What is a Motor Vehicle Report?


Adam Cecil

Published January 20, 2016|2 min read

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Let me guess: you’re applying for auto insurance, right? And right about now, your car insurance company is probably saying something about a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR), and you’re thinking, What the heck is a Motor Vehicle Report? (You can also wonder this if you’re not applying for auto insurance, by the way.)

Maybe you’ll recognize an MVR by its other name: driving record.

Basically, your MVR is a report card for your driving. Luckily, it only features officially documented violations, such as:

  • Traffic citations!

  • Vehicular crimes!

  • Accident reports!

  • Driving record points!

  • DUI convictions!

Your MVR also features the information on your driver’s license – your license class, endorsements, restrictions, as well as personal information like age and eye color.

Why does your car insurance want to look at your MVR? To see how risky of a driver you are, of course! Do you get a ton of speeding tickets? You’re probably more likely to get into an accident. Do you have a squeaky clean driving record? You’ll get the lower rates than the guy with a DUI conviction.

Depending on your state and licensing agency, some items from your MVR may be expunged after a period of time. Regardless of whether or not items are expunged, most car insurers only look at your history from the last few years. Some violations may stay on your record longer than others. For example, a speeding ticket may be expunged after a few years, while a DUI conviction could stay on your record for a decade, if not longer.

When you apply for car insurance, your insurer will call up the DMV and order a copy of your MVR. You can order your own MVR and see exactly what your insurance company will see by calling up or visiting your local DMV. You can ask for an uncertified copy – they have the same information as certified copies, but they’re cheaper. If you’ve never looked at your MVR before, you should definitely get your hands on a copy. There may be inaccurate information that you can correct before you apply for an auto insurance policy.

Check out our article with instructions on how to order an MVR in your state.

Ordering your own MVR can also help you guesstimate your car insurance rate. For example, if you have a ton of speeding tickets on your record, you can probably assume you’ll be paying higher rates. While you can’t do much to avoid your past, you can at least be prepared for the sticker shock.

Image: Peter Martin Hall

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