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  • How Driving Record Points Affect Auto Insurance Rates

    Driving Records and Car Insurance Rates

    How Driving Record Points Affect Auto Insurance Rates

    Because your past driving behavior is indicative of your future behavior on the road, your driving history is a major factor in how your risk is viewed and, in turn, how your premium gets calculated. Let’s look into how your driving record affects your auto insurance rates.

    DMV Points and Your Driving Record

    Many states use a points system for traffic violations. The points go on your driving record and stay for specified periods of time (determined by your state and by the violation). The more points you accumulate, the more likely you are to lose your driver’s license, and the higher the risk you pose to your car insurance company.

    When you are considered a “high-risk driver” by your insurance provider, you are subject to higher car insurance rates because you are more likely to file a claim than someone with a better driving record.

    Your traffic violations still go on your record even if you live in a state that does not use the points system. Violations such as speeding, reckless driving, and DUI on your record will still result in premium increases.

    To learn more about driving records and points in your state, visit our DMV Point System section.

    Driving Under the Influence

    Getting a DUI or DWI for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs can cause your car insurance rates to skyrocket.

    Insurance companies go on alert when they see a DUI, as this is indicator of an extremely high-risk driver. If you have a DUI conviction on your record, expect to see a rise in your insurance costs.

    In some cases, you might be unable to renew your policy or face cancellation of your current policy, leaving you with few options other than obtaining an expensive policy from your state’s automobile insurance plan.

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    Speeding is a common but potentially deadly moving violation.

    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that almost 33% of traffic deaths are related to speeding, and speeding claims almost 10,000 lives per year.

    A single speeding ticket might not affect your car insurance rates much if you have an otherwise clean driving record, but your auto insurance rates might increase substantially after a speeding ticket if you have a history of accidents and infractions.

    Also, if you were ticketed for excessive speeding, you’ll likely see bigger rate increases.

    How to Keep Auto Insurance Rates Low

    Keep your driving record points as low as possible to avoid higher insurance rates. This means driving safely to avoid traffic violations.

    If you do get ticketed, there are some steps that you may be able to perform to take points off your license. The following may be possible, depending on which state you live in.

    • Attending a defensive driving school. Check with your state DMV agency first, since some states only honor course completion certificates from a narrow list of approved schools.
    • Maintaining a spotless driving record. If you drive violation-free and without accidents for a certain number of years, your state may deduct points from your driving record.
      • Check with your DMV to find out whether this option exists.
    • Waiting it out. Many states will drop points after a set number of years.
      • If this option exists and you are in the market for a new provider, do not shop for quotes until the points have been dropped from your record. Otherwise, you'll be quoted a higher rate.

    Monitoring Your Driving Record

    Because points on your driving record can be so costly, it’s important to monitor your driving record. Make sure you know what’s on it, and check it periodically for accuracy.

    It is especially important to check your record if you are shopping around for car insurance quotes, or if it is almost time to renew your current policy.

    DMV offices can make mistakes and occasionally post incorrect driving record information that can unfairly hike your auto insurance rates. A traffic violation that should have been removed from your driving record, for example, could add hundreds of dollars to your car insurance rates.

    Visit our page on Traffic Tickets and Car Insurance to learn more about how getting a ticket affects your auto insurance premiums.