Here are the facts: After getting into a crash, how long a car accident stays on your record depends on where you live. Each state has its own laws regarding traffic accidents.
In general, a car accident stays on your driving record for around three years. And in many instances, an accident appears on your driving record only if you caused it. However, depending on your insurer and where you live, even an accident that you didn’t cause may appear.
In most states, you get points assigned to your driving record for an at-fault accident or moving violation. The more points you accumulate, the worse your driving record looks.
Why having a car accident on your driving record matters
Car insurers often increase your premium if an at-fault accident shows up on your driving record. Depending on the severity of the accident, your insurer might even cancel your policy.
However, if the accident was not your fault, you likely won’t see your rates go up. But that’s not true in every state.
How long a car accident stays on your record in nine states
If you don’t see your state listed here, contact your state’s DMV or your car insurance company to find out the rules where you live.
In California, an accident normally stays on your driving record for 39 months (three years and three months). But a more serious accident, such as a hit-and-run or a drunk-driving crash, stays on your record for 13 years.
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A moving violation for Texans (such as speeding) that results in a crash stays on your driving record for three years. That happens regardless of whether the accident happened in Texas or another state.
Typically, an at-fault accident in Florida stays on your driving record for three to five years. But if the circumstances are more serious, it could remain on your record for 10 to 15 years.
Warning: If you’re convicted of DUI, whether it results in an accident or not, it stays on your driving record for 75 years.
New York car accidents show up on your driving record until the end of the year when the accident occurred plus three more years.
However, accidents that involve driving drunk or drugged stay on your record much longer. A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs stays on your driving record for 15 years from the date of the conviction.
The less serious offense of driving while ability impaired (DWAI) leads to a 10-year mark on your record from the date of the conviction.
If a car accident is tied to a moving violation in Illinois, the conviction for that violation stays on your record for four to five years. Moving violations include:
- Disobeying a traffic light
- Disobeying a stop sign
- Improperly changing lanes
However, a traffic ticket that results in a suspension or revocation of your driver’s license stays on your driving record for at least seven years. A conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs remains permanently on your driving record.
If you’re at fault in an accident or you’re convicted of a moving violation in North Carolina, you’re subject to what’s known as a three-year “experience period.” That period (which appears on your driving record) covers the three years immediately preceding the date of an application for car insurance or policy renewal.
Accidents and many moving violations in New Jersey stay on your driving record for three years. However, other moving violations can appear on your driving record for five years.
Indiana assigns a certain number of points for various traffic violations, depending on the severity of the violation or accident. These points stay on your driving record for two years from the conviction date.
Points range from two for going one to 15 mph over the speed limit and six for following a vehicle too closely to eight for driving with a suspended license.
Most traffic violations, such as speeding tickets on a driving record, are removed five years after the conviction date in Wisconsin. However, many alcohol-related convictions stay on your driving record for 55 years.