Updated June 15, 2022
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.
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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.
What are driver’s license points?
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.
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:
Reckless driving or careless driving
Failure to stop for a school bus
Failure to obey a traffic control device (a stop sign or a red light)
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.
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How Driver’s License Points Affect Car Insurance Rates
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:
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.
|State||License Suspension Trigger||How Long for Points to Expire|
|Alabama||12–14 points in a 24-month period||2 years|
|Alaska||12 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months||2 points expire if you have no traffic convictions for 12 months after your last one|
|Arizona||8 points in a 12-month period||1 year|
|Arkansas||14 points||3 years|
|California||4 points in 12 months, 6 points in 24 months, or 8 points in 36 months||3 years for minor violations or 10 years for major violations|
|Colorado||12 points in 12 months or 18 points in 24 months||Points do not expire|
|Connecticut||10 points in 24 months||2 years|
|Delaware||14 points in 24 months||Points are assessed at half value after 1 year|
|Washington, D.C.||10 points in 24 months||2 years|
|Florida||12 points in 12 months, 18 points in 18 months, or 24 points in 36 months||5 years|
|Georgia||15 points in 24 months||2 years|
|Idaho||12–17 points in 12 months, 18–23 points in 24 months, or 24+ points in 36 months||3 years|
|Illinois||3 violations in 12 months||4 to 5 years for minor violations, at least 7 years for tickets that cause a license suspension|
|Indiana||2 violations in 12 months, unless you take a driver improvement course within 90 days of second conviction||2 years|
|Iowa||3 or more moving violations in 12 months||5 years for minor violations, 12 years after DUI|
|Kentucky||12 points in 24 months||2 years from date of conviction|
|Maine||12 points in 12 months||1 year|
|Maryland||8 points in 24 months||2 years|
|Massachusetts||3 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 years||6 years|
|Michigan||12 points in 24 months; drivers must attend a reexamination, and their license may be suspended then||2 years|
|Missouri||12 points in 12 months, 18 points in 24 months, or 24 points in 36 months||3 years|
|Montana||Suspension is based on violations; licenses are revoked for 3 years if drivers accrue 30 points in 36 months||3 years|
|Nebraska||12 points in 24 months||5 years|
|Nevada||12 points in 12 months||1 year|
|New Hampshire||12 points in 12 months, 18 points in 24 months, or 24 points in 36 months||3 years|
|New Jersey||12 points on your current record||3 points deducted for each year with no violations after the last conviction|
|New Mexico||7 points in 12 months||1 year|
|New York||11 points in 18 months||18 months|
|North Carolina||12 points in 36 months or 8 points in 36 months (after reinstatement)||3 years|
|North Dakota||Balance of 12 points||After 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.|
|Ohio||12 points in 24 months||2 years|
|Oklahoma||10 points in 60 months||2 points removed for every 12 months with no violations. All points removed after 3 consecutive years with no violations.|
|Pennsylvania||Hearing and possible suspension for a balance of 6 points a second time||3 points removed for every 12 months without a violation|
|South Carolina||12 points in 12 months||Reduced to half value after 1 year, falls off after 2 years|
|South Dakota||15 points in 12 months or 22 points in 24 months||Expiration date depends on the violation|
|Tennessee||12 points in 12 months; request a hearing for the opportunity to attend a driving class instead of suspension||2 years|
|Texas||6 points in 36 months; drivers must pay a surcharge, and failure to pay will result in suspension||3 years|
|Utah||200 points in 36 months||3 years|
|Vermont||10 points in 24 months||2 years|
|Virginia||18 points in 12 months or 24 points in 24 months||2 years|
|West Virginia||12 points in 24 months||2 years|
|Wisconsin||12 points in 12 months||Points remain on your record as long as a ticket does. Most tickets can be removed after 5 years.|
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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.
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 car insurance quotes from different 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.
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.
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.
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Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.