It’s never fun when the police pull you over. It happens to the best of us. Most of us know that tickets affect auto insurance rates, but do you know how your insurance company finds out? Do you wonder how long a ticket remains on your driving record? We’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’ll help you learn how long tickets and accidents stay on driving histories. This includes a table that shows how long each state will keep the points from tickets on driver’s licenses. We’ll also tell you about how traffic violations can affect your car insurance rates.
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What Is a Driving Record and What Goes on It?
If you get a ticket, you can expect it to remain on your driving record for at least three years, which is the nation’s average. More severe tickets, such as DUIs or reckless driving, can remain for up to 10 years.
But not all citations end up on your record. Luckily, minor ones like parking tickets and red light camera tickets might not count. Like most things in auto insurance, this will vary by state.
It’s important to note that not every state keeps tickets on your history for the same amount of time. While the average is about three years, there are different cases based on each state’s system for tracking violations.
Driver’s License Points Systems
Most states use a point system, where you receive a certain number of points depending on the severity of your violation. If you incur too many points, your state could suspend or even revoke your license.
Other states may not use a driver’s license points system. Instead, these states keep track of your violations and could suspend your license if you get too many on your record. You could also face losing your license after a severe violation, like a DUI.
The table below shows how every state handles tickets on your driving record:
How Do Tickets and Accidents Affect Insurance?
Insurers take your driving record into account when they set your rates. So, if you get a violation while driving, you can expect your rates to increase. The amount your premium goes up varies, but it’s usually not good for your wallet.
Car insurance providers look at your driving history to determine your risk as a driver. Tickets, especially if you have many of them, results in a more expensive policy. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that traffic violations have a high chance of increasing the amount you pay for auto insurance.
Don’t assume you’re safe from paying more if your rates don’t go up right away after you get a ticket. Sometimes, your insurance company may only check your record periodically. If this is the case, you might not see a rate increase right away following a citation.
A key thing to know is that one violation might affect your insurance more than another. For example, a DUI conviction makes you a risky driver. In turn, your rates will rise drastically when you’re forced to get a high-risk insurance policy. On the other hand, a ticket for going 5-10 mph over the posted speed limit won’t raise your rates much, if at all.
Your insurer is more likely to increase your rates for more “severe” types of tickets. That’s because these offenses result in more driver’s license points. In addition, severe traffic violations can give leave points on your record for a longer period. Eventually, your provider will see this and reflect your risk factor on your premium.
Like tickets, accidents can make you appear risky in the eyes of your insurer. If you frequently get into accidents or have a couple that are your fault, your rates are likely to increase.
Will My Rates Stay High Forever If I Get a Ticket?
It’s not the end of the world if your rates have gone up. Often, your insurer may lower your rates as a reward if you keep a clean record for a good amount of time. A three- to five-year period is typical to prove to insurance companies that you’ve changed or become safer behind the wheel.
You should strongly consider changing providers if your insurance carrier chooses not to lower your rates, even after you’ve been driving safely for a long time. Sometimes a fresh start is a good thing. And you may even find a better baseline price than your current company offers.
If you’re thinking about changing car insurance companies, you should do your homework by comparing the prices of all the providers in your area. That’ll ensure that you get the best price for your clean slate.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get a ticket off my driving record?
You can do a couple of things if you want to get a ticket off your record. The first thing you can try is to enroll at a defensive driving school. Some states will remove certain tickets, usually for speeding, if you take a course. Many insurers provide discounts for customers that complete driver training courses.
You can also try to fight the ticket in court. Note that this will require you to gather evidence that shows you didn’t commit the offense. This can be hard to do, but you may want to give it a try if you think you have enough evidence. This could save your driving record or keep your rates low.
How do I check my driving record for tickets?
You can usually check your record by going to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website. You should have the following information ready:
- Driver’s license number
- Social security number