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How Your Driving Record Can Influence Your Car Insurance Premiums

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By: Kade Phillips, contributing writer at

Car insurance companies use a risk factor to calculate the premiums for your policy. If they consider you to be a higher risk, they will require you to pay higher rates for coverage. This is because a higher risk implies a higher likelihood of involvement in traffic collisions. It also suggests a greater likelihood of an auto insurance company having to pay claims in the future, which is something they obviously don't want to do.

Your insurer might use several criteria to determine your policy's risk factor. Where you live, your age and gender, and the average number of miles you drive each year can play a role. Your driving record is also a factor. In fact, depending on the number of tickets you have received in the past, it might trump other criteria. Below, you'll discover the extent to which your driving record can impact your auto insurance rates.

Driving-Related Offences And The Demerit Point System

Tickets are usually given to drivers in three categories: minor, major, and serious infractions. All come with demerit points. For example, making an improper left turn or failing to stop for a pedestrian are considered minor infractions for which you'll receive 2 points each. Failing to stop your car for a school bus will result in 6 demerit points. On the other hand, driving with your blood alcohol level above the legal limit is a serious offence.

A common misconception about demerit points is that the number you receive influences your car insurance rates. In reality, that's often not the case. Most auto insurance companies only consider the number of tickets you receive, not the points attached to them. Each time you receive a ticket for a driving-related offence, your premiums can potentially rise.

Having said that, there are specific circumstances that can impact your car insurance premiums. If your license is suspended as the result of driving with a higher-than-legal blood alcohol level, you can expect to see a dramatic rise in your rates. In fact, you may be turned away by insurers.

Qualifying For Discounts: Is It Possible With A Poor Record?

A lot of car insurance companies will extend a "good driver" discount if your driving record is free of tickets. Can you qualify for this type of discount with a poor driving record? In a word, no. However, most moving violations will drop off your record three years after your date of conviction (as opposed to the date you committed the infraction). That means if you can keep your record clean and avoid collisions, you can eventually receive the "good driver" discount.

Even if you have received several tickets, you might still qualify for other discounts that can lower your car insurance rates. For example, if your vehicle has an anti-theft device installed, you might qualify for a discount on your comprehensive coverage. If you're insuring more than one vehicle, you can take advantage of a multi-car discount. If the average number of miles you normally drive is low, you might receive a low-mileage discount.

Check with each auto insurance company you're researching to determine which discounts apply to your personal circumstances. You might discover that your vehicle's anti-lock brakes, alarm system, and your membership in an auto club can reduce your car insurance rates.

Comparing Car Insurance Rates Online

As we've mentioned before, you should take the time to comparison shop for a better deal whenever your policy is about to expire. There are many insurers that compete aggressively by extending low car insurance rates to new customers. The only way to find these insurers is by actively looking for them.

Why not take a few minutes to compare your car insurance options at Kanetix. We work hard to try to find you the cheap auto insurance you're after. In about 5 minutes you can compare competing quotes and quite possibly save a whole bunch of money.

Disclaimer - The above description/explanation is intended as a guideline only, and is not to be interpreted as a recommendation to buy or sell any insurance products, or to provide legal or financial advice of any kind. Also, Kanetix Ltd. does not warrant or assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed.

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