A lot of advertising in the auto insurance business focuses on rewarding drivers for their excellent driving record. The logic goes if you’ve been a responsible, dependable driver for years and years you deserve a break. That makes sense.
Unfortunately, by implication it also suggests that people with less than stellar driving records can expect to pay more. This, hard as it may be to believe, sometimes leads people to be less than totally honest when describing their driving history to their broker.
We understand the impulse, but when it comes to your driving history, honesty really is the best policy.
What does your broker need to know?
Questions about your driving history can seem nosy, but it’s information your broker needs to know to find the best policy for you. That’s why it’s best to be forthright and direct about it. They’ll ask about any accidents you’ve been in, any tickets you’ve caught, and how long you’ve been driving. Playing down or intentionally omitting anything here won’t help you in the long run, neither will intentionally exaggerating your driving experience if you’re a novice. Think of it like a doctor, if you go in and won’t tell your doc about your real symptoms, how can they prescribe an effective treatment for you?
What can happen if you fib
In short, cheaters never prosper. Your driving history isn’t something you can keep hidden and eventually these things always come out one way or another. If you are found to have been less than truthful about any past accidents or tickets, you can expect to have your policy cancelled. Really, that’s probably the best outcome as well. It can be way worse if you acquire insurance based on a dishonest record, have an accident, and then have your history catch up with you. In that case your policy might be considered void, leaving you on the hook for whatever damages occurred and in a legal predicament. Not a good position at all.
What do you do if your history isn’t great?
Okay, here is the upside to this: A few infractions in your driving history are not going to permanently prevent you from finding a good rate on your insurance. Everything is based on how recent and severe your recent issue was. So yes, if you were recently involved in an accident and come in the next day looking for insurance the next day, your rates will reflect that. But that fender-bender you got into eight years ago when you just got your license? That might not have much of an impact at all on your rates. That speeding ticket you got three years ago? It’s doesn’t have to define your insurance today.
Keep in mind, different insurance companies all have different policies around this, some have forgiveness programs that don’t even count accidents or tickets over a certain number of years. Some have a sliding scale where certain issues are weighted more heavily than others – your broker knows and understands these differences and can help direct you to the company that’s best for you. And remember, your rate today isn’t necessarily the rate you’ll have to pay for the rest of your life. As any accidents or tickets you might have picked up recede further and further into the rear-view mirror of time, your broker can help you find better policies and packages to reflect your more recent driving record.
A broker is here to help you
Always remember, a broker is significantly different than an insurance agent. An insurance agent represents a company and their responsibility is to that company’s bottom line. A broker works for you. We will always do our best to find the ideal policy for you. When we ask questions about your driving history, it isn’t to grill you or make you squirm in your chair; we just need to know what we’re working with so we can be more effective advocates for you.
Having a spotty driving record can be embarrassing, and the idea of facing higher premiums can be understandably unappealing, but being straight and honest with your broker is always the way to go in the long run.
Contact a Staebler broker to get started today.