Two Common questions asked by motorists shopping for auto insurance or who are thinking of switching carriers are: do insurers check your DMV record and does where you live make a difference in rates?
The answer to the first inquiry is “maybe” while the response to the second is definitely “yes.” Insurers will ask about your driving record and may or may not confirm what you say. States charge insurers for requesting driving records up to $30 per request. Though California only charges $2, these add up if thousands of records must be checked daily or weekly.
Depending on the company and if its underwriting protocol requires a copy of your driving record, then it will be ordered regardless of what you say. Along with your driving record, the underwriter will order a copy of your C.L.U.E. report indicating your claim history. A driver with too many violations or who has made multiple claims may be denied coverage or charged a high premium because of their high risk. Most companies will go back 5 years when checking your record while non-preferred or lesser known companies may only go back 3 years.
Drivers who are HTO, or habitual offenders, or who have multiple DUIs, may have to pay for insurance through the state’s assigned risk program, though premiums will be extremely high.
Where you live, or your zip code, will also dictate the level of your premiums. One study showed wide disparities as much as 82% among insurance rates depending on the insureds’ zip codes. California law does not permit location or zip codes to be a major factor though the study showed a range among insurers for an identical driver from $990 to $2400 based solely upon where they live, a not insignificant difference.