In California, every accident reported to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles by law enforcement shows on your driving record unless the reporting officer says another person was at fault. The DMV also notes on your record when you, or another party in your accident, if any one person has over $750 in damage or if anyone is injured or dies.
The state of California has determined that at-fault accidents should be assigned one point. The information regarding the incident and the point will be placed on your California driving record. The accident will remain on your driver record for three years.
Auto insurance companies check a person's motor vehicle or driving record typically when a person applies for a policy, renews a policy or makes changes to their car insurance policy. If your accident is on your motor vehicle record (MVR) at the time that they check your record it can affect your car insurance rates.
While it is generally the DMV that keeps information regarding your accidents, insurance companies also keep a database of claims related to accidents. This comprehensive loss underwriting exchange (C.L.U.E.) can be accessed by insurance companies to find out what previous claims you have had in the past, and rate you on them.
To find if California allows insurance companies to charge surcharges or raise rates due to accidents on your record contact the California Department of Insurance.