How to Get a Copy of Your Driving Record and Why You Should

Getting a copy of your driving record — including your accidents and tickets — will help you get more accurate car insurance quotes.
Beth Buczynski
By Beth Buczynski 
Edited by Amy Danise
How to Get a Copy of Your Driving Record

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

When you’re getting car insurance quotes, you’re generally asked if you’ve had any accidents or moving violations within the past five years.

But what if you can’t remember the date of a fender bender or completely forgot a speeding ticket?

Your driving record, also called your motor vehicle record, will remind you of all your transgressions and help you find accurate prices when you want to compare auto insurance rates.

How to get a copy of your driving record

You can get your driving record from the Department of Motor Vehicles or its equivalent in your state. The DMV might require proof of a valid license and charge a small fee. It's generally less than $10, but it varies by state and the type of MVR requested.

The length of time it takes to obtain your MVR also varies. In some states you can see your report immediately online, while others require you to visit the DMV or mail in a form.

Be wary of using third-party vendors that offer “instant” MVRs online. They often charge a much higher fee than the DMV and the information might not be accurate.

What's in an MVR?

An MVR is a report of all your moving violations — such as speeding tickets — driving convictions and accidents.

It generally includes at least three years of driving history. The number of years insurers are interested in varies by state and company, but an insurer will always pull your record before providing you with a final quote.

Depending on your state, your MVR will likely contain the following information:

  • Driver’s license status, including suspensions and revocations

  • Driver’s license class

  • Restrictions or endorsements on your driver’s license

  • Traffic citations

  • Vehicular crimes

  • Accident reports

  • Driving record points, if your state uses a point system

Your MVR could also contain your:

  • Age

  • Address

  • Birthdate

  • Gender

  • Eye and hair color

  • Weight and height

An MVR isn’t technically a public record, but federal regulations allow attorneys, businesses, law enforcement, government agencies and others some access to driving records in all 50 states. For example, a potential employer might request your MVR if driving is part of the job.

Each state decides how an MVR is accessed, guidelines for who can access it and the amount of information released.

Why it’s good to get your driving record

Car insurance companies use your MVR — along with other information — when deciding whether to sell you a policy and how much to charge you. Knowing the dates of accidents or violations allows you to get a more accurate quote upfront.

Obtaining your MVR before buying car insurance also gives you the opportunity to:

  • Correct any inaccurate personal information on the report

  • Request expungement of some penalty points that could affect your premium if your state allows this

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.