Car insurance providers use your past behavior as an indicator of how you’ll drive in the future. A bad driving record makes you look riskier to insurance providers, and it usually means you’ll end up paying more for your car insurance.
While you may not be able to go back in time to when your driving record was clean, a few tickets don’t have to mark you forever. There are a few things you can do to improve your driving record. These tips can help you get a lower rate and save money on your car insurance premiums.
Some traffic citations are known as “fix-it tickets.” They’ll have a yes box checked under “correctable violation.” Broken tail lights, driver’s license violations, and car registration violations are just a few examples of common fix-it tickets.
These kinds of violations often have a deadline attached. If you show the court you fixed the problem and pay a dismissal fee or fine, if assessed, before the deadline, your case will be dismissed.
Taking care of these fix-it tickets quickly prevents them from going on your driving record, which is just as good as not having the violation in the first place.
Life happens. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that caused you to get a ticket in the first place. And because of that, you might feel as if the officer might be in the wrong for giving you a ticket.
Luckily, you have the option of contesting the ticket. Giving a judge the reasonable context behind your ticket might be enough for them to reduce your penalties or remove the infraction altogether.
And if you have a poor driving record, It just might be the difference between getting a good car insurance rate or a bad one.
Go back to school (driver’s safety course)
Remember the driving courses you took to get your license in the first place? Well, they might just be the key to improving your driving record.
There are eligibility requirements, but you may be able to go to traffic school to have infractions that are moving violations kept off your record. Be aware that many times you will still have to pay a fine for the ticket and another fee for the traffic school.
Make sure the driving school you choose for your safety course is approved by your local motor vehicles department. This will prevent you from having to take a safety course twice just because the first school wasn’t valid.
Expunge your record
Getting your record expunged is the closest you can get to having a clear driving record from the get-go. To get your record expunged, you’ll have to meet certain requirements.
For example, Maryland will clear your record three years after your conviction as long as:
- You have not been convicted of another moving violation or criminal offense involving a motor vehicle during the previous three years; and,
- Your driver’s license has never been suspended or revoked; and,
- You have never been convicted of or been granted probation before judgment (PBJ) for failing to remain at the scene of an accident resulting in bodily injury or death; driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence, or driving impaired; or a violation that is identical to or substantially similar to those listed above.
Even if you don’t meet the criteria your state outlines, it still might be worth it to try to get your record expunged. You never know when administrative leniency could work in your favor.
Keep it clean
You might not have started out with a clean record, but some states will remove driving point violations if you have a spotless driving record for a certain period of time.
It might be a good idea to check with your local DMV to see what kind of Good Driver discounts and rewards your state offers so that you have the most accurate information possible.
A bad driving record doesn’t have to get in the way of a lower car insurance rate. It might take some work and/or some time, but you just might be able to improve your driving record if you follow the above methods.
There are many factors that determine your car insurance rate. Some are beyond your control, such as the state you live in, your neighborhood and your commute. But, fortunately, you can take your driving record into your own hands and save money as a result.
Keep in mind every state differs when it comes to the steps you can take to clear your driving record. So it might be helpful to check with your local DMV to see what specific actions you need to make to clear your driving record.
Improving your driving record isn’t the only way to save money on your car insurance. Here are four more ways for you to lower your car insurance rates.