To err, it has been said, is human. We’ve all made mistakes, be it an inadvertent crime against fashion (I’m looking at you socks-and-sandals guy), an “adventurous haircut”, or any dating choices made between the ages of 16 and 25.
Most of these lapses in judgment are fairly easy to remedy. Just like your father once said, “Someday you’ll look back laugh.”
If your mistake happened to take place behind the wheel of a car, however, the road to redemption may not seem quite so simple.
State motor vehicle departments keep track of even the smallest infractions, and you’d be surprised how quickly a few minor moving violations can add up to a pretty big chunk out of your pocketbook, usually in the form of higher car insurance premiums.
In this article, I’ll be discussing how to save on insurance by clearing your driving record.
Fret not my dear driver! After all, while erring may be human, forgiveness is divine.
With the help of handy websites like eVerify and TrafficSchool101, you can make amends for your prior vehicular indiscretions in a mere fraction of the time it will take for that “edgy” new haircut to grow out to some semblance of social acceptability.
What’s on My Driving Record?
A driving record is more commonly known as your Motor Vehicle Record (MVR).
The information you’ll find on your driving record will vary depending on the state where you’re registered and the type of driving record.
But in a nutshell, it will include your history as a driver and your personal information. Any tickets you received and violations you committed will most likely appear, too. Some driving record types will include information from the last 3, 5, or 10 years.
Any actions taken against your licenses, such as suspensions, revocations, and reinstatements will also be listed. Other driving record types will even include information on all the accidents you caused or got involved in.
In states that follow a point system schedule, you’ll get a certain number of points added to your driving record depending on the severity of the violation you committed. These points will be reflected in your driving record.
This information, again depending on your state, will be available to your insurer. Some states allow them to request a copy of your driving record directly, but some insurance companies may ask you to provide the copy yourself.
Whichever the case, they will use the information on your driving record to determine your insurance rate.
Which Violations Affect Insurance Rates
Not every ticket that you receive will affect your insurance rates.
Parking violations, for example, do not usually matter to insurance companies as long as you pay your fine on time.
Receiving first-time citations can be forgivable, too. For example, a minor speeding ticket may not bump up your insurance rates that much if you were only ticketed once.
On the other hand, major violations that are due to reckless driving or driving under the influence can cost you a lot. Even moderate speeding tickets acquired more than once within two years can increase your premiums on an average of more than $600 a year.
Check Your Driving Record To Save On Insurance
The first step on your path to forgiveness and save on insurance is getting an idea of where you stand with the powers that be. Because your full driving history is a matter of public record, viewing it is as easy as logging on to a public records search engine, such as eVerify. Here you can view the full picture of your life on four wheels, from the big-ticket items like DUIs and other felony driving offences, to minor infractions and misdemeanors you may have long ago forgotten about.
Think of eVerify as the real-world equivalent of the mythical “permanent record” that vice principals and deans have invoked to strike fear into the hearts of many an insubordinate grade-school student since time immemorial.
Unlike this childhood scare-tactic, however, your driving record is very real, and has some very real consequences. Any of these blemishes upon it could be contributing to a much higher monthly insurance cost than you’d be paying otherwise.
The more serious violations can also be counted as “points” against your license, and if you exceed the maximum number of points, your license may be revoked. (Which offences merit points and how many of them one is allowed to accumulate before revocation varies on a state-by-state basis.
Be sure and check eVerify and your local DMV website for the specific laws that apply in your jurisdiction.)
A five day unlimited-access eVerify account can be had for only $2.95, and includes a 100% money-back guarantee.
Clear Your Driving Record:
Your next stop on the road to being able to save on insurance is to find an online traffic school.
Chances are that at some point in your life you have encountered the dreaded old-school brick and mortar traffic school, either in your initial process of driver’s ed, or by a court order for a prior traffic violation.
Chances are also pretty good that your experience at one of these schools was inconvenient, arduous, irritating, and interminable, with an enjoyment factor landing it somewhere between a dentist appointment and a trip to the DMV.
Luckily for us, the digital revolution has made quick work of that, offering us a far more humane alternative.
Unlike the driving schools of yore, online traffic courses require no commute, no ScanTron test sheets, no #2 pencils, no stuffy course instructors, and no need to watch a flickering, nth generation VHS copy of Red Asphalt.
As the name would imply, online traffic school can be completed entirely from the comfort your own home, which means that, as with the best things in life, pants are optional.
Also, smartphone users can complete courses on the go: on your lunch break at work, on a treadmill at the gym, or while waiting in line, almost anywhere (just not while driving!)
There are, however, a few pitfalls to watch out for as you try to save on insurance through traffic schools.
One must be careful to select a trustworthy online driving school that is officially approved by state motor vehicle departments.
Certificates of competition from schools that have not gone through this rigorous approval process will be considered legally null and void, and not applicable towards the goal of cleaning up your driving record.
Look for reputable sites like TrafficSchool101, which is approved by the DMV, not to mention scored an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, and offers all of its students a 100% money-back guarantee.
TrafficSchool101, also offers the option of submitting an electronic verification of your passing of the course upon completion, saving you a lot of time, money, and hassle.
Depending on your jurisdiction and the type of course you need to take, TrafficSchool101 offers programs priced as low as $14.95, with no last-minute hidden fees. Everything from instruction through final check and certificate submission is included in the sign-up fee.
These days we all live busy lives, and one major improvement offered by TrafficSchool101 over traditional driving school is the ability to proceed through the lessons at your own pace, and start and stop lessons at your own convenience.
Also, unlike traditional driver’s ed programs, you can approach the lessons in a non-linear fashion, going back and reviewing sections that you may need a little more time on. All of these features make a site like TrafficSchool101 a no-brainer.
At first glance, clearing your driving record may seem like an uphill climb. Most of our experiences dealing with both cars and the legal system are wrought with miles of red tape and insurmountable bureaucratic hurdles.
With a little bit of time and a negligible amount of money, you can be driving off into the sunset with a squeaky-clean record and a nice chunk of change from lowering your insurance cost.
Your driver’s license, and the wallet you keep it in, will thank you.