As most drivers know, auto car insurance companies use a person's driving record as one of the main ways of determining a policy's cost. By looking at the number of accidents, claims, and traffic citations that a person has, a car insurance company can determine the likelihood of a car insurance accident or other claim. Auto car insurance companies compare the past incidents of a driver to actuarial tables, and a driver's premium is generated almost automatically (although it's always possible to negotiate for a better rate).
Many drivers wonder when car insurance companies check into insurance and driving records. Most companies can actually check their customers' records at any time and with any frequency that they'd like, but random checks aren't too common. Instead, an insurance company will check into your records during set times during the year and any time that you make a change in your coverage. This is particularly true if you get a car insurance quote online from a company that allows policy management via a website--if you add a driver or a vehicle or change your coverage limits and deductibles, there's a good chance that they'll do a quick check of both your insurance record and your driving record to see if anything has changed. You'll also get checked when you renew your policy, when you start a new policy, or sometimes when you pay off your vehicle. Some car insurance companies will even do monthly checks of your driving record.
Obviously, the best way to get affordable car insurance is to be upfront with your agency. Immediately notify them of any car insurance accident or other claim--don't try to wait in order to avoid a rate hike. If you get a ticket and you're going to fight it in court, however, you don't necessarily need to tell your insurer until the court has decided the case. In most states, insurance companies will only see convictions, not general charges, and they probably won't change your rates unless you've been convicted of an offense.
When looking for a car insurance quote online, realize that your driving record is probably going to be checked before you're allowed to buy a new policy. You can limit the effect of bad incidents and claims by driving a safe vehicle and by doing your research--find as many quotes as possible, and compare carefully. Every driver can find affordable car insurance, even drivers with bad records. A driving record may not be the end-all of your insurance quote. Be patient, and realize that your record could get checked at any time; there's no substitute for safe driving when trying to keep your rates low.