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.

Key Highlights
  • Some states limit when an auto insurance company can impose a surcharge or rate increase after an accident or traffic violation. Other states leave this decision up to the insurance company.
  • A speeding ticket might stay on your record for three years and a DUI conviction may stay on your driving record for decades.
  • DMV points vary depending on the severity of the incident. A speeding ticket typically results in one point, while a DUI conviction could lead to six points. 
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Written by:
Mark Vallet
Contributing Researcher
Mark is a freelance journalist and analyst with over 15 years of experience covering the insurance industry. He has extensive experience creating and editing content on a variety of subjects with deep expertise in insurance and automotive writing. He has written for autos.com, carsdirect.com, DARCARS and Madtown Designs to name just a few. He is also a professional blogger and a skilled web content creator who consistently turns out engaging, error-free writing while juggling multiple projects.
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Reviewed by:
Laura Longero
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Executive Editor
Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

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 significant 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 riskier. If you have had a clean driving record for years and get one minor speeding ticket, your rates may not go up due to 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 increase drastically.

Some states limit how long an auto insurance company can surcharge or raise your rates for an accident or traffic violation. In contrast, 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.

The table below shows how much your insurance rate will likely increase after a violation.

Average annual insurance rate increases for claims and accidents
Driving Violation Average Annual Rate $ Increase % Increase
1 at-fault property damage accident over $2K$3,100$1,11456%
1 at-fault property damage accident under $2K$3,069$1,08355%
1 comprehensive claim for over $2k$2,111$1256%
1 comprehensive claim for under $2k$2,105$1196%
2 at-fault property damage accidents over $2k$4,468$2,483125%
2 comprehensive claims for over $2k$2,230$24412%
At-fault bodily injury accident$3,241$1,25563%
Single-vehicle accident (driver’s car only)$3,088$1,10256%

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.

Regarding 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.

Learn more: How long do tickets stay on your record

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:

  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

These states 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 24 months, you lose your license for 30 days.

Even though the DMVs in these states don’t use points to track your driving, your insurance company will still keep 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.

Learn more: States without point systems

What is the difference between moving and non-moving violations?

The definitions of moving and non-moving violations vary from state to state. 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 almost everything unrelated 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 typically, moving violations are a significant 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 and insurance records are separate things and will impact your driving and insurance premiums differently.

DMV points hit your record when you receive a ticket for speeding or other illegal maneuvers out on the road. Your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked if you accumulate specific points on your DMV record. 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.

Read more: Insurance points vs. license points

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: Making a car insurance comparison is the best option for bringing your premium down. Shop your coverage yearly and get quotes from at least three to five insurers.
  • Rescore your insurance: Ask your agent or insurer to rescore your insurance; 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 file a claim after 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 afford if you have to make a claim.
  • Discounts: Every insurer offers car insurance discounts. Ask your agent to verify that you are getting all 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, resulting in a lower premium and 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 significantly 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.

Guide: 10 most important factors that affect car insurance rates

Resources & Methodology

Methodology

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.

– Michelle Megna contributed to this story.

Laura Longero

Ask the Insurance Expert

Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

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John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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author image
Contributing Researcher

Mark is a freelance journalist and analyst with over 15 years of experience covering the insurance industry. He has extensive experience creating and editing content on a variety of subjects with deep expertise in insurance and automotive writing. He has written for autos.com, carsdirect.com, DARCARS and Madtown Designs to name just a few. He is also a professional blogger and a skilled web content creator who consistently turns out engaging, error-free writing while juggling multiple projects.