- How will a driving record violation raise my rates?
- How long do tickets and accidents typically stay on your record?
- Which states don’t use a points system?
- What is the difference between moving and non-moving violations?
- Insurer points vs. DMV points – what’s the difference?
- How can you save on insurance even if you have tickets on your record?
- FAQ: Driver’s license points and car insurance
- Final thoughts: Driver’s license points and car insurance
Ever wondered how long speeding tickets stay on your insurance and if they make coverage more expensive? It’s typically three to seven years – and there is a good chance your rates will go up.
However, penalties vary by state and insurer, so keep reading to see what you need to know about how DMV points impact your insurance premium.
How will a driving record violation raise my rates?
How much an accident raises your rates typically depends on the nature and severity of the accident and who was at fault. A minor accident may be forgiven under state law or by an insurance company, especially if you are not found to be at fault. On the other hand, if you are at fault for a major accident, you could see a big increase in car insurance rates or even a cancellation of coverage, subject to state law.
Violations can affect your insurance rates because they show you are more of a risk. If you have had a clean driving record for years and get one minor speeding ticket, your rates may not go up as a result of the ticket, but your safe driver discount could be taken away, causing an increase. For more major offenses (i.e. DUI), expect your rates to drastically increase.
Some states put a limit on how long an auto insurance company can surcharge or raise your rates for an accident or traffic violation, while others leave it up to the insurance company to decide. Most car insurers tend to hold accidents and/or violations against you for three to five years, but some will go back as far as seven years.
In the table below, you can see how much your insurance rate is likely to increase after a violation.
How long do tickets and accidents typically stay on your record?
In most cases, this answer depends on the severity of the violation. As far as your DMV record is concerned, it will vary by state and the specific law you broke. While a speeding ticket may only stay on your record for three years, a DUI can haunt you for decades.
In Tennessee, a DUI is on your driving record forever, and in Florida, you are looking at 75 years before it drops off. While these are extremes, a citation will generally stay on your driving record for three to seven years before dropping off.
When it comes to your insurance premium, you can expect to pay higher rates until the ticket drops off your record. However, more severe violations such as a DUI or reckless driving ticket will impact your insurance rates for much longer.
A DUI in California will stay on your driving record and impact your insurance rates for up to 10 years. While you may not be surcharged for a decade, under state law, your insurer cannot offer a safe driver discount until 10 years have passed.
Which states don’t use a points system?
There are currently nine states that don’t use points to keep track of bad drivers, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook if you rack up violations.
States that don’t currently have a driver’s license points system are:
- Rhode Island
These states simply monitor your driving record to determine if your license should be suspended or taken away. In Oregon, for example, if you have four accidents or four convictions – or a combination that totals four – in a 24-month period, you lose your license for 30 days.
Despite the fact that the DMVs in these states don’t use points to track your driving, your insurance company will still be keeping an eye on your driving record and will surcharge your premium if you end up with tickets or at-fault accident points on your insurance record.
What is the difference between moving and non-moving violations?
The definitions of moving and non-moving violations vary from state to state. In general, for an offense to be viewed as a moving violation, your car would need to be in motion when the violation occurred, such as speeding or running a stop sign.
Non-moving violations are pretty much everything that’s not related to your behavior on the road: parking tickets, faulty equipment such as a non-working tail light and expired plates.
Insurance companies’ guidelines differ, but normally moving violations are a major rating factor while non-moving violations are not.
Non-moving violations may not even be on your driving record. Even when they are, they usually don’t affect your premium.
Insurer points vs. DMV points – what’s the difference?
When it comes to driving, your insurance company and the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will keep tabs on you by assigning points for any traffic violation or accident. However, your DMV driving record and your insurance record are two separate things and will impact your driving and insurance premium differently.
DMV points hit your record when you receive a ticket for speeding or other illegal maneuvers out on the road. If you accumulate a certain number of points on your DMV record, your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked. Points vary depending on the severity of the incident. A speeding ticket may only be one point, while a DUI conviction could result in six points.
The points assessed by your insurance company are different: Points are assigned to your insurance record for speeding tickets, accidents and incidents that result in a claim.
How can you save on insurance even if you have tickets on your record?
Even with a less-than-perfect driving record, there are things you can do to lower your insurance premium and find the cheapest car insurance for you.
- Shop your coverage: Doing a car insurance comparison is the best option for bringing your insurance premium down. Shop your coverage around yearly and always get quotes from at least three to five insurers.
- Rescore your insurance: Ask your agent or insurer to rescore your insurance; it’s possible that you may qualify for a better rate if certain factors have changed.
- Consider an “Accident Forgiveness” policy: These policies forgive your first accident, so your rates will not increase if you make a claim due to an accident. While it varies by insurer, being free of major violations and at-fault claims for the preceding three-year period is a typical requirement.
- Defensive driving: Taking a defensive driving course could result in a discount on your premium. Numerous states also allow you to take a defensive driving course to purge a ticket off your driving record, so check with your DMV.
- Increase your deductible: If you can afford to raise your deductible, your premium will usually drop; insurers like it when you have more skin in the game. Doubling your deductible should result in a significant discount but always choose a deductible you can easily afford in the event you have to make a claim.
- Discounts: Every insurer offers car insurance discounts. Ask your agent to do a check to verify that you are getting all of the discounts you are qualified to receive.
FAQ: Driver’s license points and car insurance
How often does an insurance company look at my driving record?
While it can vary by insurer, in most cases, a car insurance company will review your driving record when you initially apply for auto insurance and before each renewal period.
- When you apply for coverage, your driving record is reviewed to see if you are an appropriate risk for the insurer and to help determine your premium amount.
- At renewal time, your driving record is checked to see if you have any violations now listed that would cause your rates to rise or for your policy to be non-renewed. If you have violations on your driving record that have fallen off, your rates should go down when your policy renews.
- Insurance companies may also check your driving record when you add or remove drivers, change coverages or add a vehicle.
Why does the insurance company need to look at my driving record?
Car insurance companies review your driving record to see what type of risk you pose and how likely you are to be involved in an accident or file a claim.
If your driving record is squeaky clean, they will assume you are a low-risk driver, which will result in a lower premium as well as a safe driver discount. If your record is riddled with tickets and accidents, your insurer will consider you a major risk, and you will be paying much higher rates than a low-risk driver.
In some cases, for instance, if you have two or more moving violations within six months or multiple DUIs, certain insurance companies won’t even sell you a policy.
Final thoughts: Driver’s license points and car insurance
Points can greatly affect how much you pay for car insurance. If you hit a certain point threshold on your insurance record, you will be looking at a higher premium or even cancellation of your policy.
– Michelle Megna contributed to this story.
CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to pull rates in 2022 for a 40-year-old male driver with no violations, 100/300/100 full coverage insurance with a $500 deductible and a 12-mile commute.