How Long Does An Accident Stay On Your Record?

How Long Will an Accident Remain on Your Record?

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Insurance Impact
  3. Accident Forgiveness
  4. Conclusion


Accidents happen, and they often leave a lasting impact on your driving record. Depending on your state and the severity of the accident, the length of the impact can vary. Knowing the regulations of your state can help you to understand your rights when it comes to accidents and traffic violations.

Insurance Impact

The biggest impact of an accident on your record is related to insurance. Different states have different rules about how accidents and violations are reported to insurance companies, and how long they stay on the record. Additionally, many insurance companies adjust the price of your policy based on your driving record, so it’s important to be aware of any changes.


In California, at-fault accidents remain on your driving record for 3 years, while violations are reported for 5 years. At-fault accidents are assigned points to your license, with one point being given for minor infractions and up to two points for major ones. While the points stay on your record for three years, they may affect your insurance for up to 5 years. Additionally, those with multiple at-fault accidents in a short period of time are at risk for their license being suspended.


In Virginia, at-fault accidents are reported for 10 years, while violations are reported for 3 years. Generally, violations will stay on your record for 3 years, and at-fault accidents for 5 years. However, depending on the type of violation, it could stay on your record for up to 10 years. As in California, Virginia assigns points to your license for at-fault accidents. If you accumulate too many points, you may face a license suspension.

Accident Forgiveness

In some cases, you may have the option to have an accident forgiven. This means that the accident will no longer be reported on your driving record, and will not count against you in terms of insurance or license points. The exact rules for accident forgiveness vary by state, so it’s important to check your state’s regulations.


California does not have an accident forgiveness program. However, if you have multiple at-fault accidents that have caused your insurance rate to be raised, you may qualify for a Good Driver discount. These discounts can reduce your insurance rate, and are available to those who have been accident-free for three years.


The state of Virginia does have an accident forgiveness program, called the Virginia Good Driver Program. Those who qualify can have their accidents forgiven, and their insurance rates reduced. To be eligible, drivers must have at least four years of driving experience, a clean driving record for the past four years, and no at-fault accidents in the past three years.


Accidents can have a lasting impact on your driving record and your insurance. Depending on the state, they can remain on your record for up to 10 years and impact your insurance rates for up to five years. Accident forgiveness programs are available in some states, and can help to reduce the impact of an accident on your record. Knowing the regulations of your state

2 thoughts on “How Long Will an Accident Remain on Your Record?”

  1. SeasonedCounsel

    I don’t agree with this timeframe; accident damages can follow you far longer than just a few years. Perhaps consider filing an appeal to have the record expunged.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *