Marissa Hayes is a technical editor and contributing writer. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history, and she was the editor of the literary magazine, The Bluestone Review.

Full Bio →

Written by

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Mar 26, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A question that many drivers ask when looking at various insurance rates, the answer is a little bit more detailed than a set period of time. It depends on where you live, what type of accident had occurred, and which insurance provider is doing the investigating.

How far back do insurance companies go when looking at auto claims?

Insurance companies are known to look as far back as seven years into your driving and insurance records, including credit scores when assessing an insurance claim. If you file another claim, they will use this study and do another covering the past three years just in case they missed something.

However, depending on where you live, that time frame may be different. Some companies may only look back a few months, or one or two years at the most. Minor accidents will stay on your record for less time than something major, such as a DUI.

How far a company looks back also depends on the company itself. Some customers may find that their company will look back years, while others may be with a provider that doesn’t go back nearly as far. It boils down to which company you have.

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Why do insurance companies look at your driving record?

Insurance companies appear to have a very rigid stance on pay-outs but it is just part of their business structure. Many of these insurance companies have been victimized by fraud so they take these extra careful measures to protect their interest. It’s never personal.

On the other hand, there are some insurance companies that go as far back as 10 years. This is why high risk drivers have a lengthy wait before being shifted back to a regular client status. So while it may seem harsh of an insurance carrier to not believe you immediately when you say that you have a clean record, it’s because they have to keep themselves safe, in order to be a worthwhile company.

What will insurance companies look for?

Most of the time an auto insurance company will look out for both minor and major past claims. They do this not only when processing insurance claims but also when a car policy is up for renewal.

Minor incidents would include traffic violations and small infractions. A traffic violation could include a failure to come to a complete stop, or driving without lights on at night. Major claims would include things such as a DUI or any accidents involving another vehicle.

In Closing

Ask your current insurance company how far they look back on your record, to ensure you get the proper and most accurate information. You should also inquire about what types of accidents and infractions they will look for. You can also look up your state requirements for how long these incidents stay on your record, and you’ll have a better idea of what your insurance company will see.