How Driver Violation Points Affect Your Insurance Rates
One of the more significant monthly costs associated with your vehicle will be insurance premiums, also known as the regular payments you make to ensure your car is insured to drive. While insurance can offer peace of mind and is legally required in many states, it's still a financial pain to deal with high monthly payments. Because of this, most drivers will avoid behaviors that can increase their premiums. One of these behaviors is getting driver violation points on your license.
What are Driver's License Points,
and How Do Points Affect Insurance?
Driver violation points are the method by which many states record a driver's road mistakes. Points systems are designed to assess your ability to obey traffic laws and can have many negative consequences. Picture points like bad grades on a report card; the more of these bad grades you have, the lower your overall grade point average will be. Points are wracked up from various moving violations, and you could lose your license if you get too many.
While your number of points doesn't always change how much you pay, getting a lot of them can raise your insurance costs. A higher number of points shows insurers that you exhibit dangerous behaviors on the road, making it a much riskier undertaking to give you a policy. Because more points are given for severe violations, increasing your license points could lead to a massive increase in insurance premiums or a loss in coverage. Plus it could also cause you to lose insurance altogether. Without insurance, you won't be able to drive legally in most U.S. states.
How Much Does Insurance Increase With Each Point?
It isn't possible to give an exact estimate of how much your insurance will increase with each driver violation point, as the changes will depend heavily on the state you reside in, what insurance company you go with, and what type of violations you commit. That said, we have provided rough estimates below for the average rate increases and what kinds of offenses would garner specific point amounts. For exact estimates, contact your insurance company or local DMV office.
How Much Does 2 Points Affect Insurance?
Getting two points on your license would likely come from a minor moving violation, as it is the minimum you can receive in most states. These violations include:
- Driving at night without headlights
- Illegal u-turns
- Failure to yield
- Running a red light
- Failure to obey a traffic device
Insurance companies won't track the points specifically but rather the violations resulting from gaining them. Having two points on your license can cause your insurance to increase anywhere from 15% to 50% or more, depending on who insures your vehicle, what state you drive in, and the exact nature of the traffic violation.
To get these points removed from your license, check to see if your state provides any point reduction programs. One solution some states offer is defensive driver courses, which can wipe violation points from your record. While this may not affect your insurance directly, it can help you avoid getting your license suspended.
How Much Does 3 Points Affect Insurance?
Many states will only apply points in groups of 2 or 4, but getting 3 points on your license is possible for areas like North Carolina and California. In California, 3 points are assigned for major traffic violations like:
- Almost any moving violation while operating a commercial vehicle
- Hit and run
- Driving under the influence
- Reckless driving
- Eluding a police vehicle
The exact amount your insurance premiums will increase due to having 3 points on your license will vary based on the state your car is registered and your specific insurance company. For example, getting 3 points in Florida will increase your insurance premiums by an average of 23%. In contrast, the same amount of points in North Carolina may increase your insurance by an average of 65%.
How Much Does 4 Points Affect Insurance?
Getting four violation points can happen over the course of several smaller moving violations, like minor speeding, illegal u-turns, failure to yield, or failure to stop; you can also get four points all at once if you commit a more significant violation, like driving under the influence, hit and run, passing a stopped school bus, or in some states, tailgating.
How much your insurance will increase is due less to the points and more to the violations themselves and the state you live in. For example, four points in North Carolina will increase your insurance by an average of 90%. In Florida, receiving four points can increase your insurance rates by as much as 44%. The increase is entirely up to your insurance company, but you can expect it to be no less than 40% and as high as 100%.
How Much Does 5 Points Affect Insurance?
As the points get higher, it's more likely that you have committed a major traffic violation to receive them. Aggressive driving or driving with a suspended license are two common culprits, though depending on the state, these can result in far more than 5 points. The penalties for this, in addition to an increase in insurance, will also vary from state to state:
- California: If you receive five points within 12 months, your license can be suspended.
- Florida: While your license won't be suspended just by reaching five points, this does mean you are almost halfway to losing your driving privileges.
- New York: If you receive one more point, you'll have to pay a driver's responsibility fee.
- Texas: five points in Texas means that if you receive one more, you'll have to pay a license surcharge fee.
- Pennsylvania:5 points in Pennsylvania means you are dangerously close to having your license suspended.
Insurance increases will depend on the nature of the violations and how quickly you accrued your points. If the points result from something smaller, like a speeding violation, your rates may only increase by 25%. For more severe violations, like a DUI, you could be looking at 79% to 125% in insurance increases.
How Much Does 6 Points Affect Insurance?
6 points are the threshold in many states for suspension or significant fines. Getting this many points comes from an accumulation of several minor violations or one major violation. Depending on your state, 6 points may result in the following:
- California: if you received the points within two years, 6 points would result in a license suspension.
- Florida: 6 points is the halfway mark to having your license suspended in Florida.
- New York: If the points are accrued within 18 months, you'll need to pay a driver's responsibility fee, which will range based on your specific situation.
- Texas: 6 points in Texas means you'll need to pay a $100 license surcharge fee.
- Pennsylvania: Unless you take a written safety examination, 6 points will result in a suspended license in Pennsylvania.
Insurance premium increases will again depend on the nature of the violations and the state you reside in. Minor violations could increase your insurance by as little as 25%, while major violations could have you looking at a higher premium of 90 to 150%.
What Other Factors Can Affect Car Insurance Rates?
Your insurance company is going to base your premiums on many different criteria, from your points and driving history to the history of your vehicle. They will look at the risk level a vehicle has, and you are going to pay more if your vehicle is deemed high-risk. Know what you're getting into before buying a used car. Get all the details you can about your vehicle prior to buying so you have the same type of information your insurance company does. You can usually get all the relevant information about a car from a vehicle history report. One detail these reports can reveal is a car's title history; if your vehicle has ever been salvaged, you may have a difficult time getting a reasonable insurance rate (or insurance at all.) Make sure to research any vehicle you are planning to purchase beforehand to see what insurance rates you may have to pay.
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