Unless you grew up in one of the 9 states that doesn’t use the points system on drivers, you are probably well aware of what points are. Points are applied to your license when you are pulled over for a driving violation and can vary depending on the infraction. Going over the speed limit? Probably a fine, and maybe a couple points on your license. Going 92 miles an hour on the highway in the middle of a rainstorm? You’re looking at a hefty fine and at least 4 points on your license. After a certain number of points, your license will be suspended.
The points system affects more than just your license, it also affects your auto insurance rates. If you go to get auto insurance and get a quote before they check your driving record, you will probably be shocked when they read off the rate you will actually be paying. This is especially true if you have a driving record that could be considered less than sterling. Fortunately, we can offer some tips on how points can affect you.
- Not all tickets end up on your record. Usually, a first-time, non-moving offense will not end up on your record. The police department would have to report you to the DMV and usually it is not worth their time to report someone not wearing a seatbelt. Unfortunately, unless you have only recently been driving, your first offense was probably during your teen years. That luck might be used up by the second or third offense.
- 9 states (as of 2018) don’t use a points system. Those nine states are Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming. You may not accumulate points in those states, but your infractions will be monitored.
- Driver’s License points and insurance points are not necessarily the same. Your premium may be high because of insurance points used by the company itself rather than the points on your license. This may include where you live or the kind of car you drive. Consult with your agent to learn exactly what the issue is.
- You can remove insurance points with an approved driving course. Traffic court can sometimes offer driving courses that keep offenses off your record. This is a great option that you should take if given the opportunity.
- You should know your driving record. The insurance company will probably check your driving record when putting together your policy. This is usually when the policy rate jumps up. Knowing your driving record will help you gauge whether or not you will experience a premium increase.
- You’d be surprised what raises your premiums. Poor credit can raise your premiums. If you live on a busy street, your premium could rise because your street is considered “high risk.” Specific cars can also increase your premiums. These cars are luxury cars, convertibles, sports cars, and vehicles that do poorly in safety tests.
- Major violations will definitely raise your premiums – a lot. If you have violations for racing, DUI, impaired driving, reckless driving, refusing a breath test, hit and run, failing to stop for police, or driving on a suspended license, you will experience hundreds of dollars’ difference in your premiums, an arrest on your record, and possibly being cancelled by your insurer.
- Small violations may not affect your premium. Minor infractions may not show up on your record, but even if they do they may not affect your rate. These include failure to yield, speeding, improper passing, expired license, no proof of insurance, broken tail lights, not displaying license plate, noise violations, texting, or tailgating. This depends on each state’s particular laws about these items.
- It is difficult to determine how much your premiums will increase by. There is no way to know how much your premium will increase by after a ticket. Every company is different.
- Some offenses can follow you for years! DUI’s can follow you for 10 years. If insurers check back that far, you may find something from your past negatively affecting you even though you are a different person entirely. It’s important to know how your insurer calculates points.
Hopefully, this list gives you a good overview of how points can affect your insurance. If you are in the market for good insurance, Centerville Insurance Agency can help you find discounts, affordable rates and solid coverage from one of their multiple carriers!
Check out Janet Hunt on The Balance for the inspiration behind this blog post! https://www.thebalance.com/what-you-should-know-about-insurance-points-4083258