How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record?

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The Mighty Team

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December 5, 2022

Published On

December 5, 2022

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How Long Does an Accident Stay on Your Record

From the moment of impact, car accidents can have lasting effects.

Having an accident on your personal driving record can increase your auto insurance premium, and, in extreme cases, put your license at risk. Car accident lawyers can help in these situations, but in general, how long does an accident stay on your record?

Most often, the duration will depend on the specifics of the accident and the state you live in. Luckily, safe driving can improve your reputation in the eyes of car insurance companies and state DMVs.

DMV Records Vs. Insurance Records

How long does a car accident stay on your record? It depends on which record we’re talking about. 

In fact, there are two—your DMV record and your insurance record.1

DMV Points

Every state DMV keeps a record of driving infractions by drivers with state licenses. When you receive tickets for driving and traffic violations, points are added to your DMV record. 

Generally, points correspond to unsafe driving behavior. For example, a parking ticket won’t increase your DMV points, but a speeding ticket would.2

Consequences for a higher number of points often include:3

  • Higher insurance premiums – When it’s time for you to renew your insurance, your insurance evaluates your DMV points. If your DMV points have increased since you last renewed your insurance, your insurance company will likely increase your insurance premium because they see those points as an indication that you may be a risky driver.
  • Losing your license – If you accumulate too many points in too short a timeframe, you may lose your license altogether. 

In some cases, you can decrease your DMV points by contesting your ticket or completing a defensive driving class. However, in some states, your DMV points will stay on your license indefinitely—though they may discontinue affecting your license after a certain period of time.

1AutoInsurance.org. DMV Points vs. Insurance Points. https://www.autoinsurance.org/dmv-points-vs-insurance-points

2AutoInsurance.org. DMV Points vs. Insurance Points. https://www.autoinsurance.org/dmv-points-vs-insurance-points/

Insurance Points

Like DMV points, insurance points indicate how safe of a driver your insurance company thinks you are. As with DMV points, you want as low a number as possible. That said, insurance points have no legal consequences, which means there is no threat of losing your license. 

However, too many insurance points can increase your insurance premium.

In more extreme cases, your auto insurance company may choose not to renew your policy if you’ve accumulated too many points in too short a time.4

If you’re looking to lower your insurance points, focus on driving as safely and conscientiously as possible. As the length of time since your last accident increases, your insurance points tend to go down, too.

How Long Does A Car Accident Stay On Your Insurance Record?

Now that you know how the different points work, how long does an accident stay on your record? A car accident can stay on your DMV record for a while, depending on the state you live in, but insurance companies typically stop factoring in insurance points after three to five years have passed since the indiscretion.5

3The Balance. Driver's License Points vs. Insurance Points. https://www.thebalancemoney.com/what-is-a-point-527254

4 The Balance. Driver's License Points vs. Insurance Points. https://www.thebalancemoney.com/what-is-a-point-527254

5Fox Business. How long does a car accident stay on your record? https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/how-long-does-car-accident-stay-on-record

That said, how long a car accident stays on your insurance record can vary based on several factors:6

  • Your state – Different states have different policies about how long they continue to report driving and traffic violations, tickets, and accidents to insurers. 
  • The type of accident – Some types of accidents can stay on your driving record longer than others. For example, a DUI will likely stay on your insurance record longer than an accident that’s 100% caused by the other driver.
  • The severity of damage – Car insurance companies tend to forgive a small parking lot fender bender faster than a high-speed collision that causes severe vehicle or property damage.

If you’re unsure how long your auto accident will stay on your DMV or insurance record—and how it could affect your insurance options—you can reach out for a free case evaluation to learn more about the specifics of your situation and your options for financial recovery.

How Accidents Affect Your Car Insurance Options

In the immediate years following a car accident, your car insurance premium will most likely increase. However, each insurance company uses its own formula when determining car insurance rates, premiums, and discounts, so shopping around could help you find a better deal. 

In addition to your auto accident record, insurance companies can also consider factors like your:

  • Age7
  • Location8
  • Credit score9
  • Marital status10
  • Homeownership status11
  • Profession and employment status12
  • Education13

In short, an accident is only one factor of many in determining your car insurance premium and coverage options. 

6Fox Business. How long does a car accident stay on your record? https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/how-long-does-car-accident-stay-on-record 

7Fox Business. How long does a car accident stay on your record? https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/how-long-does-car-accident-stay-on-record

8Fox Business. How long does a car accident stay on your record? https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/how-long-does-car-accident-stay-on-record

9New Jersey Monitor. Lawmakers, advocates demand action on bill to end discriminatory car insurance. https://newjerseymonitor.com/2022/12/06/lawmakers-advocates-demand-action-on-bill-to-end-discriminatory-car-in

surance/

Recover Smart with Mighty

While the extent of DMV points will vary by state, insurance points typically disappear three to five years after an accident. That said, recovering your mental, physical, and financial health following a car accident is oftentimes a long-term endeavor. 

For low-cost legal support that guides you through post-accident challenges, look to Mighty Law.

We take a holistic approach. Whether you’re looking to understand your insurance policy, evaluate your financial options, or dispute a car accident fault, we can help. And we do it all at a rate that’s 10% lower than the industry standard, prioritizing transparency at every step of the process. 

Put recovery at the forefront with Mighty.

Sources: 

AutoInsurance.org. DMV Points vs. Insurance Points. https://www.autoinsurance.org/dmv-points-vs-insurance-points/

The Balance. Driver's License Points vs. Insurance Points. https://www.thebalancemoney.com/what-is-a-point-527254

Fox Business. How long does a car accident stay on your record? https://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/how-long-does-car-accident-stay-on-record 

New Jersey Monitor. Lawmakers, advocates demand action on bill to end discriminatory car insurance. https://newjerseymonitor.com/2022/12/06/lawmakers-advocates-demand-action-on-bill-to-end-discriminatory-car-insurance/ 

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