Auto insurers make the most money if they never have to pay any claims on your behalf, either for damage to your vehicle or for damage you caused to someone else. Statistically, if you've had one accident or traffic violation, you're likely to have another. If your driving record is bad, your insurer will likely charge you higher premiums to compensate for claims it expects it will have to pay.
Insurers Consider Many Factors
Most insurers begin the process of calculating premiums with a base amount that applies to all drivers. Then they'll add or subtract from that number for factors that are unique to you. They'll look up your driving record. If your record is poor, they'll increase your premium. The company might even impose a surcharge (an additional fee) if your record is particularly bad. If you receive a traffic ticket that is not your fault, speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. Once a moving violation is on your record, it can be difficult to get it removed.
Your Policy May Be Canceled
Some violations can make you virtually uninsurable. If you're already insured, your company may be permitted by law to cancel your policy for driving while intoxicated or for leaving the scene of an accident. Your insurer might also cancel your policy if you have as few as three moving violations in three years. If one company cancels you, you may have a hard time getting another to insure you.
Other Drivers Can Affect Your Costs
When you apply for car insurance, the insurer usually requires you to list everyone in your household who has a driver's license, unless one of those other drivers has his or her own policy. Your insurer will assume that your spouse, child, or roommate might have reason to drive your vehicle at some point. If one of these individuals has a bad driving record, this could increase your premiums as well. Some insurers won't increase your insurance costs, but they'll include language in the policy that says they won't pay a claim if that person was driving your vehicle at the time an accident occurred.
Improving Your Record Takes Time
If your driving record has some blemishes, it's probably going to affect your insurance rates for a while. Most insurers look at the last three to five years. If you have an incident today, then never have another, it may still take that long before your premiums drop again.
An Insurance Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding auto insurance can be complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an insurance lawyer.