Insurance companies look at several factors when setting rates; your driving record is one of the most important. If it’s inaccurate, you could be paying more than you should. Knowing that, wouldn’t it be wise to check it? Here’s what you can do to keep your driving record accurate and current before shopping for insurance.

Why do insurance companies look at your driving record?

 Authorities like your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) add points to your record to assess your worthiness to drive, which is seen as a privilege. Insurers want to know if you have points on your record, and if so, how you got them, to determine how risky you are as a driver.

If you have moving violations on your driving record, insurance companies will consider you a high-risk driver. Claims cost insurers money, so insurers charge high-risk drivers more to help pay for the anticipated higher cost of covering that driver. That’s why your car insuranc e policy is affected by tickets and points on your record.

How to get a copy of your driving record

You should pay attention to your record as much as the insurers. You can get a copy of your driving record, which are also known as MVRs (motor vehicle reports), through your state’s DMV or the licensing agency handling driver’s licenses.

Most states will let you request a copy of your record online, but some may require that you ask for it in writing or in person; the details are usually specified on the agency’s website. You’ll have to pay a small fee for the copy. A check of several DMV websites shows the fees are usually in the $10 to $20 range, with some as low as $2.

The California DMV, for instance, charges $2 for a report obtained online and $5 if you get it by mail or in person. You can print out an online copy, while one will be mailed to you if you request it by mail or in person. Both qualify as official documents, according to the DMV. The website walks you through the process as you complete form “INF 1125,” which requires your driver’s license number, vehicle registration number, current address and birth date.

The Insurance Information Institute (III) and William F. Harris, an independent insurance agent in the Los Angeles area, note that your insurer may provide you with your current record for free. Others may handle the paperwork but charge you the same fee required by the DMV.

“Just ask,” says Harris. “Most agents I know of will help you get that information.”

Harris and the III suggest checking your driving record regularly; perhaps as much as once a year or so. They add that you should avoid third parties (many operate online) that offer to provide your record for an additional fee.

Wrong information? Here’s how to fix your driving record

Pencil erasing mistakeWhen you file a request to dispute a driving record error, motor vehicle departments sometimes call  the request a “claim.” Correcting mistakes can be fairly complicated because just about every state requires you to complete a form detailing why you think the listed violation is an error. In California, for example, you need to fill out “Report Of Incorrect Record Form DL207” or “Report Of Incorrect Driver Record Traffic Collision Form DL207A,” which can be found online.

You’ll be asked for your vehicle and driver’s license information, along with details about the disputed violation, including when it occurred. A copy of the original ticket or any documentation obtained from the court where the violation was heard must be included for review, according to the DMV.

After receiving the form, the California DMV says it will either make a decision on your claim or require you to schedule a DMV hearing to provide more information. The process in California, as in other states, can take up to several weeks; the California DMV says expect four to six weeks before you’ll be contacted about the claim.

What’s on your driving record?

According to the III, here’s what’s commonly on your record, beyond driver’s license status, license classification and defensive driving courses completed:

  • DUI/DWI convictions
  • Traffic accidents
  • Moving violation convictions, including for speeding, and related fines
  • Fees and citations owed
  • License status and expiration
  • Points assessed for driving violations
  • Defensive drivers courses taken

How long do tickets and violations stay on your record?

It varies from state to state and depends on how bad the violation is. Speeding tickets typically mar your driving record in most states for three years, but a DUI can remain for several more.

In California, a speeding ticket usually stays for three years, but a DUI remains for ten In Tennessee, a DUI is on your driving record forever, and in Florida, it takes 75 years before removal. In general, and in most states, a citation will remain for three to seven years.

How much do your rates increase for a ticket resulting in a conviction?

That varies, but a first DUI offense can raise it by 79 percent, according to analysis by A speeding ticket 16 to 29 mph above the limit can jump it by 22 percent. You’ll see in the table below how much rates rise, on average, for common violations and accidents, for full coverage with a $500 deductible:

Violation Average Percent Increase to Rate
DUI/DWI third offense255%
DUI/DWI second offense163%
2 At-fault property damage accidents over $2k110%
SR22 with 1 DUI89%
Hit and run – injury87%
Hit and run property damage83%
DUI/DWI first offense79%
Reckless driving73%
Operating a vehicle in a race (highway racing)71%
2 speeding tickets 11 mph or over43%
At-fault bodily injury accident32%
1 At-fault property damage accident over $2K31%
Speeding 30+ over the limit30%
Careless driving26%
1 At-fault property damage accident under $2K26%
Texting ticket24%
Distracted driving ticket22%
Speeding ticket 16-29 MPH over the limit22%
Improper/illegal pass20%
Speeding ticket 11-15 MPH over the limit20%
Following too closely20%
Improper turn20%
Failure to yield20%
Speeding ticket 1-5 MPH over the limit20%
Speeding ticket 6-10 MPH over the limit20%
Failure to stop19%
Talking on a cellphone ticket16%
Lapse of coverage for 60 days13%
Driving without a license or permit9%
Lapse of coverage for 30 days9%
Lapse of coverage for 7 days9%
Lapse of coverage for 15 days9%
2 comprehensive claims for over $2k8%
Driving without insurance8%
Seatbelt infraction3%
1 comprehensive claim for over $2k3%
1 comprehensive claim for under $2k3%

Learn more about how long do points stay on NJ driving record

Auto insurance for high-risk drivers

You can still get insurance if you have a poor driving record, categorizing you as a high-risk motorist. The most obvious drawback is that a high-risk driver insurance policy will be more expensive, perhaps much more if you have a significant violation like a DUI, or multiple violations within six or 12 months.

If you’ve been busted for a moving violation, you can still save on car insurance by comparing car insurance companies. No two insurers charge the same amount for the same coverage, so you can overpay if you don’t shop around.

For example, rate hikes vary by as much as 25 percent among the following companies after a conviction for exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 miles per hour:

  • State Farm – 12%
  • Allstate – 14%
  • Nationwide – 17%
  • Farmers – 23%
  • Progressive – 30%
  • Geico – 37%

If you have trouble finding a company that will sell you a policy, here are some of the car insurance companies that work with high-risk drivers and may insure you:

 The General, a subsidiary of American Family Insurance

  • Titan Insurance, a subsidiary of Nationwide Insurance
  • Dairyland Insurance, a subsidiary of Sentry Insurance
  • Geico Casualty, the high-risk branch of Geico
  • Infinity Insurance
  • SafeAuto Insurance


Your driving record isn’t the only motorist report insurers check

Insurance companies also use other reports when deciding what you pay for coverage. These include the following:

CLUE report: This is a summary of your car insurance claims history. If a car insurance company has done any of the following  and you want to review the accuracy of this, you can get a free copy by filling out a form at

  • Denied you insurance
  • Increased your rates
  • Limited your coverage
  • Cancelled your policy

Insurance score:  This report is compiled by your car insurance company based on your credit history. The exception is for drivers in California, Massachusetts and Hawaii — states that don’t allow insurance companies to use credit information when pricing insurance.

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

Editorial Director

John is the editorial director for, and Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz

Managing Editor

Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like and and managing content, now at

Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir

Managing Editor

Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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