WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 2013
Seven Driving Sins...Violations You Don't Want on Your Driving Record
Blog By: Perian Heffner, CIC
Christian religions have long talked about “the seven deadly sins” which include wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy and gluttony. As far as we know, the police don’t issue traffic tickets for any of these. But there’s a similar number of violations that make insurance underwriters really cringe and cause harm to your wallet when it comes to car insurance.
Everyone seems to know Driving Under the Influence is a huge no-no which probably tops the list. Next would be Hit and Run, which is sometimes euphemistically called “leaving the scene of an accident.” Regardless of the label, it speaks volumes to underwriters about the ticket recipient’s desirability as a policyholder. We’d rank Reckless Driving and its first cousin, Careless Driving, next on our top three list. People sometimes think they've caught a break when they “get off with just a careless” because of some attorney bargaining or a sympathetic cop or judge. Underwriters are wise to this and still consider it one of the biggies.
Driving Without a License ranks high on the bad list. Whether it’s driving after suspension, driving after revocation or just plain never having bothered to get a license, it’s all bad to underwriters. They don’t like people who have been caught driving without insurance, either. They view this as a proxy for irresponsibility.
A violation we've seen underwriters get increasingly upset over in recent years is Passing a Stopped School Bus. People who get this one often say their mind must have been off in LaLa Land to have not seen the flashers, but underwriters fear a mind visiting LaLa Land increases the odds of a crash….. hard to argue that one.
Rounding out our list is “Excessive Speed.” The distinction between “ordinary” speed and “excessive” speed is based on how many miles per hour over the limit the busted speeder is going. Individual states seem to vary on how they classify and report these violations on driving records.. Generally, 10 -15 miles over would be considered ordinary and wouldn't freak out most underwriters, but they get increasingly testy the higher the speedometer needle goes .
An emerging no-no we’re sure will soon make most insurers “serious do not do” list will be getting caught in violation of laws being passed prohibiting texting and cell phone use while driving.