How Do Points on Your License Affect Car Insurance?

Having points on your license will inevitably cause your insurance premiums to increase.

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Do points on your license raise your car insurance rates?

Car insurance companies catalog customers’ driving offenses for rate calculation purposes. Each auto insurance company follows its own system, but excessive infractions and claims can lead to elevated costs. This is especially true if you're guilty of a serious infraction such as a DUI or DWI.

Insurance companies do not directly use driver’s license points to determine rates. However, if you are issued license points after an incident behind the wheel — such as speeding, DUI, or distracted driving — a driver's car insurance premiums will get more expensive. 

An important thing to understand about auto insurance and points is that insurance companies don’t look at a driver's points tally to determine their insurance rate. Instead, insurers conduct their own checks into each potential customer’s driving history. 

When putting together a policy, an insurance company weighs a variety of factors. The insurance company reviews your CLUE report and your MVR (motor vehicle report) to get a sense of your overall driving record. These documents list claims and tickets that you have received. If either document details a checkered driving history, the driver's rates will climb. 

Let’s explore some point-earning violations by state and assess the potential penalty passed through via extra car insurance premiums.

 

What are driver's license points?

In the worlds of traffic law and auto insurance, points are universally a bad thing. Points are more like demerits: the more you have, the worse off you are. Piling up driver’s license points will end up costing you money, and maybe even your license.

Most U.S. states have a points system correlated to moving violations and collisions. In addition to tracking tickets issued by police officers, your state’s DMV keeps a tally of your infraction. Earn too many in too short a time period and your driving privileges may be suspended or revoked. Although not every state uses a points system, all states keep track of each driver’s record and will suspend or revoke licenses as is appropriate. 

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) points are added to adriver’s record each occurrence of an at-fault collision or traffic violation (speeding, texting while driving, illegal turns, and drunk or reckless driving). States assign points in a variety of ways, and not every state even uses a point system. 

 

Driver's license points and insurance — table of contents:

 

Do all states use the points system?

Just as each state makes its own traffic laws, states differ in how they assign points. Some don't use a points system at all. Each state’s laws are unique and each point system works differently. For instance, one point in California is not the same as one point in Alabama.

Furthermore, some states automatically clear points after a certain amount of time, while other states have more complicated systems. And some states — like Alaska — almost never remove points from drivers’ records.

Keep in mind that in most states, after a first license suspension, it’s easier to earn a second. A DUI conviction will lead to a suspended license almost everywhere in the U.S. — and may make it difficult or impossible for you to obtain auto insurance. Also in almost all states, if you’re convicted of a traffic offense out of state, it’ll be added to your in-state tally.

 

States that do not use driver's license points

Currently, nine states do not use a points system to track driving infractions. Though none of the following states uses a formal points system, each tracks driving records and will suspend licenses on a case-by-case basis based on violations:

 

How to check drivers license points

Most state DMVs allow drivers to check their points totals via their website. If a clear option for checking driver's license points does not exist online, reach out to your state's DMV for more information.

 


 

State-by-state impact of drivers license points

Below are a few examples of how driver's license points can impact insurance rates in some states. 

 

Car insurance with points on your license in New York state

Accumulating 11 points in an 18-month period may result in license suspension in New York. Below are some of the violations that result in points, along with the average annual premium associated with the violation, when applicable.

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL INSURANCE PREMIUM IN NEW YORK WITH POINTS BY VIOLATION TYPE
Citation TypeAverage Annual PremiumPoints
No violation$1,808--
At-fault accident$2,2008
Failure to stop at a red light$1,9923
Failure to yield$1,9923
Following too closely$1,9925
Racing$2,8865
Reckless driving$2,9775
Speeding - 11-15 MPH over limit$2,1254
Speeding - 16-20 MPH over limit$2,1924
Speeding - 21-25 MPH over limit$2,1926
Speeding - 6-10 MPH over limit$2,1253
Speeding - 31-40 MPH over limit--8
Texting while Driving/Cell Phone Violation$1,8235
Child safety restraint violation--3
Other moving violations2

 

You can reduce the points on your driver’s license by driving safely — avoiding violations for which you would earn points — for one year. If you remain accident-free for a year from the date of your most recent violation, New York state will deduct three points from your total.

You can reduce your points more quickly by completing New York state's Point & Insurance Reduction Program online or in person.

 


 

License points in New Jersey: regulations and insurance considerations

Accumulating 12 or more points in New Jersey results in license suspension. If a driver goes one year without any point-worthy citations, the state will remove three license points.

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL PREMIUM IN NEW JERSEY W/ POINTS BY VIOLATION TYPE
Citation TypeAverage Annual PremiumPoints
No violation$1,752
Failure to stop at a red light$2,0293
Failure to yield$2,0293
Following too closely$2,2484
Racing$2,4295
Reckless driving$2,4825
Speeding - 11-15 MPH over limit$1,9934
Speeding - 16-20 MPH over limit$2,1534
Speeding - 21-25 MPH over limit$2,1536
Speeding - 6-10 MPH over limit$1,9933
Passing school bus$2,2425
Improper passing$2,1543
Leaving scene of an accident - hit-and-run$2,3453
Texting while driving$1,9955
Child safety restraint violation3
Speeding 30 MPH or more over limit5

 

Your points can be removed by driving safely or by taking a defensive driving course.

 


 

Points on your license in Georgia

Your license will be suspended in Georgia if you earn more than 15 points in a two-year period. You can request a point reduction from the state's Department of Driver Services (DDS) of up to seven points every five years. In order to do this, you need to complete a Driver Improvement course and submit proof of completion.

Below are some citations with corresponding point totals and car insurance premiums in Georgia.

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL PREMIUM IN GEORGIA W/ POINTS BY VIOLATION TYPE
Citation TypeAverage Annual PremiumPoints
No Violation$1,343--
Failure to stop at a red light$2,7263
Failure to yield$2,7263
Improper passing$2,7264
Open container$2,5852
Passing school bus$2,7266
Racing$2,7766
Reckless Driving$3,0764
Speeding - 16-20 MPH over limit$2,3142
Speeding - 21-25 MPH over limit$2,3144
Texting while driving/cell phone violation$1,3721
Violation of safety restraint - 1st offense1
Violation of safety restraint - 2nd offense2
Speeding - 34 MPH+ over limit6
Failure to obey police officer3
Failure to adequately secure load, resulting in an accident2
Improper use of designated travel lane: 4th and subsequent offenses1

 

Tip: request a point reduction from your state's DMV after one year of safe driving to ensure your points are removed in a timely manner.

 


 

Insurance and license points in Pennsylvania

The number of points required to have your license suspended in Pennsylvania depends on your age. Younger drivers — 18 and under — face license suspension after just six license points (or automatically, after a citation for speeding 26 miles per hour or more over the speed limit).

Drivers older than 18 who accrue six or more license points face several consequences. If it's the driver's first time hitting the six-point mark, they will be required to take a written exam to remove two of the points. A second offense results in a hearing with PennDOT to determine whether the driver's license should be suspended or whether the driver is eligible for a driving test. The latter option requires the completion of written and in-person driving tests within 30 days.

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL PREMIUM IN PENNSYLVANIA W/ POINTS BY VIOLATION TYPE
Citation TypeAverage Annual PremiumPoints
No Violation$1,307
Reckless driving$2,8910
Speeding - 11-15 MPH over limit$2,1643
Speeding - 16-20 MPH over limit$2,1644
Speeding - 21-25 MPH over limit$2,1644
Speeding - 6-10 MPH over limit$2,1642
Failure to stop at a red light$1,3073
Passing school bus$1,3075
Illegal turn$1,3073
Failure to stop: stop sign3
Failure to stop: yield sign$1,4203

 

 


 

License points in Ohio: insurance ramifications

Any driver's license points accrued in Ohio will stay on a driver's record for two years. Accumulating more than 12 points in two years results in license suspension. In order to remove your points, a driver must enroll in and pass a remedial driving instruction course. This will remove two license points. A driver can take this step up to five times — once every three years. However, this option is only eligible for drivers who have racked up fewer than 12 points.

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL PREMIUM IN OHIO W/ POINTS BY VIOLATION TYPE
Citation TypeAverage Annual PremiumPoints
No Violation$1,129
At-fault Accident$1,2836
Operating a vehicle without permission$1,5366
Speeding - 11-15 MPH over limit$1,1314
Speeding - 16-20 MPH over limit$1,1314
Speeding - 21-25 MPH over limit$1,1314
Speeding - 6-10 MPH over limit$1,1312

 


 

How many points can you have on your license?

Not every state uses the point system. Those who do differ in the amount of points drivers can accrue before their driving privileges are suspended. Have a look at our state-by-state guide to the total points allowed before license suspension:

StatePoint thresholdTime period
Alabama1224 months
Alaska1212 months
Arizona812 months
Arkansas1436 months
California412 months
Colorado1212 months
Connecticut1024 months
Delaware1224 months
Florida1212 months
Georgia1524 months
HawaiiN/A 
Idaho1212 months
Illinois1512 months
Indiana2024 months
Iowa624 months
KansasN/A 
Kentucky1224 months
LouisianaN/A 
Maine1212 months
Maryland824 months
Massachusetts12 violations5 years
Michigan1224 months
MinnesotaN/A 
MississippiN/A 
Missouri818 months
Montana15 36 months
Nebraska1224 months
Nevada1212 months
New Hampshire 1212 months
New Jersey1236 months
New Mexico712 months
New York1118 months
North Carolina1236 months
North Dakota12Any
Ohio1224 months
Oklahoma105 years
OregonN/A 
Pennsylvania6graduated time frame
Rhode IslandN/A 
South Carolina1212 months
South Dakota1512 months
Tennessee1212 months
Texas812 months
Utah20036 months
Vermont1024 months
Virginia1812 months
WashingtonN/A 
Washington DC10Any
West Virginia1212 months
Wisconsin1212 months
WyomingN/A 

 

 


 

How to save on car insurance with points on your license

Even in the absence of a crash or a claim, license points can still raise car insurance premiums. Insurance companies are aware of traffic violations via every driver's Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) and will increase premiums accordingly. Some insurance companies request their clients' MVRs more frequently than do others. Some will re-run the report at every policy renewal — typically every six months. Others will only consult the MVR at the start of a new policy.

If you're dealing with expensive car insurance after a citation or violation, consider one of the cost-cutting solutions detailed below.

 

Take action to remove your points

Although it might be inconvenient, if you can get a ticket removed from your record, you should be able to see some insurance savings. Each state has its own procedure to remove license points. Below is a short summary of how to request license points removal in major US states.

  • NY: Complete the Point & Insurance Reduction Program online or in person.
  • NJ: Take a New Jersey Defensive Driving Course, available online.
  • PA: Take a written or behind-the-wheel exam.
  • OH: Enroll in a remedial driving course
  • GA: Complete a defensive driving course and submit proof of completion.

After completing your required coursework or program, submit proof to your insurance company. If you’re being still being penalized by your insurance company, consider our next suggestion: shop around.

 

Compare car insurance quotes

This is the best advice we can give. Every insurance company will view your driving profile differently and price your premium differently. Even if you don’t have a bad driving record, shopping for car insurance every six months is the best way to ensure you get the cheapest rate. Enter your ZIP code below to see car insurance estimates from local and national providers.

 

Look for a new insurance policy today!

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Ava Lynch LinkedIn

Based in Austin, TX, Ava has been in the insurance industry as a licensed agent for 4-plus years. Ava is currently one of The Zebra’s resident property insurance experts and has been featured in publications such as US News Report, GasBuddy, and Yahoo! Finance.