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 quotes. 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 a driver’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 Type Average Annual Premium Points
No violation $1,808 --
At-fault accident $2,200 8
Failure to stop at a red light $1,992 3
Failure to yield $1,992 3
Following too closely $1,992 5
Racing $2,886 5
Reckless driving $2,977 5
Speeding - 11-15 MPH over limit $2,125 4
Speeding - 16-20 MPH over limit $2,192 4
Speeding - 21-25 MPH over limit $2,192 6
Speeding - 6-10 MPH over limit $2,125 3
Speeding - 31-40 MPH over limit -- 8
Texting while Driving/Cell Phone Violation $1,823 5
Child safety restraint violation -- 3
Other moving violations 2

 

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. You can also consider taking a defensive driving course to help dismiss a citation and learn how to be a safe driver. Learn more about iDriveSafely's online defensive driving courses.

 


 

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 Type Average Annual Premium Points
No violation $1,752
Failure to stop at a red light $2,029 3
Failure to yield $2,029 3
Following too closely $2,248 4
Racing $2,429 5
Reckless driving $2,482 5
Speeding - 11-15 MPH over limit $1,993 4
Speeding - 16-20 MPH over limit $2,153 4
Speeding - 21-25 MPH over limit $2,153 6
Speeding - 6-10 MPH over limit $1,993 3
Passing school bus $2,242 5
Improper passing $2,154 3
Leaving scene of an accident - hit-and-run $2,345 3
Texting while driving $1,995 5
Child safety restraint violation 3
Speeding 30 MPH or more over limit 5

 

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 Type Average Annual Premium Points
No Violation $1,343 --
Failure to stop at a red light $2,726 3
Failure to yield $2,726 3
Improper passing $2,726 4
Open container $2,585 2
Passing school bus $2,726 6
Racing $2,776 6
Reckless Driving $3,076 4
Speeding - 16-20 MPH over limit $2,314 2
Speeding - 21-25 MPH over limit $2,314 4
Texting while driving/cell phone violation $1,372 1
Violation of safety restraint - 1st offense 1
Violation of safety restraint - 2nd offense 2
Speeding - 34 MPH+ over limit 6
Failure to obey police officer 3
Failure to adequately secure load, resulting in an accident 2
Improper use of designated travel lane: 4th and subsequent offenses 1

 

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. Taking a defensive driving course can also go a long way in refining your driving skills and reducing the likelihood of getting another ticket.

 


 

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.

Our partners at iDriveSafely offer online defensive driving courses in Pennsylvania. Consider taking a course at your own pace to save money on car insurance in the long run.

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL PREMIUM IN PENNSYLVANIA W/ POINTS BY VIOLATION TYPE
Citation Type Average Annual Premium Points
No Violation $1,307
Reckless driving $2,891 0
Speeding - 11-15 MPH over limit $2,164 3
Speeding - 16-20 MPH over limit $2,164 4
Speeding - 21-25 MPH over limit $2,164 4
Speeding - 6-10 MPH over limit $2,164 2
Failure to stop at a red light $1,307 3
Passing school bus $1,307 5
Illegal turn $1,307 3
Failure to stop: stop sign 3
Failure to stop: yield sign $1,420 3

 

 


 

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 Type Average Annual Premium Points
No Violation $1,129
At-fault Accident $1,283 6
Operating a vehicle without permission $1,536 6
Speeding - 11-15 MPH over limit $1,131 4
Speeding - 16-20 MPH over limit $1,131 4
Speeding - 21-25 MPH over limit $1,131 4
Speeding - 6-10 MPH over limit $1,131 2

Taking a defensive driving course can be beneficial in learning how to be a safe driver and help you avoid getting more tickets. 

 


 

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:

State Point threshold Time period
Alabama 12 24 months
Alaska 12 12 months
Arizona 8 12 months
Arkansas 14 36 months
California 4 12 months
Colorado 12 12 months
Connecticut 10 24 months
Delaware 12 24 months
Florida 12 12 months
Georgia 15 24 months
Hawaii N/A  
Idaho 12 12 months
Illinois 15 12 months
Indiana 20 24 months
Iowa 6 24 months
Kansas N/A  
Kentucky 12 24 months
Louisiana N/A  
Maine 12 12 months
Maryland 8 24 months
Massachusetts 12 violations 5 years
Michigan 12 24 months
Minnesota N/A  
Mississippi N/A  
Missouri 8 18 months
Montana 15  36 months
Nebraska 12 24 months
Nevada 12 12 months
New Hampshire  12 12 months
New Jersey 12 36 months
New Mexico 7 12 months
New York 11 18 months
North Carolina 12 36 months
North Dakota 12 Any
Ohio 12 24 months
Oklahoma 10 5 years
Oregon N/A  
Pennsylvania 6 graduated time frame
Rhode Island N/A  
South Carolina 12 12 months
South Dakota 15 12 months
Tennessee 12 12 months
Texas 8 12 months
Utah 200 36 months
Vermont 10 24 months
Virginia 18 12 months
Washington N/A  
Washington DC 10 Any
West Virginia 12 12 months
Wisconsin 12 12 months
Wyoming N/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 quotes 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 photo
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior analyst, providing insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts.

Ava’s insurance career began as an agent with Farmers Insurance. Over the years, she has become an authority in all things property and casualty insurance, helping her to write informative guides for shoppers.

Ava’s work has been cited in publications such as InvestopediaThe BalanceMoney.comLiberty Mutual, U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, Car and Driver and Yahoo! Finance.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.