Car Insurance Companies That Only Look Back 3 Years

Shopping for car insurance can be a frustrating experience, especially if you have recent accidents, violations, or other negative marks on your driving record. Many major insurance companies will look back 5-10 years or more when setting your rates, so even an old speeding ticket from years ago could cause your premiums to skyrocket.

Fortunately, some car insurance companies only look back 3 years when calculating your risk level and premiums. Read on to learn more about these companies, why they have shorter look-back periods, and how to find affordable coverage despite a questionable driving history.

Why Do Some Companies Only Look Back 3 Years?

There are a few key reasons why certain car insurance providers only review the past 3 years of your driving record:

  • State Laws: Many states legally limit how far back insurance companies can look when determining rates. For example, California only allows insurers to consider violations and accidents from the most recent 3 years.

  • Industry Standards: While not legally binding, many insurers follow an unwritten rule of only weighting the last 3 years heavily. Some may still consider older incidents, but place less emphasis on them.

  • Attracting High-Risk Drivers: Newer or smaller insurers with less market share may offer 3-year look-backs to attract higher-risk drivers who have recent issues on their records.

  • Focus on Recent Driving Habits: Some insurers believe the last 3 years paints an accurate picture of current habits. Older incidents often hold less predictive value.

So in essence, 3-year look-back periods benefit higher-risk drivers who have made mistakes recently, but have otherwise drove safely for the past few years. Major insurers may still punish you for that DUI from 7 years ago, but companies with 3-year windows give you a cleaner slate.

Best Car Insurance Companies with 3-Year Look-Back Windows

The major auto insurance companies typically look back further than 3 years when rating policies. However, many smaller or newer providers offer shorter 3-year glance periods. Here are some of the best options for finding coverage despite recent driving incidents:

  • Progressive: One of the largest auto insurers, Progressive typically only looks back 3 years for most drivers. This can be a huge benefit if you have violations or accidents from over 3 years ago.

  • Geico: Known for low rates and easy quoting, Geico is another major player that tends to stick to a 3-year window in most cases. They may still consider older major incidents, however.

  • The General: The General caters to high-risk drivers, with look-back periods as short as 30 days in some states. Check their policy to confirm they only review 3 years of history.

  • Root Insurance: This app-based insurer prices policies based mostly on recent driving habits and technology in your vehicle. Many drivers see benefits from their 3-year glance period.

  • Clearcover: Clearcover offers affordable rates in part by ignoring older incidents outside of a 3-year window in many cases. Their streamlined technology can make quoting and buying coverage simpler.

  • Elephant Insurance: Part of Admiral Group, Elephant is known for competitive pricing and overlooking older violations and accidents outside of 3 years in most states.

  • Metromile: With rates based on mileage, Metromile looks at the last 3 years of driving history in most cases when calculating premiums. Recent issues can be overlooked more easily.

  • MILE Auto: This newer insurer offers flexible month-to-month policies with budget-friendly pricing, in part by focusing mostly on the last 3 years of driving history.

The smaller insurance companies have less brand recognition, but are worth checking out if you have recent infractions or accidents the major insurers may hold against you. Make sure to compare quotes from several providers.

Why Do Insurance Companies Look Back Further?

While a 3-year glance period benefits many drivers with marks on their recent record, there are good reasons why larger insurers take a longer view of your driving history:

  • Predicting Risk: More data points help insurers identify high-risk driving behaviors and frequency of claims. Older incidents remain relevant.

  • Flagging Serious Offenses: Severe violations like DUIs and license suspensions often get flagged for up to 10 years due to their high-risk nature.

  • Meeting State Laws: Some states require insurers to consider 5-10 years of clean driving to qualify for certain discounts or coverage options.

  • Setting Accurate Rates: Looking further back provides a consistent view of risk, preventing premiums from swinging wildly year-to-year.

So in many cases, insurers look beyond 3 years to set rates reflective of your long-term driving behaviors. Still, for drivers with mistakes more than a few years in the past, companies like Progressive and Geico provide another option.

Shopping With a 3-Year Driving History

If you have incidents on your record from the past 3 years, but a fairly clean history before that, a 3-year look-back company could help you save. Follow these tips to find affordable coverage:

  • Compare Quotes Extensively: Compare as many companies as possible to find the lowest premiums. Rates can vary widely.

  • Maintain Good Recent Habits: Drive safely and violation-free going forward so insurers see you getting back on track.

  • Ask About Discounts: See if insurers offer ways to shave costs like multi-policy, safe driver, telematics, and e-sign discounts.

  • Raise Deductibles: Higher collision and comprehensive deductibles lower rates substantially in exchange for more out-of-pocket risk.

  • Drop Extras Temporarily: Dropping comprehensive and collision coverage brings costs way down. Consider adding them back once rates improve.

  • Maintain Good Credit: Insurers favor drivers with higher credit scores. Keep up on payments and bills to boost your score over time.

With smart shopping techniques and maintaining clean driving, you can offset the rate hike from incidents within the past 3 years. Prioritize insurers who focus ratings on your most recent history and habits.

Long-Term Impacts of Violations and Accidents

While 3-year look-back windows allow your rates to recover more quickly from driving mistakes, some infractions impact your costs longer-term:

  • At-Fault Accidents: Stay on record for 3-5 years. Multiple accidents increase premiums for even longer.

  • Major Violations: DUI/DWIs impact rates for 5+ years minimum due to high risk.

  • License Suspension: Can nearly double insurance costs for 3+ years after reinstatement.

  • Poor Credit Scores: Takes years to rebuild credit after events like bankruptcy and collections.

  • High Claims: Frequent claims for minor incidents may get you dropped or limited.

  • Gap in Insurance: Lapse in coverage often leads to higher premiums for years after reinstating a policy.

So while a 3-year window helps accelerate your rebound from incidents, driving safely long-term is important for keeping insurance affordable in the future.

The Bottom Line on 3-Year Look-Back Car Insurance

Having recent accidents, violations, or other negative driving history can lead to sky-high premiums with many top insurers. But companies like Progressive and Geico that focus ratings on just the past 3 years of your record can provide more affordable options if mistakes are further in your past.

Drivers with newer incidents on their records may still pay higher rates, but have an easier path to recovering to lower premiums in just a few years if they maintain safe driving habits. So shop extensively, compare plenty of quotes, and prioritize insurers with 3-year look-back periods if you have recent blemishes on your driving history.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do accidents and tickets impact my car insurance rates?

  • Minor incidents like speeding tickets and at-fault accidents affect your premiums for about 3 years on average. However, insurers may still consider them for rating even beyond 3 years.

  • Major violations like DUIs and license suspensions can impact your rates for 5-10 years given the serious high-risk nature of these incidents.

Do all states limit look-back periods to 3 years?

No, look-back rules vary significantly by state. Some states like California limit insurers to only considering 3 years of history, while others allow reviewing 10 years or more in some cases. Check your state laws to understand look-back rules in your location.

If I switch companies, will my new insurer see my full history?

Yes, insurers typically pull your full driving record and claims history when writing a new policy. So even if you switch companies, any incidents further than 3 years in the past will still get factored in. Maintaining clean recent driving is key.

Can I negotiate the look-back period with insurers?

No, look-back periods are set by state laws and individual company policies. You cannot ask an insurer to only look back 3 years if their guidelines consider 5 or more years. Shopping between companies is the only way to find shorter 3-year look-backs.

How can I check my own full driving history and claims reports?

The 5 BEST Auto Insurance Companies


How far back do most insurance companies go?

Insurance companies typically factor in claims and violations from within the past three years when they calculate your rate for a quote or application. However, some companies go back five years or more.

What is the cheapest car insurance for bad history?

Cheapest car insurance companies for bad drivers Full coverage from State Farm costs 33% less than the national average after a ticket, and 38% less after an accident. Progressive has the cheapest widely-available rates after a DUI, at 30% less than average. Some drivers can get even cheaper rates from Erie or USAA.

How often does USAA check driving records?

USAA generally checks your driving record every 6 to 12 months, when you apply for a new policy or renew an existing one. Most car insurance companies tend to check less frequently if you have been their customer for a while, however, as they already have a sense of your driving habits.

What is the best car insurance if you have had an accident?

The best accident forgiveness insurance companies are Allstate and Geico, according to WalletHub’s analysis. These companies offer the best accident forgiveness options at affordable prices and receive great customer service ratings.

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