car accident.
  • Dropping some auto insurance coverage - Let’s say that full auto insurance coverage has too high of rates for your budget. You can always drop your comprehensive, collision, or any other add-ons for the time being. Basic coverage is always cheaper than full coverage.
  • Usage-based insurance - If you don’t drive as much, you can pay for your auto insurance based on the miles you put on your car. You do this by buying a pay-per-mile auto policy or a usage-based auto insurance program with a telemetric device. Naturally, this is the cheaper alternative to standard car insurance policies.

Besides a Collision, What Else Affects Your Car Insurance Premium Rates?

A collision on your driving record will be one of many factors that an auto insurance company will look at when determining your car insurance policy premium rates. Factors can range from driving habits to vehicle type to personal factors.

Here’s what to be mindful of when looking at auto insurance policy rates costs:

  • State’s minimum insurance requirements - 48 out of 50 states have auto insurance requirements for their drivers. The amounts are consistent but different from state to state. Look at your state’s car insurance amount to see how much car insurance coverage you should at least be carrying.
  • Age - The younger the driver, the more risk of getting into a car accident they have, according to car insurance providers. Car insurance premium rates tend to be high until the driver turns 25.
  • Sex - Women pay less for car insurance coverage than men do.
  • Marital status - Car insurance rates for married drivers are less than those unmarried.
  • Car make and model - The type of vehicle you drive will also determine how high your auto insurance premium rates will be. Some makes and models are more expensive because of their parts or manufacturer. Cars 10 years or older may require specialized car insurance coverage.
  • Credit score - As previously discussed, auto insurers will look at your credit score to determine your car insurance premium rates.

How Long Does a Specific Car Accident Stay on Your Driving History?

You now have a more than general knowledge of car insurance premium rates and their relation to a car accident, and to an extent, how long it will stay on someone’s driving record (three to five years).

Effects of Specific Car Accidents and Traffic Violations on Your Driving History:

  • First car accident - If it’s a minor accident, then your first recorded car accident could be forgiven by your auto insurance company and may not appear on your driving record. Having car accident forgiveness really helps here.
  • Car Accident - After your first accident, your car insurance company may be unlikely to offer car accident forgiveness on a second one, even if it’s a minor accident. This car accident would stay on your driving record for three years to five years, depending on the state.
  • Hit-and-run - A hit-and-run is both a car accident and a traffic violation since leaving the scene of an auto accident without exchanging information is a crime. A mark for a hit-and-run is more severe and can spend 10 years on a driving record.
  • Driving under the influence or DUI - A DUI can do a lot of damage to anyone’s driving record. At the very least, a DUI can remain on driving history for 10 years; again, it depends on the state. Some are even known to keep a DUI on record permanently.

Looking for Auto Insurance after a Car Accident? Insurance Navy can help!

Even if you have a less than favorable driving record, Insurance Navy can help you find affordable auto insurance. Get a free car insurance quote online or call us at 888-949-6289.

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