How Long Does An Accident Stay On Your Record?

Updated October, 2020
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The exact length of time an at-fault accident remains on your record depends on the severity of the crash and the state you live in. For the most part, you can expect most accidents to stay on your record for at least 3 to 5 years.

What's a driving record and what's on it?

Every driver has a motor vehicle record (MVR). It's maintained by the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state. It keeps track of everything; from traffic tickets to accidents you've been in.

These items not only affect your insurance premiums. If your record accumulates too many infractions, then the state can even suspend your license.

While the exact length of time varies by state, here's generally how long each infraction remains on your record.

  • Car accident: 3 to 5 years
  • DUI: 10 years
  • Speeding ticket: 2 to 3 years

How can I check my driving record?

While it differs slightly from one state to the next, here are the basic steps to take to check your driving record.

  1. Visit your state's DMV website.
  1. Log into the system. You may need to complete a disclosure form.
  1. Add your driving record to your cart. There may be a small fee you have to pay.
  1. Check out and view your record at your leisure.

It's a good idea to check your record once a year or so. You may find something inaccurate. You should dispute it right away so that it doesn't further impact your premiums.

How does my driving record impact my insurance rate?

The way you drive greatly affects what you pay in insurance premiums. Causing an accident or receiving a ticket tells the insurance company you're more of a risk.

Conversely, having a clean record shows insurance companies you drive safely. You may even get a special discount for being a safe driver. Ultimately, it's the best metric insurance companies have to determine your liability.

Will an accident cause my premium to increase?

Typically after an at-fault accident, you can expect an increase in your insurance premiums. However, some insurance agencies offer accident forgiveness, for both small and large accidents. This means your first accident doesn't cause your premiums to increase. And plenty of companies offer it. This can be in the form of perks or as an additional coverage you can add to your policy.  

  • Geico
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • Travelers

Insurance options for those with bad driving records

Drivers with poor driving records may need non-standard insurance. This policy is offered to drivers with bad records who are viewed as having greater risk than other drivers.

These drivers end up paying the highest premiums for insurance coverage. It may be a lot, but it's often necessary. Some companies may not insure you if you have a lot of marks on your record.

Non-standard insurance may not be the most ideal coverage option, but by being a better driver and letting those marks disappear from your record, you can save money in the future.

Is my insurance good enough to protect me in an accident?

If you're not sure, consider comparing different insurance providers to your own to find out who's able to provide you with the level of protection you need. Don't get caught on unprepared in the life-altering car accident.

Try our easy insurance comparing tool and receive quotes, instantly!

Get cheap insurance quotes, today!
Our team will help you find the lowest insurance prices.
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