Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Aug 10, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • The purpose of the driver’s license point system is to easily keep track of driving violations and to allow those violations to have consequences
  • Each state can determine on its own whether a traffic violation is major or minor
  • How much your rates increase is dependent on your insurance company as well as the severity of your violations
  • The increase can range from $100 to $400 a year

Will my car insurance rates increase due to points on my license? Yes, your car insurance rates will increase if you get points on your driver’s licen se, but only after a certain number of points. Each state has its own point system and a different number of points that can be added to a driver’s license before they affect car insurance rates.

The following article will give additional information as to how points are added to a license and how they can be removed.

Read on to learn more about driver’s license points and car insurance rates and then to find the very best car insurance rates for your situation. Enter your ZIP code into the free car insurance comparison tool above.

Table of Contents

The Car Insurance Point System

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The purpose of the driver’s license point system is to keep track of driving violations and to allow those violations to have consequences.

In addition to paying a ticket or possibly spending time in jail, receiving points on your driver’s license can eventually increase your car insurance rates.

Basically stated, driving is a privilege, not a right and if driving laws are continuously broken, there are consequences.

Are zero points on your license good? The short answer is yes.

Points are added to your license every time you have a moving violation. The fewer the violations, the fewer the points. For example, having expired tags on your car or going through a yellow light will typically only add 1 point or less to your license depending on in which state you receive the violation.

A more serious violation such as a DWI or driving recklessly will add more points to your license.

In addition to points, other consequences will result if an accumulation of points occurs rapidly. Though it does vary from state to state, most states follow a similar procedure. In most states, if you receive 12 points in one year, you will have a 30-day suspension of your driver’s license.

If you add 18 points over a year and a half period, you will receive a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license. Adding 24 or more points in a three year period will result in loss of your license for one year or more.

Even though all violations receive points, only certain ones affect your car insurance premium rates.

Serious violations such as DWIs, leaving the scene of an accident, or excessive speeding will increase your insurance. Things like parking tickets or rolling through a stop sign will give you points but will typically not increase your car insurance rates.

The most important factor is the time period in which you receive points. The longer you go between points, the less likely it is to affect your car insurance rates.

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What types of things constitute a traffic violation?

A traffic violation is a broad term that refers to a number of different situations in which a traffic or driving law is broken. Traffic violations can be minor infractions or they can be considered to be major incidents. Each state can determine on its own whether a traffic violation is major or minor.

Traffic violations that are usually considered to be minor include speeding tickets that are under a certain amount over the limit, parking tickets and other violations, broken taillights or headlights, and expired registration tags.

Traffic violations that are considered to be major may include accidents that are your fault and speeding more than 15 mph over the posted speed limit.

Although states have some jurisdiction as to what constitutes a major violation, there are some that are considered major throughout the country. These include reckless driving, driving without a license, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DWI/DUI).

How many points will increase your car insurance rates?

How do points affect car insurance rates? Will my insurance go up if I get 2 points? How much will 4 points on my license cause my insurance increase?

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the way your car insurance rates are affected by the number of points on your record varies depending on your insurance company and the state in which you live.

How much does your insurance go up after one point? Some companies will raise your rates with your first violation and first point. Others won’t raise it until you have a certain number of points.

How much your rates increase depends on your insurance company as well as the severity of your violations.

You may notice a smaller increase of 10% or an increase of up to 30 to 40 percent.

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How can I remove points from my driver’s license?

You may be wondering how to remove points from your driver’s license so that your insurance rates won’t increase. There are ways to decrease points on your license.

The first thing that you can do is attend a defensive driving or safety driving course. You may opt to do this on your own or it may be required by the court.

Most cities have free or inexpensive courses through the sheriff’s department or local community centers. Some are even available online. Taking one of these classes can take up to four points off of your license.

However, you can only do this once in five years so you shouldn’t rely on it as the only way to remove points from your license.

Points can also be removed from your license if you go to court instead of paying your ticket and plead not guilty. If you are found to be not guilty, or the proper paperwork is not available from the law enforcement agency that gave you the ticket, the points will be removed.

In some states, there are two additional options for removing points from your license. The first one is called Prayer for Judgment Continued. This is when the court finds you guilty of the charge but allows you to go without punishment.

This is only available to one person in every family once every three years and is only for certain violations. The other option available in some states is the option to take and pass a written test concerning the law you violated which will result in two points being removed.

If you are looking for car insurance, or if your rates have been raised due to points and you want to find another company, you can use an online comparison tool.

This will give you the option of seeing what several different car insurance companies have to offer you side by side with rates and quotes included.

Frequently Asked Questions: Driver’s License Points

How long do tickets stay on your driving record?

The length of time a traffic violation stays on your record varies by state. Your best bet is to check with your state’s police or department of motor vehicles.

Do points on your license transfer from state to state?

Not all states use the points system but, if they do, there’s a good chance points on your license may follow you from state-to-state.

Do insurance companies check points?

Yes and no. Most insurance companies may not refer to the point-total on your license but they will check your driving history. They will then rate your history based on their own, internal point system as one of the determining factors in your car insurance rate.

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