How Do Driver License Points Impact Car Insurance?

Auto insurance companies look at Motor Vehicle Records, which show traffic violation tickets and citations. Having points on record usually increases premiums. In order for companies to apply a surcharge they must see the ticket on record. Every company has their own scoring system and applies different rates for different tickets and points. For example, a motorist may get only 2 points on the driver’s license for a reckless driving ticket but it can affect car insurance premiums substantially and much more than 2 points received for not signaling. Also, the effects on premiums depend on the state and company.

Every state has a way of punishing motorists breaking traffic rules. Most states use a point system, in which every rule violation has a certain number of points. When motorists break speed limits, don’t follow road signals, drive recklessly or under the influence and many others, they get the allocated point charged on their records. When they have too many points, their licenses may be suspended or revoked.

Also, these points may have a time limit like three years and come off records. Things like DUI can stay there for up to seven years. Points charged for each moving violation, how many points lead to driver license suspension, how long they stay on record, duration of suspensions and revocations and how much it can affect auto insurance change depending on the state. So, motorists are advised to check the rules on their states’ websites.

Points go on Motor Vehicle Records and cause a few problems for drivers. First of all, they may be classified as higher-risk drivers and lose their good driver discounts. They may get vehicle insurance surcharges for more serious offences like getting a ticket for reckless driving after causing an accident. Too many tickets would have similar effects as well. And they may risk license suspension as they rack up points and come close to the maximum points.

Combination of losing your good driver discount and getting charged higher rates for tickets are likely to increase premiums a bit. The exact amount of additional premiums you have to pay depends on where you live, your insurer, the reasons for tickets, number of points, accident records and credit score.

Usually, vehicle insurance companies don’t have a set surcharge for a set number of points. Instead, each company considers each ticket or citation differently and decides how much to increase premiums. Surcharges are usually shown on policy declaration pages with amounts and reasons. Even then, they may increase auto insurance rates differently for each person and depending on other records and tickets.

For example, some companies may ignore a couple of points on a driver license if the policyholder is a long-established motorist with otherwise clean records and no accident. On the other hand, the last point may be the straw that broke the camel’s back for a motorist prone to accidents and tickets and it may lead to car insurance non-renewal.

However, states may still have a say on automobile insurance surcharges and some states (like North Carolina and Minnesota) may actually set a point system to be used by carriers in the state. Also, some states like California don’t allow credit checks and therefore accident and driving records may be more influential there in comparison to other states where companies use things like credit check to predict possible future claims, along with driving history. Driver license points and tickets usually affect insurance rates a lot more in California than other states, mainly for the above reason.

At times, states may offer options of taking a defensive driving course or get a ticket on license. Motorists can take advantage of such incentives to prevent accumulating too many points and improve their driving in the process.

Non-moving violations like parking tickets or broken tail light tickets aren’t subject to point systems and don’t get recorded. They are forgotten once the ticket is paid. But some states assign points for things like not wearing seatbelt or not having children in the right child seat. Also, many states assign points for texting while driving.

Repeat offences are dealt with more severely as well. For example, people can lose their license for a repeat driving under the influence offence and some states may actually suspend licenses even for the first DUI under certain circumstances.

Drivers are often required to file a SR-22 form to confirm they have the state required minimum coverage before they can get their suspended license back and several years after. This is done by their insurers and they usually charge a fee for this service.

This knowledge of every company evaluating driver license points differently should be taken to heart because it indicates that motorists can shop around and find lower car insurance quotes even with a questionable driving history. Actually, they may potentially save more than usual by shopping around because of the variations in premium calculations.