Do drivers license points impact your car insurance rates?

1
fizkes/Getty Images
Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . This content is powered by HomeInsurance.com (NPN: 8781838). For more information, please see our

There are different types of driver’s license points. One type of point is tracked by your state’s Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) and the other type of point is tracked by insurance companies. The points tracked by insurance companies are given to ultimately track your driving performance. Driver’s license points may impact your car insurance rates depending on the type of points you obtain.

You can receive driver’s license points if you are convicted of any traffic violations like speeding, running a red light or stop sign, etc. These types of points would go to your insurance and ultimately impact your car insurance rates. However, each insurance company has a different point system. For a list of the top insurance companies, check out Bankrate’s Best Car Insurance Companies.

What are driver’s license points?

There are two different types of driver’s license points. One type of points can be added by your state DMV and the other types of points can be added by your car insurance provider. DMV points are used in forty-one states to track driving violations and determine whether you should have your license suspended based on your driving record. Each state has its own point system and rule, so the number of points you may receive for a specific violation will vary by state. For more information, you can review your state’s DMV website on how its point system works.

Insurance companies also have their own point system. The points by insurance companies are used to track your driving performance and use the information to raise your car insurance premiums. If you get a ticket or are convicted of any other traffic violations, you will obtain points on your license which will impact your car insurance rates. The more serious the traffic violation, the greater number of points on your license, further impacting your vehicle insurance rates. Common point violations in most states include speeding, failure to signal, reckless driving, driving too close and driving without insurance.

States without drivers license points include:

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

How do points affect insurance?

If you receive points on your insurance from a traffic violation, your car insurance rates will most likely increase. If you have a lot of points on your driver’s license, it looks worse to your insurance company. Insurance companies will evaluate your risk and whether you are more likely to submit a claim than other drivers before determining the cost of your insurance. If you have more points on your license, it makes it look like you are a higher risk for the insurance company to insure, so your insurance rates will increase.

Having points on your driver’s license will also impact your car insurance rates if you decide to switch carriers or obtain new car insurance. Car insurance companies will look at your driving history and record before deciding to insure you and before giving you a quote. Every application for car insurance includes a driver’s background check. Therefore, if the car insurance company sees too many points on your driver’s license, your rates will be higher.

What if my license has already been suspended?

Each state has its own rules regarding license points. However, if you acquire a lot of points within a specific time-frame, then you will have your driving privileges revoked in most states. For example, in New York, if you obtain 11 or more points within an 18-month period, your license will be suspended.

If your license has been suspended, you will be seen as a high-risk driver to insurance companies. A suspended license can impact your car insurance policy for up to three years. Even if you are able to reinstate your license before the three-year period is up, your insurance rates will still be impacted. You may also have to obtain SR-22 insurance as most states will require SR-22 insurance before reinstating your driver’s license. An SR-22 car insurance is usually required for drivers who have had their license suspended and want to reinstate it.

If you do not have car insurance during this time, you will be seen as having a gap in coverage. Having a gap in coverage means that you were uninsured for a period of time during the year. This is usually frowned upon by insurance companies.

How can I bring my rates back down?

If your car insurance rates go up due to the points accumulated on your driver’s license, there may be ways that you can bring your rates back down. Here are a few ways to bring your rates back down after a driving violation:

  • Take a driving class. Many insurance companies offer a discount for taking a defensive driving or driver’s education course.
  • Take advantage of other discounts. Every car insurance company offers a number of discounts. You can search for which discounts apply to you and take advantage of them.
  • Increase your deductible. By increasing your deductible, your premiums will go down, which will make your monthly or yearly premium lower.
  • Shop around for a new policy. If you have done everything you can with your current insurance policy and your insurance is not going down, then you can research other insurance companies to see if you can get a cheaper premium.

Can I get rid of points on my license?

Once you are convicted of a traffic violation and obtain points on your license, you may be able to lower your points over time. Each state has its own rules for reducing driver’s license points so you would have to check with your state. For example, many states typically allow you to take a defensive driving course or attend traffic school to lower your points by a few. There are some states that do not have a point reduction program, however.

The amount of time that points stay on your record also varies by state. Driving record points usually stay on your license for two to three years for less serious offenses, and up to 10 years of more severe offenses like driving under the influence.

Frequently asked questions

Will driver’s license points impact my insurance rates?

Yes, acquiring points on your license from traffic violations will impact your car insurance rates. The amount your insurance rate will be impacted depends on the severity of the violation.

What discounts can I apply to lower my insurance costs?

You can apply discounts to lower your insurance even after you have obtained points. You can look into defensive driving course discounts which can also help lower your points in some states.

What is the average cost of car insurance?

The average cost of car insurance in the U.S. for full coverage is $1,674 per year or $139.50 per month. However, the cost varies depending on the car insurance company, location and your own personal factors.

Written by
Grace Kim
Insurance Contributor
Grace Kim has two years of experience in writing for finance and insurance domains such as The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in New Jersey at Bankrate and Reviews.com. She has written about auto, homeowners, renters and life insurance. She holds an M.Sc from New York University in Corporate Communications and has spent most of her professional experience writing about finance and tech topics.
Edited by
Insurance Editor