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How do I find out how many insurance points I have?


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Question: How can I find how many insurance points I have?  And I don’t mean driver's license points; I know I can get that points total from the DMV.

Answer: The foolproof way of finding out how many insurance points you’ve accumulated with your car insurance company is to simply ask your auto insurance agent.

In some states, insurance companies are legally required to give you a copy of the insurance points list (sometimes also called surcharge schedule), so check through your auto insurance paperwork and then call your agent if you don’t have the list or if you want to find out more about how the insurance points plan is being used to calculate your auto insurance premium. 

Insurance points can vary greatly from one auto insurer to the next, but many car insurance companies follow the Insurance Services Office (ISO) safe driver insurance plan for points and surcharges (see a sample copy on the website of the Virginia Bureau of Insurance). 

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Points systems can also vary by state since insurance points plans must be approved by each state’s insurance regulator -- or because in some states there is a mandated insurance points plan in place for all auto insurers to use. 

For instance, Massachusetts has a safe driver incentive program (SDIP) that all car insurance companies once were required to follow, but now the state allows auto insurers to use their own systems if approved by the Massachusetts insurance regulator.

If you live in Massachusetts, you’d need to find out from your auto insurance company if they use the state’s SDIP system or its own.  If they use the SDIP system, then you can simply go onto the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles site and learn how to determine your insurance points total and find out how the points will affect your car insurance premiums.

Then there is North Carolina, where the state General Assembly created a Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP) back in 1957.  This system is still required to be used by all auto insurance companies in the state.  The state's Department of Insurance has a guide to insurance points you can read through and see how points accumulate and will affect your rates.  

Insurance points don’t normally match up with the state’s DMV points system, but they aren’t totally different in concept.  (See “Is there a difference between insurance points and license points?”) The more serious the offense, the more points you’ll receive on your license by the state or by your insurance company.

Insurance points are generally used by car insurance companies to assess your eligibility for obtaining a policy with them and, if eligible, for the calculating your auto insurance rates. The more insurance points you get (by being in an accident or receiving a ticket); the more you’ll pay for auto insurance.

Insurance companies’ rating systems also differ from one auto insurer to the next.  So, comparison shopping for car insurance after an accident or ticket that has affected your rates is a wise idea.  Another insurance company may associate fewer insurance points with the offense and thus you can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars a year in premiums.

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