Your driving history and habits may impact your car insurance policy plan and monthly payment rates much more than you think. This is because insurance companies use more demographics like age, and the number of years which you’ve been driving, to determine how much you’ll need to pay. Motoring violations, unpaid tickets, and more serious criminal charges like driving under the influence can make a massive difference in plan rates. If you’re interested in how your driving history can impact your policy options and payments, read on.

Traffic Violations

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Not all traffic violations carry the same weight. While some could seriously jeopardize your insurance coverage, others won’t give the same punishment when it comes time to shop for car insurance. For example, If your driving record has one ticket for an expired registration but no moving violations, you will be in a better position to find a cheaper auto insurance policy than if you had a misdemeanor reckless driving charge, or worse, a felony moving violation or a DUI.

Anyone who’s ever had a serious traffic violation on their license can tell you that it’s not easy to get a reasonable car insurance quote, even if the final verdict on your charge was a no-contest plea. Regardless of whether you paid a fine or did jail time, insurance companies look into your driving history to determine the risk that offering you coverage will be to them. They are not interested in the preponderance of evidence, the driving conditions at the time of your accident, nor whether or not you believe the burden of proof by the state wasn’t there. Instead, these companies will simply base their offers of coverage on where you fall in the statistics of liability and risk.

Driving Habits

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Some demographics like age, gender and whether or not you are a good student, will come into play when a car insurance company is working up your proposed rate. But your driving habits matter too. If you will be traveling and spending a lot of time in your car looking for the best tourist spots in Alabama, or working within a mile-long commute, this will factor in to your rate too. Whether or not you drive a new car, how many fault accidents are on your record and how often you drive will also matter.

Criminal Tickets and Violations

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More than any of the other factors insurance companies weigh when determining rates is your driving record. Even if you’ve had the same insurance company for years, they will quickly charge you after a wrongdoing. What might have been a great car insurance premium rate before you got your DUI will quickly change.

The comparison of civil cases versus criminal cases is night and day when it comes to insurance rates. While most traffic violations like speeding, lack of an inspection sticker, and driving unregistered are punishable simply by civil fines; drunk driving, speeding more than thirty miles over the limit, reckless driving, and at-fault accidents that cause serious bodily injury are a different matter.

Maybe you went out drinking with friends and didn’t know you were over the limit. Maybe you didn’t see the red light and ran it, causing a family member to be injured. On top of the criminal charges you will likely face, your insurance company will be notified and may drop you from coverage. In even the best case, the state will require you to carry additional coverage. Even something like driving on a suspended license or reckless driving could cause criminal charges that will impact your rates. While more serious crimes will carry more weight, neither will be forgiven by your car insurance company.

In the end, the best way to keep your rates low is to drive safely; avoid drinking or driving under any kind of influence, drive defensively and keep your car up to date with mandated registrations and inspections. Paying to renew your license on time and sticking to the speed limit are the best ways to keep your insurance company happy and your payment low too.