Will I Ever Escape My Bad Driving History?
You find yourself battling high insurance costs due to some youthful indiscretions. Perhaps you had a few speeding tickets, an at-fault collision or even a DUI. It is very possible that you may be experiencing extremely high auto insurance premiums with no apparent end in sight. Is there light at the end of the tunnel for those with a bad driving history?
The answer is yes, of course there is hope for the future. However, there are things you can do to speed the process up and show your insurance company that you have mended your bad driving ways.
— Do not get any more tickets or have any more accidents
This may sound like common sense, but you might be surprised at the number of people who continue to rack up speeding tickets or at-fault accidents even after their insurance premiums skyrocket. There is a reason you are paying such high prices; listen to history and take a lesson. If you need to enroll in driving school, it might be money well spent to learn the techniques that will keep you safe and help you avoid future tickets and collisions.
— Reduce your driving time
The only thing that will ultimately remove your bad driving history from the insurance company’s records is time. Therefore, it may be best if you limit your driving during a period when you are trying to improve your record. The less you drive, the less you ultimately pay in insurance costs. If possible, get rid of your vehicle and ride public transportation or with a family member for a bit. However, do not completely cancel your insurance; instead, maintain your status as a “covered driver” in case you must drive in an emergency.
— Study your state’s laws
Different state Departments of Motor Vehicles report accidents and tickets for different amounts of time. Your particular insurance company may “sweep” the DMV records periodically; most companies do this every six months to one year in order to issue premium updates at renewal time. By studying the traffic laws and regulations of your state, you can anticipate when a particular ticket or accident will “disappear” from your record. This can help you plan for purchasing or shopping for car insurance. Most infractions stay on your record for seven years, although some states have shorter or longer periods of time. Not all insurance companies have “look back” periods that are that long, either; in many cases, a company will hold a single speeding ticket against you for only two or three years before factoring it out of your auto insurance cost equation.
— Take driver’s education
Even if you are not a high school student any more, a driver’s education or defensive driving course may benefit you by lowering your insurance premiums by as much as ten percent. If you have incurred a DUI conviction, you may be required by your state to attend alcohol rehabilitation or education classes; these may also have an effect on your insurance rates. Attending classes is one of the best ways to show your insurance company that you mean to mend your bad driving ways, and most companies will reward you for successful completion of one of these courses.
— Be sure you get your discounts
While you may not be able to escape the immediate consequences of a bad driving record, you can offset your premium increases somewhat by requesting other discounts for which you may be eligible. You may qualify for multi-car or multi-policy discounts, good student discounts, and even loyalty discounts based on your years with the insurance company. Many companies also have a first-time accident forgiveness policy if you do not have a serious crash or a first-time speeding ticket forgiveness policy that keeps you from paying too much for one indiscretion.
— Shop for car insurance
The most important thing you can do when you have a questionable driving record is to shop for car insurance. Many companies have much more flexible pricing structures than others and are eager for your business. Of course if you have a very serious infraction such as a DUI, it is likely that you will be paying far more than most people for your auto insurance; however, even companies that offer SR-22-compliant insurance policies vary in their rates. It is almost always worth your time to compare auto insurance rates from many different companies.
By following these simple rules, you can keep your auto insurance costs as low as possible even if your driving record is not the best.