DMV Point System - How Points Affect Insurance Rates
Many people don't really worry about their driving records. They figure if they've just gotten a few minor traffic tickets, it's not a big deal. But the fact is, every mark on your record counts, and all those little points can add up really fast if you're not paying attention. There's an entire system in place that helps insurance companies decide what they're going to charge you.
Driving Point System
Not all states employ a point system for their residents' driving records, but it's important to understand if you live in a state that does. When you commit a traffic violation, this gets documented on your record, along with a corresponding amount of points. The worse the violation is, the higher the points assigned to your record. You start out with zero points when you first get your drivers license, but as you get traffic tickets, this perfect zero vanishes. You should also keep in mind that if you reach a certain number of points within a certain amount of time, you could have your drivers license suspended, or even revoked. Therefore, it's wise to prevent these violations from occurring.
Again, even if your state does not use a point system, your traffic citations and accidents are recorded, so you will still be affected when it comes to your insurance premium.
So Where Does the Insurance Company Come In?
Insurance companies look at your driving record when they are evaluating you as a potential customer. They use the number of violations on your record as an indicator of how safe a driver you are, and to calculate what you should therefore pay as your auto insurance rate. The cleaner your record, the lower your insurance premium. Your insurance rate is not static, however. Even if you start out at a low rate, if you accumulate tickets, your premium can begin to climb rapidly. This is a penalty for poor driving, since you are not being as safe as you could be.
Avoiding Rising Auto Insurance Rates
Prevention is the number one way to keep the cost of your car insurance low; by not committing any violations, your insurance provider won't be able to charge you more. Even if you have gotten tickets in the past, if the option is offered, you may be able to get a point reduction for not getting any violations for a certain amount of time. But in case you do get tickets or accidents on your driving record, there are ways you can keep your insurance premium from skyrocketing:
- Take an approved defensive driving course: if allowed by your court, taking a defensive driving course can get points reduced on your driving record, or even get a traffic ticket dismissed entirely.
- Wait patiently: in many states, points will be deducted from your record after a certain period of time (usually a number of years).
- Hire a lawyer if you feel you were wrongly accused of a violation. This way, you can keep from having points placed on your record.
Keep Track of Your Driving Record
Don't neglect your driving record; this is a document that should be reviewed routinely, since it has such a big impact on your life. The DMV is not perfect - errors can be made, so you should check your driving record regularly, particularly if you've just had a ticket dismissed. See to it that you don't have more points than you should have, as this will affect your insurance premium. And if you're searching for a new provider, you'll want to ensure that your driving record is at its best.