If you have a good driving record, you’re bound to get a fair insurance rate. However, millions of Americans have accidents and tickets on their record. What do they do?
Insurers know that these things can happen. Some companies offer inexpensive policies for people with points on their record so that they can stay on the road. Following are some things you should know if you’re looking for insurance with a bad record.
If Your Insurance Premium Increased Because of a Traffic Violation
If you had your rates increased because of an accident or moving violation, investigate a new insurer. With all the choices different insurers offer, it won’t hurt to shop around.
Before you start looking for a quote, contact your local DMV and ask for a copy of your driving record. Sometimes there are citations that shouldn’t be there. You can request to have them removed. Some states will remove the violation from a first-time offender’s record if a driving safety program is completed. For example, Texas is one of those states.
You can also take a defensive driving course to prove to insurance companies that you are taking steps to become a better and safer driver. You might be able to receive an insurance discount to help lower your rates.
How much your insurance can increase will mostly rely on whether you were at fault and the size of the claim from the accident. The increase will happen during your policy renewal period. If you had an accident in February and your policy renews in October, it will be many months before you see the rate increase.
If You’ve Been Dropped from Your Insurance Because of a Violation
In some cases, insurers will cancel a policy due to multiple tickets and violations. Some states have plans to make sure you have the minimum insurance required to keep driving. Click here to see if your state has a program.
If You Need High-Risk Insurance
If you have many violations, you may be required to get high-risk insurance. Most state DMVs require the driver to prove financial responsibility by getting an SR-22. This allows you to drive after losing insurance or a traffic-related offense.
Most states require you to keep an SR-22 for a minimum of three consecutive years. Depending on where you live, a traffic violation can stay on your record for three to five years. That can be reflected in the length of your SR-22.
Insofar as cost of high-risk insurance goes, that will depend on factors like your driving record, state and zip code, credit score, and your coverage.
Premiums can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. As such, investigate quotes from at least three different insurers. Once you’ve had the SR-22 for six months, take another look at quotes. Mention to the agent you’ve had continuous insurance for the last six months. You’ll probably get a better rate.
Don’t feel as if you are stuck with your current insurance provider. Some insurance companies are more lenient than others with accidents and as mentioned, can give you a much better rate. Just one accident can prove mighty costly. By taking these steps, you are on your way to getting through the insurance process.