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Motor Vehicle Report

Motor vehicle reports, also referred to as an MVR or a driving record, help car insurance companies determine how to set rates. They show information about your driver license, traffic violations, and sometimes even personal information about you.

What Is a Motor Vehicle Report?

Your motor vehicle report (MVR) —also known as a driving record— shows your driving history, including information about your driver's license, such as:

You'll also see information about traffic violations, including (but not limited to):

Your motor vehicle report might also show personal information such as your:

  • Age.
  • Date of birth.
  • Gender.
  • Eye and hair color.
  • Weight and height.

Generally, an MVR only shows information for a specific number of years (e.g., 3), but the time frame varies by state.

How Do Car Insurance Companies Use MVRs?

Car insurance companies use your motor vehicle report to determine their risk in insuring you.

For example, if you have a driver history riddled with moving violations and license suspensions, an auto insurance company might insure you at higher premiums than it would insure someone with a cleaner record. Worse yet, it might not insure you at all.

Simply put, the better your driving record, the better chance you have at getting affordable auto coverage.

It's best to order your MVR before shopping for car insurance; this way, you'll be prepared for the company's quote. You can also:

  • Correct inaccurate information.
  • Remove points from your driving record.

How Many Years Can a Car Insurance Company Look Back?

As a general rule, auto insurance companies will look 5 years into your driver history; however, this can change based on your state and insurance company.

If you have any questions, ask your auto insurance agent.

NOTE: Certain infractions, such as DUIs, might remain on your MVR for longer periods of time. However, regardless of how long an infraction stays on your driving record, an auto insurance company still might only look back a certain number of years.

This means the insurer might see the speeding ticket you got three years ago, but not the DUI conviction you received nine years ago.

How Do You Order a Motor Vehicle Report?

You can get an MVR directly from your state’s driver’s license agency.

You also can order online with reputable third-party companies. Often, these companies provide faster service and, sometimes, at lower prices or for free.

Certified vs. Uncertified Copies

Motor vehicle reports are requested as either certified or uncertified copies. Both types of reports contain the same information, but certified copies usually are required for certain official purposes.

If you're ordering one to see what's on your record, you should not need an official copy.

Why Is an MVR Important?

Ordering a motor vehicle report is important for a variety of reasons. Not only can it give you a head's up on what to expect when your car insurance company comes back at you with a premium, but it is also used for other purposes, including:

  • Employment purposes.
    • Some employers use driving records to determine whether to hire you for driving-related jobs.
  • Background checks.
  • Court proceedings.

Also, having a copy of your motor vehicle report can help you assess whether the information on your driving record is accurate.

For example, if your state allowed you to complete traffic school to lower your driving record points but your MVR doesn't reflect that, you can take steps to correct your record before applying for car insurance quotes or employment.

By the same token, if the time period for point removal has passed and you still see those points, you can contact your driver's license agency to inquire about having them removed.

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