An auto accident can stay on your motor vehicle record for years, but the precise amount of time varies by state, as well as any violations of law related to the accident. For example, in Florida, a motor vehicle accident can stay on your driving record for three to five years, if you were issued a traffic citation resulting from the accident. More serious violations stay on your record longer, including alcohol-related violations, which can remain for 75 years, or essentially, for life.
However, once an accident or traffic violation falls off of your driving record, it normally does not affect your auto insurance rates. The number of years insurers refer to your driving history varies by state and insurance company. For example, Esurance says that it asks drivers if they’ve had moving violations in the past three years and if they’ve had DUI’s in the past 10 years.
If you were not at fault for an accident, it will likely not affect your rates. Many states allow insurance companies to increase premiums only when a driver is found to be more than 50% at fault in an accident. Additionally, surcharges following an accident may decrease each year you go without having another auto accident.
While certain aspects of your insurance policy can vary by your location and provider, it is extremely important that if you are a South Florida resident that you go over your specific coverage limits in detail. Often times people will take their insurance coverage for granted, which can end up being a very costly mistake. Learn your coverage and make sure that you and your family are adequately protected in the event of an auto accident.