How long an accident will stay on your driving record depends upon the state in which are licensed and reside in. See, each state has its own laws and guidelines for how long accidents and traffic violations stay on a person's motor vehicle record. The easiest way to find out how long a specific accident or traffic offense you were convicted of will remain on your state driving history is to check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
For example, the New York DMV lists an accident on the records of every driver that is involved in an auto accident, but does not assign fault. An accident normally remains on a New York driving record for the year that the accident occurred and the following three calendar years.
In comparison, the Texas Department of Public Safety keeps moving violations and accidents on a driver's record for five years, with the exception of serious offenses such as DUI and no liability insurance which stay indefinitely.
All Texas crashes that are investigated by a police officer are recorded on the individual's driver record. The record does not indicate fault but shows the date and location of the crash.
And, Arizona states that convictions of traffic offenses stay on your driver's history for five years, the Arizona DOT does not say if this does or does not include accidents. Convictions showing on an Arizona driving record within the past 39 months can be provided to an insurance company.
How long an accident will affect your car insurance rates will also vary, either because of state laws or car insurance providers internal guidelines. Some states say how long auto insurers can surcharge (raise your rates) for an accident or traffic violation conviction, while other states leave it up to the car insurance company.
Typically, auto accidents or traffic offenses will affect your rates for three, five or seven years. To find out how long it is with your insurer, you simply need to ask. You may also want to request a surcharge schedule so you know for what reasons your insurer can surcharge your premium.
If an accident has raised your rates, compare insurance companies to find the one that will offer you the most affordable rates.