Many states across the U.S. use a driver violation point system to keep track of drivers and the number of traffic tickets they have.
If you have too many traffic violations–and driver violation points–your insurance rates could go way up. Worst of all, receiving driver violation points for a ticket or traffic violation can even cause you to lose your license.
But we’ve got you covered. Here’s all you need to know about driver violation points, how they can affect the cost of your
car insurance, and what you can do about it.
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Driver violation points
Across the U.S., states keep track of how many traffic violations someone has through the use of a basic point system. And while it varies by state, many state DMVs assign values to each traffic violation, which include such infractions as
speeding, reckless driving, running a stop sign or red light, and
driving while intoxicated.
Get too many points within a certain time frame and you can lose your license. Worst of all, these points can stay on your record for years. So, even if you get your license back after a suspension, you can still lose your driving privileges again if you continue to violate the local laws around driving motor vehicles.
How do you get driver violation points?
The number of points you get for violating traffic laws depends in large part on the state in which you live. While many states have similar point systems, there are a few key differences.
Some states don’t use a point system to track moving violations. Instead, they monitor your driving record and
suspend your licenseonce you hit a certain threshold of accidents or moving violations within a certain time frame.
The states that don’t use a driver violation point system include:
- Rhode Island
How do points affect insurance rates?
One of the biggest questions you might have is: How do points and infractions affect your
car insurance rates? For the most part, insurance companies don’t pay attention to the point systems and point total used by state DMVs. Instead, they rely on their own point system or use the guidelines set up by the
Insurance Services Office (ISO).
The seriousness of the infraction determines the number of points assigned to it. The more points you accumulate, the higher your insurance rates rise. This can even result in a surcharge, or penalty, to your policy if you hit a certain point threshold.
If you have no infractions, this is considered a
clean driving record.
How many points can you get before losing your license?
Most states allow you to get anywhere from 4 to 12 points within a given period of time of 12 months, though the time period and amount of points vary by state.
This can lead to confusion, especially if you move from one state to another. To learn more about your specific state's driver violation point system, visit the
How to get points off a driving record
The most common way to get rid of points is through the passage of time. Depending on the violation, driver violation points fall off your record after two to three years for lesser violations and up to 10 years for a more serious violation or conviction.
However, some states offer point reduction programs. These states will allow you to take certain courses, such as
defensive driving courses, to prove that your driving has improved. In return, you'll have a few points removed from your record. Check with your DMV to see if there are any point reduction programs available.
How to lower insurance if you have too many driver violation points
Fortunately, when your auto insurance rates go up because of too many driver violation points, you have some options for reducing the cost of your insurance. Here are a few:
- Shop around for coverage: You can lower your insurance rates by shopping around for coverage. Different insurance companies rate risk differently, which results in dramatically different premium quotes from various insurers.
- Look for accident forgiveness policies: Another option is to look for an insurer that offersaccident forgiveness. This means that the insurer overlooks your first accident as if it never happened. While these sorts of policies tend to cost more, they are worth it if you are a relatively safe driver who just happens to have an accident.
- Take a defensive driving course: In many states, you can also take a defensive-driving course. By doing so, you can have a moving violation removed from your record before it even shows up, excluding major violations, such as DUIs.
- Raise your deductible: Another option is to raise the deductible that you pay when you have an accident. This will lower your comprehensive and collision coverage costs. Or, if you have an older vehicle, drop comprehensive and collision coverage altogether and just keepliability coverage.
As you can see, getting multiple motor vehicle tickets can really affect your ability to drive. It can raise your car insurance rates, or your license may even be suspended. Fortunately, you can take steps to have points removed, and you can reduce high insurance rates by shopping around for more affordable car insurance.
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