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How Do Points on Your License Affect Car Insurance Rates?

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Jennifer Pendell

By: Jennifer Pendell

Edited by Jackie Cohen | Reviewed by licensed insurance agent, Amber Benka

Last Updated May 10, 2022


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Quick Facts

  • Some violations, like DUIs, are likely to raise your insurance premiums significantly while minor violations might not affect your insurance rates at all.
  • Nine states – Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming – do not use driving point systems.
  • After a few years, points are usually removed from a driver’s license – so points on your license won’t affect your insurance rates forever.

Driving is all about freedom, but when it comes to moving violations, your mistakes can count against you. Your driver record reflects what kind of driver you are, and if you’re in the habit of getting a lot of tickets and being involved in accidents, you may end up with points on your license if your state is one of many places that use a point system to incentivize better driving.

Too many points can lead to a point suspension, and you may have to go to traffic school and pay a reinstatement fee to get your suspended license back. The good news is that points aren’t forever—after a few years, those violations will not count against you. In the meantime, you can limit the financial damage by comparing the cheapest car insurance quotes on Insurify.

What are driver’s license points?

A point is a number that your state assigns to a traffic offense. The worse the offense, the more points it’s worth. If you receive too many points within a certain time, your driver’s license will be suspended. Some offenses, like speeding, are assigned different numbers of points based on how egregious the offense was.

The more miles per hour over the speed limit you were traveling, the more points are based on your license. Other offenses, like DUIs, have a set number of points for all violations of that type. These points typically stay on your record for two to three years for lesser offenses, while more severe offenses stay on your record for up to 10 years.

Most states have a points system for traffic violations. It incentivizes good driving by giving bad drivers negative points on their licenses. Every state conducts its points system differently, but one thing is the same—you don’t want points on your license.

Some of the most common traffic offenses that add points to your license include:

  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving or careless driving
  • At-fault accidents
  • Failure to stop for a school bus
  • Failure to obey a traffic control device (a stop sign or a red light)
  • Improper passing
  • Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while impaired (DWI)
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • Failure to yield right of way
  • Other moving violations

Some violations, such as parking tickets and so-called “fix-it tickets” for things like broken tail lights, don’t add points to your license. You can keep them off your record if you can prove you fixed the problem and have the proof of correction confirmed by a DMV clerk, a police officer, or another authorized person.

If it’s too late and your license has been suspended, the state will advise you of the date you can drive again. Most states require a reinstatement fee and an application. If you don’t follow the correct procedures, your driver’s license suspension will continue, so make sure you’re following the rules that your state sets.

How Driver’s License Points Affect Car Insurance Rates

Will license points affect insurance rates?

Points on your license can affect monthly car insurance rates because insurance companies use a drivers’ record to determine their car insurance premiums. However, points will usually only affect a drivers’ driving record and therefore, insurance rates, for a few years so long as the driver maintains a clean record.

Car insurance companies don’t actually use DMV point systems. Many people believe they do, but this is a common misconception. Insurance companies actually use their own system of points to figure out how much they will raise your premiums depending on the severity of the violation.

Some offenses, like DUIs, are viewed very seriously by insurers. Others vary. For example, some insurance companies weigh traffic tickets for things like speeding more heavily than others. It may be possible to shop around and find a company that doesn’t penalize drivers quite so much for the infractions you’ve committed, leading to lower car insurance rates.

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States with Driver’s License Points Systems

Many states have points programs and use driver’s license points to track driving behavior. Points appear on your record when you break driving laws. The points fall off your record after a period of time, or in some states, they can be removed after you take a points reduction course.

Most states use a driving points system, but these nine don’t:

  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Even though these states don’t use a points program, they do still penalize drivers who frequently violate traffic law. The following states do use a points program. Here’s our guide to what it takes to have your driving privileges suspended in each state.

StatePoints for Minor ViolationPoints for Major ViolationWhen Your License Is SuspendedHow Long for Points to Expire
Alabama2612–14 points in a 24-month period2 years
Alaska21012 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months2 points expire if you have no traffic convictions for 12 months after your last one
Arizona288 points in a 12-month period1 year
Arkansas2814 points3 years
California124 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months, or 8 points in 36 months3 years for minor violations or 10 years for major violations
Colorado41212 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 monthsPoints do not expire
Connecticut1510 points in 24 months2 years
Delaware2614 points in 24 monthsPoints are assessed at half value after 1 year
District of Columbia2810 points in 24 months2 years
Florida3612 points in 12 months, 18 points in 18 months, or 24 points in 36 months5 years
Georgia1615 points in 24 months2 years
Idaho1412–17 points in 12 months, 18–23 points in 24 months, or 24+ points in 36 months3 years
Illinois5553 violations in 12 months4 to 5 years for minor violations, at least 7 years for tickets that cause a license suspension
Indiana282 violations in 12 months, unless you take a driver improvement course within 90 days of second conviction2 years
Iowa263 or more moving violations in 12 months5 years for minor violations, 12 years after DUI
Kentucky3612 points in 24 months2 years from date of conviction
Maine2812 points in 12 months1 year
Maryland1128 points in 24 months2 years
Massachusetts253 speeding tickets in 12 months, 3 surchargeable events in 2 years, 7 surchargeable events in 3 years, or 3 major violations or 12 major and/or minor violations in 5 years6 years
Michigan2612 points in 24 months; drivers must attend a reexamination, and their license may be suspended then2 years
Missouri31212 points in 12 months, 18 points in 24 months, or 24 points in 36 months3 years
Montana215Suspension is based on violations; licenses are revoked for 3 years if drivers accrue 30 points in 36 months3 years
Nebraska11212 points in 24 months5 years
Nevada1812 points in 12 months1 year
New Hampshire2612 points in 12 months, 18 points in 24 months, or 24 points in 36 months3 years
New Jersey2812 points on your current record3 points deducted for each year with no violations after the last conviction
New Mexico287 points in 12 months1 year
New York21111 points in 18 months18 months
North Carolina1512 points in 36 months or 8 points in 36 months (after reinstatement)3 years
North Dakota124Balance of 12 pointsAfter a suspension, 1 point is taken off for every 3 months with no violations. Remove 3 points every 12 months by taking a driving course.
Ohio2612 points in 24 months2 years
Oklahoma1410 points in 60 months2 points removed for every 12 months with no violations. All points removed after 3 consecutive years with no violations.
Pennsylvania25Hearing and possible suspension for a balance of 6 points a second time3 points removed for every 12 months without a violation
South Carolina2612 points in 12 monthsReduced to half value after 1 year, falls off after 2 years
South Dakota21015 points in 12 months or 22 points in 24 monthsExpiration date depends on the violation
Tennessee1812 points in 12 months; request a hearing for the opportunity to attend a driving class instead of suspension2 years
Texas236 points in 36 months; drivers must pay a surcharge, and failure to pay will result in suspension3 years
Utah3580200 points in 36 months3 years
Vermont2810 points in 24 months2 years
Virginia3618 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months2 years
West Virginia2812 points in 24 months2 years
Wisconsin2612 points in 12 monthsPoints remain on your record as long as a ticket does. Most tickets can be removed after 5 years.

Tips for Cheaper Car Insurance with Driver’s License Points

Take Action to Remove Points

Don’t have time to wait for points to expire? Many states will let you take driving classes to reduce your point total or avoid having points assessed in the first place. Usually, a judge or other court official will let you know of your eligibility for this option.

Drive Safely

If you can’t have points removed, another option is to simply drive safely until the points expire. Most states deduct points after a while if you show driver improvement by not getting any further violations. Insurance companies will notice that you have a safe driving record and may reduce your costs accordingly.

Compare Car Insurance Quotes

Use free online tools like Insurify to compare quotes from different car insurance companies. You may find a company that offers similar insurance at a better rate. Affordable car insurance is possible if you know where to look. By comparing quotes, you’ll find the cheapest quotes, even if you have points on your driver’s license.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Most states use a point system that incentivizes good driving by giving negative points to people who commit moving violations. Different violations have different point values depending on how serious the violation was. Once you reach a certain number of points, your license may be suspended or revoked.

  • There are a few ways. The easiest thing to do is to just keep track of the violations you’ve received and the point values you accrued. If you can’t do this, you can usually check the department of motor vehicles website in your state or request a copy of your driving record at the DMV office.

  • Online comparison tools like Insurify give you quotes from all the top insurers so you can choose one that you can afford.

The Best Way to Save on Car Insurance

No matter how many points you have on your license, the best way to save money on car insurance is to compare quotes from different insurers. Insurify makes it easy by bringing together all the top insurers in one place. Compare auto insurance quotes today and find the best and cheapest car insurance premiums for your unique driver profile.

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The car insurance quotes displayed are based on an analysis of Insurify’s database of over 40 million quotes from 500 ZIP codes nationwide. To obtain representative rates, Insurify’s data science team performs frequent comprehensive analyses of the factors car insurance providers weigh to calculate rates including driver demographics, driving record, credit score, desired coverage level, and more.

Insurify’s analysis also incorporates the Insurify Composite Score (ICS) assigned to each insurance provider. The ICS is a proprietary rating that weighs multiple factors reflecting the quality, reliability, and health of an insurance company. Ratings used to calculate the ICS include Financial Strength Ratings from A.M. Best, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch; J.D. Power ratings; Consumer Reports customer satisfaction surveys and customer complaints; mobile app reviews; and user-generated company reviews. 

With the above insights and ranking methods, Insurify is able to offer car insurance shoppers insight into how various insurance providers compare to one another in terms of both cost and quality. Note, actual quotes will vary based on unique attributes including the policyholder’s driver history and their garaging address.

Jennifer Pendell
Jennifer Pendell

Content Writer at Insurify

Jennifer Pendell is a personal finance writer from the Midwest. Her passion is breaking down tough subjects to make them easier to understand. When she’s not writing, she loves reading, camping and spending time with friends and family.

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