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How to get a copy of your driving record

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

If you’re planning on buying car insurance and hope to get the best possible price, it’s a good idea to make sure you look good on paper. Car insurance companies will evaluate how much of a risk you present according to factors such as age and driving history. For example, teen drivers pay the highest auto insurance premiums because they are considered less experienced and riskier to insure.

If you have a speeding ticket or a couple of accidents on your record, you’ll probably pay higher premiums for your car insurance. In some situations, your driving record may incorrectly report a traffic ticket you don’t recognize, potentially costing you more than your fair share in insurance. This may lead you to ask yourself “can I check my driving record?” You can. Knowing how to find your driving record to review for any inaccurate information could save you money on your auto insurance.

How do driving records work?

A driving record is formally known as a motor vehicle report (MVR). Once you receive your first driver’s license, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) starts keeping a record of your activity as a driver. A driving record lists all the available public records about your driving. The report typically includes:

  • Car accidents
  • DUIs
  • Suspensions
  • Tickets such as speeding, running a red light or failure to stop fully at a stop sign

Besides the list of public records related to your driving, some states keep track of violations by using a points system. Accrue too many points and your driver’s license could be suspended or even revoked. The violations that led to the points will show on your MVR — and so will the license suspension or revocation.

Many of the negative items on your motor vehicle report stay for at least three years, if not longer. Those blemishes on your driving record affect more than your insurance premiums — a company, attorney or government agency can legally request your MVR. 

Imagine there is a hit and run mistakenly reported on your driving record. The inaccurate information could mean you may not be able to get car insurance with the company of your choice. Your premiums may be higher because of the hit and run. It could also affect your chances of landing a driving or delivery-related job if your employer checks your MVR. That’s why it’s worth the small effort to periodically do a driving record check to make sure it’s accurate and up to date.

Where to get a copy of your driving record

You have options when it’s time to order a motor vehicle report. Here’s where you can see your driving record:

  • Your state’s DMV
  • Your auto insurance company
  • A third-party website

The cheapest way to get your MVR is by asking your auto insurance company for one. It’s hit or miss — many insurers have your record on file and may provide you with a copy for free, but they’re not obligated to. The most reliable way to find your driving record is by ordering it from the DMV. A driving record check can be ordered for as little as under $10 online for a record of the past three years. Longer records or a complete, certified copy cost more if available. Here’s what some states charge to order a motor vehicle report online:

If you’re in a hurry and your auto insurance company won’t share their copy of your MVR, you can turn to a third-party company specializing in motor vehicle records, such as MVROnline.com. However, you’ll pay a higher fee for the faster service than you would to the DMV directly. 

How to get a copy of your driving record

To order a copy of your driving record, you’ll need some information and documentation first. Follow these steps on how to find your driving record:

Verify your identity

Verify your identity by providing your name, driver’s license number, your Social Security number and/or address. It’s best to keep your driver’s license on hand when submitting a request so you can enter any identifying information, such as driver’s license type or expiration date. In the case of requesting the MVR from your insurance carrier, you may need your vehicle policy number.

Sign off on the request

Most states will require your approval for the request of your personal driving information. You’ll need to agree to the records request and sign off, even if you’ve requested your records online. In such a case, an electronic signature will work.

Pay the fee

Unless your car insurance company provided you with a free credit report, you’ll need to pay for the request to process the order. States typically accept debit or credit cards for payment.

Review your copy

If you’ve ordered your MVR online, you’ll probably receive a digital copy nearly instantly. You may download the copy or print it out for review. Look over all the details including your name, address and driving history. If you find any errors, contact the DMV. They may ask you to come in or send in a written correction request, depending on the state.  

Why should I get a copy of my driving record?

Keeping an eye on any errors or inaccuracies on your driving record is easy to do and could work in your favor. Otherwise, an incorrect report on your record could have consequences such as:

Insurance rates affected

Tickets and accidents could raise the price of your car insurance. You may not be able to do much about a speeding ticket you got until it falls off your record in three years, but you could request that an incorrect fine get removed right away, improving your driving record. Remember, the lower risk you pose to an insurer, the cheaper your insurance.

Employers may view you differently

Some employers will run background and record checks on you. If there is an incorrect DUI reported on your record, it may cost you the job you applied for, or limit your chances of getting a promotion into driving-related positions at the company.

Points could lead to loss of your license

A speeding ticket or accident that’s been incorrectly reported on your record could add points to your record. You may be in danger of getting your license suspended or revoked for the reporting error if you end up causing an accident or getting a ticket.

The takeaway

  • A driving record keeps track of all public records about your driving – including car accidents, DUIs, tickets and license suspensions.
  • It’s a good idea to review your driving record periodically to make sure it’s correct.
  • Your insurance company will request a copy of your driving record and the information included will impact your premium rates.

Since your driving record can impact your insurance rates it’s always a good idea to check it periodically and make sure it’s correct. You can get a copy of your driving record from your DMV, insurance company or third-party sites that specialize in this.

Cynthia Paez Bowman

Writer

Cynthia splits her time between Los Angeles, CA and San Sebastian, Spain. She travels to Africa and the Middle East regularly to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development.

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