Nope! You sure don’t. That’s the good news. The bad news is they are going to find out about it whether you tell them or not.
Insurers do not require you to report changes in your driving record during any particular policy term.
The premium you and your insurance company agreed to, whether for six or 12 months, is set in stone for that time frame.
Tip: Always consider a 12-month policy term for your car insurance if you have the option. Most national “chain” insurers don’t offer the 12-month policy for this reason.
Also, if they simply want to raise everyone’s rates (whether your driving record has worsened or not), they can do it much quicker if all of their insured have a six-month policy.
How Do They Find Out?
Insurance companies have access to some of the biggest and best data reports available, and they use them. Let’s face it, there are a lot of people out there who would lie through their teeth to pay lower insurance premiums.
There are two main reports that are “run” when you apply for auto insurance coverage. Specifically, these are your Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) and Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange report (C.L.U.E) .
Tip: These reports, just like your credit report, may contain errors that could cost you thousands of dollars in additional premium if they are not corrected.
What Else Do They Know?
A third report, which not all insurers review, is a “Potential Household Member” report, which provides the insurance company with the names and birthdays of all potential drivers in your household.
This may include people with the same last name as you or people who have any “record” of using your current address.
Sounds a little “Big Brother,” doesn’t it? So, why would a potential car insurer care who may be living in your home? It’s simple. As discussed earlier in this post, people will try just about anything to get lower car insurance rates.
This includes “forgetting to mention” a teenage driver or an uncle who lives under the same roof, who has two DUI’s and regular access to your car. The, “they are not allowed to drive my car” defense doesn’t fly with most insurers.
Teenagers commonly don’t listen to their parents and people with multiple DUI’s clearly don’t have a good record of following the rules, so insurers want to be certain to collect a premium that’s inline with their “exposure” to paying claims.
Put it this way; if your teen (who wasn’t “allowed” to drive your car) severely injured someone while driving your car (while you were sleeping or out of town), you’d expect the insurer to defend you in court and pay for the damages, right?
Well, that’s not what most court records reflect. There are thousands of lawsuits per year for this exact reason.
What’s the Next Step?
So you got a speeding ticket and your rates are going to go up at renewal, assuming you didn’t opt for the ticket forgiveness coverage.
What can you do? Well, assuming you can’t get the ticket cleared off your record with a defensive driving class, your best move is to shop your rate online or visit an independent insurance agent who can get quotes from several different insurance companies.
Your current insurer may put you through the ringer for a ticket, but there are plenty of insurance companies out there that specialize in insuring those of us who have a not-so-perfect driving record.
Make sure you give them a shot to be certain you aren’t overpaying for a momentary lapse in judgment.
Either way, don’t feel like a criminal or that you’re going to “get in trouble” if you can’t remember your driving history for the past 3-5 years when asked by prospective insurers during the quote process.
The reports mentioned above will fill in the details. However, it will help you obtain more accurate insurance quotes if you know this information.
Some insurers do not order these reports until later in the process, which can lead to an unwelcome surprise when your quoted premium increases as this information is discovered.