While your auto insurance company cannot pull your full motor vehicle report (MVR), it does pull a summary listing your most recent tickets, accidents and convictions. The look-back period for your MVR varies by state and insurance company. Generally, this period is between three and five years, but it can be much longer.
How Insurance Companies Use Your Driving Record
When you apply for auto insurance, the insurance company needs to assess your amount of risk. The best way to determine this is to review your previous driving activity. Your insurance company can estimate your level of insurance risk based on the frequency and severity of your recent driving violations and collisions.
If you have had several accidents or traffic infractions in the past, you are more likely than other drivers to have similar problems in the future. If this is the case, you will probably make multiple insurance claims, so the insurance company may decide you are too risky to insure or charge you an increased rate to compensate for the probability it will need to pay claims on your behalf. (For related reading, see: Will Filing an Insurance Claim Raise Your Rates?)
What Is Included on Your MVR?
In addition to any accidents or traffic violations within the past three years, your MVR also includes information about any criminal convictions associated with your driving record, such as DUIs, and any incidents in which you failed to appear at a scheduled court hearing related to a driving infraction.
Your MVR also supplies your insurance company with information about any license restrictions, such as not being allowed to drive at night due to poor eyesight. Any prior license suspensions or revocations within the look-back period are also included. (For related reading, see: Car Insurance Rates Too High? Check the Record.)
What if My Record Isn't Clean?
Luckily, even if you have to pay an increased insurance rate due to a less than favorable MVR, it may not be permanent. Once your infractions are older than the look-back period, they drop off the insurance summary and are no longer considered when determining your premium. If your insurance company has a look-back period of three years, for example, an accident you had in 2015 drops off your record in 2018 and, if you have no new collisions, your insurance rates may decrease at your next policy renewal.