How will points affect auto insurance rates?

Four points are added to your driver’s license when you have been convicted of certain traffic violations. Points on your license indicated risky driving habits and will drive up your rates.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2022

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Things to Remember...

  • Drivers with fewer points on their license are considered less of a risk by auto insurance companies
  • Some points can stay on your insurance record for years
  • There are steps you can take to lower and remove points that affect your auto insurance rates

If you have points on your driving record, then you’ve likely seen your auto insurance rates go up. Accumulating as few as four points on your license can increase your insurance rates, and the more points you have, the higher your rates will be. 

Insurance companies have different ways of deciding how points affect auto insurance rates. If you’re a high-risk driver, it’s important to compare quotes from multiple companies to find the most competitive rates. 

You can also keep your rates low by attending a driver’s education course and maintaining a clean driving record for the next few years. Keep reading to learn more about how points affect car insurance rates and the steps you can take now to start reducing the points on your license.

What types of points affect auto insurance rates?

Insurance companies consider two types of points when determining your auto insurance rates: driver’s license points and car insurance points.

Driver’s License Points

You will accumulate driver’s license points for most traffic violations. The most common traffic violations that raise your points and your auto insurance rates are: 

  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Negligence resulting in an auto accident
  • Disobeying traffic laws

The driver’s license point system varies by state. For example, most states will add an additional point to your license for every 10-15mpg you’re caught driving above the posted speed limit.

Anything considered reckless could result in doubling or even tripling the number of points added to your record. More severe violations that cause accidents, injuries, or result in criminal convictions will add even more points to your driving record.

Most states have a cap on the number of points you can accumulate before your license is suspended, while some offenses can lead to immediate suspension. Auto insurance with a suspended license is even more expensive, so be aware of how many points you have against your license.

Car Insurance Points

Insurance companies use a different point system than the one on your driving record because there are additional traits and behaviors that insurance companies consider along with your driving habits.

Insurance companies maintain a point system to assess the risk of insuring a driver. Many factors that are unrelated to your driving record can impact your overall point score, including your age and address.

While there isn’t much you can do about how old you are or where you live, there are issues you can control. The most common factors that will add points to your insurance score are:

  • Making late payments
  • Having a drop in your credit score
  • Filing a claim

While you never want to do anything that might cause your auto insurance rates to increase, the good news is it’s not permanent. Points lower with time, and most points will cycle off your record within 3-5 years.

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Will my insurance company allow me to see my points?

Whether your insurance company allows you to see any points you’ve accumulated depends on the company. Some companies are willing to share this information when you request it.

Insurance companies are not required by law to share why they increase your rates. However, you can anticipate rate increases by keeping track of your driving record. If you have a series of traffic violations, you shouldn’t be surprised if you see a rate increase during the next renewal period.

If you feel you have an unwarranted increase and your company will not share why they’ve increased your rates, you can file a complaint with your state Department of Insurance.

Will my insurance increase with four points on my license?

Insurance rates often go up when you get a new car. However, your insurance rate may not rise much after getting four points on your driver’s license. Most companies use the number of accidents you had in previous years to determine how much your premium should be raised. If you don’t already have auto insurance, it is best to wait until you need it to purchase coverage.

What steps can you take to reduce points on your license?

If points are added to your driver’s license, some states will lower or even remove points after you complete a defensive driving or another type of driving education course. You can also reduce points on your driving record by being proactive and maintaining your vehicle. For example, repairing a broken tail light right away will reduce the odds of a ticket and point increase.

In addition to driving courses and maintaining your vehicle, be sure to keep track of any points on your driving record. You can request a copy of your record from the local DMV and ensure everything is correct and accurate. If any points are mistakenly attributed to your record, contact your state Department of Insurance.

BQ: The best way to lower your points for car insurance is with time and patience. Some insurance points can stay on your record for up to 10 years, but typically they disappear within 3 to 5 if you maintain a good driving record.

The best strategy is to set a goal to keep your driving record clean and always make your car insurance payments on time. Some points may start to clear within a year of maintaining a good record.

Where To Find Driver’s Education Courses

The best way to avoid unnecessary points on either of your records is to maintain a safe driving record. Locally, you should be able to find classes through automobile clubs and community colleges. If your city has a center for continued adult learning, you may also find courses there. Courses vary by organization, and some can be as short as a few hours, while others may take several sessions to complete.

To find classes online, check with your state’s motor vehicle division or safety organization. Drivers who are aged 50 and older can also find courses through the AARP.

Always check with your insurance company to verify the courses you are taking qualify for discounts on your policy.

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How Points Affect Auto Insurance Rates: What You Need to Know

Understanding how both point systems work can help you make informed decisions moving forward. There are demographics beyond your control when it comes to insurance points, but you can focus on the things you can control to ensure you don’t gain points on either record. 

Keeping a clean driving record, taking a defensive driving course if necessary, and avoiding claims will ensure you can always find the most affordable auto insurance rates.

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