When you get a ticket for speeding or another form of traffic violation, it affects your driving record in multiple ways. Not only will your violations show up on any driving history background check a prospective employer runs but they will also likely have an impact on your auto insurance policy. In most cases, the cost of your insurance will increase due to traffic violations. These increases are linked to “insurance points.”
Insurance points are points your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles will add to your driver’s license for driving infractions. Moving violations and at-fault accidents are among the issues that can lead the DMV to assess points against your driving record. These points stay on your driver’s license for a certain period.
Accumulating points on your driver’s license is harmful for two reasons. First, having too many points on your license can lead to a license suspension or revocation. Second, insurance companies often check the point totals on your license. Because a driver with a higher point total is a riskier prospect than a driver who has a 10-year track record of no tickets or violations, having points on your license will often increase the cost of your auto insurance policy.
There are a few misconceptions about this system you should understand.
- Do all violations or accidents add points to your license? Not every driving-related violation will add insurance points to your record. Especially in a case that involves a non-moving violation—such as failing to provide proper proof of insurance when pulled over—the result will not end up on your driving record, especially if it is the first offense. Consequently, these offenses won’t result in higher insurance costs.
- Are driver’s license points and insurance points synonymous? The most confusing thing about insurance points is they are not always the same thing as driver’s license points. While the driver’s license point system is at the root of insurance points, insurance companies can also assess points against you and your policy.
For instance, if you have a history of making lots of auto insurance claims, that factor will add points to your record with your insurance company. The company might drop you or start charging you more because you are a bigger risk. The same idea is true if you drive a very expensive car.
- Does every state use the driver’s license point system? There are nine states that don’t use the point system. These states—Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming—monitor your driving infractions but don’t report them to the DMV in the same way as other states. As a result, insurance companies might not be able to learn about recent driving infractions in these states.
Are you curious what your driving record looks like? Run a self-check through backgroundchecks.com. This check will show, among other things, how many points you have on your driving record right now.