Is it true that NJ law has changed to allow insurers to look back 5 years (from 3 years) for violations for the purpose of quoting rates?
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Asked August 16, 2011
In January of 2009, New Jersey passed a new insurance law that limited the look back period for auto insurance companies at 5 years instead of the older 3 year period. The law does not specify that insurers must look that far back on an applicant, but it offers them the leeway to do so. This includes traffic and driving violations of most types, including DUI, speeding, and accidents.
In practice, most insurance companies are still reviewing a 3 year period. In cases where the 3 year driving history indicates a closer look for statistical reasons, the company may do so. Habitual offenders are likely to be scrutinized over a longer period of time where a driver with no violations in a 3 year period may not be checked any further.
It should be noted that looking at a longer piece of driving history has the potential to be as helpful as damaging. In a situation where you recently had several tickets, it could be helpful for the longer view to show that this was an unusual set of events for you, not the pattern of your normal driving. Even though you will probably not be given a preference on how far back the insurance company will check, keep in mind that it displays more of your true driving behavior and could actually result in your getting lower rates rather than higher ones.
Answered August 16, 2011 by Anonymous