There are nine states that don’t have a points schedule to tally up driving infractions. Instead, these states look directly at a motorist’s driving record to determine if actions should be taken due to continual bad driving behavior.
And yes, even without Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) points, traffic violations can raise your car insurance rates. In the end, car insurance companies look at the underlying infractions rather than how your state treats them.
If the traffic violation reaches your motor vehicle record, it can affect what you pay for car insurance.
States without DMV points system
The states that don’t currently have a driver’s license points system include:
The other 41 states and the District of Columbia have points systems that their state licensing agencies use. This means when a driver is convicted of certain traffic violations, these states will assign a certain number of points a driver’s record.
Typically, states with a points system will suspend or revoke your license if you accumulate too many points within a certain period of time. States without a points schedule instead look at the infractions on your record.
Penalties for too many violations or accidents on your record — whether there is a points schedule or not — vary greatly from state to state.
What happens to the driving license in states with DMV points?
California has a points system and assesses negligent operator points ranging from zero to three based on the severity of an offense. A driver’s license is suspended and an order of probation is sent to the driver when one racks up:
- Four points in 12 months
- Six points in 24 months
- Eight points in 36 months
The suspension is for six months, and probation runs for one year. If the driver receives any violation or is in a collision during the probation period, they will receive an additional six-month suspension and probation will be extended for one year.
In contrast, for drivers 18 years of age or older in Oregon, the DMV will restrict a person’s driving privileges for 30 days if one has:
- Three accidents, or
- Three convictions, or
- A combination that totals three in an 18-month period.
And a person’s driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days if one has:
- Four accidents, or
- Four convictions, or
- A combination that totals four in a 24-month period.
Each subsequent violation or preventable accident results in a suspension of driving privileges for 30 days.
How bad driving affects car insurance rates with or without DMV points?
Points can be an easy way for both the state, and a motorist, to keep track of how well one is doing as a driver. The more points accumulated, the worse of a driver you appear to the state – and your car insurance company.
A state not having a points schedule doesn’t change your car insurance provider’s ability to rate you on traffic violations or accidents, which is what they really look at on your driving record, not the points.
In general, auto insurers don’t put much stock into DMV point schedules because car insurance companies have their own insurance points system.
Your insurance company will assign its own value (point) to traffic violations and accidents. Like DMV points, the major violations are given a higher amount of points. The more insurance points you have, the more likely you’ll pay higher rates.
If you don’t want traffic tickets (violation convictions) to affect your car insurance rates, don’t get them. Your driving record is always a key rating factor with any car insurance company.
That doesn’t mean that if you have a ticket or two on your record that you can’t get affordable car insurance. I’d still advise you to compare car insurance quotes with multiple insurance providers, because finding the company best suited for your set of rating factors can save you hundreds of dollars a year.
And when the traffic offenses fall off your record, shop around again to see if a different insurer is offering even better rates.
— Penny Gusner contributed to this story.
Resources & Methodology
Driving laws. “Driver’s license point system.” Accessed January 2023