Auto Insurance Costs and the Points on Your License

picture of auto collision

Your driving habits often impact how much you pay for auto insurance. The best way for car insurance agencies to know how safe of a driver you are is to use your driving record. Your state’s department of motor vehicles collects this information. It includes any instance in which you break the law while behind the wheel.

If you make these mistakes, the DMV often gives you points on your license. The more points you have, the more of a high-risk driver you are. This impacts your car insurance costs.

Why Previous Mistakes Matter With Auto Insurance Costs and the Points on Your License 

Car insurance agencies use previous information to determine how likely you are to make them again. Those with several points on their license are likely to have more incidents in the future. For this reason, your driving history will almost always play a role in how much you pay for auto insurance. The more risk you present to the agency, the more you likely pay.

That is not to say you cannot improve your driving habits. You can, and as you do, those points usually drop off. Over time, your car insurance rates might go down, too.

What’s on Your License? What Are Points?


You can determine how many points are on your license by contacting the DMV. Some state agencies provide online access. Most will give you access to your points if you visit the local office. Here are some types of incidents that usually create points on your license:

  • Any type of reckless driving
  • Speeding
  • Moving violations of any type
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving with a suspended license


The most common reason for points is speeding. If you get a moving violation like this, the DMV will add the points to your license. Points generally come off over time. The rate of removal depends on state laws. The number of points you get and their impact on your license also vary by state laws. In general, you will see a few points fall off your record every year you go without adding them.

The impact on your auto insurance ranges as well. The more points you get, the higher your car insurance premium will likely be. Some insurers are more lenient with raising rates for only one incident. However, those labeled high risk will spend significantly more to maintain insurance for their vehicle.

FAQ’s About Auto Insurance Costs and the Points On Your License

What are points on a driver’s license?

Points are a way for state DMVs to track and penalize drivers who commit traffic violations or cause accidents. Each violation or accident results in a certain number of points being added to the driver’s record.

How do points affect auto insurance costs?

Points can cause auto insurance rates to increase because they are seen as a sign of risky driving behavior. Insurance companies use a driver’s record to assess their level of risk and determine their premium.

How many points can I accumulate before my license is suspended?

The number of points required for a license suspension varies by state. In some states, it can be as few as 6 points, while in others it can be as many as 12 or more.

How long do points stay on my driving record?

The length of time that points stay on a driving record also varies by state, but it is typically between 2 and 5 years. After that time, the points are removed and no longer affect insurance rates.

Can I remove points from my driving record?

In some states, drivers can attend traffic school or defensive driving courses to have points removed from their record. However, this option may not be available for all violations or in all states.

What types of violations result in points being added to my record?

Common violations that result in points being added to a driving record include speeding, running red lights or stop signs, reckless driving, and driving under the influence.

Will my insurance rates go up if I receive a ticket but no points are added to my record?

It depends on the insurance company’s policies. Some companies may still raise rates for certain types of violations, even if no points are added to the record.

Can I still get auto insurance if my license has been suspended?

Yes, but it may be more difficult and expensive to find coverage. Drivers with a suspended license are considered high-risk and may need to seek out specialty insurance companies.

How can I lower my auto insurance costs if I have points on my record?

Some ways to lower insurance costs include shopping around for quotes, taking defensive driving courses, and maintaining a clean driving record going forward.

Is it possible to have points on my record from out-of-state violations?

Yes, it is possible to have points on your driving record from out-of-state violations. Many states have agreements with each other to share driving records, which means that violations in one state can affect your record and insurance rates in another state.

How state regulations cause variations in license points

Different states have their own rules and regulations regarding the number of points on a license for various traffic violations. This leads to discrepancies in the way the points system is applied across different regions. It is crucial to familiarize yourself with the rules in your state.

Differentiating license points and insurance points

License points and insurance points are two separate systems used to track traffic violations and assess risk. Motor vehicle departments assign license points, whereas insurance companies use their own points system to determine premiums. While the number of license points in a state might not directly impact insurance rates, the underlying violations can cause an increase in auto insurance costs.

Common strategies for low insurance points

There are a few ways to potentially reduce your insurance points and maintain lower premiums:

  • Practice safe driving habits and avoid violations.
  • Attend a defensive driving course, if your state permits such courses to remove points or prevent points from being added.
  • Maintain an excellent credit score, as insurers sometimes consider this when determining premiums.
  • Regularly review and compare auto insurance companies to find the best rates and discounts.

Duration of points on insurance records

The length of time that points remain on your insurance record depends on your insurance company’s policies and the severity of the violation. Generally, minor violations may remain on your record for about three years, while more serious infractions, such as a DUI, might be visible for up to ten years or more.

Impact of violation types and severity on insurance costs

The type and severity of a traffic violation can significantly influence the cost of an auto insurance policy. Insurance companies weigh each violation differently, primarily focusing on the risk associated with the infraction. For example, reckless driving or a DUI will likely result in a more substantial premium increase compared to a minor speeding ticket. Each insurer evaluates risk differently, so the exact impact on costs may vary.

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